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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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  #91  
Old 06-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tartan34C
I think itís more a matter of the type of cruising. One was coastal and one was tradewinds. I sailed without an engine for many years and found that I needed to pick routes and destinations that permitted engineless sailing and I always need to plan a way to sail out of anyplace I was considering sailing into.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
Tradewinds definitely the clue there. Other side of it is that when more small craft had either no engine or a piddly little thing that was good for docking and not much else, sailors had to cope with dead calms. Nowadays everyone is in too much of a hurry. I realise it can get tedious after awhile but there is a special beauty in a totally calm ocean and you are the proverbial painted ship on a painted sea.
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  #92  
Old 06-10-2007
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
With five kids on board, I'm not sure if tedium or a totally calm ocean are likely options.(g)
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  #93  
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Great Idea.

DO IT!!

20 years ago we set off around the New Zealand coast, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the coast of Queensland, Australia, on a voyage that lasted 3 years.
We had our 2 oldest children (then our only children) aboard, aged 5 and 3. It was the best thing we ever did as a family, giving our children a huge range of experiences, exposing them to different cultures, giving them self confidence and binding us as a family really well.

Everyone has their own ideas about size of boat, level of equipment etc, and there are advantages and disadvantages in the different ideas ( including mine..).. here is how we did it..

We had built our own Denis Ganley designed 32 foot steel cutter ourselves, taking 4 1/2 years to do it. After launching, we sailed it locally on weekends and holidays, building up experience and confidence. before too long we were deliberately going sailing in the harbour in 35 knot winds to get experience, then some coastal voyages in strong winds as well.
This led to a small number of changes and improvements which were to be helpful later when things turned rough.. which will happen, but not often or for long.

We then did a few long coastal voyages, then set off on our main cruise.

The scariest part of the whole experience for me was handing in my notice at work and committing to making the dream become a reality, but I have always been glad that I did it.

Would we have preferred a bigger boat? Maybe.. but we didn't have enough money to get, equip and maintain anything larger, and we enjoyed the experience so much that I would be happy to say " Get a good boat rather than a big one. If you can get a good, big boat then great, but a good small boat will give you a great time anyway".
There were times I was glad we were on a smaller boat as well.. shallower draught opened up more anchorages, berthage was cheaper, reefing the main during squalls was easier....

Things I rate as important for safe passages included:
-Wind vane self steering;
-Good, STRONG roller reefing on the main forestay;
-Efficient shelter from wind, rain and spray for the cockpit;
-A way of doing everything manually if the powered/electronic systems fail;
-Good anchoring equipment including more than one type of anchor, a good anchor winch and a lot of chain;
-Storm jib and trysail which are well set up and easy to set.. you do not want anything difficult about something that you are doing in 45 knots of wind...;
-Knowledge of how the systems work, and how to repair them.

No time for more right now.. good luck with your plans.
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  #94  
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My wife and I are leaving next fall after the boat shows (new 615 to be on display at Newport and Annapolis) for a few years. We are not going to be in a rush or have a time limit regarding places we go and see other then staying out of hurricane/typhoon season areas. Our son will be just over three when we depart. With everything I've been reading and following, it sounds like almost the perfect age for him. The home schooling thing seems to be a simple process to follow using one of the organized systems. At that age, it seems to me that you just have to make sure you do something on a daily basis. We're not too worried about that. We are concerned about social interaction with others around his ago so we'll be looking for other boats with children and be flexible about where we go and how much time we spend in an area to accommodate this concern. He is a very social child... we can tell already.
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  #95  
Old 06-10-2007
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We will be traveling with 2 girls age( now ) 9 and 10.

Some questions I do have for all of you, especially Jim,
1.what are you using for home schooling. And what are some recommendations.

We used the Calvert School for our kids and it was fantastic. However, it only goes up to through the ninth grade and after that we used the Nebraska system. Both kids got back after four years of sailing and went right into their normal class. each boy graduated in the top 5% of their class and each went to any Ivy League college.

Recommendations: 1) we tried to do school work for about three hours each morning....except when there was something more interesting to do, like climb the pyramids in Egypt. 2) When you see other boats with kids, immediately invite them over. We tended to buddy-boat with boats that had kids on board. Even of it meant missing some anchorages. 3) have a lot of books for the kids on board and before you go to a new place, island, country, encourage them to read your guide books so they learn about the places they will visit. 4) If you are planning on going to the Pacific, get the "South Pacific Hand Guide by Moon Publications. It is written for backpackers; but, has a wealth of information about all the islands in the Pacific like when and how to go through the kava ceremony in Fiji.

Scott Kuhner
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  #96  
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Everyone has their own ideas about size of boat, level of equipment etc, and there are advantages and disadvantages in the different ideas ( including mine..).. here is how we did it..

We had built our own Denis Ganley designed 32 foot steel cutter ourselves, taking 4 1/2 years to do it.

Would we have preferred a bigger boat? Maybe.. but we didn't have enough money to get, equip and maintain anything larger, and we enjoyed the experience so much that I would be happy to say " Get a good boat rather than a big one. If you can get a good, big boat then great, but a good small boat will give you a great time anyway".
There were times I was glad we were on a smaller boat as well.. shallower draught opened up more anchorages, berthage was cheaper, reefing the main during squalls was easier....

