Saturday, February 13, 2016

A look into the lives of cruising families.

Boat Kids enjoying another sunset
Like other cruising families, I remember getting ready to tell our friends and family that we had decided to sell our home, all of our belonging, buy a boat and set sail. For weeks, we discussed how we thought other's reactions were going to play out....who would be supportive, who would laugh in our faces, who was going to crap their pants or who would call us crazy. 

We decided to try our news first on our friends to see what type of questions we'd receive and what type of reactions we would get. We got a few, "sober up guys! that shit will never happen"!  No surprise there, till the next morning when a few of our friends could tell we were serious. Dead serious.  

Then came the task of telling the parents. Phil's family would be told over the phone and my parents in person over dinner.  What amazed us, was how wrong we had pegged their reactions. Those who we thought would disown us, were our greatest supporters and those who we thought would love our idea, all but organized a "Save the Children" campaign complete with Sally Struthers. 

A year later, we've come to find out, we're not alone. Not everyone supports the lives of a cruising family and funny thing, we're all still out here, doing what we support needed, we have each other.  A fun time for us cruising moms is to have a sundowner while exchanging some of the insults we have received by family members after announcing our decision to set sail as a family.

" you're one of them............homeless"

"you're crazy for doing this"

"your kids are going to hate you for this"

"why can't you just be normal"

Who the hell takes off with a family to go sailing anyway? If you were to ask our parents, it's over-educated, under-employed gypsies. If you were to ask our friends, it's people that are a few beers shy of a 6-pack. If you were to ask anyone off the street, they'd have no idea sailing with a family is even an option outside of a Disney Cruise.  There are enough cruising families to warrant an entire book on how to go about it. Our friends wrote Voyaging with Kids to help others make the leap, we even wrote a piece for the book, and highly recommend getting this book if you're wanting more insight on what it's like to cruise with kids. 

After a year of sailing Mexico, I have compiled some information as to the makeup of a cruising family. You might be surprised, as was I, of who makes up this amazing group. The following information is from families we have actually met or cruised with. There are many other families sailing Mexico that we, unfortunately, haven't had a chance to meet yet. 

25 Cruising Families

47 Children  and 1 "child" over 18

4 boats were catamarans

"Most" of us sold our homes and everything in it

3 of the boats were on a year-long sabbatical

Boat kid ages range between 2-14 years old

"Most" of us are from California

0% of us have won the lottery

1 boat decided that sailing wasn't for them and sold their boat

2 boats crossed the Pacific last year

6 boats are to cross the Pacific this year

5 boats are talking about crossing the Pacific next year

0% of us let naysayers hold us back

2 boats have retired grandparents nice enough to be sailing with a grandchild

3 boat kids were brought home to their boats from the hospital

Average ages of boat kid 10-12 years old

100% of the boat kids are homeschooled

All of us started with an idea and created a plan

Job Titles of some of the cruisers before leaving "reality"

*Chief Operating Officer of credit processing company
*Financial Analyst
*Commercial Airline Pilot
*Executive at Cisco Systems 
*Rocket Scientist (seriously!)
*Computer Engineer
*Construction Company owner
*Executive at American Express
*Senior Mechanical Engineer at Chevron
*Operations Manager at IBM
*Commercial Fisherman
*Nurse (4)
*Wine Maker
*Electrical Engineer (2)
*Occupational Therapist
*High School Teacher
*Research Scientist

Cruising requires brain power. Contrary to what some may think, we're not a group of floundering idiots (yes, some people think that of this group....we're all supposed to be working hard, 10 hours a day....that's the "American Way"). To cruise you need to be a plumber, electrician, engineer, chef, navigator, ....or have a bucket of money to pay someone else to do it all. We didn't all start out with the essential knowledge of how to do everything, most of us learn as we go and rely on the amazing sailing community to share what they know. 

If you're considering sailing with your family and like "safety in numbers", good news, your village is "out here" waiting for you.  


  1. Love it, you guys. Well said. I agree with every word, with the minor quibble that there absolutely ARE, unfortunately, a few "floundering idiots" out here (LOL). Wanted to ask you about your flight to Antigua. Which airline, and was it expensive? Out of PV, I presume? Hope to see you guys soon. XO Liz and Chris s/v Espiritu

  2. Lol....yes we have a special name for those that are true floundering idiots... "Idiyachts". We few Aeromexico from PV, connected in Mexico City and to Guatemala City for $350 per person, round trip.

  3. Great article. We hope to be joining you soon. We have our boat and just going through our plan. You guys are great. Keep it up :)

  4. Nice post and thank you for the nice words about Voyaging With Kids! All the best, Michael

    1. Cheers on another book! That's quite an accomplishment

  5. Thanks for this. One set of "worried" grandparents need to read this. We are setting sail in July from Oregon to head south. Cheers.

    1. Keep a blog and post often to help the worried grandparents. We try to update our position as often as possible and I also send put an email before along passage just so they know! We'll probably catch you down here.

  6. Great perspective guys.. Always happy to read how things are going. The girls say hi.
    Stay strong and sail on!

    1. Hola amigos! Where are you now? Thinking about you all.

  7. Hello Terrapin! Just catching up from New Zealand. I hope all is awesome with you guys and that our paths cross somewhere down the road. We are in NZ through April, then will hit the Tropics (Vanuatu, New Caledonia) for 3 months before we go back to land life. We'll miss it! Talk to you soon- CHRIS

    1. The tropics sound amazing...can't wait to see your pictures

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  9. Hi Terrapin! We're back on dry (if you can call Seattle dry) land now and plodding away at the daily grind. We miss the Tropics and the sun! Jim will be going back to Fiji to sail Apropos back to Seattle in April. I'm sitting this one out and will enjoy it from dryer land. We'll tool around the Pacific Northwest till it's time to turn left again and head south!

    1. We're sending you good thoughts knowing your boat is in Fiji. Hope she's okay.

  10. haha, I don't think I'd mind being labeled an over-educated under-employed gypsy!!

  11. Nice blog. It always amazes me how many nurses are out there cruising! Fair winds to you.

    1. We love the abundance of nurses...they've been helpful a few times with their diagnoses and advice for treatments.

  12. I am happy to read this! We just made the big move last week. We announced our family that our house is now on a long long term lease. We got rid of everything except for little plastic boxes we gave to our sons (1 each) 12 inches x 6' x 4' which will contain small souvenirs they want to bring along with them.
    We are leaving the land on May 1st with our 2 sons who just turned 12 and 14. I was afraid nobody out there would suit our family because we will sail with teens, and that sons finally feel lonely.
    We will be sailing to Bahamas first, leaving Canada somewhere beginning of next September.
    If anyone here want to stay in touch with us, feel free to email ( I will soon open a Facebook page for our sailing family: S/V Poly'n'easy

    1. Congratulations!!! You're kids will have a will you!

  13. Loved the post! As a former cruising kid myself, it's easy for me to envision the life. The kids are enthusiastic. My husband, not so much. He's convinced we need to be rich to do this. Living in SoCal, it's hard to get there without selling up, which neither of us is willing to do. But we just purchased "the" boat, and we're taking it one step at a time. So far, he seems pretty enthusiastic, but I'm itching to put together a departure timeline. In the meantime, I follow blogs like yours to stay inspired. Keep it up!

    1. We left So Cal and I assure you (which you probably already know) you don't need to be rich to set need to be rich to live in So Cal! Hope to meet you out here.