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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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  #51  
Old 09-13-2006
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Hmm. I guess a lot of people who read this site (myself included) have some fantasy of major cruising. Some do it. Most don't.
Those who say go early, and don't let life pass you by have a point - except that it isn't passing you by now. You make one choice for your life or the other, different yes but in the long run who knows?
Most are constrained financially - perhaps falsely do they need an expensive house? Do they exercise prudence or conservative attachment to material things? Depends I guess on life stage etc etc.
I doubt cruising on a low budget is mainly tropical islands and sunsets, more likely patches of boredom, hassles, and confinement plus adventure etc.
Although many kids thrive in such an environment, and if younger simply accept it as normal, my main query would be whose fantasy is this? How old are the kids and how do they and your wife accept it?
I am not being a doubtful Thomas - most setting out on such an endeavour abandon it quite quickly. So while I support you in entertaining the idea I suggest that you try it for a while rather than making 5 years your initial goal. if you decide to continue for a time after say 6 months in the Pacific well and good. If you don't well and good. But at least it lowers the ante. Apart from that I would not like to predict the US property market over the next year let alone 5.
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  #52  
Old 09-13-2006
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Chris_g,

You raise a lot of points I've considered. Both the wife and the kids have "veto power" over the plans. So far, my wife is fully engaged in our run-up planning, but she'd admit that if she doesn't like off-shore sailing then our plans will change. As for the kids, if one of them really hates it, then we'll doing sailing that they do like until they are older and in college.

We've been working on the groundwork for about 18 months now, and as noted we're going for more experience and certifications before going further. As my wife notes, if the kids are involved, then there's no room for not knowing what we're doing. I'm encouraged by recent threads on Sailnet about the importance of knowledge, experience and confidence. I'm more concerned about having strong and healthy deposits in those accounts before investing much in "the boat."

As noted earlier in the thread, the "five year plan" could end at any point, but that doesn't mean we "quit sailing." At this point, I could see us sailing and cruising locally, and chartering pretty much anywhere we want, for the foreseeablle future. It's not a bad consolation prize if we discover that big trips and big water aren't for us.

All options are open-- we're not the types to buy a 52 footer and restore it for many years before discovering what we really want to do.

Jim H
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  #53  
Old 09-13-2006
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JimH... I'd really recommend you get and read Changing Course, and then give it to your wife. It is an excellent book for any one who wants to go cruising long-term and has to show why it makes sense to their spouse.
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  #54  
Old 09-13-2006
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I don't know that I'd give veto power to 7 and 9 year olds, but definitely to your spouse! My husband and I own a business together and have homeschooled for 7 years. Most people say that they don't know how we can all be in the house at the same time, much less work together -- and I say, truthfully, that it's not for everybody.

As far as the kids go, I would agree with cruisingdad that they definitely need a space of their own for any lengthy cruise (lengthy being 2 weeks or more, esp since they are different sexes). I wouldn't worry too much about boredom - it's a very frequent complaint with kids who go from school to homeschooling, since they are used to having their entire day scheduled and you can do even a full high school academic load homeschooling in 3-4 hrs a day. Elementary school, probably 1-2 hours a day. You do need other things for them to do - a box of things to make crafts with, paper for writing and drawing, books, audio books...plan to have storage space allotted for those types of things.

Good luck! I've enjoyed reading about your dreams. I spent 6 weeks on the Newport 33 my grandmother recently gave me back in 1985, and it was still one of the best times I can remember.
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  #55  
Old 10-02-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jswwrites
Is far as the kids go, I would agree with cruisingdad that they definitely need a space of their own for any lengthy cruise (lengthy being 2 weeks or more, esp since they are different sexes).

Good luck! I've enjoyed reading about your dreams. I spent 6 weeks on the Newport 33 my grandmother recently gave me back in 1985, and it was still one of the best times I can remember.
Thanks, JSW

I've also been thinking about the advice for separate spaces, and also the drawbacks of canoe sterns in terms of space. For example, all of us like to bicycle, and we currently have a small fleet of well-made bikes to ride. For cruising, I'd like to have four Bike Friday travel bikes, but even folded up they'll need space.

