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post #1 of 25 Old 08-17-2017 Thread Starter
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Question What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

I've a Day skippers and few hundred miles. Want to do a bareboat charter in Croatia but am concerned about taking kids along on my first charter. should I rather just go with friends the first time?
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post #2 of 25 Old 08-17-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

Oh, wow, we have discussed this at length in another thread, but that wasn't a question about a charter, but long term cruising. I, as a parent who has raised a couple, that it depends on a number of factors:

1. How old are the kids?
2. Are they out of diapers?
3. Are they old enough to be walking steadily?
4. What are their personalities? Do they like outdoor adventures?
5. What will the sailing be like, nice weather or will rough seas be likely?
6. If they are teens, can you include enough side trips that will interest them?
7. Will they tolerate being away from, and out of contact with, friends and electronics?
8. Sons or daughters? Will they tolerate being away from a full service bathroom?

When I took my wife (a newbie who is not sure about sailing) I picked a place and time when the weather and sailing conditions were likely to be idyllic. I had to do some things to make the berth more comfortable. We scheduled two stops at marinas during the week to provide for nice showers and toilets. We scheduled one stop at an island community with shops at an artist community. We ended the trip with a two day stay in a nice hotel for showers and a nice bed before flying home.

Sailing is my fantasy and I'm an old camper and backpacker so I like roughing it. I had to make sure that the experience fit the needs of my wife, as well as mine. My wife is loving and supportive and feels committed to trying to like things that I like. My kids don't feel as strong an expectation to like what Dad likes. I have not yet taken them on one of my charter trips. My kids grew up in the land locked midwest and have not yet been bitten by any small boat sailing bug. I wanted to get in a trip with their mom first, and get confident of my sailing ability first. My son likes going on adventures with me and would find it thrilling to sail in strong winds and stout seas. My wife and daughter would not enjoy that as much.

Now I feel that I'm ready to find a fun charter trip for them but I will be sure to build some things into the trip that I know will increase the chances of them wanting to do it again.
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-17-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

My oldest came aboard at a day or two and sailed from Hawaii to Tahiti at 3 months. She then spent the next 12 years circumnavigating and being dragged from boat to boat as daddy continued adventuring. Kids do well on boats, but there must be rules and the kids must obey them. # one for us was the child [B]NEVER[B] went on deck without holding an adult's hand.
I think in your case it is much more about the adults. Do you and your partner want to spend a goodly portion of your sailing trip tending to the kids (their needs, wants and comfort) or would it be a lot more fun and a lot less stress for you without them, this time?
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post #4 of 25 Old 08-22-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

I have friends with kids that lived aboard cradle to college. My grandaughter could run (electric start) a 9.9 Merc safely at age 7.5. However, she had to ease into longer passages because her Mommy was prone to seasickness and her first trip, at age 1, was to Jost Van Dyke for Ivan's Eastereggatta. A little projectile vomiting in the vee set Mommy off as well. But the seas were angry that day, my friend, and Jost was dead to wind. She was fine going downhill to home a couple days later.
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-25-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

My six year old (nearly seven) was day sailing with me at four and five years old, and can now work the side deck on our 26'er and throw docklines with the best of them.

I'd say that either kids that are pre-crawling, or old enough to understand which end is the pointy end of the boat and stay safe are the ends of the curve that work. With older kids, I'd worry about boredom more than I'd worry about hazards, but you have to know how careful and sensible yours are, and whether you'd trust them to listen and pay attention as needed.

We are, granted, on flatter water than you're going to find, but also in a smaller boat, though I'd say generically that having them come along to get a few miles under them in a test run would be wise.
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post #6 of 25 Old 08-30-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

I've been (day)sailing** with my daughter since month 4. We held out until she could hold her head up. We also bring a carseat aboard. Any maneuvers that require all adults up-top: kid goes in the car seat in the cabin and enjoys some Pout Pout Fish. In general we've found she has no interest in crawling over the sides, only throwing toys into the water. One of our rules is she always wears a life jacket topsides, but can do whatever she wants below. It's hard because she really enjoys the experience below with mommy, but mommy really wants to get out of the dank cabin.

** I've done more overnights with my kid than before. I found giving her a lot of time out of the elements makes everyone happy. Having extra crew is always helpful, but not necessary. The car seat trick really helps manage the child in difficult situations.
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post #7 of 25 Old 09-05-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

So um it depends.

We have been sailing with our kids since birth. It can be a bit of work, but also alot of fun.
Good tips above.

'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing' - Helen Keller


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post #8 of 25 Old 09-23-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

I have 3 grand children, the boat is 43.5ft sailing catamaran. The boat is stationed in Croatia.

When they came first time on board (2016) they were 1, 4, and 10 years. The youngest two came with their parents, The older one came also with his parents a an older step sister of 15 that time.
They all enjoyed the time on the boat, in the marina, out in the Adriatic See and their bays. Trips were always for 1 week to 10 day.

This year we did the same, and they all loved it. For the younger ones we created a freshwater swimming pool (inflatable) on the starboard bow It was enjoyed as well. But they like more swimming in the sea. The oldest one - who learned already to start and steer the tender with its 5HP engine - expressed at the end that next year he wants to learn how to sail. (Hoisting and trimming sails, etc.)

It is my intension (dream) to sail with 3 generation on board across the Atlantic ocean to the Caribbean islands in 2-3 years
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post #9 of 25 Old 09-24-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

Depends more on the parents than the children...
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post #10 of 25 Old 09-24-2017
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Re: What is a good age to go cruising with kids?

@Faster

You are absolutely right! I am seeing this with my grand kids very well.
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