Cruising with Kids

Girl Overboard

Author Ann Lee Miller shares an excerpt from her memoir, Boat Daze, due out in 2016 about growing up on a yawl.

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Girl overboard! – Photo by Kristianne Koch

I stood on the bowsprit as we sailed Biscayne Bay.

The wind swept the swelter of the sun from my skin.

A bucket of Noon rain had dumped and now steamed up from the decks of the Annie Lee, taking my troubles—real and imagined—with it.

Annie!” Dad hollered from the cockpit. “Check our depth.”

I startled and scrambled for the world’s longest mop handle and jabbed it into the water until it struck bottom. 
Six feet!” I read from the notches Dad had carved in the pole.
Six and a half… six and a half!” We drew four feet, so I knew we were okay for the moment. I rammed the pole through the seaweed into the muddy bottom again.
Six—” Read more

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Cruising with Kids, Life after cruising

Back to land: Choking on the anchor

When all your adult life you have dreamed of and planned for a life aboard and cruising, it is a disorientating stumble to face a turn-around back to land.

It is even more distressing to find that it is not an easy adjustment. For many reasons cruisers find themselves landlocked, whether by choice, or by need, and it can be harder than you imagine.

While slipping away and sloughing the cares of land is an attractive lure, complete independence from terra firma is hard to achieve. Cruising as a family with four children ranging from tot to teens, we frequently faced the need to be near land for both medical and educational reasons.

We and many other cruising families have also found the need to be stationery while the breadwinner flies off from some accessible airport to earn the money needed to maintain a young and growing family and their bobbing home. Read more

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ASK YOUR QUESTIONS, Finances Q&A, The Big Decision Q&A

Searching for a new way of life in the boating industry

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Amanda’s question

I am a single, laid back, 34 yr old female, that is physically fit, a college grad, and currently living in Florida. I’m seeking a life change and am considering a career in the sailing/boating industry.

I have been sailing most of my life…attended sailing camps in the summer as a kid, and then instructed at the same camp for a summertime job. I have bareboat chartered acting as captain, have basic skills but still have more to learn.

I am considering obtaining my 25 ton master captains license but am finding it difficult to know what life might offer beyond my certification.

I know there are many ways to use a captains license, but I’m MOST interested in chartering sailboats…for a company like the Moorings or Sunsail, etc.

I have a feeling that the sailing world is a lot larger than my current imagination allows, but I’m not sure how to learn more. I’m reaching out to you in hopes that you may be able to offer some advice, insight, or suggestions.

Below are some questions for you:

  • What are sort of opportunities exist in this industry?
  • Is it a disadvantage that I’m a woman?
  • Is it better to be located within the area I wish to work- such as the Virgin Islands – to apply for a job?
  • Is the compensation, in general, enough to live on?
  • Does working in this industry set myself up for an isolated lifestyle?
  • Are there networking sites or job boards?

Amanda

Gwen Hamlin answers
Gwen HamlinDear Amanda!

 Your letter could have been written by me 25 years ago. I was just about your age when it all began for me.

If you go to my first Admiral’s Angle column, you’ll get a pretty good idea how I got started. No reason for me to type it all up again here.

What are sort of opportunities exist in this industry?

Read more

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Cruising Life, STORIES, TIPS & IDEAS

A cruising wife’s A to Z - Part 2 (M to Z)

This is the second half of a 2-part article first published in the South African Sailing magazine of April and May 2014.
You can read part 1 here
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Multitasking

I am never bored and always busy. Being able to multitask was for me a must and required good organisational skills.

I was sometimes cooking and teaching the kids and had to suddenly leave everything because my help was needed on deck or in the bilges.

I became a skipper, a baker, a teacher, a translator, a communication officer, a navigator, a trip advisor, a medical officer, a hairdresser, a mechanic apprentice and a weather router.

So don’t be afraid of discovering new skills!

Read more

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Cruising Life, STORIES, TIPS & IDEAS

A cruising wife’s A to Z - Part 1 (A to L)

This is the first half of a 2-part article published in the South African Sailing magazine of April and May 2014.

I have been living on Merlin, our 44ft Dean Catamaran, for the last 5 years, 2 of them spent cruising across 2 oceans with 3 kids. I would like to share some of my cruising experience, ideas and tips especially for women.

However, I do not consider myself an expert in cruising or in sailing. Apart from inspiring travelling articles, sailing magazines usually describe specifics of boat repairs, latest technologies or how to improve manoeuvres.

It is all very instructive but how about a feminine point of view, especially regarding cruising life.

I hope that this alphabetical inventory may help some women find answers to their own questions and help them know if they are ready to live aboard. Read more

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First Cruise/First passage, Sharing Our Stories

My first Atlantic crossing ... aboard Sea Dragon with a crew of 13 women

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Photo: Cornell Sailing

How did a middle-aged cruising sailor, mother and psychologist, end up in the company of 13 incredible women who set sail aboard a Sea Dragon to cross an ocean? Not literally a Sea Dragon, but the Sea Dragon, a research sailing vessel operated by Pangaea Explorations. It is quite incredible to reflect back on how this all came about, but in the end this journey was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life.

On a whim one Sunday morning in the Spring 2014, I signed up to be crew on just such an adventure. Pangaea Explorations was looking for crew to sail with eXXpedition, an all women expedition that was going to cross the Atlantic Ocean, with the key goals of studying plastic pollution in the oceans and examining the toxics that accumulate in our bodies.

