Becoming a sailing family – against all odds

sailing with a toddler

Those of you who follow this blog will know that I’m a fan of all things British. So when the hubby suggested last year that we buy a sailing boat and learn to sail it, I was pretty up for it. It had always been a pipe dream of ours, but I could tell that this time he actually meant it. Of course this meant that holidays abroad would now be few and far between, but I did quite a bit of travelling in my twenties and seem to have gotten that bug out of my system – at least for now. And as I said, these British isles really are quite wonderful.

‘Sailing with a toddler?’ I hear you ask…it’s a question we’ve pondered many times. And yes, it does have its challenges. But when I think back to the times we’ve been on holidays abroad with Taylor, I wouldn’t say they were exactly relaxing experiences, and they left us wondering if it had all really been ‘worth it’…

becoming a sailing family and sailing with a toddler

And yes, in case you’re wondering, we couldn’t live any further from the sea…but three hours in a car is really not so bad.

So a sailing boat it was! In October last year the hubby left for Portsmouth for a week to learn how to actually sail the boat we’d bought (after months of research), and we’ve spent many an evening together (glass of red in hand) poring over sailing almanacs, navigation charts and trying to figure out what the hell all of those buoys in the sea actually mean.

20160510_101237becoming a sailing family and sailing with a toddlerIMG_2056

Friends and family all thought we were a little crazy. And understandably so. We of course had our own worries about whether Taylor would be able to handle being confined in such a small space and we questioned how we would actually have enough hands on deck (literally) if one of us had to look after her. Sailing with a toddler isn’t exactly common…But sometimes you just have to follow your gut, and it was something we really wanted to make work.

And now we’re at the stage where we can finally go out sailing! I’m not speaking for myself here – I’m still learning the ropes (sorry!) but the hubby has got pretty good at it. We are of course complete amateurs still, but we’re having great fun learning and are loving our new ‘home from home’.

The boat is moored in Plymouth, so last Thursday we packed up the car – dog and baby in tow – and left for a long weekend to enjoy the warmer weather from the sea. Taylor’s usually pretty good in the car, but she cried for two hours out of the three on the way down – joyous times.

sailing with a toddlerbecoming a sailing family and sailing with a toddlerLuckily she cheered up once we got out of the car and we managed to enjoy a quick beer and some sunshine up in the cockpit whilst she ate her dinner.

There are two cabins on the boat and we’ve managed to make a bit of a contraption with a sheet and a hook so that Taylor doesn’t fall out of the bottom! Whatever works hey? She actually sleeps like a dream on there – hallelujah! Once she was down we were able to enjoy a pizza and a glass of wine along with a beautiful view of the sun setting over the ocean.

What I love most about our weekends away sailing is the permission I give myself to relax. At home I feel like any downtime has to be used – either sorting out the house or working on the laptop, and when on an actual ‘proper holiday’ we always have an itinerary so that we make the most of our limited days. But on the boat I’ve actually napped a couple of times during the day at the same time as Taylor – absolute bliss! The wi-fi is a bit temperamental in the marina but I’m starting to see that this is a bit of a blessing in disguise.

sailing as a family

On Saturday we went out sailing as a family for the first time. Obviously the hubby’s been out quite a bit now and we’ve all been out once before, but with other family members on board to help out. So we were a little apprehensive about how we’d manage, but with Taylor in her car seat strapped securely in the cockpit, it was actually fairly straightforward. It was my first time single-handedly managing the ropes, but with (a lot of) instructions from Mr M, I think I did pretty well. We managed to get the sails out when the wind picked up a little, but it was fairly calm so no great speeds were reached  – thankfully!

becoming a sailing family and sailing with a toddler

Away from the sea, we’re enjoying getting to know a region that’s completely new to us, so on the Sunday we took ourselves to Plymbridge Woods – a local National Trust site about 20 minutes drive outside of Plymouth. It was beautiful with rivers, streams and ancient woods. We indulged in an ice-cream (99 with flake!) for the walk and both Max and Taylor were in their element exploring. We even managed to get one of our very rare family photos!

So from here on in, expect more sailing escapades and even more sailing puns!

Plymbridge woods PlymouthIMG_2100

What do you do for your family holidays? What do you think about sailing with a toddler?

