By Thomas Panagiotopoulos

Our free space on the rib might be limited enough but this does not mean that it is forbidden for our little children. There is absolute agreement with those who believe that little children can indeed accompany us in our sea excursions even though they might deprive us of some of our freedom, and get on our nerves making us function nervously.

Children on board

On the other hand though, we gain their irreplaceable company and we automatically become more responsible and more organizational.

Be certain that if we are more relaxed and more resilient as far as our own non-negotiable, at times, habits as well as the strictness that we show to our children on a daily basis are concerned, giving them more freedom, we will all gain from that without putting our mental peace in jeopardy.

We should show looseness with our behaviour but we should also show meticulousness and seriousness during the planning of our sea excursions.

But before we decide to give to our little kids the name "crew" we must be absolutely certain about it.
We must consider whether we are in a position to take this responsibility. Are we experienced enough? Do we trust ourselves and the boat we ride?

Let's not forget that we are on the sea and if we are called to face a difficult and unpredictable situation, things will be a lot more difficult when children are on board. Our reactions will be then inevitably limited and our priorities different. The most basic prerequisite though, is to feel competent and certain that we can protect our little sailors in all conditions.

Of course, it is necessary, before we open up at the sea, to spend plenty of hours going on nearby and off shore excursions so that we will be aware of the new needs and obligations which are on the horizon at first hand.

So, after we discuss with ourselves first and with our wives, we can define our responsibilities and move to the planning of our sea excursions. If we agree that the planning of our voyage constitutes the leading factor for its success, then we will agree with the ascertainment that when our crew is "manned" with little children the planning must be done even more meticulously and every possible parameter must be examined until its last detail. Only in this way we will avoid the aimless travail and we will ensure the best possible stay.

Children on board

Knowledge and weather conditions

We ought to know the weather conditions that usually prevail in the sea areas at which we will sail, a fact which will secure the best possible safety and the least travail for the children.

Choice of places to visit and strategic spots to stay overnight.

After we end up with our choice of the destinations which are of interest to us, we move on to the choice of places we will visit and mainly the choice of the strategic spots we will use as our base for our daily excursions. If we belong to the category of those people who prefer to anchor and spend the night in natural bays away from ports, we must choose shelters characterised by a number of advantages:

  • To be absolutely safe in bad weather.
  • The waters to be shallow so that the children will play and swim with no fear.
  • To be near interesting beaches and seaside villages or ports in order to resort to them easily when children express the desire for a playground.

Of course, if we belong to the category of those who prefer to stay in ports then things are more simplified as long as we prefer quiet ports without fuss and cars so that the children will play carefree without being forced to constantly have our attention on them.

Planning of basic and alternative routes

At the sea there are always more than one ways to reach our destination and many more to return to our base. By spreading the nautical map on the table to define our routes, we must, besides all the rest, to take into consideration the children's presence which without a doubt it constitutes a basic restrictive factor. It is obvious that the distance which will be covered daily must be limited and the intermediary stops more, in order to give children the chance to get rest.
Beyond all these though, we must dedicate plenty of time on the organisation of the rib. Some things are necessary to be on board, things that will improve our daily life:

Children on board

Cruising tent

The existence of a bow tent in open ribs, even though some people do not like it, is necessary. Little children need more than anyone else a place which they will use to get rest. A "nest" to sleep, to play, to draw or read their favourite fairytale.
The sail tent is also valuable during the voyage when children have a tendency to sleep. And this can easily happen in the bow tent-room with the effect of the boat shaking which is like a lullaby. Besides, when we travel and the children are in the bow room they are completely safe and we enjoy carefree our voyage.

Stern tent

Also very important is the stern tent which protects the children's sensible complexion from the harmful sun rays. Underneath the stern tent we can set our table and eat our lunch, play all together a board game or just relax.

A storage compartment for the children's things

There is the need to dedicate a big storage compartment for the children's things. This way they will learn to have their own space which they will take care of on their own so that they will be more autonomous. Therefore, they will not interfere with our own things searching the whole boat in order to find something that belongs to them.
Inside this storage compartment we must put a sack with their clothes, their towels, their seaside pails, their armbands, their paintings, their fairytale books and any other toys they like. The more things they have in order to be occupied with, the less their nagging will be which constitutes our worst enemy while we are looking for some time to get rest.

...keep Ribbing!