Last week I was asked to speak at a local yacht club about my experiences Tall Ship sailing in Europe. At the meeting I met up with a number of old keel boat racing friends that I’m embarrassed to say that I’d lost touch with ‘post baby’. One of my ex “rail meat compatriots” has gone on to great things in our local racing scene. She bought the boat we raced on, she’s learned to drive it, become successful on the racecourse and become a certified sailing instructor. Remarkable, especially when you consider that She’s done all of that while being a working Mom.
If you ask 10 cruising parents when to start kids on boats, you will get 10 answers. It really comes down to your comfort level and when your kid was born. Ours was an August birth. We barely got out of the house till mid September and then the weather turned so waited till the following spring. There’s nothing wrong with taking babies sailing. Just take it easy, be vigilant about checking the weather and don’t be afraid to motor if you don’t have enough hands to set sail.
One important thing that you will need is a safe place to put the baby if both of you are needed on deck – while docking for example. Our boat partner used a car seat that they strapped in to the boat. We used a pack and play. The pack and play was wonderful for us, we could drop toys in there and both be on deck in rougher weather. Watching our son through the companion way hatch he’d have a load of fun letting himself get ‘knocked’ over by the lurching of the boat. They don’t seem to get seasick down below till they are older – something which saved us many times!
For the extended article check out Martina Sonderhoff’s website http://www.ebsailing.ca/when-to-start-sailing-with-kids