So, how do I prepare for a 5 year cruise with kids? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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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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  #11  
Old 05-21-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Hal Roth's book is a good one to read too. Might want to pick up a copy of the Complete Sailor as something for your kids to read...it is very well written and easily understandable, and covers much of the basics of sailing technique and theory.
Good recommendations-- I've read both of Hal Roth's books, and we've had the Complete Sailor out of the library. My son has also ready a "Young Sailors" book that he really liked. We've also joined reading all of Herb Payson's books (although I'm envious that Pacific Seacraft simply gave him a 34 on long-term loan to voyage on...).

At the start of Hal Roth's book, my favorite section was simply the double-page picture of Tanya Aebi on her Contessa 26, finishing her solo circumnavigation. In the detailed caption of the photo, Hal reviews all the equipment in plain view (wind vane, sea cloths, solar panels, her wet weather gear, etc.) and noted that all those things were standards for ocean voyagers even though 30 years had passed since the photo was taken.

The book that got us back into sailing a year and half ago was a $1 copy of Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi from a used book sale. From the book, it was clear that she wasn't the happiest camper when the photo was taken that Hal used, but it was clear that she knew what she was doing at a very young age.

Jim H
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  #12  
Old 05-21-2006
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Originally Posted by hersch
We did exactly what you are proposing to do. When our son was 11, we bought a boat and cruised for almost 6 years. Cruising as a family is beyond compare.
If nothing else, it gives us comfort to know that others have been so successful at fulfilling plans like we're considering. I have heard very good things about kids who have cruised, but have been warned by others that the achievement isn't going to be a bowl of cherries. From a parenting perspective, there's a lot to be earned.

One thing I might do before the start is to earn a Wilderness First Responder certificate. I had a friend do this a few months ago, and he recommended it as well. The course sounds scary-- a week-long introduction to emergency first aid in remote locations. In one scenario, my friend was actually out at 1 a.m. bushwacking in the rain to help find, diagnosis and treat a simulated victom. In fact, the instructor who was playing the victom actually became hypothermic in the process...

Anyway, spending years in a boat with a family may lead to some medical situations in remote locations, and the more prepared we are for this the better. Simply having the knowledge will be a stress reducer.

As for the Channel Islands, we'll keep your contact information. We've already discussed chartering there after we've done Puget Sound for a couple of years. We could drive down, and then spend a week visiting the islands for some Pacific experience.

Thanks for the repsonse!

Jim H
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  #13  
Old 05-21-2006
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Your responses show a thoughtful, measured approach, that bode well for your plans. The one statement though that you want to wait a year and get more experience before crewing, isn't necessary. Take every opportunity you can. You'll get more experience in a day or two of crewing, be it racing or crusing, than you'll get on your own. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, or looking dumb, just be honest with the skipper, and I don't doubt it will be rewarding for both parties. As with any endeavour, the key is learning the "tricks", that make things easier.

You can wait on weather, on making the boat shipshape, don't though, wait on gaining experience, in anything related to what you want to do. I'm sure the experiences you gain, will do naught but fan the flames of your desire.

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  #14  
Old 05-21-2006
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Preparation anxiety

Jim H.

I notice that a lot of the replies here urge people like yourselves to avoid getting bogged down in preparations. There's a lot of truth to this. Many would-be cruisers (and there are many) are paralyzed by fears and spend years preparing themselves and their boats. By the time they are ready to go, other factors have intervened, forcing them to abandon their plans.

The important thing is to know you and your family's capabilities and those of your boat. Sail within your limits and extend those limits as you build experience. You will find that most passages are on the order of 1 or 2 days. Rare ocean crossings top out at 2 to 3 weeks in a reasonably quick boat. However long a passage, when you arrive in a new port, you will usually find what you need in the way of new and old friends and support services such as provisions, repair facilities, and health care.

