Everything you need to know about upping sticks.

Imagine the rest of your life in the suburbs; going to playgroups, washing nappies, joining the PTA and chatting about real estate at street BBQ’s.  

If this makes you want to drown yourself in the paddling pool, then read on.

Here is Mrs Blacksmith’s guide to:

Upping sticks – how to go sailing with a toddler and bugger all cash’

Marry a sailor.
By far and away the best way to ensure large parts of your life are full of adventure, is to marry a sailor.   Hooking a sailor can be a bit tricky as a nomadic life on the sea makes long term commitments difficult, but if you can grab one while they are in port, you have lifelong travel sewn up. 


Have a baby 
This is great training for the four hour watches.  If, like me, you haven’t spent much time on the sea, having a baby is a great way to prepare for the long hard nights, relinquishing control to the captain, and having faith that things will get better.

Create a 500 day chart.   
Even if you think charts are for disorganized losers – get a sheet of paper and mark out 500 days.  DO it now. Put it up in the hallway and on the 500th day write,   Go Sailing.  You can write this in crayon, ball point pen, hell, go crazy with the glitter!  Mark in other milestones like purchase boat, save $10000, book tickets to Aruba. Stick to it, consult it often and mark those days off. The chart will keep you focused.

Read Books.
Children of Cape Horn by Rosie Swale is inspirational.

She sails with her two very small children around Cape Horn in a catamaran in the early 1970’s.  She has amazing tips for keeping kids entertained, washing nappies on board, what to do when weevils attack the stores,  and she does all this with very little money while looking like a total fox.If Rosie can, you can.

Jill Dickin Schinas book Kids in the Cockpit is full of  great practical advice about breastfeeding in oilskins, keeping harnesses on toddlers, making your boat child friendly and has a  whole chapter on safety.  This is GOLD. Whenever I think “what the bloody hell are we doing” I pick up Jill and Rosie’s books and am instantly soothed by their wise words.
Tell people.
Saying out loud that you are going sailing across the world with your family has the remarkable effect of making it real. 

Hammer and tongs.
This is how you must go after your dream.   Other people will think you are mad, they will be jealous, they will think that taking a toddler sailing is tantamount to child abuse, they will try to dissuade you, but stick to your dream. Have some facts at the ready like “it is more dangerous to drive to Auckland than sail across the Pacific”. Hammer and Tongs are also handy bits of equipment on a steel yacht.

Plan plan plan
Become a marine radio operator, do your boat masters, study charts, read other people’s blogs and forums, learn a bit of the local lingo, eat only beans and rice for a month,  practice shitting in a bucket, get your capsule wardrobe together, get your toddler used to wearing his  harness, bulk buy Sea Legs,  get used to  doing exactly what the captain says because  poor communication sinks ships.

Save as much of this stuff as you can.  Try to arrange some income while you are sailing, sell all your land based stuff and have credit cards at the ready.

Positive poverty.
Embrace this concept. It will make being poor so much easier to bear.

Get fit.

Don’t be afraid to go pink in this pursuit. Sailing is physically hard work, looking after a toddler is physically hard work so having good core strength is a sailor’s best friend.  Make the time.

Finally, Do it. Make It Happen. 

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2 Responses to Everything you need to know about upping sticks.

  1. jane says:

    WHOOP WHOOP!!!!!!!

  2. Glen Morales says:

    I am reminded of a quote after reading the above:

    “Bite off more than you can chew – THEN CHEW IT!” All the best!

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