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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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  #121  
Old 12-02-2007
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Nice pictures. I can't decide if that galley is practical or over-the-top...
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  #122  
Old 12-02-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
Nice pictures. I can't decide if that galley is practical or over-the-top...
Well, we talk about "Floating Condos," and restored long boats are just that. It is pretty amazing where you can go on the Inland Waterways.

One thing we learned years ago is that boat shows are good for discounts on sailing classes and cruises. This boat show was no exception, so we pretty much planned our 2008 sailing year and pulled the trigger on reservations and payments.

In January, both my wife and I start our RYA Dayskipper Theory courses. Thirteen Monday nights in a row for me to complete the coursework. My wife goes on Wednesday night. The courses are 6 to 10 p.m. in offices in downtown London with On Deck Sailing.

In April, I'll finish up my RYA 2 certification with a weekend on the Solent with BOSS.

In May, my wife does a seven day cruise across the channel to the Channel Islands and back, and finishes her Dayskipper Certification with BOSS. (Our kids do their Optimist classes at Welsh Harp.)

In June, I do a seven day cruise across the channel to Normandy and back, finishing my Dayskipper Cert. with BOSS.

In July, we're back in the US, and I have a three night cruise on the Columbia River planned with my brother on our Cal 20.

In August/September, my wife and I plan to do our Coastal Certifications over a couple more weekends on the Solent.

Now, this is all fine and good, but in no case do I sail with my wife or kids. Hmmm. So, instead of buying a small cruiser and keeping it on the southern coast, we think it's better to have a family sailing dinghy for day sails and racing on Welsh Harp, a resevoir about 45 minutes away. We'll likely spring for a new RS Vision, as we checked out at the Southampton Boat show (see below). We can keep it at our sailing club on a trolley, ready to sail any weekend with the kids or as a family. So, our family sailing continues, and the channel sailing. Fun.


Last edited by Jim H; 12-02-2007 at 02:22 PM.
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  #123  
Old 12-02-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyh View Post
When should one go cruising??? I asked myself that question 1000’s of times when I was still tied to land. I define happiness as living my dream of cruising….
To quote Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now, you will be more
disappointed by the things you did not do than by the things you did."
I have this quote on my boat's website. And while I have no personal desire to sail long distances, but I understand those that do. Mark Twain was right! Go for it; start the journey now.
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  #124  
Old 12-03-2007
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Originally Posted by mccary View Post
Go for it; start the journey now.
I tease my wife about this about 2-3 times a week. Instead of moving to London, I had a fully restored Spencer 42 in Gig Harbor, WA, all lined up to be our "escape velocity" boat. Instead of selling off all the stuff to move overseas, we could have sold off all the stuff and sailed around Puget Sound and then South.

She, of course, had the voice of reason: "We don't have the experience yet."

Basically, she's right, again, as usual, etc. If you have two younger kids, we decided that one shouldn't "learn as you go" offshore. (Maybe one shouldn't do that without kids if they can avoid it.) My counter argument was that we could have hired help for the passage south, shipped the kids down by plane, bobbed around the Sea of Cortez until we all had our sea legs, but in reality we didn't have the financial details worked out far enough into the future.

The positive result, however, is that we channeled the lust for travel into our move to London, and the pay off has been great. I love my work, and the kids are doing great in their new school. My wife loves the city, and we're doing more sailing and more learning than we did in Oregon. We're both crossing the channel in 2008, and both earning our "much more difficult" RYA certifications and feeling more prepared by the moment.

One could say "you'll never go if you never stop preparing," but this is a lot of fun and I don't regret it. Even if we can't do the five year trip before the kids go to college, we have a secondary plan for a one-year sabbatical for an Atlantic circle. (Or a longer trip if we work it out.)

So, things are good, other than knowing that Portugal is pretty near by.

Jim H
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  #125  
Old 12-03-2007
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Jim, only because we are sailing parallel courses here, may I ask how the planning for educating the kids while on passage is going? We are modifying our departure plans somewhat as follows:

Instead of leaving in summer 2009 for five years of cruising, we think we will

1) cruise the Canadian Maritimes in summer '09, and either overwinter there or back in Toronto....