The upshot is, don't wait too long to get started. Travel smart and travel safe. There is not need to assume the risks of long ocean passages before you feel ready. Shorter passages will provide plenty of grist in the early going. No exotic skills are required. Do leave before your kids turn 13 if at all possible. If you wait beyond that point, you will explaining to everyone that you are waiting until the kids finish college, which may be too late! If you get them out there before age 13, they will develop an appreciation that will carry them through as they mature during the voyage.

Finally, I suggest you not head out on a "5-year voyage". Start the voyage with the idea that you will continue as long as you are all having fun. Make plans with back doors so that everyone understands that you can exit if things aren't working out. This knowledge does a lot to ease fears that you've gotten into something you can't get out of. In this way, your journey will unfold before you without preoccupation, expectation, and fear...a better recipe for joy and discovery.

Do get it touch if you are able. Also check out our video clip at http://www.3sigma.com/sailing/Final/BigPicture.html

Marc
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www.SailtheChannel.com

Last edited by hersch; 05-21-2006 at 06:33 PM.
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  #15  
Old 05-23-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer
The one statement though that you want to wait a year and get more experience before crewing, isn't necessary. Take every opportunity you can. You'll get more experience in a day or two of crewing, be it racing or crusing, than you'll get on your own. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, or looking dumb, just be honest with the skipper, and I don't doubt it will be rewarding for both parties. As with any endeavour, the key is learning the "tricks", that make things easier.
Geez-- basically you're saying that I have to overcome all my self-doubts and shyness to gain knowledge and experience. You're right, of course, and later this summer I will put my name on the list to crew with the Cal 20 racing fleet for experience-- I still like small boats for new challenges (like handling a spinnaker for the first time).

There's something perverse about sailing. I personally find it both exhilerating and a harsh mistress. Some sailes are perfect, and other days I'm bugged for days by how hard the docking was because of current. "Did I scratch the topsides?"

I'm not certain why we should enjoy something that's so demanding, mentally and physically, and that's if you're doing it "right." I guess it's one of those nothing ventured, nothing gained sort of things, but I wonder if I'll ever live in a comfort zone again. Are we not supposed to?

Thanks again for your responses-- these are all fun and challenging things to think about.

Jim H
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  #16  
Old 05-23-2006
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Hersch's points about learning as you go are good ones. Initially, try to avoid putting yourself and your boat in conditions that are going to be difficult to handle and work your way up to them, as you get more familiar with the boat, you will begin to understand how she will handle various situations and how you have to treat her to get her to respond.

This isn't to say that you should stick to fair winds and blue skies only, but that you should take the boat out in different conditions to get an idea of how she responds under various weather conditions and with different amounts of sail.

Unfortunately, most boats are different enough that this kind of learning is pretty boat specific. What works on one boat, may or may not work on yours.... so the more familiar and experienced you are with your boat, the better off you will be. Crewing and racing on other boats is good experience, but not everything you learn there will be applicable to your boat specifically. If you can race or crew on the same model boat as your own, that would be more valuable than doing so on a different type of boat, but the more experience you can get—the better.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 05-23-2006 at 02:56 PM.
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  #17  
Old 05-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hersch
Finally, I suggest you not head out on a "5-year voyage". Start the voyage with the idea that you will continue as long as you are all having fun.

Do get it touch if you are able. Also check out our video clip at http://www.3sigma.com/sailing/Final/BigPicture.html
Marc, thanks for the link to the video clip. It was a relaxing way to finishing the day.

Your points about "back doors" and over preparation are important. I don't think we'd have a problem stopping early if we wanted to, and if the trip takes ten years of preparation then our kids are going to be waving good-bye before we go. Of course, committing to something too big ("We're going to circle the world!") can also lead to the never-ending preparation loop.

We're also open to the idea that one to two week cruises might turn out to be prefect for us, even in the long run. We could cruise for three weeks in a row this summer if we wanted to, depending mostly on our spirits and energy level. By the same token, we may cruise just a week and then take a break, so as not to push things too hard on the kids. It's great to hear stories of "our kids crossed the Pacific when they were 4 years old and loved it," but all kids are different, and we try to recognize our little one's loves and passions as much as our own.

