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caberg 08-06-2012 11:04 AM

Sailing with our 3 year old
We are the proud new owners of a 1981 Seafarer 26. Purchased on Friday morning and spent three wonderful days on Lake Champlain. We're taking baby steps and spending a lot of time on the boat while not under sail. At the mooring, motoring, anchoring or just drifting, making sure it's a lot of fun for our 3 year old son, Grady. He can get himself up and down the swim ladder, which is great. My wife is new to sailing, so I think it's important that everyone get comfortable with the boat before we do any serious sailing. We did sail on just the 150 genoa a couple of times and that was great. Plan to have dinner on the boat after work tonight and do some swimming.

Here's my boy about ready to jump back in the lake.

nickmerc 08-06-2012 11:46 AM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
Congrats! Sailing is a great family activity. My soon to be 3 year old daughter has been sailing with us since she was 2 weeks old. She looks forward to it every weekend. I find that swimming off the boat is a great way to keep her engaged. As you get into more serious sailing and begin to heel, he will sense your and your wife's comfort level. As long as you are both relaxed he will do just fine. Be prepared to handle the boat solo as one of you will need to be available to take care of your son at all times.

If you can, try to sleep over one weekend night on the boat. It can be quite the adventure for the little ones.

svHyLyte 08-06-2012 12:07 PM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
Our daughter sailed with us from the time she was six weeks old. When she got to the point where she was able to maneuver around the boat on her own steam, we kept her in a life-jacket and tethered to the boat whenever she was on deck. We also kept netting fitted from the cockpit to the bow pulpit so she, and her toys, couldn't go over the side accidentally. She once went over the side of her cousin's boat--not fitted with safety precautions--one day while we were visiting in Chicago and down at his slip at the muni-marina. It was summer but the Lake was still freezing cold (by our standards). By then she could swim of-course and was promptly scooped out of the water. I don't know who was more surprised/upset, she or her mother, but after that I never got an argument about wearing a life-jacket or tether on deck until she became a teenager. She still wears a life-jacket on deck!


caberg 08-06-2012 12:34 PM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
Thanks for the tips--much appreciated. I like the idea of netting and will have to looking into that.

We do plan to try a sleepover, possibly this weekend if the forecast looks good. We'll just stay right on the mooring if we do.

zedboy 08-06-2012 11:29 PM

Great to hear about more people sailing with little kids. My 3-year-old still isn't bold enough to make it down the ladder (even with encouragement from big sis& bro, 7 & 5 respectively- they like nothing better than anchor& swim)

Other good activities: ride the foredeck in calm weather; "drive" (hold the tiller, doing 1-2 knots in a clear area with daddy right on hand); eat. When he was 2 he used to just fall asleep in mommy's lap :)

No boredom complaints yet

Marcel D 08-07-2012 12:12 AM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
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We sail with our 3 and 5 year olds telling the truth they have been with us since 1 each. Its been great crusing the PNW. Keep them in the **** pit as much as possible, and down below when docking. And bring the jolly jumper for the nex one.

snaxbox 09-20-2012 10:42 AM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
Congrats on your having your new boat! Seems your son is enjoying the tour based on the picture. This is such a treasure! :)

Cruisingdad 09-20-2012 11:50 AM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
Great looking kid Caberg! Lots of fun ahead for you. We have been doing it with our kids since about birth and they love it.

You also might consider looking into the Mustang Life jackets. I am a huge fan of them. In addition to having a head floater (always turns them face up) and crotch strap, they also have a handle to snatch them up with. If they go over, it makes retrieval much easier and safer.

Just some thoughts. Thanks for sharing the pics! Here's our youngest a few years back in a Mustang. I still remember taking this pic.


patrscoe 09-24-2012 04:19 PM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
We are very protective parents (helicopter parents) but this year we decided to let go a little bit and let them be more adventurous and what a difference it has made. We are still protective but having them ride the bow while sailing, towing them behind in the dinghy or speedboat tube, letting them steer, help with the lines, spending the night at anchor, laying on the foredeck at night and watching the stars, etc... they are having a lot more fun and are not as bored. They are 6 and 9 years old, (birthdays just past so they are just 6 and 9).

I am looking forward to father and son sail trips next year.

I am 44 now but some of my best times as a little kid was sailing. Still remember catching a breeze on a old 12 footer on a small lake near our house when I was about 9 years old. (FYI - my parents were not very protective. I guess things were different back then.)
Enjoy Caberg.

SailSnail 12-24-2012 07:22 AM

Re: Sailing with our 3 year old
Congratulations on your new purchase! Must be thrilled from it, especially now in the early days!

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