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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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Old 02-15-2011
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Sailing with a 4 year-old

Would you go sailing with a 4 year-old?

My wife agreed that I could buy a boat ONLY if I can get 9 sailors to answer "yes" to this question.

I sail on San Francisco Bay and plan on buying a 27 to 30 ft to take the family cruising.
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Old 02-15-2011
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Yep. We started sailing when the youngest was 4 and the oldest was 7. They loved the v-berth...and now love sailing 3 years later.
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Old 02-15-2011
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Our daughter began sailing with us when she was 6 weeks old, both weekends and on our bi-annual cruises, and pretty much continued that until age 18. When she was 16, she and a group of 7 other teens and two instructors sailed a Beneteau 53 from St. Maarten to Trinidad over a period of 5 weeks. Upon returning home she declared she liked our boat much better! (She and her mother routinely handle our First 42 quite well).

Go for it. With a few reasonable safety precautions; and, tailoring your schedule and cruises to the needs of your wife and daughter, you'll do fine and it will give you great memories to draw upon when you're an old guy.

FWIW...
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Old 02-15-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfhervy View Post
Would you go sailing with a 4 year-old?

My wife agreed that I could buy a boat ONLY if I can get 9 sailors to answer "yes" to this question.

I sail on San Francisco Bay and plan on buying a 27 to 30 ft to take the family cruising.
We've been sailing with our daughter since she was an infant.. She's now four and is a seasoned pro. I grew up the same way, on boats before I could walk or talk..

Feel free to show your wife this:

Adventures With Zozo (LINK)
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Both of our children were cruising with us from infancy until they left as young adults. When they were very young we always assigned which adult was on child watch; we kept to rules about their boundries while under sail and when life jackets were required. I think the moving running rigging is the greatest risk and need to set boundries, but the answer from my wife and I is yes. We didn't choose to cruise with our children for the purpose of developing a close family bond, but it was a bonus and without regrets. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Seems that you all have wifes that are into sailing. I'm hopping mine will get there and that it will become a "family activity" (note that we also have a 2 year old). Until then, I may have to singlehand and/or go with friends.

Would you singlehand with a 4 yo?
I think this is OK since he would be tethered to the boat and we would be cruising...not racing. Thoughts?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfhervy View Post
Seems that you all have wifes that are into sailing. I'm hopping mine will get there and that it will become a "family activity" (note that we also have a 2 year old). Until then, I may have to singlehand and/or go with friends.

Would you singlehand with a 4 yo?
I think this is OK since he would be tethered to the boat and we would be cruising...not racing. Thoughts?
This past season was my first on my own boat and took my 5yr old out all the time. Just have him/her tethered when in the cockpit and wear life vest at all times. He had a blast, although he is more into the destination vs the journey aspect. He loved gunkholing a lot. Enjoy!!!
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I would say that SF bay plays a bit rougher than most areas that being said my kids went sailing on the J24 before they and after they could walk

I have always found the bigger issue to be how comfy the wife is with sailing as if she has fear the kids will have fear

To this day my now 23 and 26 year old children will NOT go on a race with my wife on board
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Originally Posted by jfhervy View Post
Seems that you all have wifes that are into sailing. I'm hopping mine will get there..............
My wife wasn't "into" sailing in 1969 when we met, but by 1973 she was captaining all female crew racing teams. There's much room for adapting!
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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My son has been sailing on Lake Michigan since he was 10 months old. We have a few rules though:
1) Supervised by an adult with absolutely no other responsibility on the boat
2) In a comfortable life jack anytime they are on deck
3) We keep the boat speed under 5 knots anytime he is on board

Kids love boats!
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