We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!
Nicely done. We've taken our two year old and eight week old out in our new to us Catalina 27 several times now with great success.
1. We experienced the same phenomenon with the engine soothing. As soon as the diesel fires up the eight week old is out.
2. We bring two car seats on board so we can strap the kids down if two of us are needed on deck. Both carseats are full harness types, no booster seats or equivalent. Pretty happy with this setup. They currently set on the cabin floor. Even the two year old sits patiently.
3. Our current rules are:
Lifejackets on while on deck or in the cockpit underway (including Mom and Dad, both for safer and setting the example)
Mustang 3185 inflatables for Mom and Dad
Lil Mustang for the two year old
Infant life jacket for eight week old
Lifejackets can come off when in the cabin
At anchor or in slip, same rules but we have a lighter weight jacket for the two year old
When underway I tether the two year old with a bowline and the spinnaker halyard attached to his jacket but plan on getting a real tether and jacklines
4. We plan on installing life line netting
5. I agree that setting everything up and operating as a singlehanded is essential. We are still working on this. I spent half a Saturday recently with my former ASA instructor just learning more singlehanded docking techniques ( warping/springing, approaches, etc) and getting in docking reps. I am already glad that I took the time to hone and expand the docking skills. I'm quickly learning that I have to think and plan ahead for every action. Much to learn.
6. My wife nurses down below successfully
7. We bought a few fans to help keep the infant cool
8. We bought battery powered white noise and nightlights for naps on the boat. The kids nap as well if not better on the boat
9. I'm encouraging the wife to become a proficient sailor so she isn't always on kid duty
Looking forward to exchanging experiences and tips