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Old 15-09-2008, 14:12   #16
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Old 15-09-2008, 15:47   #17
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I am planning a 3 year circumnavigation with my family. We are in the beginning phase of selecting a boat, and based on the quality of the posts I have read, I though I would share my thoughts, seek suggestions, and open myself up to constructive criticism... Scott
Hi Scott

You seem to have done a lot of analysis already and have come up with sensible ideas.

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My two line CV is that I grew up sailing and have always wanted to sail around the world. I own a Seawind 1000, am 40 years old, married with three boys ages 2, 7 and 8. We live in Hermosa Beach, CA.

The overview is that we plan to leave in 2011 (We want the boys as old as possible, yet feel it is important to have the oldest back by high school.)
Your boys will be the ideal age for the adventure, old enough to participate and remember the experience without being rebellious hormonal adolescents. But, a word of caution, although our two boys ( 8 and 12) enjoyed our Atlantic circuit, they didn't, contrary to my expectations, get as much out of it as our four girls.

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The goal is purchase our boat at least a year in advance (sometime in 2009), put the boat in private charter with a captain, and get all the kinks worked out, plus take some longer trips on the boat before we "go it alone." Some other business reasons why we want the boat a little early.
I trust those 'business reasons' are very strong. In my view, the best way to iron out kinks is to liveaboard and deal with them yourself. It's also the best way to build up experience in sailing and managing the boat. People say that one year's charter (with or without captain) generates five year's wear and tear, do you really want that? Also, the sort of kinks you will iron out in a year of chartering in the Caribbean are not necessarily the sort of kinks you will meet on a circumnavigation. A single gale is more testing than a year of Caribbean island-hopping.

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1) It must be a safe, blue water capable cat. I know that is obvious, but it allows me skip a lot of the details - bridge deck clearance, tankage, weight capacity, etc.
2) We want it to be as big as safely possible for our family to handle. I figure we will bring on crew for the major crossings.
3) Based on item 2 above, the 50 foot range is what we are looking at.
50 foot seems a little on the large side to me. We reckoned that either my wife or I had to be able to handle the boat and reef in a storm single-handed if necessary, so 45 foot was our upper limit. You may think that boats below 50 will not offer enough room, but you are mistaken. We had plenty of room on our Lagoon 420 for a family of eight, even when we had two or three crew aboard for the Atlantic passages. It would be nice to have the long-leggedness of a 50 foot cat, but you don't need to go up to 50 foot just for the accommodation space and load carrying capacity.

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4) Galley Up. (I have read a great deal on this forum about the galley up and down. If there is any interest in why we picket what we did, I can provide that in greater detail later.)
5) I think (75% certain) that we do not want the engines under the bunks, in the cabin.
6) In the trade off between the Porsche and the SUV, we are more on the side of the SUV. (Did I mention I am married with 3 boys?)
All sensible choices in my view.

Don't set your heart too firmly on a circumnavigation, you have four other people to consider. We met two families that set out on a circumnavigation. One had decided to abandon their circumnavigation in favour of less ambitious goals and the other was in the process of coming to the same conclusion. On the whole, the kids do not enjoy the long passages and may come to hate the sailing.

Kids like being with other kids. We encountered far fewer kid boats than we expected and on a circumnavigation you will meet even fewer.

If you didn't have such a big budget, I'd suggest you look at the Lagoon 420 Hybrid, like ours, as it meets all your criteria except size (and its internal accommodation is probably as big as the 50 footers you are looking at).

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Chris
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Isle of Arran, Scotland
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Old 16-09-2008, 22:11   #18
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We are in the same situation: hopefully sailing away in 2011 with 3 girls (aged 2, 5 and 8), .
We may need to stay away from each other. Could spell trouble.

Were are you planning to start? We figure the Caribbean is a good jumping off point. Hope to see you out there at some point.

Current plan is to charter a St Francis in the BVI this Thanks Giving holiday.
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Old 16-09-2008, 22:28   #19
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although our two boys ( 8 and 12) enjoyed our Atlantic circuit, they didn't, contrary to my expectations, get as much out of it as our four girls.
There is no doubt. I assume they will be to young to fully appropriate the trip. But if we wait too long, they will spend the whole time trying to find the kids boat with Girls on it.


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50 foot seems a little on the large side to me. We reckoned that either my wife or I had to be able to handle the boat and reef in a storm single-handed if necessary, so 45 foot was our upper limit.
Great point. In my mind, reefing a 45 footer is the same as a 50 footer. But we need to make sure, which is one of the reasons I have to spend so much time "test driving" different boats.


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Kids like being with other kids. We encountered far fewer kid boats than we expected and on a circumnavigation you will meet even fewer.
Probably the biggest fear. From what I have read, I get the feel that kid boats try to meet up often, for the very reason you stated. I hope it is not too bad. In my mind our attitude needs to be very flexible as to when and were we go so the kids can find friends along the way.