At the moment, I'm also thinking that a newer boat, perhaps one after 1988 with vinylester resins, might be a better investment if we're going to own for 10 years. That criteria knocks out a lot of fine boats, and we might change our mind and still go with a late seventies or early eighties boat, but for now we're researching Island Packet 38s and Caliber 38s that are in the $130-150k asking price range. This is a lot more than the $50k Ingrids and Cascade 42s we looked at, but possibly a good move even if the cruising kitty is altered.

One thng is for certain-- we like cruising. We just got back from another excellent weekend cruise (pictures here), and even my 7 year-old daughter is enjoying every trip more and more.

At the docks on Saturday night, we joined some local yachties for cookies in a warm Ericson 32 cabin, and we heard stories of coastal cruising. They took the E-32 off-shore to Puget Sound for eight weeks, for example. The rest of the year, they sail and cruise locally at Portland, Oregon. The three couples we met all had newer ('89 and younger) boats in the 32-34 foot range, which is about right for the hop off the coast in summer to cruise the San Juans, Desolation Sound, or even the inside passage to Alaska.

In retrospect, their plans aren't bad. The boats aren't cheap, but they still have their jobs for income. They take longer breaks in the summers to cruise, but they have the rest of the year with affordable moorage rates and opportunities to sail.

As I was thinking of our "big trip plans," I wondered if it wouldn't be bad to follow their pattern if we can't make the big break. For example, if we go for a multi-year cruise in few years, we'd almost certainly have to restart our careers when we got back. If we summer cruised with the kids for another decade, we'd have most of our financial commitments done, solid college accounts for the kids (started them years ago), and we could pick a boat that was more for mom and dad and occasional kids, instead of a true family ark. You know, something simple like a 2006 Hallberg Rassy 342...

Anyway, it was fun to hear how others cruise part-year. The risks in waiting may outweigh the benefits, but its an alternative we'll always have. My wife is refreshing her Spanish, and she'd like to help with schools in Mexico when we cruise (following up on a Cruisng World article we just read). If we did wait, I'd want to upsize from our '27 in a few years to something in the 32-34 foot range, but that would be a big decision. For now, we're weighing and chasing options, and studying for our next ASA certifications next year.

Thanks!

Jim H
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Bailiwick, a C&C 27


Last edited by Jim H; 10-02-2006 at 09:12 PM.
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  #56  
Old 10-03-2006
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Sounds lovely! Our long cruise to the Bahamas (way back when!) was in the summer, and just a wonderful time. I hope that we will be able to do similar trips with some/all of our kids, although we will be staying around NC for the next year or so. While a 5 year cruise would certainly give the kids an experience they'll never forget, I can tell you from my own memories that even a 1-2 month trip can live on!
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  #57  
Old 10-15-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jswwrites
While a 5 year cruise would certainly give the kids an experience they'll never forget, I can tell you from my own memories that even a 1-2 month trip can live on!
I've heard this from others as well, and it's encouraging in case we don't do a big break with the kids. There's all sorts of "common sense" factors in favor of shorter cruising while keeping the careers, but the wanderlust is strong.

A new idea just came on our radar. We haven't sent in a deposit yet for the two-week charter next year in the San Juans, and the cost of the charter and the two ASA certifcations for both of us is going to cost some (approximately $5k). I've been picking some fun, extra work lately to help cover this, but it passed my mind that we might invest it differently.

Our C&C 27 has done the offshore hop from the Columbia River to Puget sound in the past, and it was prepped for it with new rigging, emergency rudder and other safety investments. We're tempted to "upgrade" our winter work on the boat to include more enhancements (like a new Garmin 376c chartplotter, new CQR, new thru-hulls, extra engine work), and possibly plan to take it north next summer instead of chartering. I could likely get a 3 week break, and the kids would join us for a week or more in Puget Sound but not the offshore hops.

