I've been enjoying the threads here for a bit and wanted to finally say hello. There is so much good information here that I'm always finding something fun to read, and barring that I've found there's usually a bit of drama lurking here and there to entertain me and help me waste my time, so it seems a great place to hang out. I hope this is an ok forum to post an introduction.
Hubby and I (and the little guy - just turned 8 months old) are planning on buying our first sailboat in the next year or two and moving our little family aboard. Safety will be a big concern of mine with children aboard, but I feel that we can take precautions and make our living environment one that is safe enough for the little ones; and besides, I want to teach my son to enjoy life to the fullest, not to fear it.
We are definitely going to be purchasing a cat, likely a gemini but not necessarily nailed down to that just yet. We feel the stability of a cat is a necessity with young children who are still learning to walk. And we like all of the space! Yes, I know finding a slip in SW Florida for a cat is going to be amazingly fun, but, we'll deal with it.
Hubby has sailed a very tiny bit and while I have been on boats I have not sailed myself, so we have a lot to learn in the next year. We plan on getting as much experience under our belts as possible; when little children are going to be aboard, you have no alternative but to be a competent sailor. Hubby is still going to be working for now, so we won't be doing tons of extensive cruising except when vacations roll around, but we're ok with that. We will take what we can get, when we can get it. We are both madly in love with the water; right now we live about a quarter of a mile from the beach in Venice, FL and we go out to watch the ocean and the boats as often as we can.
When the opportunity rolls around, we will cruise the Florida coast and the Eastern Seaboard, and hopefully take a few trips down to the Bahamas. We do not intend any long passages until the children are older and we are well seasoned.
We are very excited about this change on our horizon; we have both learned to live fairly minimally in the past and don't "need" a ton of things, so we think we'll be well suited for living aboard. Our goal is to be able to take off for extended cruising as soon as possible, although we realize that will be several years down the road; time for the kids to grow up just a bit and for us to get our finances in an order that will support our taking off of work and heading out. In the meantime we will live on our boat and learn everything we can and sail whenever we can and hopefully equip ourselves with knowledge and skill and enjoy each moment as it comes to us.
Sorry for the long post! Just wanted to say hi