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ARC Atlantic crossing with baby: feasible v stupid

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Beginner questions
Forum Discription: Advice for those who are new to sailing
Printed Date: 07 Jul 22 at 6:50am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: ARC Atlantic crossing with baby: feasible v stupid
Posted By: ejbcook
Subject: ARC Atlantic crossing with baby: feasible v stupid
Date Posted: 07 Jan 13 at 8:54pm
Hi, My husband and I were planning to do the 2013 ARC Atlantic crossing in November on our friends boat which is a First 40.7. However, I have discovered I am now pregnant which complicates matters! The baby is due in June and will be 5 months old when we would set off. I am desperately keen still to do it and the other members of crew are happy to have the baby on board (they were the ones that suggested I still came). My husband however thinks it is too risky. 
We have done quite a bit of yacht racing and a few longer trips including a crossing from Cork in Ireland across the Bay of Biscay to Spain which was very rough at times but would not call ourselves experienced sailors. Our friends who own the boat are much more experienced. We are both doctors so have medical knowledge and would take a pretty comprehensive first aid kit.
I plan to still be breast feeding at 5 months and wouldn't want to leave the baby for the 2-3 weeks it would take. We have found a few blogs on the web of people that have taken babies on long sailing trips but don't know if we are being stupid to even consider it?
Any advice would be gratefully received!

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 08 Jan 13 at 10:12am
There was a memorable quote in Cmmdr Bill King's book "the Stick and the Stars" to the effect that a baby in a basket is one thing on a cruising boat, but a baby that is constantly crawling out of a basket is quite another...

Posted By: Presuming Ed
Date Posted: 08 Jan 13 at 10:33am
IIRC from YW ARC reports, it has been done. 

Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 08 Jan 13 at 10:42pm
With tolerant crew - doable.  If you are happy with the medical risks - you'd understand that better than me.

Minor issue would be waste - what will you do with the nappies - please not over the side!  To offer a solution have a stack of very large (water cooler type) water bottles with a screw lid.  As you drink from them turn them over to waste storage.  All the bugs and smell stays inside.

This is a good tip anyway for the tropics/sub tropics - keep the watch busy cutting up the junk to fit the bottle top and minimise disease etc.

Posted By: MerlinMags
Date Posted: 21 Jan 13 at 2:52pm
If you haven't had a baby before, and formed a very clear idea about how many spare hours of the day there are, I suggest you seriously rethink this plan. It will be sad to miss the race, yes, but not much fun to do the race spending 80% of the time below, and another 19% worrying about the reason behind the current burst of bawling ....

Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 21 Jan 13 at 4:43pm
Sounds like your first child.

I'd wait 'til you have him or her cradled in your arms, knowing you are all that stands between life and death for the little one before you start worrying about what will happen to him or her during your first knock down.

Posted By: PeterG
Date Posted: 21 Jan 13 at 6:16pm
I have to say, I'm in total agreement with MerlinMags and GRF on this. I can understand that you don't want to miss the race, but I'm really not at all sure that you are going to feel the same way once you have the baby. And if the weather is bad it could become really unpleasant.

Ex Cont 707
Ex Laser 189635
DY 59

Posted By: Strangler
Date Posted: 07 Mar 13 at 5:05pm
I think it was in this book she solved the nappy problem. May not be popular with a racing skipper! -

Posted By: Mister Nick
Date Posted: 07 Mar 13 at 7:14pm
I really, really wouldn't do that. I know that if you've got good people on the boat the risks of something going wrong are pretty small. But what happens if you get knocked down at 3am in the morning and the baby gets catapulted across the cabin? What happens if you have to bail into a liferaft? What happens if the rig comes down and you're faced with the choice of cutting it all away to save the boat or making sure your baby is in a safe place? In almost any emergency situation, a baby makes it twice as hard to deal with. I know the chances are pretty small and that you will more than likely be fine, but please have a think. :(

Posted By: patj
Date Posted: 08 Mar 13 at 7:23am
As a mother who first took her second child camping at two weeks old (in our classic vw camper van in summer), I would say no way would I take a baby on such a trip.
Apart from all the above, you may plan to be breast feeding but circumstances may prevent that - if you get ill you may not produce the milk or not want to pass the illness on to your baby or even not be capable of feeding it yourself so you would need to be prepared for you or anyone else to be able to bottle feed as well.  That's from experience - it only takes a dodgy curry!

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 08 Mar 13 at 3:42pm
Even having small children and babies to deal with on a cross channel ferry is slightly tricky - I'd not do a yacht journey. And at 5 months, the crawling age is almost there, when they magically move when you aren't looking at them. Easier to fly across (though even this is a pain with a baby) and get some sailing in on the other side when hubby is there to look after the baby.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

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