On a recent trip to the British Virgin Islands, I looked longingly at the two smiling families leaving the dock in their chartered catamarans. Okay….they nearly smashed into each other, but they were having a great time (could it have been the champagne?)
As a family, we have never chartered a boat. I’ll admit, although I think it would be amazing I just didn’t know how you manage it with young kids. Well, Josh Stamp, Director of Reuben Charters to the rescue ! His company charters boats out of the British Virgin islands and Greece (with or without a skipper). I have been enjoying reading his blog, and he was kind enough to let me share with you his yachting with children tips from a recent trip to the BVI’s. Here they are:
Clip-on high chair (table seat) We purchased Phil and Teds Me Too Portable Highchair at a cost of 39.95. Sounds expensive, but I can vouch for this being your best purchase of the sailing trip by a country mile!
We could crack on with sailing the boat or cooking food knowing full well that Aubin was safe and sound, out of the way of ropes, winches, sails, hot things, cold things, water, and any of the other dangers that could injure or harm your little one!
note from pint size pilot: well reviewed clip on chair options available in the U.S.A. include the Phil and Ted’s lobster chair (amazon $77.41) and the Inglesina 2013 Fast Table Chair ($49.96 on amazon)
Yes, it goes without saying that a Life Vest is not an accessory but a vital tool that should be taken very seriously when sailing with young children. Here are few things to think about when purchasing yours:
Now there are many life jackets out there on the market ranging from the cheap (£20) through to the very expensive (£100 or more!).
We decided to go for the Crew-Saver™ toddler life jacket available for anywhere between £35 (ebay) through to £90 from retailers.
This jacket was brilliant, meeting all of our suggested check-list criteria below!
Child Life Jacket Check-list
- Make sure its a stand in or˜full body one. You don’t want it coming over your child’s head when they jump in.
- Ensure it has a light and a whistle.
- Read the reviews! It’s always useful to know if it actually does the job it’s supposed to.
- Make sure it’s a good fit. If your ordering online, check and check again.
- Top Tip:Ensure it has a metal ring on the back or some kind of handle to lift your toddler in and out of the rib.
I can’t stress how useful this was with little Aubin (photographed). If it’s got a metal ring, buy a piece of climbing rope and a couple of carabiners to hook your toddler on to the rib or use as a handle to lift them in and out.
note from pint size pilot:If you cannot find the Crew-Saver, the U.S. Coast Guard approved Mustang Survival Jacket for kids could do the trick (amazon $49.97)
Find a nice beach and plan your trip well;
Remember, now you have got a toddler on-board with you, there is not a great deal of safe space for them to play around the boat. Our experiences taught us that finding a nice long beach or popping over for a couple of hours in the morning to do some shopping or browsing with your little one makes sure they are sufficiently entertained!
If you are planning a long passage, remember that the safest place for your little one is in his high chair (see tip #1), but don’t forget that their patience is likely to ware thin unless you hit land before or after your trip. No one likes a tantrum!
It might all sound like common sense, but if you are thinking of chartering with your young children, every little piece of advice helps:
No doubt if you are a parent in the U.K, you will have heard of Ellas Kitchen who provide handy pouches of healthy food for little ones. If not, I’m m not sure how you could have missed them; anyhow check out their website at: http://www.ellaskitchen.co.uk/
You can buy the pouches in most major supermarkets and they are a must-pack item in your toddlers suit-case! I think we managed to pack nearly two weeks worth of these into Aubins suit-case, relieving a bit of stress when it comes to shopping in a foreign supermarket.
Whilst the British Virgin Islands are very accommodating of young children on nearly all the islands, supermarkets are few and far between.
Relieve the food burden and remember to pack your healthy, 100% organic fruit and vegetable pouches!
note from pint size pilot: Â Yeah ! Ella’s organic food pouches are available in North America (amazon $12.60 for a pack of 7)
So today I have had a question about how we can offer advice on sleeping arrangements on-board your yacht with little ones.
My nephew who is 18 months old and joined us aboard our 42 foot catamaran, usually has a strict routine of bath, milk and bed around 7pm back in the U.K. (like many toddlers). So, with this plan in mind, we arranged for a travel cot to be erected on-board the yacht prior to our arrival. This is available for any family travelling to the British Virgin Islands at no extra cost. Whilst the cot is suitably comfortable and a decent size for toddlers up to the age of 2 years, it will always take a while for your little one to adjust to the surroundings. New noises are always going to be present; whether that be the waves, passing boats, the buoy banging on the hull, the wind or jumping fish! After a 5-6 days, little Aubin did start to adjust to the new environment and started to sleep in his cot. However, when we decided to throw his routine out the window (or port hole), and let him sleep whenever he was ready, wherever he wanted (usually in a nest we made on-deck next to him mum or dad) things started to get much better.
My advice would be make to make sure your toddler is sufficiently worn out, forget the routine just this once and go with the flow; once he or she has fallen asleep, you can always carry them down below and pop them in that handy travel cot!
about Josh Stamp:
After completing his latest sailing course in the south of England, Josh’s favourite place to sail is Greece. When he isn’t at his Mac ranting about the latest business issues, Josh enjoys the thrill of providing people with truly memorable holiday experiences.