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Old 16-03-2015, 14:34   #1
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Cruising with the family

I am exploring options for a family sailing sabbatical of at least 1 to 1.5 years, possibly more. We are annual charterers with about twelve trips under our belt and also own a small boat locally. So, while we aren't as experienced as many on this forum, we do have experience at least from a charterer and small boat owner perspective and aren't completely green.

Anyway, my wife is half on-board with the idea and likes the overall concept of cruising as a family, but is seeking more information. Of course being a mom she has many questions about the impact it might have on the family and our kids that we need to work through before we could consider putting our plans in motion. And being at least semi-intelligent, I want to ensure she is comfortable with our plans before we move forward. I am hoping to get some help with the following:

First, my wife is looking for a book or blog to read that offers a woman's/mom's perspective on cruising with the family. It's easy to find books and blogs from a man's perspective, but not so much from a mom who is only semi-experienced in cruising. I think one of her biggest concerns is how kids deal with returning to real life after sailing. Was it easy for them to return to school and how did it impact their future education? Also, just the routine of sailing with the family. How much time is spent doing homework? Working on the boat? Exploring a port city? Socializing with other kids and families? Under sail? All these and many more questions. In any case, she is hoping we can find something from a mom's perspective to start with so she can get an idea of what we'd be taking on.

Second, one of the reasons I want to do this is to offer my kids a different perspective than the manufactured life we live here at home. I'm worried they are going to grow up and be a product of the small environment that we surround ourselves with and closed-minded to different cultures and lifestyles. I just want them to see that there are other ways to do things. With that in mind, I am wondering about the feasibility of purchasing a boat in Europe and sailing the Med for the summer before making the journey to the Caribbean (and eventually onward to the S. Pacific with any luck). My wife and I want to visit Europe and sailing the coast of France, Italy and Spain would offer us a chance to visit some of the great coastal towns as well as provide my kids the opportunity to experience some of the history and culture of Europe. I am wondering about the logistics of the crowds/mooring availability during the summer in the Med, as well as the weather and sailing conditions we'd experience during the summer there. I understand that sailing the Med has it's challenges, but is the tradeoff of experiencing coastal Europe worth it? Considering the crowds, I am wondering if starting a little later in the summer (August) might offer some respite from the worst of it? I've heard it slows down quite a bit in September, but the weather is good into the Fall - and we wouldn't want to make the Atlantic passage until at least November anyway.

I could go on and on, but this seems like a good starting point and then I will dig deeper depending on the responses I get here. Right now we are just considering our options and what makes the most sense. In the end and because I value my marriage more than sailing, it probably comes down to my wife and how she feels about everything. Hence my first question as well as my questions about how much of a pain it would be to sail the Med for the summer.

Thanks for any insight.

Matt
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Old 16-03-2015, 18:23   #2
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Re: Cruising with the family

Hi Matt,
My husband and I are also discussing the possibility of cruising with our children for an extended period of time. We just booked our first charter for 10 days out of St. Martin and sail weekly on our boat here in Charleston. Someone on another thread here recommended a blog to me called windtraveler. I think the website was windtraveler.net. It's written by a cruising mom of three. I haven't read much of it yet, but I think it will be helpful.

Regarding your plan to purchase a boat in Europe and sail it here, we have discussed doing the opposite. My husband is Swedish and in Sweden boats are considerably more expensive than in the US. I'm not sure if the same is true for the rest of Europe, but it might be worth looking into.

How old are your children? I'd be interested in hearing how your plan takes shape. Do you plan on living off of savings or do you have some idea of how you would generate income? That's one of my worries. I know we don't need near as much money while cruising, but it's difficult for me to feel comfortable generating far less income than we currently do.


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Old 16-03-2015, 20:28   #3
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Re: Cruising with the family

There is a new book coming out on the topic of voyaging with kids from some big name cruisers. I dont have any financial stake in the book and I dont have kids but these are the kinds of people I would want to listen to if I did.

http://www.amazon.com/Voyaging-Kids-...dp/1929214332/
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Old 16-03-2015, 20:51   #4
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Re: Cruising with the family

We are doing the same...one child full time and 3 more during summers...windtraveler.net is great. They have another boat with them at times with a child as well. You'll see it on their page. Also look at mjsailing.com for a list of a lot of blogs. Also go ahead and watch sv Delos with her on YouTube...that one got my whole family hooked on the idea.

We are buying in Florida and going to the Bahamas and Caribbean first, then possibly further...Atlantic circle??? Would love to see Europe in that fashion.