A further goal, and perhaps the most salient for me at that time, was that an all women crew would serve as a model to other young women, to encourage them to do whatever they put their mind to. Women are often underrepresented in sailing, as they are in many career areas of science, technology and engineering. What an incredible opportunity to show everyone just what a group of women can do. This was the vision of Emily Penn and Lucy Gilliam, co-founders of eXXpedition. Read more

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Events and Seminars

Hands on and personal – Cruising Women 2-day program in Annapolis, April 23-24

Tying knots – Photo: Barbara Dahn

We are now only one month away from the 2 day Cruising Women program that we will be giving in Annapolis, Maryland on April 23-24, 2015. The program last year was AMAZING! We had so much fun. Please come join us! Here are the details.

Pam Wall, Beth Leonard and Kathy Parsons team up to offer an in-depth two-day program just for women –  to introduce women to, and prepare them for cruising.

This program is directed to women:

  1. who are introduced to the dream of cruising by a husband, or boyfriend or partner, and want to know “What is cruising like? — Do I want to do it?
  2. who like the idea of cruising with their partner or even alone, but don’t know if they are skilled enough, smart enough, young enough, rich enough, or  brave enough to pull it off….
  3. who know they want to go cruising, and now want to acquire the skills and knowledge to get out there and make it safe and fun.

Read more

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Fears and Worries

Conquering a fear of heights: Going up the mast

This article was first published on Jody’s website: Where the coconuts grow.

Peter has been up the mast many times. He has changed out bulbs, serviced our wind generator and retrieved runaway halyards. He is also a big strong guy.

Knowing it’s difficult for me to even raise our 12′ dinghy up onto the bow by myself, we have always had assistance from another guy to crank him up the mast while I tail the line (hold tension and guide the halyard away from our manual winches).

After we were safely anchored in Salinas, we decided it was the perfect time to go back up the mast and take a look at our faulty wind vane.

At some point during our travels in the Bahamas, our wind vane stopped giving an accurate reading of wind direction. The anemometer still accurately displays the wind speed, thank goodness, but for the last several months we’ve been sailing around guestimating the exact direction of the wind.

Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, teaching us the hard way to listen to our instincts and sail by feeling rather than by digital displays. We’re still relatively new to sailing but with over 2500 nautical miles logged already, I’d say we’re doing just fine! Read more

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Sharing Our Stories

Merlin’s voyage: Living our dream for real!

One summer when I was a teenager, I read all Bernard Moitessier’s books, I continued with Joshua Soclum and Eric Tabarly’s adventures. Inevitably, I then started dreaming about ocean crossings, long passages and spending lots of time at sea.

However, I grew up more than 1000km away from the sea and I couldn’t consider myself a sailor. I started working during my summer holidays so I could go to some sailing camps in Brittany. Soon, I learnt how to sail and navigate. I just loved being on the water. On a boat, I could find out who I really was, I felt light, free and happy. I started looking for boats that were planning to cross oceans and on the lookout for extra crew. However, I was then 18 and my mother thought it wasn’t a good idea to embark on such adventures. Read more

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Cruising Life

Sailing into the Eighties

Germaine Beiser on ARDENT SPIRIT leaving Venice.

If this title conjures up visions of fighting off cold and polar bears in Svalbard, or the Northwest Passage with Jimmy Cornell or rounding Cape Horn you will be disappointed (although we have sailed around Cape Horn). The eighties in this article are years of age.

Arthur Beiser

My husband Arthur and I are each 83 years old and have seen no reason to give up cruising. The reactions to this from friends and acquaintances vary from surprise to wonder to sharp disapproval.

We live on an island in France which has a marina. Recently we were chatting with a couple who had just tied up. When I said “We live here but our boat is in Croatia” the female partner, shocked answered ” But surely you are not still sailing!” I guess we look pretty old!

So… how and why do we keep going? We are not risk takers and I am certainly not very strong. Read more

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Cruising with Kids

Pint-sized Maritime Explorers

Author Ann Lee Miller shares an excerpt from her memoir, Boat Days, due out in 2015 about growing up on a yawl.

 Photo by Kristianne Koch

If chores built character, I’d be a twelve-year-old Mother Theresa. Today, on a perfect summer morning, I stood in Annie Lee’s porthole-less gloom washing last night’s marinara from Mom’s sailboat emblazoned Melmac.

Fish bones floated in the dying suds, making me shudder. Picking bones out of spaghetti was wrong on so many levels.

Six-year-old R.J. had found something more interesting to do than dry dishes. Dad puttered above deck. Mom slept off her hospital night shift in the bow. The boat echoed quiet—always. Sometimes I wished Mom and Dad would yell at each other like the hotheads on the rundown cabin cruiser next door. Read more

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First Cruise/First passage, Lessons Learned

Tale of a gale: A novice sailor’s adventure

Susan at the helm after the storm

A couple of years ago when my husband gave me a copy of Beth Leonard’s book, “Following Seas”, with the caveat that I probably shouldn’t read the first chapter, I might have known that sailing would have some adventures in store.  But our story started long before that; it really started 8 years ago on Long Island Sound.

After a mutual friend of our daughter’s decided we should meet, I was invited for a sail on Phil’s 28’ Shannon cutter, Inseparable.  Keep in mind that my sailing experience consisted of twice sitting in the cockpit of a friend’s 40’ boat on Lake Huron sipping wine and enjoying the sunshine.  I agreed to the date a bit reluctantly. Read more

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