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Thread: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today! Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-23-2012 12:21 AM
Marcel D
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Well 3peas when we first went crusing with our son he was 6 months old and it was quite an event. We secured his car seat to binncal with some rope the old fashion way. We built a lee cloth to keep him foward in the v berth when he slept. We would arange pillows around him to keep him in the centre of the berth. As for the car seat it was a god send when traveling by cab we did have a minor incident with another car thank god every one was ok including Josh in his car seat. As for the baby pen it woud be easier just to sleep with your little in your berth at anchor. By the way keep it simple is the best method for every one on the boat. As for life jackets every one wears one under way, in the **** pit at anchor the boys are ok under supervision but never alone. Enjoy your holiday and keep in touch, Rember it goes fast just a blink and their 6 and 4 next they are in their teens ask cruising dad he will tell you lol.
10-22-2012 08:00 PM
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Thanks to all of you for your time in writing about these valuable tips. We are bringing our petite puce aboard at 4 months end of Nov and thus trying to prepare for a comfy week long cruise in the Caribbean. The consensus seems to be the infant car seat is indispensable so we'll bring ours (assuming we'll stow the stroller at the Marina), ours looks similar to MedSail's seat.

1. I'm not clear though on what to use to tie it down and to tie it to what while under sail, down below and in the cockpit. We'll bareboat charter either a 45 or 41 Beneteau (we've been doing it for 6 years now but this will the first with our new addition to the crew). Under sail we plan to have her in the car seat or one of our 2 carriers (Ergo and the Belgian sling).

2. I see online really light unfold easy, but expensive, fancy pack n play type pens like the babybjorn or Phil & Ted's, but wondering if that is only necessary when they start moving by themselves and sitting up? Maybe for sailing after 5 months? But this is just for while at anchor right? Not under sail? It is my understanding while under sail they need to be secured in the arms or car seat or booster type seat, all with some kind of harness on. We have the infant life jacket already.

3. As for sleeping at night we hope our babe continues her regular 8 hour sleeps on the trip! In any event I'm still not clear on the best system for night sleeping at anchor. There are regular cabins, 2 aft and one forward, no small V berth. Any suggestions for this config?
I was thinking of bringing this portable bassinet (photo attached) which has robust metal sides and breathable mesh netting + mattress. Does it make sense to place it on the floor in our cabin at night? Do we need to strap it down? If yes, any suggestions what to use? We'll have friends in one of the other 2 cabins.

4. Do toddlers + where a PFD even when under anchor in the cockpit?

5. I feel so uncomfortable with the idea of baby in a hammock swinging about while under sail. Has anyone actually ever done this or is it just a concept?

6. There was mention of a carrycot (Copprhead) on another post. I am inundated with sleeper/cot/travel bassinet options and can't decide what the best would be for a 4 month. Would you leave the baby in the cot in the cabin while under sail? Does one parent go down when tacking to ensure safety on the change in heel?

7.For her next sail once she is holding herself upright/6 months I was thinking instead of the booster seat, which I imagine is a hand full to travel with, we could use our "Lobster" which latches onto any table type surface and has a 5 point safety harness. We could latch it to the centre console in the cockpit and the table in the saloon instead of the booster seat. It is tight gripping and super light/portable. Eko, did you use the booster under sail? Was it because she wont sit in the car seat anymore?

Your comments would be very much appreciated so we could be best prepared for our first sail with the babe.
09-11-2012 07:51 AM
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Originally Posted by eko_eko View Post
Her seat is the "Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat." (can't post links)
I can post links now:

This seat is great at home and on the boat. Here's the best pic I have at hand of her using it on the boat: .

You'll notice we keep the bottom drop-board in place. This reduces how much engine noise she gets and provides some extra safety in case she figures out how to unclip her straps and climb out of the chair.
09-11-2012 12:35 AM
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Very sorry I missed this thread! Wow! good for you Med (and congrats btw).

Lets see:

As you probably know, our kiddos started off about 5 days aboard. We have cruised/LA on and off since then. Chase is now 12 yo.

First, car seat was always our standby. But we also found this bouncing chair to be great:

Not sure if they still make it. But what we liked was it would be quick and easy to get him out with. It also was more comfortable than the car seat. FOr us, where we sailed, our temps got very hot so the cumbersome car seats were always a concern.

