Welcome to this blog. Today, we might have a few readers visiting as a result of coverage on CBC. So, I thought I’d provide a short summary of our travels aboard our catamaran so far.
I’m Lorraine, age 44, former technical writer, and mom of four. Our family of six includes me, my husband, Rick, and our four young children.
A year ago, our family left our home in Carp, Ontario on the outskirts of Ottawa, Canada. We now live full-time on a St Francis 50 catamaran called SV Aphrodite. I am writing from Luperon, Dominican Republic (DR).
We bought our boat in Fort Lauderdale in March 2015. Before we bought our boat, I had no sailing experience. Buying a boat was partly a leap of faith. My husband and I thought that sailing might offer our children an opportunity to experience different cultures first-hand.
Rick and I took sailing courses in Antigua; me for the first time and for Rick, a refresher. Then, we sold and donated most of our belongings, and rented our house. After an extensive refit on our boat in Tampa, we moved onto the boat in August 2015 and began our liveaboard adventure.
Since leaving Tampa in September 2015 we have spent only two nights in a marina. We prefer to anchor out. It’s less expensive and we can keep a closer eye on our children. At a marina they tend to get off the boat and explore by themselves.
SV Aphrodite is equipped with two Yanmar engines, an 8 kW generator, 1000 W solar panels, a water maker, kick-ass new batteries and ample water, refrigeration and storage capacities. We have four queen-sized berths and four bathrooms (two with 3 ft bathtubs) – room for our growing family and our guests.
So far, we have sailed the west coast of Florida and the Keys, and spent four months in the Bahamas, before crossing over to the Turks and Caicos and onto the DR.We are in no hurry to travel, though we like to explore, preferring instead to take our time and give careful attention to homeschooling.
I’d prefer to be wholly positive but, to be honest, we’ve had a bit of a challenging year, full of transition.
To sum up our inaugural year as cruisers, the first six weeks were spent living in an Ottawa campground. The next six months were met by a seemingly endless display of disappointing and costly core system issues on our boat.
Despite assurances from tradespeople and industry experts, we encountered core systems updated during the refit that had not been fully tested or properly put together. I will describe these series of events later, in a separate blog post.
The last five months have been spent finding our groove – finessing the lifestyle balance between sailing, sight-seeing, and homeschooling. We’ve met some fantastic people in the process.
To some people, our lifestyle of living aboard a boat might seem singular and exotic. Yet, we are actually part of a sub-culture of thousands of other sailors and sailing families who refer to themselves as ‘cruisers’. People who sail with young children are less common, and definitely trail well behind the number of people who sail with pets.
We’ll be in Luperon at least until September and possibly until December as we wait out the 2016 hurricane season. After that, we will be heading south to Haiti and the Caribbean islands.
Thanks for reading!