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Old 11-01-2018, 15:00   #1
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Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

I have had a dream of cruising for many years, and owned a Hunter 28.5 on a freshwater lake for a couple years. My wife and I have talked about buying a cruising boat in retirement, however she's never been sailing before.

I've talked about doing a week long liveaboard sailing course, but we also have two kids, 6 and 8 years old, that I would like to introduce to it as well. I suspect that having them onboard, even if a school allowed it, would hamper the learning.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a family sailing charter that can serve as an introduction for them? Or suggestions for some other method I haven't thought of?
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Old 11-01-2018, 15:07   #2
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pirate Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

Some companies do skippered charters with instruction.. suggest you choose somewhere 'Gentle' and resist the temptation to sail on her ear if you want to win the wife over..
Do not recommend a bareboat charter first time.
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Old 11-01-2018, 15:07   #3
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

If your budget runs to charters, consider hiring a nanny to come along. It could be pleasant duty for her, when the skipper isn't educating them. It would free up both of you for the teaching. Get clear beforehand on which educational goals matter most: there should be some Colregs, so you both can helm responsibly, and some sailing skills so she feels more comfortable. Would recommend chartering a somewhat smaller boat than you will plan on in the future, so that that boat will seem more spacious.

Another good way is to be self taught, although, generally, I think wives should learn separately from husbands. That way, they bring some confidence and new skill sets, and are not automatically one down because of lack of experience. Obviously, this is a huge generalization, and not meant as personal criticism, but generally speaking, it is easier for the woman to learn from a teacher in whom she has little or no emotional investment than from her husband, in whom she has a huge one. His just being there can be inhibiting. Your wife may have some input about this. Imo, it is a major issue, but for some people, maybe not so much.

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Old 11-01-2018, 15:52   #4
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
If your budget runs to charters, consider hiring a nanny to come along. It could be pleasant duty for her, when the skipper isn't educating them. It would free up both of you for the teaching. Get clear beforehand on which educational goals matter most: there should be some Colregs, so you both can helm responsibly, and some sailing skills so she feels more comfortable. Would recommend chartering a somewhat smaller boat than you will plan on in the future, so that that boat will seem more spacious.
This is a not a bad idea, although my worry is that my wife would be unable to focus due to worrying about the kids, and the new experience of sailing, especially if we go mono would push her stress level too high. Definitely worth looking into though, thanks!


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Another good way is to be self taught, although, generally, I think wives should learn separately from husbands. That way, they bring some confidence and new skill sets, and are not automatically one down because of lack of experience. Obviously, this is a huge generalization, and not meant as personal criticism, but generally speaking, it is easier for the woman to learn from a teacher in whom she has little or no emotional investment than from her husband, in whom she has a huge one. His just being there can be inhibiting. Your wife may have some input about this. Imo, it is a major issue, but for some people, maybe not so much.

Ann
Im technically self taught and only barely, I had some classes when I was young and they helped me not completely wreck the boat I owned for a time, but before going much further I definitely want more training, and I agree with idea that wives should learn separately. Its not that I think itd cause any relationship stress, but more that is that if I taught her, shes only have the benefit of my limited experience. Ive considered doing separate liveaboards for the whole idea that she might learn more comfortably without me there, but as of right now, even that shed be doing at my request. I figure if I can get her out on a boat a few times and she enjoys it, shell be starting from a better place than if shes doing an unknown thing because I want her to.
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Old 11-01-2018, 15:58   #5
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

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Some companies do skippered charters with instruction.. suggest you choose somewhere 'Gentle' and resist the temptation to sail on her ear if you want to win the wife over..
Do not recommend a bareboat charter first time.
Yeah, I definitely want easy mode both for her, the kids, and me!

My previous boat was on Lake Lanier in North Georgia, US, I loved having the boat but sailing was a pain for a novice. Get pointed, trim sails, and you have maybe a few minutes before the wind changes or you run out of water.

