Sailing & Cruising with Kids

Introduction

But the biggest factor that makes taking kids cruising and the level of success is you.

Its how you approach the issues of safety, health, education.

And it’s your OWN expectations that are going to influence your life afloat.

Cruising with kids

In my mind, there is no doubt that taking your kids for an extended cruise is beneficial on so many levels.

Kids will accept things readily and adapt. It’s your own values and actions that often bring the conflict, especially as kids get older.

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If you are the type that is constantly stressed, has a “my way or the highway” attitude or find it difficult to adapt, then cruising with older kids is going to be challenging.

Especially when it comes to what you consider to be the right way. As you know better, cos you’re an adult.

YOU’RE THE ADULT SO YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO DEAL WITH IT.

We have seen a number of cruisers with teenagers that have given up simply because they couldn’t deal with the kids “attitude”.

From where we were it was more a parent inability to just let it go. Laugh it off.

And I know it’s not always easy to be so relaxed. There is so much for you to worry about their imagined future.

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What I have learnt is that cruising kids have a pretty good grasp on what life is really like.

After all they are traveling the world by sailboat, they learn that most people are poor, by our standards, that most people don’t have the opportunities they have, that most people have to work very very hard just to get by and that the world is a really big place and to succeed takes an effort. All this while they mumble, yell and say life’s unfair and sucks. Of course not all teens are like this 🙂

Safety

kidsOnboard

Safety is a biggy. For us the biggest concern is falling overboard while underway. Setting an example is key,

If they need to wear a lifejacket outside of the cockpit at all times, so should you.

If they need a lifeline attached, so should you.

No exceptions.

Other than falling overboard, learning to swim and gaining confidence in the water is a must.

Being able to climb back onto the boat unaided

Swimming around with a fitted life-jacket is a great way to build that up, along with a knotted rope over the side.

Most other safety issues are obvious. you’re surrounded by water and often in a strange country, where language and customs are not like back home.

We have found that most places are “more” relaxed about children and they are more openly accepting of kids.

Being able to read the sea state, understanding waves, rips etc on beaches is also important as a lot of time will be spent hanging out at these places.

The “look” don’t touch Rule, which is not only good for their health but also good for the environment. Lots of pretty looking animals have parts that break off inside you, should you pick them up.

lookdonttouch

We found an essential piece of equipment was a good pair of jewellers tweezers and a freezing spray. Digging out see spines is difficult and painful without these.

Can use an ice pack but takes longer. Stainless Steel flat head and sharp nose tweezers. A sense of humour.

 

Health

SickSad

Get yourselves immunised. Lots of weird diseases.

Fortunately being on a yacht you can anchor off far enough that the worse of the mosquitos.

Although we did learn that an on-shore breeze bought the mozzies out as they knew they had an easier* time to get back to land.

So the usual cuts, grazes, sprains and broken bones.

Taking a first aid course is a good idea. Along with books that show you what to do. Have them available for the kids to look at the pictures or read.

The biggest health issue for us was infections from scrapes and ear-ache. Making our own ear drops for after swimming, a solution of alcohol, vinegar and water.

Things we have dealt with
Cuts n Grazes
Fevers
Dengue
Mozzies
Heat rash
Infections
Broken arm
Deep splinters
Food poisoning

Learn first aid. Let the kids be a part of it. Don’t make a drama about it and be prepared. And a sense of Humour

Education

This is again more about the parents than the kid

Any of the established systems, like GSCE, Calvert for younger and the various Govt’ school systems will do well, it’s up to you.

We found that our kids did well, got through the work with high grades. Sometimes a day at school would take three hours, others 8, totally depends on where we were.

Friends and the beach, snorkelling close by and school would be done in dusted in 3 hours, other days it would be getting close to “ Dinner not ready until you finished your school work” 🙂

When we started out there was not the choice of internet-based schools we have now, also the internet was not as well developed.