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40 Comment

  1. New Mummy Blog
    May 10, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    You are so brave! Well done on just going and doing it! I think it’s absolutely brilliant and I’m going to tell my hubby when he gets home, as it’s the sort of thing he’d love too. My dad has a boat but we’ve not been there with H yet, but I’ll definitely be after all your tips when we do get there! That looks the best sunset and just such a relaxing place to spend your down time, with a glass of wine 🙂
    Lynne x

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 11, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks Lynne! It has been such a great adventure so far – we’re loving it! And definitely learning a few tricks and tips along the way that I’ll definitely be able to share with you when you brave your dad’s boat. xx

  2. Mary
    May 10, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    This sounds so amazing and a great British adventure. How wonderful! The pics are absolutely beautiful and looked like so much fun… keep going, cant wait to see more x

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 19, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Thanks Mary, hopefully we’ll have lots of fun with it through the years x
      Mum in Brum recently posted…Instagram – lessons I’ve learned so farMy Profile

  3. Hannah Budding Smiles
    May 11, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Amazing! We bought a small boat a couple of years ago but sadly had to sell in last year to buy another car. What you’re doing is our dream! Hope you have many wonderful adventures xx

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 11, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Thanks so much! Hopefully you’ll get chance to do it again at some point xx

  4. martyn
    May 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Love this! How amazing is this! I am extremely jealous. I grew up in a sailing family and we would go out a lot. I have such fantasting memories doing it. Sadly, I’ve never done it with the boys but now I’ve read this I feel like I need to! #bestandworst
    martyn recently posted…Trapped by a Broken BodyMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 11, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Martyn! It’s so good to hear supportive comments as we sometimes question if we’ve been a bit mad! But we love it and know that we will have such great times making memories – you should definitely try and do it again with the boys if you get chance to 🙂

  5. mainy - myrealfairy
    May 11, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Well done, I must say I think thats its brilliant what you’re doing. Such a great and different experience for you all! Not only on the boat but exploring around the area that it’s moored too. You’re far braver than me as the thought of taking my 2 boys on a boat fills me with dread! Caravan and planes are ok but boats seem a bit too far for me:)

    mainy – myrealfairy

    mainy – myrealfairy recently posted…My ode to him…My other halfMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 11, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks so much. Hopefully it will be an adventure in all the right ways! We tell ourselves that it is really just a glorified caravan – on the water! 🙂

  6. Mummy Fever
    May 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    How exciting for you and how wonderful to take your little one too – I think most things are possible with children (toddlers included) we just got for it normally and figure it out as we go. Thanks for linking to #sharewithme hope to see you again

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      I’m totally with you – we always say yes and then figure it out later. There’s always a way if there’s a will!

  7. justsayingmum
    May 12, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Oh I love this – we are sailors too! I met my husband at a sailing club so it has a special place in our hearts. We already have plans that one day we will live in the Med on a boat. Every summer we charter a yacht in the med and sail around the islands – it is my favourite place in the world – away from everything! So glad you enjoy it and if you ever think about sailing in the Med get in touch and i’ll give you heaps of tips! #coolmumclub
    justsayingmum recently posted…Parenting The Ab Fab Way!My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 13, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Oh that sounds amazing! We definitely have our sights on the med in the long run. We’re sticking to the south coast this summer and may try the crossing to France next year (depending on how confident we feel!) But the dream is the med every summer during the school holidays – so I’ll definitely be asking for your tips in years to come! x

  8. Emma
    May 12, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I feel your pain with the crying in the car for hours! we drive up to Yorkshire next month and I’m dreading it. we have a dvd but even that is wearing thin now! pleased you had such a cool adventure! #coolmumclub

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

      It can be so hard once they get to a certain age – Perhaps we need to look at a DVD player, even if it entertains her for 10 minutes – every little helps!
      Mum in Brum recently posted…Instagram – lessons I’ve learned so farMy Profile

  9. Talya
    May 12, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Wow this is so exciting and inspiring! Good on you! Look forward to hearing more about your sailing adventures lovely! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xx
    Talya recently posted…A newbie’s guide to Stumble Upon – how the hell does it work!?My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 13, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Thanks hun – fingers crossed they will all be good adventures! xx

  10. helen gandy
    May 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    This sounds pretty fab! I used to love going on the Broads when I was a kid, loved the sensation of being gently rocked to sleep and we sometimes head over to Wroxham when the weather is nice and rent a boat out for a couple of hours. I am a little jealous I have to admit, sounds like an amazing thing to be able to do 🙂 Thanks for linking up and have fun sailing! #bestandworst
    helen gandy recently posted…Look after your Roof!My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 13, 2016 at 10:36 am

      It’s made me sleepy just reading this! I do sleep so well on there and do think it’s that sensation of being rocked to sleep. Hopefully it will work out to be a good decision for us x

  11. Charlene
    May 12, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Well this is all kinds of impressive! Im terrified of open water and decided to try and combat this by going on a sailing holiday in Greece. It didn’t work and I made everyone dock on day two. On the boat next to us were a couple with four little blonde haired children skipping up and down the deck. They looked so at home on the water! #coolmumclub

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 13, 2016 at 10:32 am

      Haha – hopefully that will be us one day – I can dream! I’m pretty afraid of flying myself, so give me open water any day over the sky! x

  12. […] one from our sailing weekend away last week when we visited Plymbridge Woods in Plymouth. As you can see, we were trying to get a […]