Now you have me thinking that I should start to round up the families that are looking for an 2011 departure and get a flotilla arranged.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 17-09-2008, 01:56   #20
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There is no doubt. I assume they will be to young to fully appropriate the trip. But if we wait too long, they will spend the whole time trying to find the kids boat with Girls on it.
I don't mean that they will be too young to appreciate the trip, your kids will be the ideal age, what I mean is that some kids just take to it more than others and girls perhaps more than boys. Boys tend not to be as outdoorsy and adventurous as they used to be and seem quite content to spend their time living virtual adventures with their computer games. Sailing a catamaran seems quite mundane to them. Girls, on the other hand, tend to be very social creatures and love the close proximity, the family life, the domestic chores, the meeting new people and the constant attention of their parents.

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Now you have me thinking that I should start to round up the families that are looking for an 2011 departure and get a flotilla arranged.
There is no doubt that that is a good approach. We met up with two Dutch kid boats (2 boys and 3 boys) that had been travelling in company pretty much the entire Atlantic circuit (including remaining in VHF contact the entire East West Atlantic crossing). The parents got on really well and the kids did too. It was only the youngest boy that was a bit left out.

However, such a convenient arrangement is hard to find. The Dutch have an annual gathering of people setting out on blue water cruising, which is where the two families met. I don't think there are many similar gatherings. The ARC is another good opportunity for compatible kid boats to meet up. In retrospect, we wished we had joined the ARC simply for the opportunity to meet up with other kid boats. You might like to seriously consider joining the World ARC for the same reason (Welcome to World Cruising Club: World Arc).



Another arrangement that can work is for two familes to share a boat. On a cat, one family has one hull and the other has the other hull. This makes sense on so many levels.
  • Most of your expenses will be cut in half
  • You have a built-in social life for the parents and play-mates for the children
  • You share the sailing workload and the domestic chores
  • You don't have the trials and tribulations of finding compatible crew for long passages
  • You don't have the strain of managing occasional night passages without help
  • You have help on-hand when times get tough and during emergencies
  • You have other people with whom to share the excitement and adventure
  • One or other family can take a break from the adventure, perhaps returning home for a while or going on an inland trip, while the other looks after the boat and enjoys a period on their own.
  • Shared childcare and built-in baby-sitters
  • Shared home-schooling
Of course there can be drawbacks, such as loss of privacy, the risk of personality clashes, differences of opinion on where to go and when, differences of attitude, outlook and work-rate, differences in income and budget and differences in competence. But, if it works out it would be a great way to sail the world. If I were you, I'd talk to the family from Wellington, New Zealand and see if you can work something out. Checkout their post at: Tonga Sailing - Circumnavigation on a Cat

Chris
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Old 17-09-2008, 03:52   #21
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One of the quirks of the Prouts was that in hull galley wasn't an isolated location, head of the chef level with the shoulder of seated guests.
Support and service much improved and no kids in the galley please.
On that note add child gates at the 'into the hull' steps and mesh to the deck fencing.
I hate that 2'6" trip wire round most boats, consider raising it to 3'9" with two intermediate wires or rails. Most of the crew will stay on board then.
Learn to smile even when scared siteless. Kids pick up on things women don't want to see.
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Old 17-09-2008, 04:45   #22
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Kid Safety at Sea

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Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
One of the quirks of the Prouts was that in hull galley wasn't an isolated location, head of the chef level with the shoulder of seated guests.
Support and service much improved and no kids in the galley please.
On that note add child gates at the 'into the hull' steps and mesh to the deck fencing.
I hate that 2'6" trip wire round most boats, consider raising it to 3'9" with two intermediate wires or rails. Most of the crew will stay on board then.
Learn to smile even when scared siteless. Kids pick up on things women don't want to see.
Hi Eleven

I've cruised with kids both galley-up in Lagoon 420 and galley-down in a Prout and, in my opinion, galley-up is one hundred times better. More room, more light, more sociable, better service to the cockpit dining area, easier access from all four corners of the boat, cook less suceptible to sea-sickness, nearer the centre of motion so cookware doesn't move around so much, cooking smells escape more easily, potential leaking gas or fumes from appliances less likely to collect in the cabins with fatal results, heat produced by fridge and freezer do not oppress the occupants of one of the cabins, the galley does not impede access to one of the cabins or mean you have to forgo a cabin entirely. I'm sure that there our plenty of threads on this subject, but in my view it is no contest.
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....add child gates at the 'into the hull' steps and mesh to the deck fencing.
I hate that 2'6" trip wire round most boats, consider raising it to 3'9" with two intermediate wires or rails. Most of the crew will stay on board then.
We bought netting to fit round the deck - never fitted it! When underway, we don't allow our kids out of the cockpit without life-jacket on, crotch-strap fastened, harness clipped to jackstay or safety point and supervised by an adult. Life-jacket on when in the cockpit, clipped-on after dark. Adults abide by the same rules (apart from supervision). When at anchor, rules are rather more relaxed, but we made sure that all our kids could swim and tested them by pushing them in off the bow and making sure they could swim to the stern and board without the swim ladder being down.

