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Modern Cruising Families | Sailing with Kids

Chatting with the crew of s/v Lolo on the street in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico

I love this shot of two cruising families meeting up whilst running evening errands. If you follow the Bumfuzzles, then you probably have seen pics of this family's gorgeous kids already on their blog. Cruising families with kids of even close to the same age tend to find each other really quickly when they are in the same area. I was honestly surprised it took us so long to run into the crew of s/v Lolo. We met them two days before they jumped across the Pacific to the Marquesas. Their oldest boy is six and their little girl is two.

When you meet fellow cruisers there are often similarities you notice right away:

  • We're all either caked in sunblock, or wearing big sun hats, or sun clothes, or a mixture of both.
  • Everyone is hot, sweaty, and always ready for a shower.
  • We look like pack mules. Since you are traveling by boat, and not by car, there is no vehicle to throw all your gear into. Your body is your vehicle. Notice how Rosanna in the picture above is carrying not only her kid on her back, but Poppy's lifejacket too? Someone is usually lugging a huge, waterproof backpack of laundry that is either in transit to be cleaned, or is already cleaned and being humped back to the boat.
  • Our clothes are a bit worse for wear. You can't bring a huge wardrobe with you and the clothes you do wear get a beating. Also, nobody is using an iron on a boat (at least that I'm aware of.) Wrinkly clothes are par for the course.
  • Almost all cruising kids wear Crocs, Keens, flipflops, or Tevas. Most have an assorted selection of all of the above. This goes for the parents too.
  • Babywearing!! Most cruising moms (and dads) have their small kids on their body in baby carriers. Strollers are not easy to lug around in dinghies nor are streets in most parts of the world conducive to stroller wheels either.
  • Most cruisers, especially those with young families, are pretty fit. Sailing is not an easy lifestyle. You really use your body, a lot. Add on the job of raising active kids, and yes, I have rarely met an un-fit cruising parent.
  • White, white, white - the face of modern sailing is Caucasion. Sure, there are exceptions, but almost 100% of the people we have met, especially those cruising with kids are whiteys. I wish this were not the case, but if I'm making a list of similarities, then it is something I must include.
  • Cruising families and IT - I can't tell you how many families we meet that have one or both partners involved in information technology/the web as a source of income (or former source of income.) I'm guessing that this is because it easier to make IT work portable than other forms of work, though I've also mused about whether people in that line of work tend to be really adventurous, or burn out quicker, or have a natural inclination toward traveling around the world in sailboats.


Farewell breakfast with the crew of s/v WoosheeNeither the crew of s/v Lolo nor s/v Wooshee keep blogs. You have to be lucky enough to get on their email update list to know how things are going with them. I'm happy to report that Matt and Gill (and their 2 year old son Jess) on s/v Wooshee just emailed their list to announce that they had completed the Pacific crossing on their 31' sailboat, with no refrigeration, no watermaker, and, did I mention, a two year old, in 25 days. Congrats, friends, on making it safely to the South Pacific!

Here are the faces of some more of the cruising families we have met in person. I know many more from online connections.

Eli, Steve, and Tamiko of s/v LandfallYou can follow the (mis)adventures of s/v Landfall at their blog here. I.love.these.guys. My whole family does too.

Pat, Ouest, Lowe, and Ali of s/v Bumfuzzle (with Cora saddled in there too for good measure)

I've mentioned the crew of s/v Bumfuzzle many times on my blog, and probably will continue to do so. Pat and Ali have traveled all over the world, by catamaran, monohull sailboat, tiny cars, and vans. They've got books to prove it too. You could keep yourself entertained for days reading about their travels. I've already linked to their blog, but don't forget to check out Pat's book on how they finance their lifestyle (and how you can too) and their book on how they sailed around the world without knowing the first thing about sailing. True story.

Victoria, Liz, Max, and Jonathan on s/v FluentaI just gave a shout out to Liz in this blog post here. The crew of s/v Fluenta will be crossing the Pacific at the same time we are next year. I'm so happy we already know some families who going the same route as us!

Alex, Stella, and Ryan on s/v Shalimar

Our dear friends Alex and Ryan just welcomed a new addition to s/v Shalimar. Little Stella Louise! We've known Alex and Ryan for a long time. My first sailing adventure EVER was with Eric and Ryan out to Catalina, in a gale...Ryan is American, Alex is French, and their little girl was born in New Zealand. They will be heading back up to the South Pacific next season from New Zealand. We can't wait for our girls to play together!

Our own family: Cora, Eric, Lyra, and Charlotte on s/v Rebel HeartWhen I started out sailing I naively thought that we would meet a lot of people who parent the way we do, simply because we were living similar lifestyles, but this is not the case.

Oh no.

While I have listed some similarities I have found, I have been amazed at the variety of parenting styles we have also encountered. No one family is alike out here on boats in the ocean. I guess you could say that some of the things we do have in common are a general disdain (either spoken or unspoken) of many aspects of modern living, and a healthy taste for adventuring.

Here's to many more adventures to come. 

Reader Comments (2)

Loved your post! Your baby is adorable, I love her hair!!

March 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made. Robert N. Rose

September 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Crew Memeber

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