I was looking at the options in Florida as wed be able to drive rather than fly everyone, but nothing stood out as particularly special.
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Old 11-01-2018, 17:16   #6
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

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Originally Posted by raizyr View Post
I have had a dream of cruising for many years, and owned a Hunter 28.5 on a freshwater lake for a couple years. My wife and I have talked about buying a cruising boat in retirement, however she's never been sailing before.

I've talked about doing a week long liveaboard sailing course, but we also have two kids, 6 and 8 years old, that I would like to introduce to it as well. I suspect that having them onboard, even if a school allowed it, would hamper the learning.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a family sailing charter that can serve as an introduction for them? Or suggestions for some other method I haven't thought of?
There are plenty of ways "in" depending on you budget and goals. My partner and I chartered a Bayliner 32 and a skipper for a week of private instruction. It got us general seamanship, docking, weather, navigation etc. She got as much time at the helm as she wanted I would often just go hang out on the flybridge so I would stay out of it and we both spent a lot of time getting comfortable docking and anchoring.

A couple of months later we went back and chartered a Dufour 38, brought a friend and had the same skipper teach us how to sail, which was pretty fun and stress-free since we could concentrate on sailing and not docking, anchoring etc.

So you can see I am a fan of having the boat to ourselves and hiring an instructor. Of course we lucked out and had a good one.

I know here in the PNW there are lots of "women only" cruise and learns as well so that is another option if your learning styles don't mix.
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Old 11-01-2018, 20:15   #7
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

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Originally Posted by raizyr View Post
I've talked about doing a week long liveaboard sailing course, but we also have two kids, 6 and 8 years old, that I would like to introduce to it as well. I suspect that having them onboard, even if a school allowed it, would hamper the learning.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a family sailing charter that can serve as an introduction for them? Or suggestions for some other method I haven't thought of?
Those are tough ages. You could leave them with trusted friends or relatives and have the trip be just the two of you. Or wait until they're older. Give it a few years and it will be easier in a number of ways.

Otherwise, day sails, modest trips...

Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 11-01-2018, 20:47   #8
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

Contact Max at max.boschetti@gmail.com He can teach you on Biscayne Bay in Miami
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Old 11-01-2018, 21:34   #9
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

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I have had a dream of cruising for many years,
, however she's never been sailing before.
I was in a similar position 3 years ago, I had a fair amount of racing experience but had never owned a boat. Wife had not sailed.

Here is what I did (I posted this plan some years ago as well)

1. Took the family (kids 4 & 7) on a bareboat charter in the Whitsundays in Aus. Easy short daysails between anchorages on a 34' mono.
I learnt to anchor, wife learn something about sailing, whole family got excited about getting the boat up to 8 knots... and learnt to hang on when we rounded up. Outcome was we decided we could do it as a family, and had a great holiday.
2. Sent wife along on a dinghy sailing course, plus she got boat and radio licenses.
3. Bought a 37' sloop and sailed it locally for a year.
4. Took six months off and cruised up the east coast of Aus (Kids 7 and 10). Great trip. One 3 day leg, half a dozen overnight legs, rest day sails.

Only thing I would change if I had the time again would perhaps be to encourage my wife to do something like a Yachtmaster week long course herself early in the piece. As it was we had our boat early enough that she could learn on that, but I never pushed her to take control like a course would.

Eventual outcome of the experience is that my wife never got really comfortable with the boat heeling right over, and gets a little seasick in swell. So she didn't get to the point of feeling able to sail by herself - but she could stand watches and shorten sail herself, anchor etc. But she really loved being on the boat. Kids adored the whole thing and didn't suffer from being out of school. (they did limited distance education, and a whole lot of natural history, social development and self reliance training)

So there will be a cat in my future. Total tragedy... :-)

(We actually have a couple of weeks on-board again in 2 months, driven by my wife. We have not really decided to sell Moli, but will use it in holidays for a while and see how we go. Work wise it is unlikely we can take 6 months off again anytime in the next few years, so we don't really need a live aboard scale boat)

Mike
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Old 12-01-2018, 09:07   #10
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

Our family started out at Annapolis Sailing School with separate courses for our young children, for my wife and for me. Then we came together for a 5-day cruise with a teaching skipper. I think Colgate Offshore school has something similar.

