SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My husband and I are beginning the process of saving up for a boat. We don't have the funds or the skill set yet for extended cruising, but my eventual goal is to reach the point where we can take long trips: coastal cruising would be wonderful, and blue water better still. We have discussed the possibility of living aboard.

I am about 90 percent sure I could handle extended liveaboard as a lifestyle: I could throw out everything I own right now, and I would be alright with it. I only own one pair of shoes. The only thing I would miss is my 1000+ books, but I also know how to acquire -- or create -- digital copies of all of them. They can go.

There are only two things I won't give up: my pet parrot, and possibly having children along for the ride.

We don't have children yet, but I hope to have them and of course want to be able to bring them with us without driving them nuts. This is very, very important to me: I had an offbeat childhood (home schooled, etc) and would like to involve future children in some experiences that build confidence and give them a different set of perspectives from the peers. Sailing & living aboard seems like a wonderful path to that parenting goal.

I am wondering what those who have cruised with children found really works in terms of boat size and interior layout. A lot of the boats that seem to be the perfect size for a couple of handlers also have two cabins or a cabin + quarter berth. For example: I am especially in smitten with the Tayana 37. When I picture living aboard as a couple, it is always the image the springs to mind.

It is easy to see how this arrangement could work with one child on board. But I keep wondering: what do you do with two? Would we need another cabin? Have you sailed with a couple of children and made a layout like the T37 work? What did you do?

I'd love to hear people thoughts on what works and what does not ....
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,489 Posts
I think that under 60 or so feet, privacy is an illusion no matter how many 'cabins' there might be. The key here is to have enough beds for everyone, and ideally to be able to do so without making up/breaking down a dinette arrangement everyday. That gets tiresome and can be problematic if someone wants to play some cards later into the night, or in other cases when someone else would rather sleep in than get up so breakfast can be put on the table.

We sailed (coastal) for some 10+ years on a 40 footer that was a 'crusified' racer - which still had 5 of the original pipeberths. 3 of them became kids' bunks - not especially private, but it was their own 'space' whether sleeping or reading on a passage or on the hook. This was a boat-partnership arrangement, and the 2 adult couples took turns with the vBerth and the dinette. Typically we would live for 3 weeks this way each summer, with weekends at other times.(so, if you're keeping track, that's 7, sometimes 8 bodies on a 40 footer for several weeks....) We're all still friends 10 years on.

Living with multiple souls in a confined space is definitely a learned skill/art - and it takes some effort to avoid getting on each other's nerves. Mind set and a good tolerance level will be as important as the 'layout' per se. Focusing the youngsters on the distractions and recreation available outside (swimming, kayaking, dinghy sailing, beachcombing, hiking, fishing, - who needs a Game Boy?) minimizes time below that might lead to feeling confined or penned in.

So you obviously need enough berths, but beyond that it's just a matter of making the situation work for everyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If the issue is not much separate quarters but comfortable berths, would it be crazy to use a quarter berth for one child and one of the settee that is opposite the dinette set +seats as the dedicated berth for second child? Or is that settee best reserved as an sea berth for use while underway?

Bunks sound like an excellent idea as well. Most boats don't seem to come equipped with them, but I suppose they could be installed in any location that had sufficient headroom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Faster has hit the main point instantly...the kid(s) need their "own" space...no matter how small or inconvenient...when young ours relished the confinement and "fort" that was left by a PO of our house, where a duct crossed the closet space. I could get in by slithering on the floor, he had his bed space and toys...we did make him clean it up, standing by with dust cloth, polish and clean linens.

On the boat he loved the back of the quarter berth, even going so far as to use a foam board to "hatch" himself in. The quarter berth was storage, as it was too small for any real adult. This was on a Sabre 38. We did have a curtain.

As he got older, he did need some added space, and on our Ben 36CC he loved the vberth, it had a real door and then a partial door on the bulkhead, he could close both or just one as he needed. Again his space, we just encouraged cleaning and resorting on a regular basis.

Good prep for college dorm life, he respects and expects some privacy no matter how the space is laid out.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,489 Posts
If the issue is not much separate quarters but comfortable berths, would it be crazy to use a quarter berth for one child and one of the settee that is opposite the dinette set +seats as the dedicated berth for second child? Or is that settee best reserved as an sea berth for use while underway?

Bunks sound like an excellent idea as well. Most boats don't seem to come equipped with them, but I suppose they could be installed in any location that had sufficient headroom.
Quarter berths are great kid zones, as indicated by kd3. Some boats have them P&S. The challenge is then where to put all the gear that most boaters cram back there!

Settees will work but of course you're in the middle of things. Using a settee as a kids berth when in port doesn't preclude using it as a sea berth when underway. Kids can probably sleep anywhere.