We used Calvert, which we found to be fantastic, truly impressed with the material that arrived and the feedback from the onshore teachers.

When they out-grew that we moved on to Wolsey Hall and the English based GSCE system.

Did they miss out on areas, possibly, chemistry labs?

Chem

But that was made up for being in places where they could see geography, physics, history, biology, maths, reading etc had direct practical experience.

Obviously, everyone has different abilities and skills. Our middle son never wrote anything down, no notes nothing. But he always did well, passed with high grades, even today he still doesn’t write notes!

Balance

Balance

Cruising is as much about the community of cruisers as the places you visit.

With kids onboard, you meet others and friendships amongst the are made instantly.

And not just within their own age group, everyone helps everyone. It was great to see my own kids look after and play with younger and also get on and be part of a much older group as well, no peer pressure.

Also, they learn to talk and work with other adults, Helping cruisers with tasks and being treated as equals is great for their personal growth.

And as you cruise you meet so many different people with totally different lifestyles, from “freedom fighters” to owners of large global companies and everyone in between.

The old saying “that it’s as much about what you know as who you know” is very true, and you do get to know a lot of interesting people.

Cruising kids seem to turn out as well balanced, rounded kids with a good sense of what’s right.

Future

You have a unique opportunity, no bubbles of peer pressure, allowing them to explore different ways to think. Listen to others.

Cruisers come in many many different shades, often shades that you would not normally have the chance to associate or hang with

Cruising with kids

How to Make Money Sailing


 

How to make money while sailing

How can I afford to go sailing, to stay out there?
Well, that is a very good question.
So if you are interested in how you can afford to sail once you have cast off the ropes that bind you to land-based living read on.
These are just my own observations on having to find a way to do just that, with a family to feed and kids to put through education without any land-based funds to fall back on.
So this Episode is not really geared towards the live-aboard in one place or area sailer, but for those who want to actively cruise away to “other “countries.
Visit remote corners and stay until their visa runs out.

And not an easy one to answer as it depends on so much.
But one of the biggest “depends on” is your comfort level in facing down the unknown.
And
What it is you do, or at least what skills you have that you can take with you.
You will learn new ones out there. But any skill takes time to develop, even more so if you need others to pay for them.
Not everyone is an artistic genius or a budding wordsmith, nor does everyone make or want to earn living off their computer/internet.
Trades are very good example of this, Artistic and Shakespearean individuals aside.
So this is not intended to be a Downer but hopefully will prepare you for a little of the realities out there and be prepared to make the most of every opportunity that comes by.
BE POSITIVE


howMuch
Food and enough money to look after the immediate needs of your boat. Also things like visa and permit costs, fuel, entertainment, repairs, insurance, fun off the boat, flights back home?
End of cruising life Planning??
Which of this stuff can you reduce or cross off? Obviously, food and bureaucratic stuff plus immediate boat needs have to stay, fuel??
The rest is up to you and your comfort levels.
A good example is an air-con on board. Incredibly nice to have but very expensive in term of maintenance and running costs. In my mind, better off to put money into a few more fans and some wind scoops, Or in our case some decent shade cloth. Same with toilets, simple marine or computing or high tech “domestic” style?
The longer you cruise the less important many things seem.
And the less stuff you have, the less you have to earn for breakages and running costs. Because “everything” breaks and waiting around for warranty replacements adds up in costs, internet, taxis, marina fees AND shore side temptations.


whereIncomeComesFromNow
So let’s start off with where we have found what other people have their money come from.
This is once you cast-off and a regular or commutable job not possible.

