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Old 22-02-2011, 17:26   #1
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Larger Family Living On Board

Hello All,

My family and I are just starting to explore the idea of leaving land and moving to the sea. We currently own a 25' Bayfieild sailboat and spend lots of time on it in the summer. We live in Northern MI, so not much sailing to be had in the winter. We have spent multiple weekends sleeping on our boat, but we are rapidly outgrowing her. We live in a smaller ranch style house. It is a 2 bedroom house, which is quickly becoming crowded. With some of the boats we have looked at, we joke that we might have more room if we moved.

Some of my questions. We will soon be a family of 7. We have 4 boys and a unknown that will be born in July of 2011. I have read many posts and blogs about families that have 2 - 3 children, but not to many that have 5. Do any of you know anyone with a larger family that is living aboard? Our three year old also has diabetes, so we will need to plan and take that into consideration. I don't see us being able to leave the USA for months at a time, but we should be able to sail to islands on short trips, as long as we are prepared with all his supplies.

Our childrens' ages are 9, 7, 5, 3 and 0 currently. We have been looking at Catamarans in the 45' - 50' range to fit everyone on board. We are hoping to make the break in 2 - 3 years. We will sell our business and hopefully be able to afford a boat outright. Where are good places to find less expensive boats? We would not mind finding one that is a fixer upper, within reason. We are a middle income family who works hard and are ready to take a break and try something new. Running your own business is quite stressful and we have had enough for a while.

Our hope is to move south and live between South and North for 6 months out of the year. Both of our families are from WI and MI, so we can't leave the north permanently, but are pretty tired of snow. Work/Job is not much of a problem for us, as I work in the computer Industry, and can always find work somewhere. We have home-schooled in the past, and would start again when we make this transition.

Any books, pointers, blogs, or websites you could share with us would be greatly appreciated as we try to learn more.

Thanks for reading this and any information you could pass on.

Matt
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Old 22-02-2011, 17:43   #2
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

welcome to the forum,as long term cruisers we sailed(65000 miles) with our kids(2) from 0- 10 years on board our 63 ft mono,we also had up to 8 paying guests,we found having a nanny was very useful,as (a) skippering and (b) child care are both full time jobs.

lots of info on the site regarding cruising with kids
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Old 22-02-2011, 18:10   #3
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

We met a family while cruising last season with 6 kids aboard a sailing Catamaran thirty something feet long. We remet them this summer in Kingston. They live aboard, travelling , home schooling. Ages range from 16 down to three. Some of the nicest kids I have ever met.
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Old 22-02-2011, 19:18   #4
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Great googly-moogly, SIX people, four of them boys under 10, overnighting on a Bayfield 25?

And people think WE'RE nuts.


Good on ya, Matt! Welcome aboard.
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Old 24-02-2011, 02:26   #5
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Last year, we met a family of 7 on a Schionning Cosmos 1320, the kids ranged from 3 to 14, they seemed to be quite happy.
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Old 24-02-2011, 05:27   #6
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Great idea! Glad to hear there's another Michigan family sane enough to try to get out of here. My wife and I have been exploring this idea for the past five years and are about to head out in July. We even made a couple of crew along the way, though it will be some years before they can stand watch. Raising some boat kids was actually one of the main reasons we decided to go. Boat kids are the most well-adjusted, confident and cool kids I've ever met, and, in my opinion, you couldn't do anything better for your kids than raise them on a boat.
I agree that you should have no problem living aboard if you can get four boys and a pregnant woman in a 25' overnight.
I'm not sure you would have to stay tied to the US because of your son's diabetes. There are diabetics and the supplies they need in most countries I would imagine. I suspect they might be cheaper other places too. You'll just have to make sure you have really reliable refrigeration
It's hard to find cruising cats around here and hard to find cheap ones anywhere but you might look at Wharram catamarans. You can build one if you have the time and skills but sometimes they can be bought cheaper than the production cats. My 36' was actually given to me after I asked about it in a boat-yard.
There's a great article about kids on board on the women and cruising website called Twelve Questions to Twelve Sailing Families.
Welcome to The Dream. I'm happy to pass on any info I've accumulated. I'll even take you for a sail on a Wharram when it warms up if you're near Traverse City.
Brian
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Old 27-02-2011, 18:28   #7
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Thanks all for the wonderful advice. My family and I are really excited about this and looking forward to making the move down the road. Still have quite a bit to learn, but glad to know we are not completely crazy and it can be done!