I have a pension of about 2300 net a month. That plus savings and credit lines as back up are our plans in a nutshell.
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Old 16-03-2015, 22:29   #5
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Re: Cruising with the family

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Originally Posted by Mkronquist View Post
Hi Matt,
My husband and I are also discussing the possibility of cruising with our children for an extended period of time. We just booked our first charter for 10 days out of St. Martin and sail weekly on our boat here in Charleston. Someone on another thread here recommended a blog to me called windtraveler. I think the website was windtraveler.net. It's written by a cruising mom of three. I haven't read much of it yet, but I think it will be helpful.

Regarding your plan to purchase a boat in Europe and sail it here, we have discussed doing the opposite. My husband is Swedish and in Sweden boats are considerably more expensive than in the US. I'm not sure if the same is true for the rest of Europe, but it might be worth looking into.

How old are your children? I'd be interested in hearing how your plan takes shape. Do you plan on living off of savings or do you have some idea of how you would generate income? That's one of my worries. I know we don't need near as much money while cruising, but it's difficult for me to feel comfortable generating far less income than we currently do.


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Thanks for the response. I bookmarked the windtraveler site and will have my wife take a look at it. My kids are currently 7 and 9 y/o girls and a 13 y/o boy. I think our most promising window of opportunity would be when my oldest graduates high school, so another five years or so. We have two businesses as well as our house and associated "stuff" that we would need to sort out before we leave so I figure it is never too early to start planning. Our businesses are an especially touchy subject as we've developed relationships with our clients and feel a certain sense of responsibility in that regard. On the other hand, this will likely be our only opportunity to do something like this with our kids and that is something I can't turn my back on.

As far as finances, my goal is that we'll be ready to semi-retire in about five years and be in a position to live off of our savings. Although we might decide to return to work once we are done cruising, we would prefer to make that an option and not a requirement and I am aggressively pursuing that goal. At the same time I am trying to streamline and simplify our lives here to make it easier to cut the cord (we've had an uptick in trips to the dump and Goodwill lately). I figure when we are ready to go we'll have all of our debt paid off, sell our house and businesses and put much of our remaining personal items into storage. We'd possibly buy a condo or townhouse somewhere to have a place to call home when we are off the boat. We've got a lot of moving parts involved in our planning so in a way having several years to prepare is a good thing.

I have tried to think of additional ways that we could generate income while cruising but it seems to be a tough ordeal. I can't really think of anything that would generate enough income to make it worthwhile to pursue. If we thought things were going to be too close I think it would make more sense for us to work an extra six months before we leave to build up our coffers. There is a slight chance I could keep working on the boat to some degree, but my wife would not be able to.

I hope to be able to keep posting on this forum about the progression we've made in our plans. There are so many factors involved in making a decision like this. There are some days when we feel like we are ready to just walk away and go and other days that we don't know if we'll ever feel ready. I think that if we can truly commit, things will become more clear and we will then be able to focus more on moving forward. Until then I am doing what I can to at least keep us pointed in the right direction.
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Old 16-03-2015, 23:12   #6
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Re: Cruising with the family

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livia View Post
There is a new book coming out on the topic of voyaging with kids from some big name cruisers. I dont have any financial stake in the book and I dont have kids but these are the kinds of people I would want to listen to if I did.

Voyaging With Kids -A Guide to Family Life Afloat: Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson, Michael Robertson: 9781929214334: Amazon.com: Books
Thanks! That book looks like a great resource to answer many of the questions that we have. I'll definitely be buying it when it becomes available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MXer54 View Post
We are doing the same...one child full time and 3 more during summers...windtraveler.net is great. They have another boat with them at times with a child as well. You'll see it on their page. Also look at mjsailing.com for a list of a lot of blogs. Also go ahead and watch sv Delos with her on YouTube...that one got my whole family hooked on the idea.

We are buying in Florida and going to the Bahamas and Caribbean first, then possibly further...Atlantic circle??? Would love to see Europe in that fashion.

I have a pension of about 2300 net a month. That plus savings and credit lines as back up are our plans in a nutshell.
I'll add all of those blogs to our favorites as well. I would consider purchasing in the Caribbean or even Florida and then doing the Atlantic circle, but I figure if we start in the Med it is just one less passage to deal with. While I feel that I could spend the rest of my life on a boat, I don't want to burn the rest of my family out doing passages. Given that we want to see Europe, buying in the Med and following the tradewinds West just seems to make sense.

An annuity such as your pension seems like the ideal way to budget for your cruising years. Not only do you know what you are getting every month, but you will keep getting that amount presumably for the rest of your life. From what I've read that could go a long way to supporting you and your boat while you are cruising.