Anyway, we're anxious for a safe offshore trip for experience, and we're finding ourselves increasingly relaxed and confident with the boat. My wife still wants her ASA certifications first, but that could be done in early summer. Our trip would be late July to early August. The expensive part of the plan is buying/renting a EPIRB and suitable life raft. We might be able to borrow some exposure suits for the trip, and could hire a delivery skipper if needed.

So, we're pondering it as we work on the boat (removed and rebedded the bow pulpit just today). It would be a "bigger step" than chartering again, but it would be great to feel the accomplishment. It also makes the winter boat work more fun.

Jim H
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  #58  
Old 12-26-2006
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A quick update on our plans so far:

We considered a lot of options this month, because Dec. 31st was the deadline for making charter reservations for next year at this year's rates. We researched the costs of upgrading our C&C 27 for an off-shore hop to Puget Sound, we researched putting in a bid on local Pearson 10M and prepping it for the off shore hop, and we considered chartering the Islander 28 again in the San Juans for two weeks. The Islander 28 was the same one we chartered for a week last July.

We learned a lot about how to prep for the offshore hop from the Columbia River bar and going north, but the cost of the upgrades and safety gear on the C&C 27 is beyond the cost of chartering, and may not be recovered when we sell the boat in the future.

I still really like the Pearson 10M, but we'd lose a lot of cash on the loan, owning 2.5 sailboats for awhile, and upgrade costs on the 10M. For a multi-year boat that was fun for both local sailing and going north for a month or two, I think the 10M would be an affordable and worthwhile investment of time and effort. I'm trying hard to forget about it... It wouldn't be the best boat size-wise for a longer sailing sabbatical to Mexico and beyond with two kids, but...

So, in terms of return on investment, we've reserved the Islander 28 for two weeks and we plan to sail the Gulf Islands in Puget Sound for most of the time. We'll learn about customs clearance, stern ties and a host of other cruising issues with a two-week trip that doesn't break the bank. The rest of the time, we'll do a bit of racing with our C&C 27 and try to master every sail we have for her (14 in total).

Additionally, we have the funds for my wife to do a week long learning cruise next year for her ASA 105 and 106 ratings. I'll do it the following year. In summer 2008, we hope to charter a Crealock 34 for two weeks and do an overnight passage to Desolation Sound. If we can resist buying a larger boat, of course.

Beyond that, cost-wise, it's probably better to master our 27 and charter boats in the next size up. We need to find out if we're going to do a major break with the kids, and if we do then we'll need at least a 37-40 foot boat (which would be less than great for local day sails and weekend cruising on the Columbia River). I have to admit that I was impressed by this Spencer 42: simple, strong and a serious rebuild of major systems and hidden areas.

One question: the other wrench in our plans is a possible work opportunity in London for 2 or more years. It's strangely attractive, but I haven't figured out what we would do sailing-wise in England yet. I remember a reference to a good discussion board about sailing in the UK, but I can't find it. Any recommendations?

Thanks, and we're having a great time planning our two weeks in Puget Sound already. The kids are both swimmers now, and my daughter has been exceptionally relaxed during heeling on our last couple of daysails. Things are looking up!

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 12-26-2006 at 02:45 PM.
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  #59  
Old 12-26-2006
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Tartan34C will become famous soon enough
To get a feel for sailing and living aboard in England try this discussion board www.ybw.com/forums/ubbthreads.php I have sailed in/to England several times and enjoyed both the people and the sailing.
Good luck and all the best,
Robert Gainer
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  #60  
Old 12-26-2006
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Thanks, Robert. That was the exact discussion board I was looking for.

At first glance, it's cool that the Trapper 500 is commonly referred to there, which is basically the C&C 27 that we own now. It would be funny to own or charter a Trapper 500 if we lived there.

Secondly, it does appear common to own a boat that is an hour or more away from where one lives. I think I'm spoiled now with my boat being about a 25 minute drive away.

Thanks again,

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 12-26-2006 at 11:24 PM.
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