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Old 06-10-2018, 22:44   #1
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Where are all the kid boats?

We hope to set off in about three years time on an open ended cruise, starting from Scotland and heading somewhere a bit warmer and sunnier! Currently a family of three (could be one more by then) and of prime importance is to meet up with other sailing families.
I think I'm quite aware of the usual options- Algarve/Gib, Med, Canaries, Atlantic circuit, and in my dreams pushing on further and into the Pacific.
We have no set timetable, but want our boy (who will be 5 or 6) to have a good time. One of my main concerns is that he could find it a bit lonely. I have the impression that the Med, for example, is full of retired Brits. Maybe that's completely wrong of course!

So, based on the need to hang out with other family boats, what cruising areas should we be looking at?
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Old 06-10-2018, 23:08   #2
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

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We hope to set off in about three years time on an open ended cruise, starting from Scotland and heading somewhere a bit warmer and sunnier! Currently a family of three (could be one more by then) and of prime importance is to meet up with other sailing families.
I think I'm quite aware of the usual options- Algarve/Gib, Med, Canaries, Atlantic circuit, and in my dreams pushing on further and into the Pacific.
We have no set timetable, but want our boy (who will be 5 or 6) to have a good time. One of my main concerns is that he could find it a bit lonely. I have the impression that the Med, for example, is full of retired Brits. Maybe that's completely wrong of course!

So, based on the need to hang out with other family boats, what cruising areas should we be looking at?
I can understand your dream for your children, yet being a parent I can advise you with experience. First, the oceans are not filled with "sailing families". You are dreaming. Maybe once in a while you will come across one. If you take children out on the ocean for a "multi-year / no timetable" dream life, this is what you will soon hear:

1) "When are we going home?"
2) "I miss my friends, and climbing trees."
3) "Dad, all we do is look at water every day. Will this ever end?"
4) "Why are you and mommy always taking home videos of us on this boat? What's that Patreon account? Shouldn't you be working?"
5) "I'm tired of swimming." (with tears)
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Old 07-10-2018, 00:18   #3
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

Port Clyde, that sure ain't what we have seen in our cruising life. The 'cruising kids' that we have met have been happy, mature for age, enjoying the life and a delight to be around. The whiny little buggers that you propose as a model may exist, but we've not encountered them as yet.

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Old 07-10-2018, 00:19   #4
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

Hi, there, SY Kelpie,

Actually cruising, there are not many people with young kids. I suppose the reason is that really sailing all the time (like crossing an ocean) is hard work, where there are only two adults for watch standing, yet the kids need learning, and care taking. You will meet people with children in all the countries foreign to you that you visit. The kids will learn their languages. As they become more competent, you will help them learn about watchkeeping, fishing, helping clean, cook, and all the activities of daily life. I never met an unhappy cruising child. They benefit by gaining self esteem from learning things that are meaningful in the real world, not the world of smart phones and computer games.

It is true, they may miss their friends, but come to the Pacific, and the other kids will show them how to climb palm trees. I don't think you will hear "when are we going home?", but you might hear, "when can we have ice cream?" and the answer to that one is "when we get to x," wherever the next port is. You might get an "Okay, Dad, since we're becalmed, can I go for a swim?" You might hear, "which lure is best for mahimahi?" I haven't yet met a kid who was "tired of swimming."


Now, as to where to go..... I think that really depends on you and your partner, where do you want to go? What do you want your kids to learn about Europe or the rest of the world? I hope you can trust this old sea witch, but I'm sure, like dead certain, your kids will meet with and play with kids at all your destinations. You may need to help them process some of the data they pick up, but they will be happy if you and your partner are.

Ann
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:22   #5
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

We just had a great time in Vanuatu with 3 other kidboats, we are from NZ and the others were all Australian. Firm friendships were made and as the season is ending we are all missing our new friends already. The Kids4sail Facebook group has a location roll each month which is pretty useful for seeing who’s out there. Have fun, you won’t regret it!
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:00   #6
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

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Port Clyde, that sure ain't what we have seen in our cruising life. The 'cruising kids' that we have met have been happy, mature for age, enjoying the life and a delight to be around. The whiny little buggers that you propose as a model may exist, but we've not encountered them as yet.

Jim
Jim, from my experience, there aren't any magical Disneyland Edens out there filled with "sailing families", all meeting as a community every day and having BBQs and "kids game nights". That's on ... LAND. What I basically meant, and as Cate cogently pointed out, "Actually cruising, there are not many people with young kids." So there you have it. The OP is imagining some ocean dream spot that doesn't exist.

Is it good for children to go out sailing (cruising), and learn the ocean, tides, waves, swimming, fishing, skipping rocks, dolphins, etc? You bet! It's great for them ... for 3 weeks, or maybe 1 month during a summer. Full time, day after day, year after year? Good luck! The kids will soon go nuts, and then complain and cry and drive mommy and daddy nuts. There are only so many ice creams they can eat.

Home schooling? OK, that's not outside reality. But what about lasting friendships, dating, a desire to join a rock band, trying out for the basketball team? Etc, etc, etc. Good luck! If the OP meets other boats with sailing families, those families will soon be sailing away ... in a day, or in a week.

Kids on a boat on the ocean. My experience? Give it 1 month, 3 months tops. It's a great summer vacation. If a multi-year "boat life" is forced, the children will never want to see a boat again once they turn 18 and "fly the nest", getting away back to land.