Things I rate as important for safe passages included:
-Wind vane self steering;
-Good, STRONG roller reefing on the main forestay;
-Efficient shelter from wind, rain and spray for the cockpit;
-A way of doing everything manually if the powered/electronic systems fail;
-Good anchoring equipment including more than one type of anchor, a good anchor winch and a lot of chain;
-Storm jib and trysail which are well set up and easy to set.. you do not want anything difficult about something that you are doing in 45 knots of wind...;
-Knowledge of how the systems work, and how to repair them.

No time for more right now.. good luck with your plans.[/quote]

Kitty and I did our first circumnavigation in a 30 foot Seawind Ketch and had no electronics other than an RDF and a Zentih Trans-Oceanic short wave receiver to get the time check. We had an 20 hp diesel engine with an 18 gal fuel tank, so we rarely used the engine, even in a calm. We loved every minute of our sailing adventure. Therefore I wholly agree with and applaud the above advice.
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  #97  
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Great Plan...

We cruised with our 2 kids a few years ago on our Bristol 41.1.
When we left our kids were 4 and 6. I was in my early forties. I left my career (yikes!), sold the cars, and rented the house.
For home schooling we used a Waldorf School program called Oak Meadow (I think) which we supplemented with Singapore Math. This worked out fine, but your kids are older and these may not be appropriate.
After agonizing over health insurance we chose to go without. Health care is much less expensive in most cruising grounds, and better suited for local malodies.

You'll be amazed how quickly your kids adapt to cruising. Granted, our kids were younger, but it only took a few days for them to settle in and treat life aboard as routine. I wish I could say the same for my wife and I. We were frantic about safety in the early going, as our energetic kids would run around the deck climbing on everything while we were under way. We calmed down eventually and peace was restored.

Not surprisingly, the kids were happiest when there were other children to play with, so we always gravitated to boats and places with kids, which altered our cruising plans many times over. There were many harbors where we stayed longer than planned if there were other families present and/or ice cream parlors. But that's the great thing about cruising... plans change constantly.

This may come across as a cop-out, but we found the VCR/DVD to be an invaluable tool. We had many either rough or mundane passages where a 2-hour video allowed my wife and I to either focus on running the boat, or in the case of mundane, to break up the "endless boredom". It also occasionally allowed us adults to visit with other adults in the cockpit.

In all respects it was a wonderful experience and I envy your plans.
One point on boat selection - make sure whatever boat you choose has excellent engine access, because you'll be spending a lot of time accessing it!

Cheers,
Sam
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  #98  
Old 06-11-2007
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As for health insurance, Our experience is DO NOT GO WITHOUT IT! On our first trip, I discovered that I had a malignant melanoma and because I had no health insurance, my father had to pick up the hospital and doctor bills that today would have run over $100,000. On our second trip , we had health insurance and Kitty smashed her ankle in New Zealand that required two operations and a plate and four screws to fix. Because we had health insurance we could choose the doctor we wanted rather than having to rely on the public health system. It was a total success and she now walks without a limp.
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  #99  
Old 06-13-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tartan34C
I think itís more a matter of the type of cruising. One was coastal and one was tradewinds. I sailed without an engine for many years and found that I needed to pick routes and destinations that permitted engineless sailing and I always need to plan a way to sail out of anyplace I was considering sailing into.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
I agree with this. I am going to shortly buy an Admiralty pilot for the purpose of planning routes (that and the next edition of Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes). While I have a motor sailer, it's a decent enough sailer to get anywhere in light air (just a knot slower!) than most comparable cruisers. My hope is that by conscientious route planning, I can bring my "engine on" time well below 50% of the time spent underway.

At the same time, I am increasing the fuel capacity in order to power out of situations when I would just bob about uselessly otherwise, but I would rather spent time than diesel in most cases. Times of absolute calm are relatively rare, as my couple of days in a light and fast racer-cruiser like Giulietta just proved. We had bad wind, not no wind, and keeping the sails up and drawing kept the boat on an even keel and added a good knot or two to the speed.
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  #100  
Old 06-24-2007
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Update: a confirmation

Well, the living room couch and chair were sold and taken away today. The bedroom set and family room couch were also sold and will go later this week. Even the cat was picked up by its new family. We fly to England on July 5th.

Meanwhile, last week we chartered the same Islander 28 we had last year for a week of sailing in the San Juan Islands. Exactly what we needed. The best days were the first and last.

On the first, we cut though 3-4 foot swells and a 20-25 mph wind on a close reach. Slightly rougher conditions are becoming second nature for the kids, even as we reached 7.4 knots and a pretty good heel. Fun. Really fun.

On the last, my wife and I got up at 5 a.m., brought in the stern tie, and were sailing back to Bellingham Bay while the kids still slept in the V berth. Yeah, we could live this life.

Here's two of my favorite pics from the trip:





The full set of pics is available at

San Juans Charter 2007

Overall, I'd like to note that Bob Perry designed a seriously well-balanced and well-sailing boat with the Islander 28. Even though it was a charter, we consider it our Puget Sound craft, and next year we'll likely be back for another week. I wish we could have gone for two weeks, as we planned, but other adventures await.

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 06-24-2007 at 10:38 PM.
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