Broad brush strokes here
1/ Took an early retirement from the military or armed forces. We met many cruisers who had taken this option.
2/ On a pension, the silver seas crowd, a floating caravan of RVs. Often find that the pension goes further on a boat.
3/ On Sabbatical – a year or so off to sail
4/ Independent land income – all sorts here, basically either invented something, created something, or have a house/business ashore or have a large stash of money somewhere.
5/ Worked really hard, saved and now enjoying life afloat, also mixed with 2 and 4
6/ Sail a bit then leave the boat on the hard, fly out to work for a while for savings. All sort here trades, nurses, teachers,
7/ The “she’ll be right” will work things out. Also, al sort here, although tend to be younger, I wonder why 😉

Numbers 1 – 5 are people who have got their shit together.
Number 6 at least they are on their boat out there.
Number 7 is for those who dream and can’t wait for 1 – 5


moneyThinking

Cast off and Off we go!
I think we have enough savings for a year or so but I’m sure we’ll work something out after that.

So soon enough your balance is getting low and you’re starting to think “DANG” gotta do something soon.
If you are in a country that allows you to work then maybe not so hard, all sorts of options open up, what you did before or something new.

But most places you visit will not be like this, language problems, not knowing anyone, transient nature of being a cruiser and the big one – illegal working.

So what to do?
Well if you have a skill you can sell to other more well-off cruisers, refrigeration, rigging, sail or mechanical, maybe a bit, but most cruisers are pretty good at this stuff anyway.
Finding boats in need, to fund your cruising lifestyle is rare. Totally different mindset once you hit a Marina. In a marina, the mindset changes and wallets will open up.
So
Marinas cost money. —> so you need to work to pay for the marina —> to pay for the work possibility..
And the locals whose food you are taking off their table may not appreciate you, so expect a visit from immigration, or worse!
I know a lot of unpleasant stories of being caught doing work where you shouldn’t.


opportunities

The good news is there are opportunities
Internet-based incomes are possible,
Youtube (Paetron) for the very, very select few,
Writing and photography for those with the right skills and contacts.
Online sales of things that you can make e.g. jewellery
Useable skills, Electrical, refrigeration mechanical and rigging are obvious, not a regular income unless you hang out in a Marina or crowded anchorage
Opening up your boat to AirBnB or the like.
Paying crew, (not charter work). I say not charter work, or at least not illegal, that’s a fast way to lose your boat or minimum pay a hefty “fine.
Finding a niche somewhere, thinking outside the box, tapping the unique advantage of your location and being on a boat, looking at the local economy and seeing how you can fit in and help. A win-win situation.


theInternet

Discover the internet (again)!!
Ahh the answer to all our problems,.
Something you can make then sells online. Jewellery, writing, photo/video are possible, but you need this stuff sorted before you go, and not everywhere has good reliable internet or postage. And it’s really competitive.
Being cruisers without a satellite comms budget we have spent many hours of frustration sorting out how and where to find an internet connection AND keep the thing connected as you cruise to different destinations. Signal boosters, extra cables. Always within sight of a cell phone tower 🙂
And this was just for the Kids education where a few days or a week or so delay wasn’t too bad. Trying to run a business like this sounds like a stress factory. Unless you have someone onshore who can look after the daily chores that every business has.


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The biggest limit is how much you think you need, it might not be as much as you think.
Take food:
Many places are cash poor but have food to give.
Remote places have things that need fixing, electronics, generators, welding jobs.
Giving your time to help freely opens up the community.
As a cruiser, you really do have Time.
Things that can help:
Taking cheap reading glasses, this really helps
Gifts of pencils and paper., Crayons, Chalk
Fish hooks
Cruising with kids, children just about always open the doors to a community, but obviously not a long-term solution,
but man it’s amazing how many cultures will “open”’ up once they see kids onboard.


letGo

For us, it was perhaps more a #7 An “she’ll be right” or “something will turn up” or “deal with it at the time” attitude.
Possibly not the most responsible way of dealing with the issue of cruising and earning an income, especially with three boys needing food and an education.
For us we had sold everything up and bought Tiare, we had what we thought were a 2 -3 years funds to see us through before the “oh shit” moment arrived.
Our oldest son was determined to go to University, Early. So that took out the savings.