As far as the engine noise, we are in some ways still living with that! However, ours isn't the engine noise, it was a fan. Chase always has a fan on now to sleep. That is a thought for others too to consider for investment. They are cheap and as LA/Cruisers, very neceesary. SO try giving him/her the white noise of a fan instead. Our favorite are the Caframo 747. They are very easy on power and the kids can stick their fingers in them and it won't cause any damage to either.

Down below, we always let teh kids take off their vest and do what they want. I believe that should be legal in WA too (I know it is in FL). Getting a nice tv or something that occupies them is almost a must. Does not have to be a tv. It can be something like a special car or toy. But there will be times mom and dad need to be top side to take care of things if possible. That being said, yes, you will both need to be able to single the boat. Now you see why I am such a big proponent of both parents singlehanding!! Reality for us though is that I do that vast majority of the sailing and she does the vast majority of the kids at sea. If she gets seasick though, you might consider a different arrangement.

I am a long time fan of Mustang life jackets. They come in infant sizes (I gave mine to Giulietta/Alex who used to post here). You may be able to pick one up from another family. we give ours away when the kids are too big for them. I just gave away my last one or I would send it to you. However, those don't work great in a car seat. Too big (at least in our expderience) and too hot. Wife will probably end up holding the little one when the LJ is on. The USCG never once bothered us about that. I think it is one of those things that they kinda understand. THat being said, if you start putting him or her in the jackeet now, they will become very accostomed to it and all its uncomfortableness. The jacket is still worth it though until they are proficient swimmers.

You need to look into a way to secure the hatch from the inside (for night and sometimes during the day). Before long, little junior will learn to crawl and going up the companionway steps will become very appealing. Ours did, but never got out. That is a nightmare scenario for a parent - esp at night.

Also, biggest chance of falling overboard is not at sea but at anchor/marina. The lifejackets come off and mom and dad are generally at ease. Our kids have gone in twice, both at the marina, and they have a LOT of sea miles under their belt. Food for thought when in the marina. And the water up there is COLD. I know. We spent time up there.

Boats are pretty much already childproof. Exceptions seem to be the nav station and battery switches. If your panel is keyed, maybe remove the key and keep it out of sight.

We made Chase a very comfortable Vberth arrangement where it was like a pen and he was surrounded by pillows. This came in handy more times than I can remember (esp when coming into a new anchorage or marina where 2 people are really awesome). This was also his bed and he was very comfortable there. In fact, he's asleep there right now with his brother. THe pic below is with my mom holding Chase and you can just see the Vberth arrangement to port. We made a "crib side" that blocked off the vberth so that when he wanted he could stand at it and peek over and still see us. THis is really good again when 4 hands are needed. Seeing mom/dad really helps:

The life is Awesome with kids Med. Not sure I will enjoy it as much without. I am happy to help anyway I can and answer any questions you have. I do not pretend to be an expert of anything. I can only show you what worked (and didn't) for us. Congratulations. Good to have you posting on this sided of the forum now! Tell your wife the same and she is always welcome to chat with my wife about mom-sailing stuff.

Take care.


PS THis is a taste of what you have to look forward to:

09-07-2012 07:48 PM
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

We sail with our five-month-old daughter, Zoey. She's usually in someone's lap, in a car seat identical to MedSailor's -- but our favorite place to put her is her booster seat.

Her seat is the "Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat." (can't post links) It has a three-point harness to hold her in place, a strap that we put around the companionway ladder's rail, and a tray for holding her toys. We strap the toys to her harness with pacifier holders.

She sits there facing aft, watching us at the wheel. It's a ton of fun.
09-06-2012 12:01 PM
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

We also took ours out when she was 2 weeks old. Wanted to go earlier but the wife needed a little more time to recover from the C-Section. We did a few overnight trips with her when she was around 1. It was much easier then. She was able to sail all day and did not want to get up and run around. Now, at almost 3 she loves the boat, but is unwilling to sleep when underway. I think it is FOMA (Fear of Missing Anything). So we do very short trips (2 hours max) now. She is very interested in steering the boat and "helping" raise the sails.

Each new stage brings new surprises and learning experiences for the parents. Enjoy the stage you are in and don't worry too much about the next one. You will figure out what works best.
09-06-2012 06:47 AM
We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Nicely done. We've taken our two year old and eight week old out in our new to us Catalina 27 several times now with great success.

