Nautic de Paris - A Wednesday at the Nautic, or playing truant

This Wednesday, the children were out in force in the aisles of the Nautic. All of them had the chance to discover a whole raft of entertainment, reserved specially for them this week at the Porte de Versailles, the most important of which was the great variety of craft just for them, enabling them to launch into the water and discover the marine environment and the practice of watersports.

A great tangle of entertainment for the young things at the Nautic 

Demonstrations, diving into the mysterious world of oceans, virtual trips on boats… The Nautic has a plethora of entertainment on offer for youngsters through until Sunday at the Porte de Versailles. We review the line-up:

Jérôme Dominé / AFP / Nautic 2014 

Accrovoile mast climbing: This opportunity to dip your toe into the bygone days of sailing ships was the exciting offer from the sailors-comedians-entertainers from the Accrovoile team for children visiting the Nautic. And the youngsters were delighted to get first-hand experience of life as a sailor on the Tall Ships as they were allowed to climb the rigging of an 8-metre high three master kept firmly aloft by a hydraulic ram system. 

Winch challenge: On its stand, the French Sailing Federation offers young and old alike the chance to test their biceps on the winch handle challenge, either double-handed or singlehanded. The aim: to complete 20 full turns as quickly as possible. The prizes for the best times in each category (overall, youth, women, double-handed…) include bags, caps and balloons… For now, the top scorers have taken between six and seven seconds to pull off the challenge! 

Immediate and virtual boarding: The Pays de la Loire offers young and old alike a unique, immersive, 3D experience. This virtual entertainment is a guarantee of a magical moment for one and all with the chance to discover the secrets of building a yacht and stepping aboard for a race. It’s also an opportunity to take in the beauty of the region’s stunning coastline! 

Loco-voilier educational train: This educational entertainment aims to raise awareness among the general public about the essential place of biodiversity for the whole of mankind. Films, 3D images, interactive exhibitions and toy boxes await the young and old for a fun voyage of discovery of the living world. Measuring some 17 metres in length and 12 metres high, this extraordinary machine is really creating a stir at the Nautic. With a backdrop midway between dream and reality, visitors have the opportunity to play a part in the captivating entertainment, which reveals to them all the secrets of what is certainly a treasure worth preserving: biodiversity. Children upwards of 8 years of age have a role to play in the entertainment. The treasure hunt is a fun, sociable way for them to discover the answers to the enigmas posed to them. 

The basin at the Spot Nautic: Equipped with a large screen and fans enabling visitors to have a go on a number of sailing dinghies, this 400m2 swimming pool is also kitted up with the latest generation winch, optimising the towing power and the demonstrations put on by the wakeboard champions. Better still, it allows the public to enjoy a taster session in stand up paddle, kayaking, windsurfing and dinghy sailing.

Modelling basin: From half models, once used to define the lines of a hull beneath the waterline, to ultra-sophisticated radio control scale models… the basin groups together enthusiasts everywhere for the duration of the Nautic Paris boat show. A veritable toyshop for every generation, it uses its charms right around the basin! 

Virtual Regatta: For those who can’t or don’t really want to take the plunge, Virtual Regatta offers a series of virtual races, which attract hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts. This year, the Nautic Transatlantic is being contested on maxi trimarans, the kick-off for which was in Newport on 5 December, and the first flurry of finishers are due on French shores from today through until the end of the week. However, for the real youngsters and those who weren’t able to take the start, on the Virtual Regatta stand, the Volvo Arcade game is an absolute must.

Controlling a Jeep®: at the entrance to Hall 4, there is a rather special entertainments package that will appeal to any age and gives visitors to the show a chance to learn how to control a Jeep®. The brand has launched a miniature towing challenge with a radio control Wrangler towing a boat. The goal? To rack up the best time over the course. 

A new expedition for a young audience at Océanopolis in 2015 

Showcased today in the City of Brest space, this brand new sensory and interactive exhibition is aimed at any age and particularly children aged 6 to 10 years old. It is sure to provide visitors with an educational and scientific look at life through the seas and oceans. From exploring to discovering unsuspected ecosystems, observing and understanding how they work and raising awareness about the richness and fragility of the marine biodiversity, this unforgettable voyage will be offered up with the precious assistance of Cyclops, one of the most abundant planktonic crustaceans. 