The pipe berths worked well for us, the ability to level them was handy underway, and the kids loved the rigging and that they could 'close' themselves up in them. But unless you're prepared to buy an older relatively spartan race boat you're unlikely to get them. On the flip side if you are willing to do so you'll tend to get more boat, better performance and better gear (though less comfort and fewer amenities) for your money.

For younger kids, ideally a separate aft cabin with two bunks would be great. However, if the kids are teens the ideal arrangement is to simply tow them in the dinghy. There is only room on a boat for one person who thinks they know everything, and that person is me.
LOL.... why didn't we think of that? :eek: ;) :D (would have needed a bigger dinghy!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,909 Posts
Wow! Sorry I missed this.

What works for an arrangement? Well, everyone does need their own space. We were able to seperate the V-berth and our two boys sleep sto each side of a board.

For us, we needed as parents, a place that was our own and that we could escape to. A place where we could go and get away and sit up and read or talk outside of the salon. As such, I really think two staterooms is critical.

many of the Tayana 37's have a open quarter berth just behind the nav station. That would not work for us. After teh kids go down, we might want to sit up and watch a movie or enjoy a glass of wine, etc. Some of the T37s do have a seperate SR - but I would venture to say that most do not.

ANother option if you like that type of boat would be a Tayana Vancouver 42. THat is what my parents ended up buying. It has the warmth of a 37, but two seperate SR's and a LOT of storage.

That brings me to the next thing: storage. WIth kids, your storage needs will over double. Wehtehr it be dolls, stuffed animals, board games, legos, matchbox cars, etc... you have to find a place for all of that stuff. THat eats up a lot of cabinetry. Be thoughtful of where and how you could store all the things that kids need.

Regarding your parrot, if you plan to leave US waters, you might reconsider that idea. I owned a parrot too. It is one of the most highly trafficed (illegal) items of any 'animal'. The amount of red tape to move a parrot in/out of foreign countries (and actually return to the US) was too much for us. Anyways, you may know better about that than me... but that was my first hand experience. We ended up finding ours another homen which was probably the best thing for all involved. Sorry... just make sure you speak to a vet about that and research what countries you might visit before determining that you will bring your parrot.

Good luck with it all. Let me know if you have any questions. And yes, for us, living aboard with kids has been wonderful. We really enjoy it and the places we can go and see together that other families never get the chance to do. Takes the right attitude though, and I would suggest doing it earlier rather than later.

ALl the best,

Brian
 

·
Tartan 37C
Joined
·
501 Posts
Having infants aboard vs. older school aged or teenagers are two completely different stories. A single stateroom (SR) boat would be fine with children from 0-5+/- years old, then after that I'll agree with the majority that everyone will be wanting separate staterooms, mostly mom & dad.

Then again there's always boarding school :)
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,489 Posts
Maybe 2 boats?
Been there done that... It DOES work great... Teens hone their independence and sailing skills, we had way more space on the boat for ourselves, more room for them to invite friends, daily raft-ups and not-so-casual racing (we never flew the kite so much as that summer!;) )

Even now, 10 years or more later it's a fond memory of ours and the kids' (no longer kids, of course). Trouble is not too many people will have that situation as a real possibility.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I want to thank everyone for the great replies. It makes sense to me to think in terms of everyone having an official "place," however tiny that might be, but not to seek absolute privacy as an ideal. Perhaps something like the Tayana 37 would work best for one child, or the T42 for two kids or more elbow room. The storage does appear to be jump quite a bit on the 42s, and the aft cabin on the center cockpit versions is often pretty roomy. I can see how that might preserve parental sanity long-term.

I notice, too, that certain boats will have a v-berth up front and a couple of very small berths aft. Some of the Passports I've seen in photos (not in person) seem to have that arrangement.

Sidenote on parrots: Admittedly, this is something I will have to look into very carefully. A friend just went through all the trouble to get his pionus parrot into the EU (he immigrated to Sweden). There was a lot of paperwork: but, thankfully, also a procedure that allowed him to get his bird recognized. Now that Fish & Game and all the rest know about the bird, I think he could get back into the States OK. His major problem was the bird flu epidemic. When he moved, EU had imposed a blanket ban on all bird imports, so his bird had to be fostered by friends for two years (!) until the ban was lifted. So .... we'll see. I suspect that it would be very possible but annoying to get a documented pet bird in and out of the USA. The rub, in my mind, is what happens when some foreign official gets involved if you draw attention while abroad. I have no idea what restrictions there are on critters that plan on staying on the boat.

In any case, it is great to hear that others have had kids on board and found various solutions. I look forward to lurking and learning more!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,909 Posts
I want to thank everyone for the great replies. It makes sense to me to think in terms of everyone having an official "place," however tiny that might be, but not to seek absolute privacy as an ideal. Perhaps something like the Tayana 37 would work best for one child, or the T42 for two kids or more elbow room. The storage does appear to be jump quite a bit on the 42s, and the aft cabin on the center cockpit versions is often pretty roomy. I can see how that might preserve parental sanity long-term.

