I've been a Sailnet reader for awhile, but I rarely post. Would like some opinions since my 'skipper' is a big fan of web forums and not a a big fan of my suggestions.
We sail a 39 ft boat that weighs around 14,000 pounds with our five-year old. We're pretty much 'bay sailors' who just cruise on the weekends. Our daughter has been sailing with us since infancy and feels comfortable on the boat - maybe a little too comfortable. We had a smaller vessel previously and she would stay in the cockpit with us while we were under sail. Now, on the 'big boat' she like to go down below by herself and spend time down there while we sail. I don't have a problem with that when conditions are light and when we are not heading upwind. Recently, we had a nice day sail in 17 -ish knot winds that were gusting just over 20 knots. At the point we turned around to head back (at my suggestion) I was at the helm and stated that the sails would need to come down or our smallest crew member would need to don her vest and immediately join us in the cockpit with some reefing to be done. We were in a 'narrow' body of water, 25 knot winds at this point, with frequent tacks necessary to head upwind and my skipper thought I was completely unreasonable to think there were any safety issues. Note that our boat is also a newer model where we have a virtual dance floor to go flying across with few handholds - especially at a height suitable for someone who is 43 inches tall. I have now been told I should get a motor boat or stay at the dock. Has anyone ever encountered similar issues and if so, how did you handle them?
Love to sail but.....