Over the subsequent 20 years, our family chartered in BVIs, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Belize and Tahiti. Then last year my wife and I took 11 months and cruised Florida and the Bahamas, crossed the Atlantic, and cruised the Med to Sicily.

It all started with a non-sailing wife and small kids in a sailing school designed to teach each of us at our level, and then bring us together for teaching fun. Go for it!
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:45   #11
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

We started when our kids were a very similar age to yours with a flotilla in Greece. Prior to the charter both my wife and I took a 5 day RYA Day Skipper qualification ( I am sure there are similar qualifications in the US) and this gave us our ICC (International Certificate of Competence) We chose an area which was good for beginners (The Ionian) and the whole family fell in love with it ! It's an area where you can mostly "point and sail" without too much chart work and the flotilla gave both us and the kids great social experiences with other people on the flotilla. The flotilla leader took all the worry out of it. It's been a passion since then. We now have our own boat and our girls (now in their twenties) both look back on our many sailing holidays as the best holidays they had. They still love to come sailing with us. The key is sailing in a happy boat without scaring everyone to death and making them want to come back again.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:18   #12
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

I sailed with my (now ex) wife and two kids when they were small. It was excellent. I bought a small boat, a C&C25 and just sailed locally here on Lake Ontario (the 1000 islands). The point was just to get out on the water and have fun together as a family. Certainly the kids did not care where we were, so long as there was good food, good swimming, and someplace to explore. To them, the coziness of the boat and the closeness of the family was the allure. We would go for 3 or 4 days at a time, a week at most. Unfortunately, the kids would get bored if we stayed out too long. I think perhaps it was the happiest time of my life.

Kids grow up quickly and get interests of their own...and go off to college. Wives...well...nuff said. So even though I traded up to a bigger boat, it wasn't long before all my sailing was solo.

I guess my point is to focus on what matters, and just get out there. Don't wait. If there is a good sailing/cruising area close to home...that's a great place to start. And don't get too nice a boat...so you can let the kids be kids.
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Old 12-01-2018, 16:07   #13
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

Don't know where you live, but a local yacht club (hopefully not too fancy) often has summer sailing classes for little kids and sometimes for adults as well. I used to live in Bayside Maine, an extremely laid back and old-fashioned, summer cottage community with lots of cottage rentals and a very friendly, small yacht club where kids can take classes and adults could arrange for lessons from one of the members who often is glad to teach. You could easily charter a sailboat locally or just make friends with locals with boats. Some of our older teens (sometimes nationally ranked racers) might be glad to make a few extra bucks teaching adults. Learn to sail and cruise and enjoy a summer on Penobscot Bay Maine, one of the most beautiful sail cruising places on the planet (except during winter). Not advertising, but just a suggestion from a former resident (now in the PNW).
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Old 12-01-2018, 16:42   #14
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

We started with a crewed Moorings charter. It got everyone on the boat in an enjoyable way in the BVI with no pressure to sail or cook or clean. We started taking the helm as the kids got comfortable.
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Old 12-01-2018, 16:48   #15
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Re: Introducing the family to sailing using a charter?

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This is a not a bad idea, although my worry is that my wife would be unable to focus due to worrying about the kids, and the new experience of sailing, especially if we go mono would push her stress level too high. Definitely worth looking into though, thanks!

...
Ive run a lot of family charters, many with sailing instruction involved.

Something one family did that worked well was pay for two young female family friends to come along on the vacation....with the deal that they babysit as needed. The girls got a free trip and Mom & Dad got baby sitters they knew and trusted. Worked out great.

A big upside to trying it out via charter first is that if the family hates it, then you are only out the cost of a charter...minor compared to buying and boat. I delivered a nice shiny new yacht with all the toys to a new owner (the Dad) once. A few days of instuction were included. It was clear to me after the first day of instruction that the rest of the clan was just not into it....ooops...not one of Dads better financial decisions.
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