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Author Topic: Taking Infants Sailing  (Read 1884 times)

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  • Guest
Taking Infants Sailing
« on: March 24, 2002, 07:32:35 AM »

One of Bear Territory's crew members is about to have a baby.  Not wanting to give up sailing just because she has a small child with her, we were wondering, does anyone has a good solution to taking a small child sailing on a C-34?
 Dave Smith
 Bear Territory #1421


  • Guest
Infant Sailing
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2002, 08:27:29 AM »

The key words are "good solution" - I don't think there is a good solution.  You just have to focus on the fact that you're going to have some additional crew in the years to come.  Train the kid early how to wax, crank wenches, go up the mast, etc.  In the meantime, the wife and I are getting flooded with grand babies.  For the real early months we've found that taking the "V berth" insert cushion and standing it up on the floor, inside of the forward stateroom's bulkhead, held in place with an assortment of blankets, pillows etc, makes a nice padded cell. It's not a large space but it's worked well on the QT.

Gary Wilson

  • Guest
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2002, 09:47:42 AM »

Dave -
 We have raised three girls on sailboats.  The oldest was 6 when we got our first boat and the youngest is 22 now.  All of my memories tend to be positive, and I think my wife's are as well, although I am sure she has a different perspective.
 The major issues are safety (from injury and falling overboard) and managing their care in a spartan environment.
 When they were very young they needed constant care and attention on the boat just as at home.  My wife pretty much took this function over and I was essentially singlehanding the boat.  It was pretty much a full time job for her.  As they grew older the kids enjoyed being on the boat, which helped.  They learned to entertain themselves with games and coloring books.  We encouraged them to invite friends along.  You could say our "solution" was to accept the fact that the focus of a typical outing would be less "pure" boating and more on just being on the boat with the kids.
 For safety, we used netting around the lifelines and had strict lifejacket rules that we gradually relaxed as they learned to swim.  We also had harnesses for them.  One of the worst safety hazards for bumps and bruises is the companionway.  I think all of our kids took at least one tumble down it.  They became more and more surefooted as they grow older.
 Hope this helps.
 Gary Wilson
 Childsong #138

Aaron Gregg

  • Guest
Taking Infants Sailing
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2002, 11:43:01 AM »

 I have a 22 month son who has never lived any where but on a boat. when he was 0-12months we strapped the car seat to the stern rail.Also when he was fussy we used the tether method.My wife would wear a PFD and we would tether him to her. We used a dog harness from the pet store because it was the only thing that fit him. Just add another strap through the crotch. Lately its his own PFD+ the tether method+nylon netting around the boat+swim lessons. Have fun. Aaron


  • Guest
babies on boats
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2002, 04:34:09 PM »

Both our boys were sailing on our Catalina 27 within two weeks of being born - and have survived many trips to be 17 and 19.  We used one of those carriers that looks like a big Easter Basket with a hinged handle.  This allowed lying flat for sleeping or being propped up when awake.  We wedged it into positions where is wouldn't fall and then tethered to to convenient attach points for security.  the cabin sole isn't usually a good place when they are really small as heavy items can fall on them.
 Disposable diapers went into a lidded diaper bucket stowed in the head.   We never were comfortable with harnesses as the choking possibilites were pretty high.  When they were older we did use harnesses and the strict lifejacket when out of the cockpit rule.
 When crawling started, we spread a big blanket on the cabin or cockpit sole (when calm)
 Expect that your crew will do almost no crewing when the baby is awake as attention is just as constant as at home.  The good news is that both of ours tended to sleep a lot with the sounds of either sailing or motoring.
 We found that the baby controlled the boat's agenda totally; decisions about destinations, duration, risk, leaving and arriving times, sleeping hours, etc.  The baby will do fine.  It's the adults that have to make the adjustments.
 We won't discuss the conversion of your boat from sleek sailing vessel to motorized vacation barge - that comes later.
 Have fun and be really flexible!
 Randy Davison  #1268 1993 k7voe
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