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Sailing with a toddler

12 replies

sailorgirl · 30/03/2004 14:03

My parents have invited my husband and I (plus son aged 2 and a half) to sail with them from Majorca to Ibiza this summer. The voyage will be an overnighter - probably 20 hours or so. I'm keen; my husband thinks it could be a disaster.
It's a 38ft yacht with plenty of sleeping space. Son has spent days sailing in the Med en famille, and in the Solent since aged eight months but never such a long stretch. Would we be mad to attempt it?

OP posts:

bobsmum · 30/03/2004 14:09

Is it a safety issue or the lack of running around space that's worrying you? Presumably if you've sailed with your son before then you've got all the safety gear already? If not then I would invest in whatever you need and even the stuff you think you won't. Have you got the netting stuff which blocks off railings etc? Is there anyway you could create a safe cordoned off area for him to run free without feeling like he's in a playpen? Travel stairgates?


Chas27 · 30/03/2004 14:12

Hi sailorgirl. The trip sounds very exciting and a real opportunity for you all, esp. your son. I have done a little bit of sailing, and last summerwe took my dd on the solent when she was weeks old, just for the odd day. It was fine, mainly because I had no responsibilities except looking after her. If it were me, I would dedicate someone to looking after your son i.e. not be included in watches etc. With 3 other people around to do the rest of the work, it should be bliss!!


pollingfold · 30/03/2004 14:26

Sailor girl

Can I ask you (and anyone else with experience of this) a question, how did you manage to go sailing with your DS. My DH is desperate for us to go on on a sailing holiday. I have no sailing experience (DH is a qualified sailing instructor) with DS 16 months and bump on way.

How do you keep them on the boat? - do they get bored since confined to deck space only.


lailag · 30/03/2004 14:30

my brother used to go sailing for couple of weeks with his family from when they were babies (oldest now 19 y old). Not sure what safety measurements they had. Will ask him when I am in contact to him (not very often).


bobsmum · 30/03/2004 14:34

I was trying to be all useful and post some safety equipment fro children on boats - but I found this instead. Will keep trying


bobsmum · 30/03/2004 14:39

Ok - more sensible now - here's the account of a family with an 18 mth old who went cruising for several months - cruising with children


justiner · 30/03/2004 14:43

Thought I'd post this from a mumsnet online chat that Libby Purves did with us... here's what she had to say on the subject of sailing with toddlers:

Lil: Libby, as a sailor, can you give me your advice on whether it really is possible to go sailing with a 1 year old toddler. People tell me stories of babies hanging from the boom, apparently without sea-sickness. What are your experiences, and do you suggest any kit that we should buy?

Libby: One year old is the WORST time. Fine with basket-babies, fine once they're curious chatty toddlers (about 3 upwards). If you go sailing with really little ones you HAVE to make the days short and work round them; which can rather spoil the cruise for the adults.
However, it can be done. Good kit: get a strong plastic chair and fix it with lanyards to dedicated cleats, both in the cockpit and below, so that the baby ALWAYS has a safe place to be put in, padded with a harness, if there's an emergency on deck. Also make sure the bunk is safe and that the baby can NOT crawl out and explore while you are asleep. And get lots of those awful stick-on wobbly globes, and put them all over the boat for infant to bash. We did this and people used to peer in thinking they were state of the art navigation equipment!


sailorgirl · 30/03/2004 15:46

To Pollingfold: if your husband is a sailing expert, I would have no hesitation in taking child on board. Really the only problem we have ever found is when you both have to be busy on deck. We've just popped (howling) child down below and secured the hatch so he couldn't climb out and got on with it. You have to be prepared for quite a LOT of howling, however!
I'm only worried for our Majorca/Ibiza trip really in case we are held up in port and get stuck on board trying to entertain restless smallperson for several days on end.

OP posts:

miranda2 · 31/03/2004 09:37

I've got friends with 3 kids who are buying a yacht this summer having done lots of sailing. They have a rule that EVERYONE on the boat (mum, dad and guests included) is permanently attached with a line to the safety line that runs round the edge, so if you do fall over you just dangle. NO EXCEPTIONS EVER (you only de-cleat when you're halfway down the stairs below). That way the little ones are safe and can see its not just them so not worth having a tantrum about, and you don't have to panic even in an emergency cos you know they're not going anywhere. They all seem to enjoy it!


lailag · 01/04/2004 12:08

Not very helpful but had a short email from my brother. Most important safety tip was always have safety vest on, also "ashore" (thought that was obvious but am not a expert/fan of sailing...).
He always enjoyed it "despite" 4 children and only 2 adults...


sailorgirl · 01/04/2004 15:51

Thanks all. We've decided we're going to go for it. Even if son is a nightmare, it's only a short passage and I can hold him on my knee (or his grandma can!) all that time if necessary). Thanks for all the input!

OP posts:

pollingfold · 05/04/2004 10:31

Thanks all for your posts, my husband will be pleased, although I think I will have to get over my sea sickness !!

Happy sailing sailor girl

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