2) ...in order that our kid can complete Grade 3 ashore and (we hope) be better prepared for "boat school"...

3)...and in order that '09 would be a "shakedown" both for us as crew and for the boat in "semi"-bluewater conditions, but with plenty of "outs" and the ability to fix things in our own country...

4)...after which we can go directly south in '10 having seen the Maritimes and thus going out via the Erie/Hudson to NYC, then Bermuda, then the Caribbean and then Panama or Trinidad for Christmas.

In the meantimes, scrap, scrap, brush, brush, weld, weld...
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  #126  
Old 12-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
Jim, only because we are sailing parallel courses here, may I ask how the planning for educating the kids while on passage is going?
Valiente,

That sounds like a fun plan. Finishing grade three isn't a bad idea, since writing and reading should be established by then (enabling more independence). As you know, there are more resources online about homeschooling (and over-doing it) than one can shake a stick at.

As for education plans, my wife and I have about 37 years experience between us, but it is still a topic to put thought into. Most likely, we'd develop a curriculum we felt challenging yet rewarding to each of our kids, and altered to their learning styles and interests.

For a framework, though, it's worth looking at or considering models. The Calvert School is the most commonly mentioned source of curriculum by grade level (at least for the earlier grades), and it's worth noting that almost complete curriculum packs show up on Ebay.

Others are attracted to the Great Books classical education approach.

Personally, I would like to focus on math and science and technology, and have my wife work with the writing, literature and history pieces. (Both of us are terrible at music, but enjoy art).

I think it would be great to develop extended project-based learning projects in most areas, with rubrics and clear waypoints concerning skills and achievement levels. For example, the countries we visit would become the focus and source of literature, history, art, culture and politics. Water and wildlife could provide for multi-year science measurements and comparisons (publishing ongoing work to a webpage or blog, perhaps collaborating with other students). Mathematics would be as integrated as possible into experiences, but not exclusively. Writing should come naturally, in both journals and online, and for waypoint essays, articles and personal newsletters.

(When my kids were scuba diving last weekend, I was thinking of all the possible math that could be tied to the experience.)

If possible, I thought it would be best if the kids could stay in touch with friends who remain in their home country, through email and pictures and sharing of their experiences. Some cruisers have worked out ongoing relationships with previous teachers (perhaps for a fee for a second opinion of achievements, or through a school-supported option). Learning to seek out the help of authorities online and in local communities would also be part of the plan. (Time to interview the mayor.)

All in all, I wonder why we aren't doing this already...

The ultimate "win win" situation is if the academic work is engaging and rewarding, building both confidence and ability. In good schools, for example, parents become engaged positively with their kids' work and progress, and I could see this occurring for us in a positive feedback loop.

Two more links:

Noonsite Cruising Familes


SSCA Familes and Crew Discussion Area

Keep us posted on your progress, and maybe we'll see you on the Solent some day.

Jim H
London, UK

Last edited by Jim H; 12-04-2007 at 02:21 PM.
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  #127  
Old 12-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
Any advice on how to prepare for a five-year cruise with two kids?

We sail a lot now, and charter, but we have this growing "bug" of an idea to cruise while we're still in our forties and before the kids hit High School age.

We're thinking of picking up something like a Pearson 424, Valiant 40 or a Passport 40 in 2-3 years, and then live aboard for a year while still working to prepare. (We're not big boat people, but with growing kids...) We'll either cash out the house at the time of purchase, or rent for a year to see how that works out.

Scary part
-- finding catastropic health care for all four of us during the cruise. Maybe skipping on boat insurance. Finding jobs again in the future. Maybe not holding onto real estate while we're gone.

Okay part-- boat schooling the kids for five years (wife and I are both educators).

Fun part-- having enough cash to do a low-budget cruise for five years, but stop early if cash runs out, or go longer if we can write or do other during-cruise work along the route. We'd like to do the PNW, Inside passage, West Coast, Mexico and Sea of Cortez, and then decide to continue either west or east (through the canal).

Mission part-- I have some academic contacts in Chicago who would build a survey and data collection tool for us, so we could visit local schools on our journey and collect data, publish articles and build connections with schools in the US. We could do some teaching along the way (for free) and our kids could experience some local schools as well.

