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’…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
What do you do for your family holidays? What do you think about sailing with a toddler?