Thanks
Matt
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Old 27-02-2011, 18:58   #8
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Hi and congrats!

I think a family of 7 will fit nicely into a mid-size cat. Some cats have 4 separate cabin layout, so you can pack the kids nicely and still have a cabin for you and you partner. (BTW mind the one 'spare' berth ...)

And then there is the living room of the bridgedeck.

Good luck and happy cruising,
b.
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Old 27-02-2011, 20:30   #9
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyOf7 View Post
Thanks all for the wonderful advice. My family and I are really excited about this and looking forward to making the move down the road. Still have quite a bit to learn, but glad to know we are not completely crazy and it can be done!

Thanks
Matt
We have four kids of similar ages (4-9), a fifth due in a couple months, and live aboard a 48' catamaran. It can be done. We might be crazy, though.

www.taketwosailing.com
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Old 27-02-2011, 23:02   #10
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayH View Post
We have four kids of similar ages (4-9), a fifth due in a couple months, and live aboard a 48' catamaran. It can be done. We might be crazy, though.

www.taketwosailing.com
Nothing crazy about that. What design cat is it?
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Old 01-03-2011, 19:31   #11
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Hi Matt,
We were a family of 7 living aboard a Roberts 53 and do not regret the experience at all. One word to describe the change in our children - "Resourceful".
Life was a blur and the older three moved off as soon as they started university or work. We then had a large boat and small crew as the next two were born 6 years later than no. 3 child. This led to difficulty coordinating all the family to sail together.
A 53ft vessel is lot of boat for 2 people to handle and supervise children. By this I mean big sails, no autohelm, big maintenance, lot more expense compared to smaller vessel.

Now I know we all probably don't keep track of expenses for our boats, because it is scary to face the truth. On the second best day of our life, when we sold her, I estimate we were $120K poorer. The other thing is larger boats scare a lot of people and so you pool of potential buyers in the future is smaller.

We are now looking for a smaller vessel around 35 ft to sail for part of the year before returning to the family home to build up the cruising kitty and refurbish the vessel. This also gives us the option for squeezing in all seven of us for the occasional weekend away.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-03-2011, 22:32   #12
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

What sort of range cruising did you do with your kids on board Hotboy?
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Old 02-03-2011, 13:20   #13
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

As our proficiency and familiarity with the vessel increased so did the age of our children. As they neared senior years at high school we were limited to coastal sailing on the Queensland and New South Wales coast. Our time away was limited to how far you could go and return in the school holidays, although we did head off for three months. So our range was mostly up around the Great Barrier Reef and back.

On a slightly different tangent when we sold the vessel my then 16 year old son skippered the ship to Newcastle, NSW with the new owner. Looking back I would have liked to have made longer and more adventurous voyages, yet to see a young lad develop the confidence and competence to skipper a vessel is priceless.
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Old 02-03-2011, 13:31   #14
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

Family of 7 ..... I cannot speak to your issue in that I have not cruised with small children. However, I think you have a wonderful idea. I have friends who have undertaken similar adventures with their children and they are close families with well-behaved, kind, considerate, resourceful children.

I just want to wish you good luck and suggest to you that there may be a book in this. Or who knows .... instead of a disfunctional TV show about a couple with eight children, maybe a really great show about a sailing family of seven.

Blessings!
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Old 02-03-2011, 13:43   #15
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Re: Larger Family Living On Board

About a year and a half ago a family of 7 from Canada bought a 42 FP cat. They had previously had a 47 foot Monohull. The kids ranged from about 4-12. Great kids by the way. The kids were extremely happy about getting the cat as the older kids now got their own cabins. The lady was a nurse and her husband a dentist and they spent 9 months a year providing care to the poor in the DR. They lived aboard while there and in route. Kids were home schooled. It seemed to work fine for them.
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