1. We experienced the same phenomenon with the engine soothing. As soon as the diesel fires up the eight week old is out.

2. We bring two car seats on board so we can strap the kids down if two of us are needed on deck. Both carseats are full harness types, no booster seats or equivalent. Pretty happy with this setup. They currently set on the cabin floor. Even the two year old sits patiently.

3. Our current rules are:
Lifejackets on while on deck or in the cockpit underway (including Mom and Dad, both for safer and setting the example)
Mustang 3185 inflatables for Mom and Dad
Lil Mustang for the two year old
Infant life jacket for eight week old

Lifejackets can come off when in the cabin
At anchor or in slip, same rules but we have a lighter weight jacket for the two year old

When underway I tether the two year old with a bowline and the spinnaker halyard attached to his jacket but plan on getting a real tether and jacklines

4. We plan on installing life line netting

5. I agree that setting everything up and operating as a singlehanded is essential. We are still working on this. I spent half a Saturday recently with my former ASA instructor just learning more singlehanded docking techniques ( warping/springing, approaches, etc) and getting in docking reps. I am already glad that I took the time to hone and expand the docking skills. I'm quickly learning that I have to think and plan ahead for every action. Much to learn.

6. My wife nurses down below successfully

7. We bought a few fans to help keep the infant cool

8. We bought battery powered white noise and nightlights for naps on the boat. The kids nap as well if not better on the boat

9. I'm encouraging the wife to become a proficient sailor so she isn't always on kid duty

Looking forward to exchanging experiences and tips
09-06-2012 01:34 AM
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Fantastic. We took my out for the first time when he was 10 days old. Same deal, strapped in his car seat... He's 12 now, an avid dinghy sailor and love sailing our 40.5 hunter. He's as comfortable on the boat as he is on land. Such as great life skill your kid will have. I've attached a picture of him sailing my friend's 42 jeanneau in a gale (32 knots) and lovin' it -- that was in Seattle in March earlier this year - great to be raising sailing babies. ;-)

Pardon My French
Seattle WA
09-06-2012 12:52 AM
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
oh man, i'm so taking tips from this thread. have not been able to convince the wife to take our baby girl (2 months old now) on a trip yet.
Feel free to use us as an example. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it's an example of "what to do" or "what NOT to do."

We derived a lot of inspiration from this blog:
Sail Far Live Free: Cruising with Kids: Don't Leave the Dock Without Them!

And from the awesome "Bumfuzzles" blog. If you start when they have their first kid, you can see the evolution from new parents to "new parents" that want to get back out on the water. My wife is reading their blog now and loving it, not just for the boating stuff but for the really good and honest commentary about being a new parent:
bumfuzzle | dec 2009

We're planning a 2 day trip coming up at the end of the month. (Sacrifices to the weather gods are in process now). My mother-in-law thinks all this is child-abuse but she's from a land locked state. When I asked her what she was worried about her answer was:
"What if something happens??!!"
"Like what?"
"What if the wind comes up?"
"Then we'll turn off the motor and put up the sails."

Setting up the boat to be as close to totally single-handable is what seems to be the key. That and sailing as if you ARE single handing. I found myself wanting jacklines and was hesitant to lean over the side to pee. Falling in is bad enough with only 2 aboard. It seems like it would be worse if my wife is down below when I go over and also has to deal with the little screamer.

09-06-2012 12:38 AM
Marcel D
Re: We did it! We took our 3 week old sailing today!

Well where to start when we picked up our Beneteau 285 my wife was 5 months preg. The ensuing summer was quote quite intresting we would secure the car seat to the binnacal under the biminnie and from their it was breast to wheel for my wife. One day i had the oldest in the cockpit with me on the weather side of the boat and he had fallen asleep in my lap. We were fastly aproching an island with a nice reef. I asked my wife to come up and lend a hand and she replied that she was feeding our youngest left to one again. When the kids got a little older it was to the jolly jumper off the boom great fun. From their it was to running on beaches and long hikes. Our kids are now 3 and 5 a lot of fun, and the questions oh my they sound like the sea gulls off of Nemo. We now sail a 2009 Beneteau 34 much better more room and more lego parts under the the cabin sole all the more to plug our bilage pump I guess. Good luck happy cruising. Oh and don't forget to pickup a 5 gallon rubbermade tote they make the best bath tubs for the kids.
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