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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.

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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-01-2002 01:51 PM

Hi Magnus,

Those are very different options...but I''m sure that any time you spend together sailing as a family will be well worth it.

My Dad had a solo architecture firm and he had to take on partners in order to be able to leave for 13 months at a time. It may not have been the best thing for his practice but it was worth it to him; I am pretty sure he does not regret it. However, it sounds like it it''s a really tough call if taking that much time off will hurt your career as you think it will.

For us right now, considerations are different. I was dx with breast cancer in Dec 2000 at age 34. It really blew our world apart. We are "just starting out" financially (though in our mid-30''s) and going cruising was a far-off dream for some day when we were more financially secure. However, we have decided it might not be a good idea to postpone our dreams. So....we''re going soon on a shoestring budget and if/when we return it will be to start totally anew with no careers or jobs to come back to. For us, though, especially given the circumstances, it''s worth it!

Best of luck with your decisions.....hope that you and your family have a wonderful time no matter what you decide to do!

s/v Namaste
Portland, Maine

11-01-2002 11:38 AM

Dear Stacey

Thank you so much for your reply.

Since my post my wife and I have discussed the issue with the head of my daughter''s school. he was quite supportive. We have also come up with the idea of doing the curriculum through the school and then just continuing when we come back. We plan a visit with the principal soon.

My next problem is this:

I''m a professional person in a single specialist medical practice. I have a LOT of money and time invested in my practice and enjoy my work and career. Although I don''t want to give that up, I really would like to spend this year of sailing with my daughters, especially since my work (I''m an OB/GYN) causes me to loose so much time with my children (I''ve missed 4 of my youngest daughter''s birhdays.(she turns 7 next week and I''m going to be away again).

I''m often reminded in my job how short life is and how fleeting our time with our children.

However for me there is the issue of loss of skills on top of the practice management issues. I have a surgical subspecialty that demands repetition to stay "in the groove" as it were.

Here are my options as I see it:

1)Try to line up a locum to take over my practice for a year in two to four years
2)Break the sailing into shorted units. (we have decided to go bareboating in the VI for the whole month of July next year - and I''ve been able to negotiate a good deal)
3)Buy a boat on the Westcoast and sail during the summer (coastal cruising)

Magnus Murphy
11-01-2002 06:08 AM

Dear Magnus,

Please, do take your daughters cruising. My parents took me, and it was the best thing they ever did for me (which is saying a lot since they were wonderful parents in every way...)

We live in Maine, went to the Mediterranean for 13 months the first time, and circumnavigated South America the next. Recently they sailed to Sccotland and Norway, although only my brothers went on that trip. I have 3 brothers, on the first trip ages ranged 3-15. Second trip 3-21, and the last trip my youngest brother was 16.

My parents struggled with the education issue as well, looking into all possibilities. I went to an extremely good public school, although a couple of my brothers were in private schools during some of the trips. After examining various programs such as the Calvert school, my parents opted to have us continue our education through our current schools while traveling. Obviously this means different things in different grades: in grade 11, for example, we met with the teachers of the classes that I would have been taking at home, like honors english, biology, trig, etc. The teachers set up curriculums for me, often tailoring them for the travelling we''d be doing. For example, my honors english teacher gave me a reading list to include "Coming of Age in Samoa" and other classics relating either to travel or the areas we were visiting. My biology teacher set me up in an independent study of Mediterranean sea life. We received mail packages every month or so ar American Express offices, so I was able to send and receive assignments, tests, papers, etc. I would imagine this would be significantly easier today when SSB/Ham email is so easy to use.

I have to say that i probably learned 500x more on the trip than I ever would have at home. Seeing history firsthand, as in Europe, South America, etc. makes it infinitesly more interesting and accessible than simply reading about it in a textbook in a boring classroom at home. And seeing how other people in the world live, and what they think and feel, and how they have different values, perhaps, than Americans, can only make a child smarter, more tolerant, more inquisitive...... in addition, the responsibilities and self-reliance of sailing are wonderful lessons for kids.

We are leaving next fall for a 1-2 year cruise. Our daughter will be 7 when we leave. Her school has agreed to set us up with materials for the trip, and has enthusiastically agreed that it will be a wonderful education for her. They have no worries that she''ll be behind when she returns.

In fact, from other people who have cruised with their kids, I hear the problem is just the opposite: the kids return far advanced beyond their peers. They are more self-possesed, adaptive, and believe in themselves much more than if they had stayed at home. They are sometimes bored back in a traditional setting, or chagrined at the shallowness of their peers.

My parents initially had concerns that missing my junior year would look bad to colleges. However, I think that having such an amazing experience to write about in my essays probably served me very well.

You''ll find, when cruising where there are other cruisers, that the kids all usually have a few hours of study time in the mornings (depending on age) and then all the kids in the anchorage come "out to play" in the afternoon. The same amount of study can be accomplished in much shorter time because there are not the distractions and interruptions of class changes, recess, etc. that fill a school day on shore. it is good, though, to have a schedule to stick to (i.e. Mon-Fri 9-12) with flexibility for weather, inland travel, etc.

As you pointed out, another major benefit is to be able to spend REAL quality time with your kids. I really can''t see any reasons not to do it!

Good luck and best wishes,
s/v Namaste
Portland, Maine
10-14-2002 03:40 PM

I am considering going on a one to two year cruise in four years. At that time my daughters will be 13 and 11. I think the challenges will be quite different from those faced by people with younger children.

Our biggest concern is of course education. At the moment both are in a private school an receive the best education money can buy (it is our highest priority). If we find that such a cruise will seriously undermine our daughter''s chances, we simply will not go, simple as that. One of the reasons we are even considering this however, is for us to spend more time together as a family. Current life is so busy that one tends to live separate lives, and then...they are grown up and gone.

We are planning to talk to their school''s principle soon to explore homeschool educational possibilities and realities.

The pros and cons in this situation is terrifying and difficult to reconcile. Neither my wife nor I are teachers, but we are willing to plan and make an effort. I would appreciate any comments, especially from those who have struggled with the same decision.

Private E-mail:


Magnus Murphy
09-23-2002 08:33 AM

I second the library recomendation. We''re planning on taking a 2 year old and a 4 year old on an 18-24 month cruise (Mexico/Central America). Surprisingly our local library either had or could get for us a couple books on the subject of kids and cruising. Unfortunately, I can''t tell you what I think of the books because my wife has yet to pick them up (they are on hold).
08-01-2002 11:45 AM

There are actually quite a few articles on cruising/living aboard with children in past sailnet articles. Also Liza Copelands books are good. Check your local library and it''s branches for books. You would be surprised what you might find.
07-15-2002 11:59 AM

We have in our library a book, aptly titled "Cruising With Children" by Gwenda Cornell. My husband purchased it only to discover that it really was geared to cruising with young children, which makes it sound as if it''s right up your alley. Our children are young teens, so it really was not helpful to us.
06-15-2002 06:51 PM

There is at least one book on cruising w/children, but I am unable to remember the title. The point here is that you are not wasting your time to dig it up. Check web sites like this one.

One thing I can tell you is to put netting from your lifelines.
05-29-2002 06:44 PM
Pierre Russell

We are looking for advice regarding cruising with young children. We plan on departing in the Spring next year and will cruise for 1-2 years. Our twin boys will be 3 1/2 years old when we start. Are there any good books on cruising with children? Any personal experiences? Your advice would be much appreciated.

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