Our Crazy Family Sailing Adventure – The Plan
We’ve been joking about buying a boat, filling it fun of gin and sailing around the world for years, even before our kids were born. It was such a ridiculous dream that neither of us actually meant it. So guess what we’re going to do next….. We don’t have a boat and we don’t know how to sail but our family sailing adventure is turning from a dream into a plan!
While we were backpacking in Asia we talked a lot about our “next adventure”. What shall we do next? Where shall we go? Should we live in a different country? Should we all take up a different hobby or sport? Could we set up our own business? How long do we have before Sam and Evan need to make decisions about college, careers and life? We had such an incredible year that we couldn’t imagine not doing it again.
The subject of buying a boat, filling it full of gin and sailing around the world cropped up time and time again. We fantasised about what sort of sailing boat we would get, where we would go and even what we would call it.
“Adventure Inn”, in case you’re wondering.
I remember spotting a beautiful sailing boat in Ko Lanta, Thailand, anchored in the bay of the Old Town. I thought “Oooh! There she is. There’s Adventure Inn”. Without prompting, Dez asked me later with a smile “Did you see Adventure Inn anchored in the bay?”.
And so the ridiculous, far-fetched dream of buying a boat and sailing around the world just became more and more real in our heads. But it was still only a dream. One day maybe?
Since returning from travelling for a year with the boys, we haven’t really settled in. The boys are not enjoying school. I hate seeing them so miserable. Dez has been working away in Sweden for four days every week. This was our biggest mistake, I think. We thought we would adjust to not being together as a family. We can cope with anything, right? Well, apparently not. Some families cope well with being apart all week. Some even thrive on it. But we don’t. That’s clear now. I actually quite enjoy my job, but I miss the boys and I miss Dez.
Something has to change.
Another problem is that none of us have ever sailed a boat before. The closest we have been to sailing was our one and only family sailing adventure in Sri Lanka, riding on a traditional wooden fishing boat. It wasn’t really sailing but we all loved the feeling of being on the water. Click here to read Evan’s traditional sailing boat adventure Smug Monday post. Click here to see a cheesy video with an awesome soundtrack!
Dez has finished his job in Sweden and is now working in London. We are yet to see if that is any better. But at least he’s coming home every night.
But the biggest change is that we have made a decision. We have a plan. It’s a bit mad and we don’t know how we are going to fund it yet. But we are going to make our dream into a reality.
We are going to buy a boat and sail around the world on a crazy family sailing adventure!
Ok, so circumnavigation may be a dream too far. Time and money may restrict our options for that. But we plan to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and, hopefully, South America. So at least a bit of the world. And then? Who knows??
The boat won’t be FULL of gin, exactly, but I think we can fit a bottle or two on board. It would be rude not to.
How far have we got with our family sailing adventure plan?
We have done lots of research on the sort of boat we want and what we can afford. It’s more complicated than you’d think, you know. It seems that there is no such thing as the perfect boat, particularly on our budget. Do we buy a home that sails or a sailing boat with accommodation? Compromises have to be made. But where? We have viewed lots of boats for sale, in an attempt to learn more. The list of sailing boat options is slowly narrowing. We haven’t found “Adventure Inn” yet but she’s out there somewhere and we’re closing in.
Click here to read our Idiot’s Guide to Choosing a Family Sailing Boat, and find out how it went.
Dez and I have spent two excellent weekends in force 8 gales in the Solent, learning how to be RYA Competent Crew. This is very different to being on a wooden sailing boat in Sri Lanka. So much to learn.
Just being on different sailing boats, sleeping and cooking, helped us to narrow down our liveaboard sailing boat requirements. We’re not strangers to living in confined places. For the first nine years of our kids’ lives, our holidays involved either a tent or a very small campervan. We’re also not strangers to boats, having spent a fair amount of time on smelly, cramped British dive boats. However, we hadn’t considered living on one for a year or so. This is completely different.
Of course the boys might not like sailing, or living on a boat. Evan might be horrifically sea sick. They might both have an irrational fear of clove hitches. So we have just come back from our first proper family sailing adventure, living aboard a 40 foot sailing boat in the Canary Islands, with an RYA instructor. Well, you didn’t think we’d risk them having their first taste of sailing in miserable weather in the Solent, did you?
We had an amazing week sailing between Tenerife and La Gomera. Sam and Evan are now qualified RYA Competent Crew. Dez and I are now officially RYA Day Skippers. A family of sailors ready for a family sailing adventure…sort of…
And most importantly, the boys loved it!
What else? We’ve watched lots and lots of awesome Youtube videos from crazy people currently sailing around the world. Check out SV Delos and Sailing Zatara, our current faves. We have bought a pair of sailing gloves each. Well, we’ve got to start somewhere. Evan has purchased a beanie hat with ‘Cabin Boy’ written on the front. Oh, and Dez has started practising drinking G&T. Because that’s what sailors do. Really, it is.
Our rough plan is to cross the Atlantic around Christmas time, 2018, so now we have a year to do, well, everything else. We need to buy a boat. We need to get much, much more sailing experience. Our RYA Day Skipper qualification gives us a basic understanding of sailing but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have things to buy, things to sell, things to rent out, money to earn and save. We have so much more to learn and lots of difficult decisions to make.
Packing up our lives to go backpacking for a year was hard work. This time we don’t have a return date.
We are incredibly excited about the journey ahead!
Come and join us! It will be a blast!
What’s your dream? Living and travelling on a sailing boat isn’t for everyone. We’re not even sure it’s for us yet! What’s the one big adventure you dream of? Tell us in the comments below. Always looking for new ideas!
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