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Old 04-04-2008, 20:51   #1
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5 kids on a boat?

hi everyone. i'm brand new here, posting for the first time today.

we have 5 kids and want to begin living aboard once husband sells his business and we can pull it together. he's a captain, i'm taking classes this year and have crewing experience. our kids are currently 10,9,3,2, and 11 months. we want to set sail within 2 years time and will be doing as much sailing together as a family as possible.

i've already found lots of good info on homeschooling from you all. thanks! we need to get that started so that we can test the waters and do some sailing next year. question: do any of you have very large families? is there anything you can tell me to help get us started? we're considering a 65' cat which seems huge to me, until i consider we're living on it, not just vacationing. any thoughts?

thanks in advance!
catherine, robbie and the crew
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:33   #2
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Hi, Catherine, and welcome to the Forum.

Well if you're lucky, the youngest will be out of the diaper phase! You two have more courage than I do!

There's a current thread about a book written by a couple who cruised with kids that you might find interesting:

Excellent Book !

What part of the world will you be cruising?
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:35   #3
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Welcome Catherine.
My wife, 3 kids (ages 8, 5, 3), and I castoff in late June for 5-ish years of cruising. We have a 47’ mono. At 47’ and 32,000 lbs, she can be a hell of a lot to handle at times. I’ve sailed on mega yachts, AC boats, Whitbread 80’, 60’ BOC/Globe Challenge (single handed), and numerous others from dingy on up. The bigger the boat the more demanding it is to sail/handle. Different designs can be easier or harder than others. Gadgets can help, but rarely live up to all of the glossy brochure listed benefits –and they fail. So to “get started” I suggest 2 things: 1) define what “living aboard” is for you (there is no right or wrong answer, it is about what you REALLY expect to do onboard). Are you mostly tied up and maybe go out for a day sail with friends once in a while. If so, a floating condo may fit your needs just fine. Or at the other end, does it mean you intend to sail to remote places, be self reliant, etc. If so, then perhaps trading space for less demanding handling would make sense. Maintenance is a whole other subject. 2) If you decide on a 65’ cat, great – but get time as a family on one before you buy. Chartering one will offer good insight.

For what it’s worth, my brief thoughts about kids, behavior, space onboard:

A 65' cat is HUGE; and 7 people (5 little ones) don't warrant that size alone. Kids onboard tend to develop very different behavior patterns. My kids’ behavior is inversely proportional to time. The first 6 hours is chaotic, the next 6 less so, etc. After 2 days they play together really well, they converse together; they sleep in the same bunk. The “required space” shrinks. My kids have sailed since about 2 weeks old. We’ve been out as long as 3 weeks, granted not the same as living aboard, but generally, the longer they’re on the better they are. Oh they still do have their moments (always at the worst time, which get back to ease of boat handling!). Kids adapt to change faster than adults.

Some cruising friends with 3 kids and currently in the Caribbean, were buddy boating with a family with 5 kids. I think they’re on a 50-ish foot boat. I’ll try and find out more about them, the next time I Skype with my friends.
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:24   #4
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WOW,

Hud says it best.....COURAGE! Also good advice from Totem about space needed.....BEST WISHES in choosing the right boat to meet your needs.....
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:20   #5
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Hud, I thank you for the book recommendation. I'm already reading it and have found several other great book suggestions on the forum.

The plan we're living from is to have everything we do, every decision we make, be toward moving and sailing as soon as possible. We're cleaning out
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Old 05-04-2008, 13:15   #6
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Okay, the cat stepped on the keyboard and posted me mid-sentence! Oopsie.

As I was saying....we're beginning by cleaning out the house of it's contents, one room at a time. Also, homeschooling will begin with at least one of the three school-aged children next school term.

We've sailed as a family, but only with 3 kids. Five is an unknown. Three was manageable. I wore the baby or had her strapped into a seat when underway. We chartered a cat in Belize and it had a nice configuration for the family but wasn't equipped as a liveaboard. The 42' mono we usually sail, owned by my father-in-law, is definitely not going to get the job done for the whole gang but is fine for week long trips in the BVI. I guess the fun is going to be in taking out all kinds of boats and trying them on for size.