Thanks again for all of the replies!
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Old 17-03-2015, 01:59   #7
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Re: Cruising with the family

Windtraveler


Looks like a happy floating familly.
I have not read 100% of this blog, Just discovered it recently.
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Old 17-03-2015, 09:43   #8
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Re: Cruising with the family

Hi, Matt
We're with the same project. Me and Wife will spend 5 years the seas of the world, in this period we have 2 children. We are studying everything that can help us. In particular we indicate these blogs,
WOMEN AND CRUISING - Advice, Resources and Inspiration for Women Cruisers
Sailing Totem
http://svocelot.com/


Wanderley
SailMakai | Mears Family Adventures
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Old 17-03-2015, 10:03   #9
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Re: Cruising with the family

Claude Marie,
we have our boat in Vilaine rivier now and look for nice people to sail with. We are dutch and have one boy six years old. I ve just put a call for ideas to join other kids because for one kid only, six weeks with his parents on a yacht will be a bad experience.

kinds,

jeroen


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Windtraveler


Looks like a happy floating familly.
I have not read 100% of this blog, Just discovered it recently.
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Old 17-03-2015, 10:40   #10
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Re: Cruising with the family

In addition to windtraveler, you might also check out Sailing Totem. Their children are similar ages to your children and she is one of the authors of the book mentioned.

My husband and I have similar plans; however, our children are much younger. When I first started looking for information, I found this website helpful--http://www.womenandcruising.com/. There is great article that interviews 12 cruising families and points you towards more resources.

As far as books, she might want to check out "The Cruising Life" by Jim Trefethen and "Changing Course: A Women Guide to Choosing the Cruising Life" by Debra Cantrell. While the do not relate directly to cruising with kids, they do provide some helpful insight.

Good luck!

Laura
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Old 17-03-2015, 11:10   #11
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Re: Cruising with the family

Considering crowds in the Med: in my experience (a couple of charter cruises) the biggest crowds are there in August. This coincides with the summer holidays of the two wealthiest Lands in Germany: in Baden-Würtemberg and in Bayern, the school is off from the beginning of August till the mid September.
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Old 17-03-2015, 11:26   #12
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Re: Cruising with the family

A little list of other Family Cruising Blogs that use Sailblogs.

Kid Kruisers | SailBlogs

What you will find is that there are a LOT of others that share your same mindset.
We came back so the kids could go to normal high school, sure they like it fine, but if we could go back in time and take a vote we would all vote to not come back!
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Old 17-03-2015, 11:36   #13
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Re: Cruising with the family

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Originally Posted by jeroegro View Post
Claude Marie,
we have our boat in Vilaine rivier now and look for nice people to sail with. We are dutch and have one boy six years old. I ve just put a call for ideas to join other kids because for one kid only, six weeks with his parents on a yacht will be a bad experience.

kinds,

jeroen
So kind of you, but I won't be able to make it this year.
I would have loved to improve my (very limited) dutch met een little (beetje ?) zeeman.
Met vriendelijke groeten,
C.

@ Awaywego, 2sd mate aboard Windtraveler turned up aged two weeks old !
It just amaze me, a little one who gets sea legs (long) before he can walk.
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Old 17-03-2015, 11:43   #14
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Re: Cruising with the family

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Originally Posted by awaywego View Post
In addition to windtraveler, you might also check out Sailing Totem. Their children are similar ages to your children and she is one of the authors of the book mentioned.

My husband and I have similar plans; however, our children are much younger. When I first started looking for information, I found this website helpful--http://www.womenandcruising.com/. There is great article that interviews 12 cruising families and points you towards more resources.

As far as books, she might want to check out "The Cruising Life" by Jim Trefethen and "Changing Course: A Women Guide to Choosing the Cruising Life" by Debra Cantrell. While the do not relate directly to cruising with kids, they do provide some helpful insight.

Good luck!

Laura
Thanks Laura. I already have the Sailing Totem site bookmarked and it looks like it will provide some great insight for us. I'm getting a bunch of great information from this thread.

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Considering crowds in the Med: in my experience (a couple of charter cruises) the biggest crowds are there in August. This coincides with the summer holidays of the two wealthiest Lands in Germany: in Baden-Würtemberg and in Bayern, the school is off from the beginning of August till the mid September.
Yeah, I figured August would be the busiest, but starting a Med cruise in September would probably be much too late. While I don't mind crowds in general so much, I think my biggest concern would be being able to find a "parking spot" each day. I know during busy time in the BVIs you can get shut out of a mooring field by very early in the afternoon. Fortunately there you can usually find an alternate moorage in short order. Is it the same in the Med? Is there generally somewhere you can moor or drop the hook at all times and all placed during the summer? Or is there a good chance you would find yourself doing circles in the Med all night because you came in too late and/or didn't have a reservation in place at a marina?
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Old 17-03-2015, 11:44   #15
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Re: Cruising with the family

There is also a Women Who Sail Facebook Page.
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