When looking for a boat I knew we were going to run out of money and we bought Tiare with this in mind as she was already set up for the budget end chartering, and I knew that this was what we were going to have to do eventually, plus if I could build a business around this it would make Tiare potentially more attractive when it was time to sell her.
But that was for a longer-term plan.
More immediately was putting food on the table and making sure our boys got a good education.
So another plan was called for, after looking at all the options (#6) decide the only thing to do was fall back on my trade as an electrician. Which I had not done for 20+ years.
Managed to find work a few jobs in a marina we were staying at, but again, tied to the dock and illegal work was always a niggle in the back of my mind.
So I flew out for a few months, which was hard. But came back with enough to cruise again. Did this for a few years, FIFO or fly in fly out work, this was good money and allowed us to put the boys through school (GSCE online) and help our oldest with the university. However, it was not a long-term solution.
Not long term because the good pay, short contracts, tends to be in the more “difficult or hostile” locations and being away from the family was difficult.

So what have we done after the money has gone?
Ashore – Worked off Tiare in a marina
Ashore – Fly In Fly Out
Ashore – Phoned up various wineries to see if they needed a cooper. One in Thailand did!
Internet- Build up the Robship brand online
Onboard – Opened up Tiare to Airbnb
Onboard – Slowly building up an inexpensive charter model
Ashore – Yacht repairs and maintenance at local marinas
One other … but that’s launching later this year <— excited about this

And very slowly growing this channel, don’t expect to make a cent but is a very good way to create a log of what has been happening and a way to develop skills.

No such thing as easy money.
Everything takes time


cantSeeBeyond1

But what about you?
Where do you put yourself
Cast off with an open mind, a smile and sail off into the unknown. Just being out there opens new possibilities, choices you couldn’t have imagined previously.
Like all leaps, it’s not easy and nearly always scary, but that is life, you arrive into an unknown future and a path that is uncharted. A future that only makes sense as you begin to understand the choices made.

BE POSITIVE AND STAY FOCUSED ON WHY YOU WENT SAILING IN THE FIRST PLACE

Episode Thirteen – Catamaran or Monohull?

 

This week I go over some of the myths and questions about Catamaran compared to Monohull sailboats. Based on my own experiences living and sailing on both.

Questions asked
1 • COST more $$$
2 • NEW KID on the block?
3 • Cant SAIL upwind
4 • Can’t handle the WEIGHT
5 • In marinas = $$$
6 • Maintenance are 2 X $$$
7 • CAPZISE!
8 • Motion … BAD
9 • Downright UGLY!
10• ARE more Comfortable

Episode 13
Cat or Mono

Are Catamarans faster?
Are Monohulls more traditional and romantic?
Are Catamarans more expensive to buy and maintain?
Are Cats nothing but a modern floating apartment block or the safest way to cross an ocean?
Can a Catamaran out sail a monohull upwind?
Self-righting, sinking or floating?
Opinions are based experience cruising/living on both a monohull when I was younger and on a catamaran with my family, as well as working on both as a tradie doing repairs for others.

I’m not talking high performance or racing boats but cruising, safe passage-making, live-aboard i.e. Cruising boats for everyday folk.
Nor am I talking about the big sparkly new ones either, although a lot of what I say covers them.

Obviously not all mono or cats(multihulls) are the same, different markets, price ranges, performance and comfort levels, and underwater profiles. But am happy to over simplify and make broad a generalisation to prove my point.

Episode Twelve – Why go Sailing?​

 

Why give away everything that we had built, for something as unstable as a sailboat? With no job and no real plan on what to do once the initial savings were exhausted.

The question why?
Is still something I think about.
At times it seems obvious, the shared experiences, stories with other cruisers, of seeing the kids mature, and in our own personal growth. But these are just the results of our decision. Not the reason why.

Even today I am still trying to understand the why?

What follows is unscripted & unintelligible.
Just like life.

Music: The question why by Sam

Living Big in a Tiny House: www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com

Episode Eleven – Engine out!

