A big part of this trip was to find out what worked well for our family. We’ve been collecting advice for years, sorting through it for thoughts that matched our kids and situation, and building a list of ideas to try. Two weeks away from the dock, we now have a better sense of how we like to travel and of what works well for our family.
Short Slow Days
We had a mix of short and long days on this trip and by far, our family greatly prefered making less progress each day in exchange for the chance to see more along the way. Our eleven hour day to Edgecomb worked, we got where we were going, but it wasn’t nearly as much fun as our five hour days with plenty of time to explore.
Each night, I filled a plastic basket with our cockpit snacks for the next day. I had thought I was only doing this for the first day, to smooth things along, but it turned out to be perfect. Owen and Kinsley knew they could grab whatever they wanted from it, whenever they wanted, no need to ask or wait for parents. We tended highly towards the dry and crunchy and my goal before our next longer trip is come up with some more variety to include.
Bending to the Whim of the Weather
We spent an extra day in Boothbay, even though it complicated our planned return and involved changing all of our mooring reservations. Absolutely the right decision. Kins and Owen are new to boat travel, we’re still working out the kinks of how Goblin sails, we’re going to tend towards the extra safe and comfortable for a while. If we’d had more time and flexibility, sailing with the wind rather than against it would have been lovely.
After picking up the mooring in Boothbay despite miscommunications (he said “we’re fast” and I heard “go fast” oops), Alex and I sat down to talk through catching mooring balls. Even with the windscreen of the dodger open, it’s hard to hear one another with Alex at the bowsprit and myself at the wheel. We talked through how we prefer to set up, when I need to change the speed of the boat, and a limited set of words to use. After that, our pick-ups went from fine to quite nice and no stress. I love communication.
Dramamine and Sea Bands
Some of our crew, not mentioning names, still gets a little seasick, and sometimes more than a little, depending on the seas. I’m thrilled to say that no one actually threw up, but there were green moments. Taking Dramamine before starting for the day, rather than waiting until underway, was a great help. We happened to have a pair of Sea Bands in the cabinet and those also made a noticeable difference. Add in some favorite ginger cookies and we all coped pretty well. I’ll be experimenting with cookie recipes often in the months to come, trying to find a homemade version that meets with approval from all aboard.
Both Owen and Kinsley were amazing well behaved and contained while we were underway. They kept themselves entertained both with us and on their own. Lots of reading, sea glass sorting, studying charts, and watching for wildlife. That said, once we were stopped for the day, those two needed and deserved the chance to burn off their energy. Boat jobs were put off until later in the evening in favor of catching a ride to somewhere suitable for shenanigans. Leaping off the back of the boat for a swim was high on the list of acceptable energetic activities but will primarily be saved for water that doesn’t result in blue lipped children after a single leap.
What went wrong? A couple of things.
The trip north had a distinct shortage of both ginger cookies and cucumbers. Lunches also need improvement as we tended to be very repetitious. The day I surprised the kids with mac and cheese mid sail was a big hit.
More Cockpit Entertainment
Since it can’t be said too many times, the kids were fantastic on this trip. That said, there’s only so many times I can sing Larry the Polar Bear to Kinsley before I need a break (it’s still stuck in my head, days later). Navigating, animal watching, and 20 questions were all popular activities, but there are times when the parental brains and hands are busy and I need to know that Owen and Kinsley will be busy for a while. Kinsley and her love of tiny pieces played well on the cockpit floor with her toy collection or with seaglass. Owen, book boy, mostly kept to himself. I’d like to have a stash of items or ideas for when the desperate need for distraction hits. Maybe tucked away with my own stash of emergency chocolate…
Wren is the Wrong Dingy
It was known, before this trip, that Wren won’t be coming with us to points south. This trip reinforced for us that she’s a lovely sailing and rowing boat but not the right day to day dingy. We need something that’s easier to get in and out of when the water is rough, as well as something with a motor to make life easier when the wind and current are against us.
Not a bad list for us to work from. I like it when what went well greatly outweighs what went wrong.
- Joy Weiss