As far as courage.....well, 5 kids is 5 kids - by land or by sea! It takes as much courage to load them all in the mini-van and sail down the interstate every day at 70 mph. And I don't know if you have this same experience as parents, by I've noticed over the years that regardless of space available, we all end up in the same room 80% of our resting time. I've lived in tiny apartments and in our current larger home with the kiddos and it's always the same. Point being, I'm more inclined to smaller sized boat than my husband because larger is just more to take care of and we're going to be piled up together anyway, JUST LIKE WE ARE NOW! Biggest concern with the children, besides toddler safety of course, is space for the 2 rising teenage girls. They share a small room and bed now but older daughter is screaming for more privacy. She'll be close to 13 when we leave.

As far as where we'll be cruising, we'll start out slowly while teaching the kids how to crew and stay East coastal for as long as we need to. One of our sons has a speech delay and requires some proximity to professionals. He's making great strides and will complete last round of surgeries this spring. What we want is to be together as a family on the water. Actually, IN the water. We live on a large lake now and that's not close enough! I don't know how else to really do this other than to DO it.

Thanks for your thoughts about everything. Totem, I'd love to hear more about this family with 5 kids if you locate them again.

Catherine
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Old 05-04-2008, 13:19   #7
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COURAGE to place them all in a small place for exteneded periods of timel......ololololol
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Old 05-04-2008, 13:33   #8
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i hear you! it'll bring out the best for us or be the death of us!
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Old 05-04-2008, 13:36   #9
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Already I like your sense of humor
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Old 05-04-2008, 13:43   #10
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Catherine,

Everything you've posted makes eminent good sense to me. It sounds like you've got a great plan. The cruising families with young kids that we've come across during our time in the Caribbean have been having the experience of a lifetime. Your kids will thank you (but much later, after they've had kids of their own).
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Old 05-04-2008, 18:00   #11
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65 ' seems a bit big. 50' is ample. We did a month cruise with five kids on a 23' tri from PNG to Australia. I used to spend a month at a time at sea on a 60' tuna boat, with most of the volume taken up with engine room and brine tanks. If you do go to 65'. go for something thats not a condominium. Have plenty of deck space and use the length for easier sea motion and faster passages, rather than extra cabin space. Encourage the children to make a log of their trip and get some good ID books on sea life, geography and history of the places that you propose to travel.
Robert
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Old 05-04-2008, 19:12   #12
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Hi Catherine - Welcome!

We will be very interested in keeping in touch with you. We are also a family with five kids. The oldest is 11 years and the youngest is almost two years. He is out of daytime diapers now. We will (if all goes well) have them out on their first coastal sail within the next few weeks. They are looking forward to a couple hours of whale watching as the whale migration is just starting here.
65' cat? I could only dream of something that big. I feel personally that our family would not be able to handle anything much over 40' - 45'. That is just my thought but then again, I don't have the experience that your husband does. I think that size of cat would be perfect for us. Right now, we just got our 1974 Cal 2-29 in the water and are working the bugs out of it. First thing I did was break the flex coupling for the prop shaft. (A story in itself )
Our two oldest daughters have a 15' Chrysler sailboat that they sail on a couple of lakes around here and they love it. The kids are all for moving aboard right now and leaving for a world cruise. Of course, life isn't quite that easy. I think they would quickly change their mind after an extended stay on a 29' sailboat
http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=4158&c=2
http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery...php?i=4156&c=2
http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=4176&c=2


Enough of my rambling. Hopefully we can keep in touch and trade notes. PM me if you want and I will give you our email address.
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Old 14-06-2008, 05:47   #13
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Best of luck. We only have 3 and I can't get my wife to think "living aboard" is possible. Ah well.

My 3 girls share a room now and even though the oldest is only 8, she already wants 'privacy' and tends to make her sisters' lives a living Hell because of it.
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Old 16-06-2008, 15:16   #14
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Hey, I am not experienced, but from everything I have read, it seems like a 65 footer is a heckuva lot of boat for essentially one captain and one person for crew. In great weather, no problem. But if you are going to travel around a lot, you are bound to hit crap weather sooner or later. Besides, cramming all those kids onto a 50 footer isn't going to be much different from cramming them onto a 65 footer. Trust me. I only have two and we moved from a 3800 sq ft house to an 1800 sq ft house (less house, 70 acres of land). They used to bug each other just as much in the bigger house as they do now. And with a smaller boat, it is more manageable both physically and financially.

As for homeschooling, you will love it and I envy you for being able to do it on what will essentially be a traveling classroom. What a fantastic opportunity for your kids!! I homeschooled our daughter for a couple of years and we both really enjoyed it.
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Old 16-06-2008, 19:21   #15
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So how are you going to know when one falls overboard? reality check!!!
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