If we're careful, we should be able to afford the boat with no loans, and have enough cash to fund the cruise (as long as insurance doesn't kill us). After the cruise, we'd plan to have enough cash for a downpayment on another house, and we'd re-enter the working world. Kids would be ready for college (we have decent college accounts running for them now).

So, any brilliant advice? General budget for the boat would be around $100k (maybe not enough for a Passport 40), and if we don't end up with a perfect blue water boat we still do a lot of cruising with a solid coastal cruiser. We have 2-3 years before the next big step, but it's still fun to plan, learn and scheme.

Thanks!

Jim H
seems to me you can get a boat way under what your planning to spend hard sells with lots of inventory out there makes for really nice boats cheap keep lookin
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  #128  
Old 12-21-2007
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Cool Crusing with Kidos!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
Any advice on how to prepare for a five-year cruise with two kids?
Thanks!

Jim H

I just happen to see this Thread and offer a few words. May be a day late and dollar short.

I have not cruised the world, plan to one day. I have been out at sea for very long periods of time and never see anything but, "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink". Having some things to do is very important. Reading, learning to tie rope knots whatever.

But, one thing I have found over the years is "Attitude"!

One of the best things a person can do to prepare is work on their attitude. Nothing can kill a child's excitement faster than getting mad all the time. And it works for adults also. I have a few friends I really not boat with often. They already mad getting off the dock.

Always remember, things will get broke and people do make mistakes. There will be times when there are situations people be scared.

Keeping a positive attitude layered with a little humor helps.

When we were in Hurricane Rita, we were on my brother's boat. It a power and not sail and very sea worthy as it has seen it's share of bad weather before he bought it. I remember him and me were in the pilot house talking as we fought the storm (others tried to get some sleep).

I was sitting looking out the back door. The boat started to shudder and shake and I sit calm and watch the sun deck disappear into the night. My brother was freaking and ask; "what was that"? I calmly looked over at him and said, "there goes the sun deck". Then I laughed and say; "Now we having fun". This help ease the tension.

So, really think about attitude and how to handle situations in a manner that help encourage everyone and not add to their fear. When it over everyone will have an experience worth remembering and telling with excitement. Not something where everyone look back thinking how miserable things were.

I hope this helps. Many good reads here on the subject.
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Last edited by Gryzio; 12-21-2007 at 12:18 PM.
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  #129  
Old 01-01-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryzio View Post
One of the best things a person can do to prepare is work on their attitude. Nothing can kill a child's excitement faster than getting mad all the time. And it works for adults also. I have a few friends I really not boat with often. They already mad getting off the dock.

Keeping a positive attitude layered with a little humor helps.

I hope this helps. Many good reads here on the subject.
Gryzio,

These are all good points, and ones we've considered often. For example, we've talked a great deal about "Are we really suited to this cruising idea, especially with kids? Are we flexible and calm enough? Are we going to hate each other? Have we done anything like this in the past that indicates whether we're up to it?"

Interestingly, there are examples that make us feel good about our chances and attitude. Maybe it started with us as kids, when camping is what was done in the summer, in old canvas tents in the hot, dusty Oregon cascades or wet Oregon coast. As children, both my wife and I learned to love that type of vacation, and we purposely have passed that to our kids. (It seems like adults don't pick up that type of enjoyment unless they did it as kids.)

We've also spent long periods of time together. My wife and I camped across the US by car twice. With our kids, we've done extended camping and yurting and lived away from family both in the US and now in Europe. We're a strong family unit, overall, and hiking in the cold and rain is commonplace. (This morning we did a cold, hour-long hike across Hampstead Heath to have New Years brunch at Kenwood House.)

As for sailing, spending a week on a 28 footer with four of us was a joy, not a hardship. Even when the weather got rough, my daughter took pride (as an eight year old) in her ability to help in the cockpit with the chartplotter. There was some times of fear, but never anger or yelling. That's one thing we keep off the boat, even if we pile into a floating log, etc. It's never anyone's "fault" when something goes wrong. It's never the crew's fault if something goes awry (something even the RYA sailing schools had to learn the hard way).

