I realize this thread is older however I wanted to leave a post anyway.*
I cruised for 2 years straight with 2 children, 2 golden retrievers, and a rescued cat. We lived aboard a 35' Coronado with a center cockpit. My children still talk about it being the best two years of their lives.*
As for the dogs, I can think of no better situation for them. They swam daily, twice. actually. They played on islands with other cruising dogs. They were also working dogs with a job, which was Anchor Watch, which they took very seriously. Once at 3AM, *when 2 men attempted to board us while we lay sleeping at anchor. *The dogs alerted me with enough time to reach for, and engage my 12 gauge shot gun. Who knows what would have happened had the dogs not been there?
There are a few little accommodations one must make when having a canine companion animal aboard. I'm a big fan of the AstroTurf method for potty-ing while under weigh. I also believe a good system for reboarding in case of accidental overboard is a must!! *I have a great way to accomplish this for both sailing dogs and cats.*
Currently we are re-fitting a 32' Endeavor for another cruise through the islands. We plan to leave the US early spring of 2011, with hopes of being below the 11th parallel before hurricaine season. This time we will be traveling with one of the previous Golden Retrievers and a Shihtzu. *(who thinks he is a retriever as well. * Shhhhhhhh don't tell him !!)
Our dogs have started a blog, and are detailing the trip from their point of view. I invite you to read along, as we make the big island circuit once again! *Here is the website: *please sign up to follow, leave comments, or whatever.. We would love to meet check it out at sailboatdog dot com.*** See you there!