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Old 12-08-2015, 09:31   #1
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Sailing with Kids

Hi all!

We're sailing in the PNW with our 13 month old. It's taken us a while to figure things out, but it's going pretty well except for nap time while sailing (any advice welcome).

I was just interviewed by Family Adventure Podcast about how to learn to sail. It was great fun and I highly recommend Erik's podcast to anybody who likes to have adventures with their families.

I also just released an article about sailing with kids. I'd love feedback from those of you with more experience than I have.
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Old 12-08-2015, 09:41   #2
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Re: Sailing with Kids

I also sail with my 13 month old. For nap time mom and baby head to the V-birth while I sail. We try to avoid docking or complex maneuvers during nap time.

My sailing in general is much much more conservative then it was, say 22 months ago.

One tip is a boat with a deep centre cockpit allows for a relatively protected play area on deck while underway.

Another tip- don't plan on passages over 6 hours in length. I know, easier said than done.

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Old 12-08-2015, 12:02   #3
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Re: Sailing with Kids

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I also sail with my 13 month old. For nap time mom and baby head to the V-birth while I sail. We try to avoid docking or complex maneuvers during nap time.

My sailing in general is much much more conservative then it was, say 22 months ago.

One tip is a boat with a deep centre cockpit allows for a relatively protected play area on deck while underway.

Another tip- don't plan on passages over 6 hours in length. I know, easier said than done.

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Yeah, so far what's worked best is him lying down with mom or her wearing him in a front carrier. I'd like to be able to put him in a berth, but we haven't worked out a good way to do that. He has a little tent for napping in that we can tie down, but there's still a lot of room to slide around as we tack and pound.

We tried to beat for 10 hours a couple weeks ago. Broke off halfway there and found an alternate destination. Not a good plan!

I did have a really cool naptime experience a few weeks ago, though. They were both asleep on a bench in the cockpit and I was sailing in light wind. The wind shut off about a quarter mile from the anchorage and would just show up for 10 minutes at a time.

Instead of starting the motor, I tried to work those little bits of wind or drifted aimlessly in the sun. It was great fun to alternate between challenging myself in light wind and drifting while watching them sleep.
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Old 12-08-2015, 13:02   #4
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Re: Sailing with Kids

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
Yeah, so far what's worked best is him lying down with mom or her wearing him in a front carrier. I'd like to be able to put him in a berth, but we haven't worked out a good way to do that. He has a little tent for napping in that we can tie down, but there's still a lot of room to slide around as we tack and pound.

We tried to beat for 10 hours a couple weeks ago. Broke off halfway there and found an alternate destination. Not a good plan!

I did have a really cool naptime experience a few weeks ago, though. They were both asleep on a bench in the cockpit and I was sailing in light wind. The wind shut off about a quarter mile from the anchorage and would just show up for 10 minutes at a time.

Instead of starting the motor, I tried to work those little bits of wind or drifted aimlessly in the sun. It was great fun to alternate between challenging myself in light wind and drifting while watching them sleep.
We got our Catalina 30 when my son was about 15 months old (He turned two last month). We mainly daysail without heading towards any specific destination. Obviously, the junior crew mandates stricter criteria for what is considered favorable weather but we have the flexibility to pick points of sail that get us to and from our marina with minimal discomfort.

For naps, we usually bring a pack-n-play which fits perfectly in our saloon between the L-shaped settee and forward bulkhead. Was planning to cut a couple of 2x4's to wedge between starboard settee and pack-n-play to keep it secure on port tack but never got around to it or really needed them. At nap time, we put Jr. down and close off the cabin, if cool enough, or at least enough to be out of his sight. We have found that we like to heave-to aid in a successful nap as well as to give us some peaceful, relaxing adult downtime on deck.

When awake and above deck, Jr. has on a lifejacket, tethered harness, or both, at all times depending on situation. Our rule that one adult on board is dedicated to minding Jr. at all times. We ideally like at least a third adult on board with us but our boat is very manageable if just the two of us. In a situation when the boat needs the attention of both adults, Jr. is either tethered to helm in cockpit within arms reach, or put in pack-n-play down below until situation passes.

#2 is due next month so the whole system is out the window (porthole).
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Old 12-08-2015, 13:13   #5
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Re: Sailing with Kids

Second vote for pack and play. We used it for our twins when they were young ( now 10, time goes quickly).
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Old 12-08-2015, 13:51   #6
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Re: Sailing with Kids

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Second vote for pack and play. We used it for our twins when they were young ( now 10, time goes quickly).
Hmm... We haven't used on in a while so had sort of forgotten about this option. How do you keep junior from rolling around as you tack? Do you use pillows on either side?
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Old 12-08-2015, 21:47   #7
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Re: Sailing with Kids

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Hmm... We haven't used on in a while so had sort of forgotten about this option. How do you keep junior from rolling around as you tack? Do you use pillows on either side?

For us, at least so far, we would either heave-to and relax in cockpit or the wind was calm enough that heeling was nominal.


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Old 12-08-2015, 23:13   #8
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Re: Sailing with Kids

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For us, at least so far, we would either heave-to and relax in cockpit or the wind was calm enough that heeling was nominal.


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That's part of our issue. We're trying to get places. Heaving to for a couple hours isn't really on our radar. Maybe it should be!
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Old 23-08-2015, 08:04   #9
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Re: Sailing with Kids

We cruise Mexico. Did our first 6 months with a 2 year old last winter. We're heading back to the boat in October to continue the cruise. We have a lee cloth in the V Berth for our 2 year old. When he's in his bunk there's not much room for him to roll around. We didn't prop him up with pillows or anything, he just sleeps on his back or belly. Lots of times he rolls right up against the mesh lee cloth.

I wouldn't do a pack and play on the boat because it could slide and tip at the most inopportune time. Something more permanent like a lee cloth would be safer and also usable by other crew or when the child is older.

V Berth Lee Cloth for a baby or toddler on AboardAstraea

Just knowing he's in his safe spot we can do whatever we need to do with the boat whether he's awake or asleep. We also have a fisher price booster seat that's attached to our salon seat so he's also secure during mealtime.
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Old 23-08-2015, 08:17   #10
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Re: Sailing with Kids

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
Hi all!

We're sailing in the PNW with our 13 month old. It's taken us a while to figure things out, but it's going pretty well except for nap time while sailing (any advice welcome). ........................................
......................
We took inspiration from a friend who diminishes his risk after strong drink by sleeping on the floor. We call it "Paul's Law" - You can't fall off the floor. Our infants slept in baskets on the floor while we were underway with them.

Some years later, when our son was old enough to argue against the need to nap, we assured him that he would be allowed to quit the nap as soon as he went to sleep. Amazingly, this worked!
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