  13. Jenny
    May 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    How absolutely amazing sailing for sure! I say if you got the travel bug out of your system why not there are gorgeous things like quiet peaceful waters, sunsets and teaching the toddler to sail at a young age. So much fun! Love your photos here too. Makes me want to go sailing. Thanks for linking up to Share WIth Me. I hope you will continue to link up when Mummy Fever takes over SWM on June1st. She is an amazing blogger and great blog supporter too. #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Feeding our children better #nothingartificialMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 19, 2016 at 11:31 am

      It is so much fun and hopefully we will get some much out of it for years to come. I’ll definitely continue linking up – well done you for hosting such a great linky for so long x

  14. Rainbowdaretoobeautiful
    May 18, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    How exciting. We are pretty nervous about the kids and boats, the boys don’t really understand how it might be dangerous. Looks like you are well on the way though! #whatevertheweather

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 19, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Taylor definitely doesn’t understand the dangers yet so we have to be constantly watching her at the moment – but hoping she’ll understand in another year or so to sit still! (yeah right!) 🙂

  15. Carol, The Red Painted Cottage
    May 19, 2016 at 2:57 am

    I saw this on WAYWOW and had to come over because we raised our boys on our sailboat! We live in Michigan, near Lake Michigan and we sailed out of Holland, Michigan. We bought our first sailboat when we were much younger. Our middle child was only 1 year old and then our third was born and raised on it a few years later. We all loved it! The kids had to wear their lifejackets everywhere they went in the marina or on deck, especially when we sailed. I actually did three postings about our sailing days. Just go to my blog and put “sailing” into the search. Eventually the kids grew up and we took on new adventures and ended up with our red painted cottage. Enjoy this time with your family and creating wonderful memories!
    Carol, The Red Painted Cottage recently posted…Mini Spinach Quiche CupsMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 19, 2016 at 11:27 am

      Oh wow that must’ve been such an adventure! I will definitely be visiting your blog and having a look at your posts – it’s always so great to hear of how other families managed it. You must be experts! Thanks for popping over x

  16. Training Mummy
    May 19, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I would LOVE if we could afford a boat although I would prefer one in Greece so we could sail the seas and visit the islands. It is definitely something I would jump at the chance of doing. Enjoy it! #Whatevertheweather

  17. Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum
    May 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    You are certainly very brave but what an amazing experience for you both and your little lady!! We live in Plymouth and would love to explore the waters around here more but I’m not too great on a boat, so I’m going to enjoy seeing your photos from the sea. #whatevertheweather

  18. Amanda
    May 21, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    I think this is so fantastic – what an adventure for all the family! As for our holidays, we are living in Western Australia for a few months be (extended maternity leave for me, work for the hubby!). We spent a lot of our time exploring and doing lots of camping – it’s so great for children to be outdoors enjoying nature. I must say your photographs are lovely and making me very home sick for Devon!

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Ah wow what an amazing opportunity to be able to spend some time in Australia. Don’t be home sick – the weather’s pretty pants again! Enjoy the fun in the sun whilst you can x

  19. Chloe Ciliberto
    May 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    This sounds so exciting!!!! Definitely interesting sailing with a toddler, but why on earth not! She’ll grow up with a love of the sea that’s for sure and you get to do an amazing bonding activity with your whole family. I’m excited to see more of your sailing adventures! Thank you so much for sharing with #whatevertheweather x
    Chloe Ciliberto recently posted…CURIOUS LITTLE EXPLORERS #18My Profile

  20. Laura @Dancing dandelions
    May 24, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Looks so idyllic. Some fabulous pictures and memories. What an adventure. #whatevertheweather

  21. Nikki
    May 24, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    What an adventure! I love that you are trying new things and as a family creating a ton of memories. It seems as if you’ve done all the research and put in the time to figure out the best ways to do this, for all of you. I’m sure that there have been tons of toddlers on boats, and Taylor will learn so much from being with you on board.

    The images of your home away from home are so gorgeous! I love that you go after what you want and as a family are experiencing some cool things. Taylor will learn the best, how to garden on land, and how to relax and spend time on the sea! Can’t wait to see more about your sailing time!
    Nikki recently posted…Behind The Scenes-Make Lemonade ShopMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 25, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Nikki it is such an adventure and we’re so lucky that we’re able to do it. It’s lovely to be able to do it together as a family and makes such a refreshing change to weekends at home when we just find ourselves ‘getting things done’! X

  22. Jenny Eaves - Monkey and Mouse
    May 27, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Oh that sounds so much fun! I love that you are learning from scratch, did your hubby have any experience before? I would love to get into sailing, but just assumed it wouldn’t happen as neither my husband and I have sailed properly. It must be so much fun going out on the ocean and seeing the country from the sea. Looking forward to seeing all your sailing adventures. Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

  23. […] I type this I’m sat on our boat in a harbour in Plymouth listening to the rain hammering down outside. Luckily we managed to get a […]

  24. […] in our house at the moment (I may have started it) that we’re going abroad next January. Our summer staycations on the boat have been fun so far, but I admit that I’m yearning for a bit of guaranteed sunshine. The […]

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