 

As usual with a Wharram catamaran this is not complicated.
With a few basic tools, a simple homemade (boatmade) tripod and one of the mainsail blocks, plus plenty of humour, it makes for an enjoyable day, well at least for me !

Taiga helps me pull out the motor and the Beast add his muscle to get the motor onto the cockpit table so I can work on her over the next month.

Main reason to pull the motors out is to install better sound insulation in the engine bays, redo the electrical cables on and around the motor and also move the instruments to a new location.

Engine is a Kubota 3 cylinder 24 Hp, marinized by Diecon and weighs around 120kg or 264lb. Enough to make it a three person job.

Also SV Freelancer drop by on their way out of Japan. Nick and Rika spent a few days here in Yuge and we introduced them to Yuge Island and of course the sun shined 🙂

Next weeks video will be a “Introduction” or “About us” type of video, not decided.

Episode Ten – Another catamaran beached!

 

This years winter projects and beaching a power catamaran.

I go over what I hope to achieve over the next four or five months aboard Tiare as I get her ready for another season in Japan.

Australian cruising friend Graham visits Yuge Island and beaches his Malcolm Tennant power catamaran for a prop clean.
Beautiful clear day with light winds along with a good tide window make it a great opportunity.

Trying to find my “style” in video. Pushing myself for weekly uploads to force myself to learn the video, editing and organisational skills needed to make this work.
I’m still treating this as a diary for myself and my kids to look back on. yes its edited, so not “real” but it is as real as it’s going to get given the public nature of it, still, I hope to show a little of who I am.

Episode Nine – To sail or to truck…

 

Decision time. Do we wait for a weather window or give up and truck her down to Osaka?

The last episode on the frustration to sail SV Freelancer, a 28 Bristol Channel Cutter out of Hokkaido and down to the warmer seas of souther Japan.

While waiting for a weather window to open I spend time around Esashi town and learn what it is like to live in a cold climate, plus experience big seas, high winds and freezing cold snow from the comfort of shore.

Next week back to normal with updates on Tiare’s overhaul and looking back on how we have managed to survive sailing and cruising with kids and dog onboard without a fixed income.

More info here on the Replica tall ship
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_frigate_Kaiyō_Maru

Episode Eight – Beaten by the weather

Waiting for the break in the weather before winter sets in and it gets too cold. The break never came.
The adventure of sailing down from Hokkaido in the top of Japan to Kagoshima at the southern tip of Kyushu wasn’t to be.
The weather beat us and ground us down. Weeks of waiting for a window that would allow us to beat the lee shore didn’t happen.
Frustrating for the owners Nick and Rika who were hoping to set off on their new life.
However as much as the frustration was at not sailing down the option to truck her down was still available.
As long as winter didn’t arrive too early and make the roads impossible for such a journey. But that is for next weeks video.

Episode Seven – Still leaving Hokkaido!

 

Seven days after leaving Hokkaido we are still in Hokkaido.
Sailed as far as Esashi, 90Nm south of our start point before the weather turned. Been stuck in port waiting for a weather window for the last week. Weather has now turned to full on winter mode with gales, snow and big seas. But it looks like we have a small break around Tuesday lunchtime.
In the meantime we rent a small car and drive around the coast checking out the small fishing ports for emergency shelter should the weather turn. Plus we head into Hakodate and check out the Pacific.

Links:
Kaiyō Maru (old ship):
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_frigate_Kaiyō_Maru
Becky Bakery:

HOME


Esashi town:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esashi,_Hokkaido_(Hiyama)

 

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Video shot and edited on my phone.
Music by Sam
What are we living for
Dust
Tip of my tongue
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This video is part of a series as I help the owner of SV Freelancer, a 28 foot Bristol Channel Cutter, sail from Hokkaido to Kagoshima in November. A trip of close to 1300nm and not at the best time of the year to do so with winter temperatures, snow and deep lows spawning in the Japan Sea.