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My wife and I just bought our first sailboat, a 1980 Watkins 27, and we have a 5 year old and a 3 year old. My goal in the next couple seasons is to sail from our home port of Guilford, CT to West Hyannis Port, MA. Does anyone know how long a trip this is in the summer and any suggestions for sailing this distance with the children? Thank you.
 

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Looks like around 120 NM rhumb line.. Don't know the area so it will depend on the prevailing conditions and likely point of sail.. we've done that distance in a dawn to dusk marathon before, but that likely wouldn't fly with kids.. even my wife had had enough quite a few miles before we dropped the hook.

There must be all kinds of destinations along that route.. do it in 4-5 days in smallish 20-30 NM hops, taking time to do beachcombing and other interesting things for the kids in between. Here in BC we can spend 8 weeks on board and not get more than 150 NM from home!!...
 

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Have you tried the Golf Islands? Try Galeanon then Walleis and then to Thetis Island. each provides great protection.
 

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Have you tried the Golf Islands? Try Galeanon then Walleis and then to Thetis Island. each provides great protection.
Marcel... he's on the East Coast USA...;)
 

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My wife and I just bought our first sailboat, a 1980 Watkins 27, and we have a 5 year old and a 3 year old. My goal in the next couple seasons is to sail from our home port of Guilford, CT to West Hyannis Port, MA. Does anyone know how long a trip this is in the summer and any suggestions for sailing this distance with the children? Thank you.
At that age, I would make sure you are using Mustang Life Preservers, with the grab handle, right-side-up flotation, and crotch straps. Super products and well worth the money.

The kids will get very bored after a short period of time at sea. Make sure you have a lot of toys that will work for them. These include matchbox cars, dolls, the large lego blocks, adn anything else that your kids love. We also included their favorite stuffed animals which they were really attached to.

They will need a place to roll around and play while at sea. It needs to be protected and safe. For us, this was the V-Berth. We heavily padded it on all sides and put up a crib-side for the end. This isn't just so they can play safely, but also because you and your spouse may both be needed above decks and you need to be able to put the kids securely (where they cannot or will not get out) below decks. I find this a safety item.

Lastly, get some good DVD's they can watch. I reccomended the Annie Ocean Life in a thread in this forum. It is great and really gets the kids into the mood of being at sea and excited about it. Any other movies they like are great too. The little TV's (even laptops) are so miserly on power anymore that I see little reason not to make them a part of a boat. THey are also great in stressful situations (storms) where the kids attention can be replaced.

Cruising with kids is absolutely wonderful. A little preparation and thought beforehand, and you will all four have the time of your lives... and one you will never forget.

Feel free to ask any other questions. Take care,

Brian
 

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Thank you for the tips. I had not thought about using the v-birth as a containment area like a play pen. That's pretty cool. The DVD player is a great idea as well.
 

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At those ages, I wouldn't plan to do more then 3-4 hours of sailing per day while they are awake and alert if you want them to enjoy it, and to have something fun to do daily, like going ashore and playing on the beach. How we have got in more is, Dad lift anchor and get going before they wake in the morning when the sun gets up nice and early. We can sometimes get in a few hours between them still sleeping, and just getting up for the day and having breakfast and not feel like we have been sailing 'forever'.

I think it is also good for the adult sailing to be tethered in this kind of a situation as well. Especially if the other adult is in theory sleeping as well with the kids.
 

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Keeping them entertained is the one main thing I have learned from travelling with kids for the past 15 years. Colouring books, word games, anything!
 

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ipad/iphone apps seem to keep any kids attention ad infinitum.

Compleltely agree with the 3 to 4 hour hops. Maybe a bit longer, if they really take to it. My kids make fun of me to this day, where I always seemed to say our destination was 3 hours. If they asked me 3 hours later, I would say it was another 3 hours. It was always 3 hours.
 
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