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Cruising with Children

12 questions to 12 sailing Families (2010-11)


Have you ever thought of making a HUGE change in your life so that those precious years with your spouse and children don't slip away? Have you thought of SAILING away with your family, living together on a boat and making an adventure of your lives together?

Here are 12 families who did just that! And in a huge labor of love, they are sharing their stories with us. Read their stories, learn from their practical experience and suggestions, and then go make your dream come true.

Update (2015-16): Sailing Families Revisited. Readers have asked us to update the series – and so we have asked a new (another diverse) group of sailing families to answer these same 12 questions and to share their experiences. Over the next months we will be publishing their answers, together with updates from the original 12 families that contributed in 2010-11.

Long-term cruisers - Currently in the ABC islands, Curaçao - Left Switzerland when their son was 7 months old   This family of five escapes convention and thrives - Round the world cruisers   The French-South African couple started their circumnavigation in 2008, with 3 children and ... Emmanuelle's mother as extra crew.   One of Women and Cruising's founders, Pam Wall, reflects on her family’s cruising years - sailing with 2 children from infancy to adolescence, including a 7-year circumnavigation.

S/V New Life (Switzerland)
Caroff 34' steel sloop

Patricia & Thierry ECHENARD
1 boy (8)


S/V Totem (USA)
Stevens 47' sloop

Behan & Jamie GIFFORD
3 children (11, 8, 6)


S/V Merlin (South Africa)
Dean 44' Catamaran

Emmanuelle & Gregory HALL
3 children (10, 8, 4)


S/V Kandarik (USA)
Freya 39' sloop

Pam & Andy WALL
2 kids (infants to teenagers)

Between the ages of 18 and 21, Tania AEBI circumnavigated the globe alone, on her 26' sloop Varuna. 22 years later, she undertakes a 'school year' voyage with her 2 teenage sons. Shangri La is captained for 5 months by Mom, 5 months by Dad!   Building a family while cruising, including pregnancy aboard and childbirth abroad, was no whim for this couple, but a determined way-of-life decision, embracing the belief that a boat is a perfect environment for growing minds.   This Canadian couple is outward bound on their second cruising adventure, this time with a 7-year-old daughter. They are now cruising Mexico.   Currently editor of SSCA's Commodore's Bulletin, Barb Theisen offers her perspective on nearly 20 years of cruising with two daughters with widely different needs.

S/V Shangri La (USA)
Devilliers 36' steel sloop

Tania AEBI
2 teenage boys


S/V Momo (USA)
Mason 43' Cutter

Michelle ELVY & Bernard HEISE
2 girls (8, 6)


S/V Ceilydh (Canada)
40' catamaran

1 girl (8)


S/V OUT OF Bounds (USA)
Gulfstar 41' - Privilege 39'

Barbara & Tom THEISEN
2 girls (small to teenagers)

Pushing through the obstacles in the way of getting started and the challenges of the first year out, this family has endured to find what really counts. Being together.   Starting from Namibia this family of 4 completed a fulfilling circumnavigation juggling mixed emotions, a tight budget and an onboard pregnancy.   This family of 3 fit their first cruising adventure -- from the Med, to the Caribbean to Maine -- into a 12-month sabbatical. Back working now, they are already planning their next installment to the Pacific.   This couple and their 2 young teens swapped a fear of risk for a bucket-list dream of 'living on a boat and crossing an ocean'. Completing their 65' power cat from an empty hull and crossing the Atlantic to the Med and Egypt, they shared an adventure and a meeting of the minds.

S/V Osprey (USA)
Adams 45' Steel sloop

Wendy & John CLARKE
2 children (13, 10)

  S/V STENELLA (Namibia)
50' Steel Schooner
Diane & Heiko METZGER
2 boys (infant to teenager)
  S/V NAMaNI (Germany)
Dufour 35' sloop

1 boy (3)

M/V Chrysalis (Canada)
65' Power Catamaran

2 teenagers


Read also, on this website:

Sailing Families Revisited (2015)

Cruising children speak

Blog: Cruising with Kids