Still not convinced? OK. Then there's toys, healthcare, blah blah blah ... the list is long. I know. I've been a child, and a parent. Both on boats on the ocean.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:13   #7
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

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Still not convinced? OK.
For once you are right: I'm not convinced!

We know a number of adults who were boat kids. NONE of them regret it or harbour resentment about their childhood. I think you have got it wrong, and you are welcome to your opinion. I hate to see you dimming the hopes of folks who want to give it ago.

There are more important aspects of life for youngsters than joining a basketball team or hanging out on the corner with the druggies, and the cruising life offers great opportunities to them.

Jim
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:30   #8
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

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For once you are right: I'm not convinced!

We know a number of adults who were boat kids. NONE of them regret it or harbour resentment about their childhood. I think you have got it wrong, and you are welcome to your opinion. I hate to see you dimming the hopes of folks who want to give it ago.

There are more important aspects of life for youngsters than joining a basketball team or hanging out on the corner with the druggies, and the cruising life offers great opportunities to them.

Jim
Is that the voice of experience? Your own personal history? Did you sail with children for years?

I suppose the OP needs to be more clear. Is it full time sailing, or is it living full time at a marina?

If it's the latter, then that can done anywhere. Easy. Pick a country, and go. The house will be small. Most children enjoy learning to ride bicycles, playing basketball, joining the school sports teams, dating, meeting friends at the pizza shop to play video games, joining an orchestra or a rock band, etc. Not all hang at the corner with the local "druggies".

If it's the former, the whole family will go nuts after 6 months, 1 year tops. Anger, tears, and probably a "divorce court" thrown in for good measure.

Roll the dice, see what happens.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:54   #9
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

It is not that there are not challenges to meet, but that cruising can be really good for the families that do it. It may not be, possibly, but it truly can be.

If someone writes negatively about family cruising, one must ask oneself what is their personal agenda? and does it apply to our family?

Ann
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:14   #10
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

Wow. Didn't mean to kick off a big debate about this.
OK some background. I'm a former primary teacher so feel pretty confident on the home schooling aspect. I'm also excited about the benefits of using the world as a classroom, rather than the conventional upbringing.
Timescale is pretty much open ended. If the kid(s) are fed up, we come home, no question there. We will still own our house and I work in an industry where I expect to pick up a new job within a few months of returning.
Assuming we don't come scuttling back after just a few months, then my expectation is that I would want to be back ashore for the kids' secondary school and teenage years. I do agree with PortClyde that things like school orchestra, being in a band, having a stable group of friends, are important at that age.
So we're looking at a window of up to maybe eight years in which to do this. I won't consider it a failure if we only cruise for three or four. Failure would be obstinately sticking to the dream despite it no longer being what was best for the family.

I have met people who have done Atlantic circuits as children themselves, and have been reassured that there are certainly kid boats about in the Carribbean. Maybe not so many Brits but plenty of French, US, and Australians.

The dream is to stay on the move as much as possible- if we wanted to stay in one place, well we already have a house, jobs, etc, in a pretty nice part of the world. I think the challenge is going to be staying in touch with other cruising families.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:53   #11
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Where are all the kid boats?

I would say a couple of things, not from cruising experience but just from watching a lot of homeschooled kids.
IF you really homeschool them then itís fine, many, many people donít really home school, they just take their kids out of school. Homeschooling is a PIA, takes hours every day and has to be closely monitored or the kid wonít.
Then if as you say you have them back to merge with Society for a few years before they are College / working age, everything will be fine.
However if you keep them essentially isolated until adult hood, then itís likely they may not ever really integrate into society, which isnít in itself bad, just know they will likely be different.

I donít get any of this from boats, just from having a child myself that had social issues and didnít do well in regular society, so I saw many homeschooled children, on land of course, but I donít think the Boat part makes much difference.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:13   #12
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

Well since we're covering all aspects of this and not answering the question.
I was raised on a 32ft sailboat until I was 8, my brother 7. We then moved to land in Canada, neither english or french is our first language. I took the new stuff really well, my brother not so much. So i think it depends on the person, you can't say a kid was homeschooled and they'll turn into an outcast. Even so, if you use career and income as a metric he's more successful than me.
The experience of growing up on the ocean is amazing and i still cherish the memories and dream of returning one day with my young family. Look I'm on a cruiserforums posting lol.
You'll be doing your children a disservice by not taking them to sea.
To sort of answer your question we grew up and met other boat kids from Brazil to Florida.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:11   #13
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

Lots & lots of kid boats in the Caribbean.... Grenada even had a kids net during cane season
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:12   #14
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

Please reach out to Sailing Totum! They raised 3 kids on their boat and are still going. And from what I can see the kids are pretty exceptional and have been going 11 or 12 years now! You can find them on you-tube or facebook or maybe here. I wish I had raised my kids that way. What a gift!
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:31   #15
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Re: Where are all the kid boats?

When I was in Tahiti a couple came thru on a boat they had built themselves. They had a 7 or 8 year old. The father had been taken thru the South Pacific when he was 6 years old and had wonderful memories and was doing the same thing for his son. I dont remember the folks name but Casey was a delight. There were enough family boats that came thru that seemed to hang together and have a great time. GO FOR IT. Just my 2 cents worth. Grant.
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