Cruising with Kids

Sailing Families – Halfway Through!

Recently, a big hubbub was made in the national news about a family of five – the Craftons – who completed a circumnavigation aboard their sailboat!

To landlubbers who are unaware of the global cruising community, the Crafton family’s circumnavigation seemed so audacious a thing to attempt, that it must be singular, so unfamiliar, it must be irresponsible.

We know it is not.

The Craftons are just one of many, many families who cruise (or have cruised) far and wide aboard their sailboat-home. Saying so takes nothing away from the Crafton’s accomplishment. Far from it.

As the Craftons state, the choice to take a family long distance cruising is rarely made to achieve a specific goal (like a circumnavigation, crossing an ocean, or setting some record… although many do), but rather to provide one’s whole family with an exceptional learning opportunity partnered with years of quality family time.

Today, as we post family #6 –sv Momo and their family of four – on, we are halfway through the mounting of our own special project on Cruising Families.

Each family is different – different boat, different starting place, different obstacles, different story, but at the same time each is alike in that they feel the decision to take their kids cruising is one of the best they have ever made.

Our contributors were given a set of questions to answer based on topics most people wonder about, such as the challenges parents faced getting going; what ages are good for taking children to sea; how they handle health, education, safety and entertainment issues; and modifications they may have made to their boat.

Plus each family paints a picture of a typical day at anchor and a typical day on passage aboard their boat, and all answers are illustrated with terrific photographs.

If you are looking for encouragement in making a similar leap of commitment, you won’t find a better resource. And there are six more families to come!

So far we have posted contributions from:

  1. Patricia and Thierry Echenard and their son Martin (8) of sv New Life (Basel, Switzerland);
  2. Behan and Jaimie Gifford and their three children Niall (11), Mairen (8) and Siobhan (6) of sv Totem (Eagle Harbor, USA);
  3. Emmanuelle and Gregory Hall and their three children Victor (10), Felix (8) and Cléa (4) of sv Merlin (Cape Town, South Africa);
  4. Pam and Andy Wall, and their two children, Samantha and Jamie, aboard sv Kandarik (Ft. Lauderdale, USA);
  5. Tania Aebi and her school-break 10-month voyage with her two teenage sons Nicholas and Sam aboard sv Shangri La (Corinth, USA);
  6. and Michelle Elvy and Bernard Heise and their two daughters, Lola (8) and Janna (6) aboard sv Momo, (Newport, USA)

Feedback from readers on the web-page presentations of their stories has been enthusiastic, eg: “What an amazing post! I can’t wait to do this with my family!”

Contributors have received comments directly to their personal blogs. Relatives back home see that their sailing grandbabies are well-adjusted, that they aren’t alone, and that there are many other families sharing this same life.

A Canadian family that is working toward going cruising as a family has extended an invitation (and the use of their washing machine!) to one of our sailing families that mentioned they are headed their way.


Plus, several of the families in the same part of the world are making plans to meet and connect up!

Who knows what all will come from these families that have so enthusiastically shared their stories and their advice!

Links to the Sailing Families project
Links to the Crafton family news stories

Do you have feedback for our sailing families? Are you cruising as a family now – or do you plan to?

Let us know. Email or leave a comment below.

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2 comments to Sailing Families – Halfway Through!

  • Michelle Radabaugh

    I love that you did this idea! I loved reading them…My family and I are getting ready to go on a 2 year cruise on our sailboat. We are so excited, and I love reading whatever I can find. I am finding it difficult to find a lot of current information. This makes me want to do a lot of writing and blogging myself, once we get get going. I started a blog and I am working on building the website. I have so many questions, and articles like these really help! Keep it going..I want to read more!

    Michelle ( Boat Mama )

  • Josie

    Thanks this was a great article. Great info from families out there doing it.

    SV Iolanthe

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