Sailing Holiday Planned with 2 (very active and mobile) 1.5 year olds - 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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  #1  
Old 05-24-2010
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Sailing Holiday Planned with 2 (very active and mobile) 1.5 year olds

I'm just wondering if this can be done with the end result being that everbody has an enjoyable and relaxing holiday?!

My husband and I have spend months sailing on board before, but this will be our first sailing trip with our child and we have invited non sailing friends and their baby too. I'm keen to get the basics right in making sure this trip is as safe as possible i.e. what are the general rules we should stick to with wearing life jackets (I have pretty much already decided that it will be LJ on when on board unless they are down below). We are going to Greece and it will be hot but I do not want to comprise on safety. I would also like to tether the babies to the cockpit. Does anyone have any ideas on making the boat baby friendly? Also I was wondering what everyone does for sleeping arrangements. So far all I can think of is using a travel cot on the floor.

I'd be so grateful for any tips and advice.

Last edited by medsails; 05-24-2010 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 05-24-2010
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Well... that will be a lot of advice! I willt ake a stab at it.

We did not tether our babies. We just kept an eye on them. Boats, in my humble opinion, come out of the box fairly baby proof. Areas to watch out for are the panel and them being able to get up the companionway stairs. If it has an electric head and the kiddo has matchbox cars... well, that did not turn out so well for us either!!

You will find that keeping the kids cool will be the biggest difficulty. Lots of water is great. Keep them wet and hydrated and cool.

We used a car seat typically in the cockpit for when we needed them in a controlled environment. We are big fans of Mustang life jackets if you can get one that size. That was what we used for our kids. You need a jacket that will float them face up, has a crotch strap, and a grab handle should they fall in. Most traditional jackets have none of these qualities.

If there is a suitable V-berth, see if you can get a board to go across the berth. We used one with Chase. In the picture below, you will see my mom (taken about 8 years ago) holding Chase.



Over her shoulder you will see what looks like a crib side that actually was a simple board we made to go across the berth (like a crib) so that he could play in there safely while we were under way. However, for sailing or when sailing, the boat will get hot and unless you have a generator and a/c, you will not have them down there much. Plus, you might be dealing with sea sickness if you keep them (or yourself) down there in any type of sea. SO I suggest your car seat or something similar which can set in the cockpit under your supervision and some toys for your child to play with. You can also hold your child (something we did a lot). In fact, that is why I am such a huge proponent of a husband-wife team both being able to single a boat becuase one person in ineveitably taking care of the child(ren).

As far as sleeping, put the kiddo between you. That was what we did. THe exception would be if you rig up the V berth and put several of the kids in there or if you are ok sleeping in the salon. I personally would not let a toddler sleep in the salon unless under my direct supervision. Our only nightmare was of one of my kids sneaking up the companionway stairs and falling off the boat. Of course, it never happened, I am just saying. I know many parents that have put locks on the inside of the companionway and/or rigged some type of alarm (cans falling off from the top steps, for example) to warn them of their kids going up the steps. We never did, but our kids were basically raised on boats and knew the rules (many times tested) from lifejackets to companionway to going forward without permission.

I think that is most of your questions. Don't make too much of a big deal out of it all. It is easy-cheesy and you will have a blast and remember it always.

All the best,

Brian
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2010
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Just came across this and wanted to say, thankyou really good general advice Brian.

Thanks also for just your work in getting this area of Sailnet up and going, and for your continuing wise counsel on cruising with kids.

We are expecting our first in January....

We both really love sailing and cruising and have no intention of slowing down, in fact we actually have plans of doing more extended cruising next year and see now great reason to change these plans because of a new addition.....

However I would be lying if I said we don't feel a little nervous about having a baby onboard......we have had several discussions, have had a bunch of questions and had a great deal of them answered from your input on here....
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Old 09-03-2010
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My wife and me had our second sailing trip (1 week) together under "own management" this June and it was the first with our 7 month old baby.
We took a third adult with us because we expected it would be too stressful for us two to sail and look for the little one. This was a very good idea! Two plus baby is very stressful (depending on the current phase the baby is going through). It would be great to have a (very good) autopilot for a couple with baby on board.
The biggest challenge was that the little one has been in a phase where he needed nearly continuous attention. With rough sea conditions this meant one adult needed to be down in the boat any time. This made sea sickness unavoidable.
However all together it worked quite well and we would do it again - however in a region with extra calm waters/warm weather. (we have been in Galicia/Spain)
Wearing a life jacket for more than 10 minutes or so was not realistic finally ( (much too unconfortable and bulky) but we felt safe even without. (in the cockpit permanent watching/grib ).
Ulf
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Old 09-03-2010
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Originally Posted by myocean View Post
Wearing a life jacket for more than 10 minutes or so was not realistic finally ( (much too unconfortable and bulky) but we felt safe even without. (in the cockpit permanent watching/grib ).
Ulf
We experience much the same here on the Chesapeake in summer, very hot and humid. We don't sail much at all in August, but this year I purchased some child's safety harnesses, and glad I finally did. We use them primarily when motoring in clam water when they're in the cockpit. Of course even in the heat a PFD is mandatory when going forward on Windgeist. Although the kids generally stay down below when its that hot anyway, gets them out of the sun.
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Last edited by T37Chef; 12-22-2010 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 12-22-2010
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Late to the discussion but thought that I would add the following, perhaps someone will read for referrence.

We took our 1 year old to the BVI's last year, did ten days on a cat. The smartest thing we did was purchase this - Kidco Peapod
It's a small tent designed for toddlers. We placed it on top of the berth in our cabin and used it for our child. She loved it and it gave us peace of mind that she couldn't get up and wonder about the vessel. It worked great and I would highly reccomend it for anyone thinking about cruising with a small child. - Portable DVD is also a must
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Old 12-30-2010
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My wife and I sail with our three children, 5, 3, and 18 months. We also use a car seat rigged up in the cockpit for the baby. We don't require them to wear lifevests unless the weather is heavy, but they can't leave the cockpit underway, luckily we have a large cockpit.

If we're lucky they sleep in the quarterberth or salon watching a dvd, but we often end up with me and the boy in one stateroom and my wife and the girls in another.

The biggest issues we've faced are that mom is often spending her time and ability on the kids while I basically singlehand the boat. Also the family doesn't do well when we're close hauled in any significant wind, so I've learned to adjust our planning and course for that. It often means more motoring than I like, but that's the tradeoff.
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Old 01-28-2011
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Hi - good luck. I had a friend who used car seats attahched to the pushpit when his kids were toddlers - said it worked a treat.
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Old 01-28-2011
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Hi - good luck. I had a friend who used car seats attahched to the pushpit when his kids were toddlers - said it worked a treat.
Be careful, that might violate federal or state laws with respect to PFDs.
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Old 01-28-2011
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True. Not sure I would do it but he tended to take a slightly more robust view of life! Also this was in Europe where the wearing of PFDs is voluntary.
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