The sea classes celebrate their 50th anniversary 

23,000 is the number of children who set sail on a sea class boat each year. On its 50th anniversary, Nautisme en Finistère is retracing the entire history of the sea classes via a three-phase exhibition at the Nautic: the founding events and the sea class concept, the school of citizenship making children familiar with life in a community, as well as raising awareness among young people about the natural marine environment so as to train up a generation that respects its environment. Not to be missed on any account! 

An exhibition dedicated to Eric Tabarly 

This year, within the context of an exhibition entitled “À Éric (To Eric), it’s a rather little-known side to the great sailor which is presented at the Nautic and it highlights his faculty for inventing tomorrow’s boats and equipment. Produced by Pierre Verger, this exhibition features five major themes: “A boat for winning races”, “Light so as to go fast”, “The visionary”, “Manœuvring singlehanded” and “A pragmatic inventor”. Spanning some 150m², this exhibition reveals Éric Tabarly’s innate taste for research and experimentation. 

SNSM: volunteers are at the Nautic’s core 

At the Nautic for another year, several devices shine a spotlight on those who embody the SNSM (RNLI equivalent in the UK), whether it be a Rescue Swimmer station, a Volunteer Lifeguard training centre or the headquarters. A vast array of entertainments punctuate the show days, including a lifejacket workshop to learn how best to choose your equipment and how to maintain it, rescue demonstrations, a sailor knot workshop and a stall where you can do your Christmas shopping whilst supporting the rescue association.


The 16th edition of the Fête du Nautisme ahoy 

Organised all over France, along the coast, its inland waterways and its rivers, the Fête du Nautisme (Festival of Watersports) has become the go-to watersport meeting during the summer season. This major event is the perfect opportunity to discover the range of leisure activities and watersports, as well as meet protagonists from the sector via the rallying together of over 500 sites. It’s also an original way to get a better understanding of our cultural and maritime heritage. Enjoying a sociable feel, the Fête du Nautisme is geared at beginners and experts, young and the not so young, athletes or one-day wonders. Before taking part in the 16th edition of the event on 13 and 14 June 2015, this afternoon the Nautic audience was able to enjoy some taster sessions (stand up paddle, windsurfing…) on the Spot Nautic. The operation will be repeated this coming Saturday at 15:30pm. A promising foretaste! 

Youngsters and sailing: how do you learn to sail?

The key protagonists in training young people, the French Sailing Federation (FFVoile) boasts nearly 210,000 members aged under 18, who equate to over 2/3 of its members! This strong force is split into two groups: 20,000 of them practice sailing intensively, in competition, whilst the remaining 190,000, who have an average age of 14, liven up the network of 1,074 clubs affiliated to the FFVoile, including the very famous school in the Glénans archipelago. Such clubs have an increasing number of training craft, which are increasingly fun and recreational. 

Though each affiliated club is free to choose its own teaching craft, there are some clear trends in evidence which bring to the fore the fastest and easy to access boats: from the FunBoat for beginners to the singlehanded dinghy and the RS Terra, the Open Bic and the Bug (Laser). For those wishing to sail double-handed there’s the RS 500, a dinghy equipped with a asymmetric spinnaker, and the catamarans highly prized by France’s Navy apprentices: Hobie Cat or SL 16. The eternal Optimist ‘soapdish’, which has seen every generation get to grips with sailing, is slowly giving way to the easy-access, fun boats, which are attracting new generations with an approach that is more geared towards slipping along and having fun rather than trimming and racing. 

Sailing lessons are generally initiated from 6/7 years of age, once the child knows how to swim, but it is also open to the real tiny tots via a little-known offer developed by certain clubs and reserved for children of 5/6 years. A kind of initiation into the marine environment, this training tackles the discovery of sailing, as well as the foreshore, via supervised recreational activities. 

Big kids can also benefit from a beginners’ package with the “Balades à la voile” sailing jaunts, which are supervised trips out to sea aboard community yachts, geared around the discovery of the maritime environment. 

When they become teenagers, children tend to evolve towards their own choice of sailing programmes, from multihulls, to racing, to offshore cruising and hence there is a much wider selection of training sessions on offer. The most celebrated of these is at the Glénans sailing school in Brittany, which accepts children upwards of 14 with a multitude of boats, levels and stretches of water. 

As such, France offers a comprehensive network with which to train up today’s ship’s boys and girls to be tomorrow’s great skippers. 

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