I notice, too, that certain boats will have a v-berth up front and a couple of very small berths aft. Some of the Passports I've seen in photos (not in person) seem to have that arrangement.

Sidenote on parrots: Admittedly, this is something I will have to look into very carefully. A friend just went through all the trouble to get his pionus parrot into the EU (he immigrated to Sweden). There was a lot of paperwork: but, thankfully, also a procedure that allowed him to get his bird recognized. Now that Fish & Game and all the rest know about the bird, I think he could get back into the States OK. His major problem was the bird flu epidemic. When he moved, EU had imposed a blanket ban on all bird imports, so his bird had to be fostered by friends for two years (!) until the ban was lifted. So .... we'll see. I suspect that it would be very possible but annoying to get a documented pet bird in and out of the USA. The rub, in my mind, is what happens when some foreign official gets involved if you draw attention while abroad. I have no idea what restrictions there are on critters that plan on staying on the boat.

In any case, it is great to hear that others have had kids on board and found various solutions. I look forward to lurking and learning more!
The difficulties your friend faced was typical of what to expect. Now expand that from not just one country, but multiple countries every few miles (referring to the carib).

The TV(Tayana Vancouver) 42 has a LOT more storage than the 37. Sleeping quarters would be better too. I would suggest considering the aft cockpit version too as it would allow a great lazarette and a second stateroom that has room for two kids. The nice aspect of that is that the second sr also allows a nice pilot berth for when under way as communication between the cockpit and berth is easy. The begative of this and most aft cockpit arrangements is that there is not a lot of great air movement in the aft berth.

A negative of a double ender (like a Tayana) is the loss of room compared to a comparable sized vessel. For example, consider our boat next to mom and dad's:



See how the aft is carried back and that allows a lot more space/LOA. You will find this 'sugar scoop' more typical of the modern designed boat. I personally feel that a sugar scoop is the preferable design for a boat with kids. You will find that you are constantly getting on/off the boat and we swim off the back a lot. As such, getting on/off is a lot easier than with other designs where there is not a 'boarding transom'.



Other things we look for are spaces where the kids can play (legos, puzzles, board games, etc). Kids like to spread out. Many 'blue water boats' are very tight down below. THis restricts the places they can play. You will find that although they sometimes play in the berths, they will generally spill into the salon (as it should be). So be thoughtful of how and where teh kids can play and where you can be when they are. We spend a lot of time in the cockpit and back in our private State room where we can escape from the kiddos while they are doing their thing. It keeps everyone sane.



Good luck with it all and feel free to ask questions.

See ya out there!!!

Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
Our son and daughter shared the V-berth in our 33' boat from infancy to the ages of 7 & 9 and then we moved to a 41' Morgan OI without the "walk-through". We spilt the huge aft cabin port & starboard for small, but adequate cabins for our children until they left home as adults. This totally separate aft cabin was perfect for us and our children. Privacy and comfort are available on a boat in the forty foot range with the proper layout. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
We live aboard a St. Francis 44 cat with our now 6 year old son and a baby on the way. Planning to cruise again when baby is 2.
While we have a separate cabin for our son, he doesn't use it yet. For sleeping we have a big family bed in the master cabin... and he is JUST now starting to hang out in his room for fun every now and again. Basically, boat families are pretty tight knit, and we don't necessarily want to be away from each other. When we do, we go outside. :) Even though our boat is big for a family of 3 (soon to be 4) we tend to be in a puppy pile in the same place most times. Just offering a different perspective.

You can see examples of everyday life aboard and the layout in our blog (I think the link is in my sig??)

best of luck to you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
511 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
We have a Westerly Centaur which has 2 quarterberths one for each of our daughters ages 20 months and 4.5. It works perfectly as they each have their own space. We plan on leaving the docks this fall for a sail down the east coast on to Florida for the winter.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,489 Posts
I am trying to find a boat that can carry a family of 5 for a year. I am coming to the conclusion that each kiddo needs their own single berth than can be LEFT UP.

I am hunting for something with three singles that are aft or pilot, then a v berth for us.

One thing you might consider.. boats built primarily for racing (racer/cruiser rather than cruiser/racer) often had layouts that included outboard pilot berths and/or pipe berths that kids quite like. We previously owned a 40 footer with such a layout.. not any kind of sumptuous finish like a true cruising boat, but not too bad either. These boats typically sell for less, often they are limited runs or one-offs, on the plus side they are usually well equipped, esp the deck gear (winches, etc) Sometimes the cockpits are not cruiser friendly but we got lucky there too.

The pilot berth shown here was originally a pipe berth, we converted it to fixed to create extra storage behind/underneath.



Aft, we had 4 more pipe berths.. the lowers were usually given over to gear bags, the kids used the uppers. Advantage is the ability to level them out at angles of heel..



Not a bad cockpit either...

 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top