Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere south of civilization
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Re: Sailing with Infants
I raised a child sailing around the world. She went from the hospital to the boat at day 2 or 3. She stayed with me until she was 12, when she went to boarding school.
We turned one of the settees in the salon into her place. It was one that allowed her to see into the cockpit as well as down below. We used new mono fishing net around the settee's open sides with the lee cloth holding its shape on the inboard side. The forward and outboard sides were lined with pillows.
The advantage to this placement was that she was always within our sight and we hers. Forcing her to sleep in the salon taught her to sleep even if things were happening around her, day or night. This worked amazingly well as she can still sleep through anything, and she's in her 40's now!
As she got older the rule was that she could not go out the companionway or on deck from the cockpit, unless she was holding an adult's hand. PERIOD! End of sentence. No discussion allowed. I guess you've got the idea, right?
The other thing we chose to do was instill a good fear and respect of the water in her. IMO, teaching a child who spends a great deal of time on the water to swim is not the right approach, until they are old enough to know WHEN to swim.
I once made the mistake of thinking a boat totally becalmed on a glassy sea is not moving faster than I can swim. Thankfully, I wasn't singlehanding!
When she was old enough to know when to swim, she became a little fish.
I know you aren't a liveaboard family, but perhaps this will help.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
ďBelieve me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.Ē ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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