So, in that regard, we may always fall short of the five year cruise, at any time. That's part of the planning-- the "as long as its fun" sort of thing. The hard part for me to figure out is the financial plan of sustaining a five-year cruise and then a re-entry of some sort. I'd like to have the option open of continuing if we really love it, and that means "starting at the end" and working backwards with our plans for overall stability.

As someone noted on another board, financial problems have prematurely ended more cruises than any boat, skill, health or weather problems. Others have noted that it seems like many or most of the cruisers they meet are in retirement age. We may also end up in that group, but not without making an honest effort at designing a 1-5 year cruise financially and kids-wise, not to mention "pucker factor" and motivation-wise.

Given all the possible show-stoppers, maybe I shouldn't even worry about a major cruise. For good or bad, however, my family is pretty solid as a unit, and we're used to relatively rugged travel and outdoors experiences. If we were to start a cruise tomorrow, I don't think we'd need too many luxuries aboard to be happy.

Thanks again for your replies!

Jim H
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  #18  
Old 05-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
This isn't to say that you should stick to fair winds and blue skies only, but that you should take the boat out in different conditions to get an idea of how she responds under various weather conditions and with different amounts of sail.

Unfortunately, most boats are different enough that this kind of learning is pretty boat specific.
We've been doing pretty well at being more than "fair weather sailors." We've been out in reefed and rain situations more than once on a range of boats, and we feel the harder conditions are becoming less of a concern and more of an opportunity. The only thing that's bothersome at the moment is that our Columbia has an abnormally high current, cross-wise to our slip, making docking and general sailing less fun than normal.

I've been thinking about crewing and other learning opps this week, and I've found out more about the local cruising trips offered by the sailing clubs and organizations. Right after our week-long charter in the San Juans, we might join a one-week cruise to Astoria and back on the Columbia, to learn more from the seasoned cruisers who sail much of the year in varying conditions and have a lot of local knowledge. Rafting up and learning more about their years of crusing sounds like a great experience.

Your note about boat-specific knowledge is also true, but it's kind of surprising how many opportunities there are once one knows the local sailing community a bit better. In the past week, I've read about crewing opportunities in the Sound and off-shore as people are moving their larger sailboats for the season and are looking for help. Both my wife and I would like to do this in the future, as well as do some crewing for racing. The opportunities are pretty amazing, and each is an investment.

Jim H
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  #19  
Old 05-28-2006
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I would think, that if you can do some 2-3 week cruises, especially to areas you are unfamilar with, it would be a good barometer of how well the family, as a unit, will take to full time cruising.

In following this thread, it seems you would be better off with more of an "outline", than a specific plan, such as a circumnavigation. So that you are taking what you have, rather than trying to force yourselves into a specific box. You already seem to have that in mind, and while it may not "go along" with much of the stuff you read, if it works for you is the main thing. In other words, don't exclude anything, but don't feel pushed into doing more than you feel right with.

As an example, simply going from Portland, OR to Portland, ME would be a heck of a cruise.
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Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
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  #20  
Old 05-28-2006
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Just came across this on another board, and thought you might find it helpful Jim.....

"I'm reading All in the Same Boat by Tom Neale. It's about a a family of four living aboard and cruising the east coast and Carribean.

He talks about the basics of what kind of boat to buy and why he thinks it is a good idea. But more importantly he talks about things like What on earth do you do all Day and Kids aboard and Teaching Your Kids. Coming from a man who has done this for at least 15 years, he's had a lot of insight and his kids have added information from thier perspective too.

If your thinking about this life style, buy it used from Amazon and give it read! Once again it reinforces that this is what I want to do!"
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Ontario 32 - Aria

Free, is the heart, that lives not, in fear.
Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
JCP


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