Sailing with your Child

One day, I was on the terrace with my child and I turned around and this is the image that I saw:

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I thought to myself, am I influencing my daughter? The answer is yes, and it made me think that a blog post about sailing with a child on board might be useful, so I will share my experience with you.

My daughter is 2 years old, and ever since she was born she has sailed in our sailboat. When she was 2 months old, we sailed for the first time with her. For this trip I chose to take her in this backpack, I felt more secure and I had control on what was going on all the time.

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And when we slept, she slept with me, and always moored on the port.

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When she was 9 months old we went to Costa Brava for a week. The plan was to stay close to a port in Costa Brava, and then spend half a day in a cove nearby. We chose Port d’Aro, because it allows us to spend the hottest hours in the shadow near the trees and swimming in the pool.

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When we went out sailing, it was important that my wife was with our child 100% of the time, and I sailed the boat. When we anchored, we played in the bathtub and little by little, we got into the sea. When sailing, and also anchored, we always had the sunshade on, so that she was protected from the sun.

You can’t tell from the picture, but on top of my daughter having the safety vest on, I was wearing fins. It gives you more stability and control over your movements.

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When my daughter turned 1 year and 9 months, we felt she was much older so we went to Menorca. I sailed the boat from Barcelona to Menorca just out of precaution, and they flew directly to Menorca.

When the night arrived and it was time to go to bed, we placed a net around her so that she wouldn’t fall. As children move a lot at night, this way safe as she was protected from any internal, and external movement.

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After one or two days sailing, my daughter was more used to the boat. She was aware that she had to be with an adult all the time, and she understood the rule that you can stand up in the bathtub, but in the benches of the bathtub you are only allowed to sit down.

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Whilst sailing, (again, with the sunshade on, so we only sailed with motor on or with the Genova) the priority was controlling, and then entertaining her. The iPad is always a safe bet. We showed some cartoons, or toys that helped her enjoy sailing but still being entertained with her own things.

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Life on board is very pleasant, and  it helps you connect in a very special way…. It might be due to the fact we feel so relaxed, and the time that we devote to ourselves… and of course, the boat also helps! haha

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This year, in all of our anchorages we went inland for a while to let my daughter run and play on the beach, although she likes the time on the boat, one can tell that she really needs it.

 

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This post is also meant for parents that have some concern about sailing, and my advice is   jump and go out there! Always use the necassary cautions, and you’ll enjoy an adventure of a lifetime!

To sum up, here is the list of advice that I have for you:

  • Be more respectful that ever with the weather, don’t take silly risks.
  • Control your child at every single moment, especially avoiding that the child falls into the water, and always with the vest on. Another risky place is stairs and pointy spots. So keep your child safe at all times.
  • One person should be fully devoted to the child. If you sail with confidence on solitary you can do the trip with the two adults, but in case you need help, it’s better to bring more people on board.
  • Use sunscreen, cap, and the sunshade at all time.
  • Use the nets for the bed, it keeps your Child safe.

But above all, enjoy the ride! This picture shows how my daughter felt during our trip.

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And to answer the first question if we influence her boat drawing, we do. But for experiences like this and spending quality time with her, I believe this is a positive influence.

Let us know how if you have taken your child with you, and what has your experience been like!