Anyway, I like your points about "attitude," and I think you're right that a family without experience in the outdoors might be in for a surprise if going sailing for a month or a year is in the near future. I think its also true that if you have anger problems ashore, they aren't going to disappear at sea. If there's a positive "unit cohesion," it's not just a sign that a family may do well when cruising, but perhaps an indication that they really should go cruising, to build on their strengths. The payoff could be life-long, for decades after the cruise is over.

Thanks, and have a happy new year.

Jim H
London, UK
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  #130  
Old 01-01-2008
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2008 Update

A quick update:

We've had almost a week and a half to research and think about our sailing plans as a family. We didn't travel during this holiday break, because first I was too sick and then my daughter was sick, but we did have a lot of time to research, think and talk.

We have many paths. As noted in earlier posts, my wife and I are loving the RYA sailing courses, and we've both paid for 13 week evening Dayskipper Courses, followed by week-long cruises across the channel and back in May and June. We have to go separately because of the kids, but some have recommended this is better for a couple anyway. By summer, we should have our first continental cruises under our belts, and our RYA Dayskipper certifications.

The only thing we really hate about these plans is that we don't sail as a family. Both of our kids are really keyed up about taking Opti sailing courses in the spring, and I will buy them an opti if they love the courses and want to sail at Welsh Harp resevoir north of town. That's all good for their learning curve, but it really bugs us that we won't cruise for a week as a family this year, unless we find time to charter in the UK, Europe or Puget Sound.

We also miss owning and caring for a boat. If we had a boat in the UK, we would have spent a week on it over this holiday break, and possibly again in Feb. and March, and then up to a month in the summer. Financially, owing a boat here is VERY expensive (figure 50% higher on the purchase cost, and then around $6,000 minimum a year for moorage.) Financially, it makes more sense to own a 15 foot sailing dinghy at Welsh Harp, and cruise with the RYA school or charter and not own a boat. Financially, it makes sense to wait 4-5 years or more, and buy a boat back in Puget Sound to start multi-year cruising.

As you can guess, though, financial sense doesn't always fit with boat ownership, so we're looking at boats here and trying to find loopholes. What could we buy for around $100,000, and then afford to moor and own? If it were like a second home to us, on the coast, how many weeks a year could we use it. Could we cruise the Med in it in the future. Would it be good enough for a one-year Atlantic circuit? What about a multi-year cruise?

All fun questions, and all relate back to our learning curve, attitude and objectives as a family. In a perfect world, we'd have a solid, seaworthy boat large enough for extended cruising but easily enough to daysail. Here's the boats we plan to see:

Rival 36
Rustler 36
Westerly Corsair 36
Westerly Oceanranger 38

For a lighter weight alternative, we may also consider a Sigma 38. As much as I like Nicholson 35s and 38s, most are in rough shape and are probably too heavy for light air-- they are too dedicated as ocean boats. We like Malos and Hallberg Rasseys, but I don't know if we'd find a suitable one in the $100,000 range.

All of these boats have done extended cruising and Atlantic circuits, but also all of them are a bit less that heavy duty ocean boats, like Valiants and Passports. Also, they are in our general price range. Some are basically equipped, and others have been extensively outfitted and updated by previous owners. We have to weigh peel jobs vs. non-epoxied bottoms, engines, standing rigging, and sail conditions.

As for moorage, we're open to many ideas, mostly 1-2 hour train rides out of London. That might mean Ipswitch or Brighton, or Port Solent or Gosport. Brighton has the drawback of exiting right onto the Channel instead of the Solent, but it is less expensive for a full marina and the town has a lot of attractions for week-long stays when the weather prevents sailing.

Anyway, that's where we are. We hope to travel this weekend to see one or more of the boats listed above, and to learn more from owners and brokers about moorage options and costs. We also have to learn more about insurance requirements and costs. Lots to learn, and it might be best to hold off on buying for another year, but this legwork is important either way. In the end, I don't think we can hold off on owning a boat for too many years, if we want to build experience sailing as a family and mastering boat maintenance.

Thanks!

Jim H
London, UK

Last edited by Jim H; 01-01-2008 at 10:40 AM.
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