Sailing around the world, kids on board, having the time of your life. Really? One who certainly knows is amazing Dini Martinez, s/v Happy Dancer. Enjoy her wonderful, inspiring and encouraging article.
We’ve been living aboard Happy Dancer, our Moody 425 centre cockpit sturdy sailing boat for over eight months now. We, that’s me, a 30 year old yogini from down under, a 34 year old Argentinean accountant aka Papa, and our 3.5 and 1.5 year old sons. The youngest one was a mere three months old when we sold all our belongings in Sydney and left Australia to sail through and from the Mediterranean Sea.
Sailing with kids – too dangerous?
Some folks ask questions on our blog and in real life if it’s not dangerous with the kids on board. To be honest, we feel a lot safer alone at sea on our strongly built and well renowned blue water cruiser than at 100 plus miles per hour on any normal highway. More so than on the roads here in Malta where traffic is a constant and continuous ridiculous mayhem. When thinking about the supposed dangers we live in, most people think of big storms or kids falling over board.
What about storms?
As to the big storms, with modern weather forecasting, sufficient knowledge to understand and interpret it as well as local weather phenomenon and a dose of caution avoiding them is no rocket science. Different were the days of Bernard Moitessier and some others of the truly grant sailors. Additionally we took a conscious decision not to buy a light coastal cruiser, but invested in a strong and sturdy well reputed vessel instead.
Safety for the kids while sailing
When it comes to kids falling overboard, each cruising family has their own rules. For us, this means the kids wear their life jackets AND are harnessed to the boat anytime they are on deck when under way. We have long jack lines which allow them to move from the bow to the stern even when tethered to. When at anchor or in port, we make sure one of us is on deck when they are upstairs. On top of that, netting around the railing was one of the very first things we fitted after buying Happy Dancer. Probably one of the best upgrades we undertook.
The joys, the fun of sailing and cruising with kids
Now that the doubts are dealt with, to the joys of cruising with kids. It is not despite having children that we went cruising, but, amongst other, because of them. What is there more beautiful to share with your dearest ones than the wonders of this planet and its people? We couldn’t find a better answer than going cruising together.
Moreover, our boys get plenty of mummy and daddy time which – albeit crucial in their development according to many psychology and child development books (and common sense!) – unfortunately has become a very rare luxury in modern day living. When we finish breakfast and a bit of intuitive child-led home-schooling, Noah and Gael generally ask ‘to go exploring’, rather than for a playground or similar things. Such is the world they live in.
What does a normal day look like?
Every day is an adventure. And what does a typical day look like? Reality is, that no day looks like any other in this life and there’s a big difference between wintering and actively cruising during the summer months or even passage making. But for the sake of giving an overview, a typical day would look something like this.
And no, we are not the only crazy ones out there sailing the wold with their kids as crew. If you want to know more about the subject, don’t hesitate to voyage through our blog and/or drop us a line in comments, emails, twitter or Pinterest. If you want to read more about other cruising families, these twelve interviews with twelve beautiful cruising families (past and present) is a wonderful place to read on.
May you also come to live the life that you dream of and share what you deem worth living for with your loved ones, whether it’s cruising on land or at sea, near or far.