For toddlers and crawlers netting might help, but personally I wouldn't want them out of my sight or out of the cockpit. We had a frightening incident aboard my brother's Prout in Trinidad ten years ago, when my brother's two yearold went off the stern unnoticed. It was only Beth's maternal instinct on hearing a slight plop (which I also heard, but failed to react to) that saved his life. Netting probably wouldn't have helped.

Our scariest moment was when our eight yearold slipped off a pontoon when 'fishing' with a net at La Corunna marina. She was out of sight at the time, but fortunately just within hearing and one of our crew heard the splosh. She was wearing a bouyancy aid at the time, but the crotch strap wasn't done up. It's unlikely she would have drowned, but she would have found things a lot easier if the crotch-strap had been done up. Lesson learned!

Sorry for the thread drift.

Chris
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Old 17-09-2008, 04:49   #23
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You've got it covered. Enjoy. And relax, Worse things happen on Land.
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Old 17-09-2008, 09:18   #24
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All, count us in on the potential round up for 2011 kids catamaran cruise. Due to the stock market that sounds a bit more like our starting time. We're a live aboard family (our four year old started life on our present boat), and in the middle of more projects than I can wrap my head around. We've got a one four year old son and everyone is more than welcome to drop us an email or drop by and or talk to us if you happen to be in Annapolis. My wife and I have been live-aboards on one type of catamaran or another for about 10 years and travelled down to the Bahamas and Cuba on our previous boat. Our plan for now is very similar, Bahamas 2011 and then moving over to the Rio Dulce 2011 so Zach can learn more about the culture and immersion learning in Spanish in Antigua. (Yes, anchoring out in the Rio is and has been dangerous, this story has been the same for about 10 years, but the marinas are typically extremely safe). BTW, I've been on cats for a long time am a bit familiar with each type your considering, very willing to talk cats!
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Old 17-09-2008, 09:24   #25
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BTW, the Annapolis boat show is coming up in October, I'd be more than willing to go with some people who are looking at new catamarans and walk around with you and talk about them over lunch. My wife calls me a catamaran evangelist.
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Old 20-09-2008, 09:20   #26
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Were are you planning to start? We figure the Caribbean is a good jumping off point. Hope to see you out there at some point.

.

It all depends on the cat we'll end up buying.
If it's a new FP, leaving La Rochelle around June, then 4-5 months in the Med, with a passage around December 2011 from the Canaries to the Caribbean.
If we buy second hand (FP Bahia 46 ?), then the Carribean are the biggest market, and we would probably start from there at the end of 2011.
So, when and where should we rendez-vous for our kids' first playdate ?
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Old 20-09-2008, 10:03   #27
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Another arrangement that can work is for two familes to share a boat. On a cat, one family has one hull and the other has the other hull. This makes sense on so many levels.
  • Most of your expenses will be cut in half
  • You have a built-in social life for the parents and play-mates for the children
  • You share the sailing workload and the domestic chores
  • You don't have the trials and tribulations of finding compatible crew for long passages
  • You don't have the strain of managing occasional night passages without help
  • You have help on-hand when times get tough and during emergencies
  • You have other people with whom to share the excitement and adventure
  • One or other family can take a break from the adventure, perhaps returning home for a while or going on an inland trip, while the other looks after the boat and enjoys a period on their own.
  • Shared childcare and built-in baby-sitters
  • Shared home-schooling
I would never have thought of that, beyond shared 2 to 3 weeks vacations, but you're right, it makes sense on many levels... if the families get on well. Very well even.
Your last 3 points sound particularly relevant to us. So does the first, of course. Should we aim for half a Salina 48 instead of an Orana 44 ?
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Old 20-09-2008, 10:17   #28
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I prefer fp 36 before lagoon 380, and the galley is a big part of why. Take a look at the difference.
Take a look at the new Broabdlue 385 MK II (i think its only the MK I on their homepage).
The seawind 1160 is nice
I agree for the galley. And the FP 36 is also much faster. Actually, it is faster than the Lavezzi and Orana (that's what the person in charge of sea trials told me in La Rochelle). With a watermaker, it could fit the bill, for a much lower price. It is also very spacious. I guess we would feel safer during passages with a few more feet, though...
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Old 20-09-2008, 15:28   #29
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Regardless which boat you choose, try to find a way to add a year to your plan. We are in Tonga now and headed for NZ for storm season. Already have met 5 boats who are quitting in NZ because the long distance sailing and maintenance have worn them out. Our current plans will allow us to complete a circumnavigation in 4 years, and that is really rushing along and skipping many "don't miss" areas.

Whichever cat you choose, try to sail it offshore in rough seas before buying it. Most frequent complaint from those we have met (all having sailed at least 7000 NM in their cat -- various brands) is that the hull water noise on long passages is almost unbearable.

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Old 20-09-2008, 17:52   #30
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We are in Tonga now and headed for NZ for storm season. Already have met 5 boats who are quitting in NZ because the long distance sailing and maintenance have worn them out.
[...]
Judy
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We were in Vava'u just 3 weeks ago (on a Moorings 4200 cat), and I was happy to read your articles. Will you spend the storm season in Whangarei ? If your visit the country , we'll be happy to see you when you come to Wellington.
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