Sailing with your family, working together as a team to help crew a yacht, and enjoying time out from the rigours of daily life, will leave you with indelible memories you love to revisit again and again around the dinner table.
Sailing, whether as a leisure activity or competitive sport, requires teamwork – and there are roles to fulfill for even the most junior member of the family. Sailing together, a family practise coordination, cooperation, and together overcome the challenges that come with the sport. The mutual satisfaction of crewing a boat successfully helps bonding, as well as improving individual self esteem and confidence.
Incorporating activity and exercise into family holidays helps reinforce a healthy attitude to getting up, out and moving, with kids coming quickly to associate being outdoors and active with having fun. Add into that the health benefits for kids of exercising at all, such as better immediate strength, flexibility and endurance, and the long term protections afforded against conditions such as type two diabetes, and getting on to the water together is a natural choice.
Enjoy the bounty of nature
Getting children (not to mention adults), away from screens, from the distractions of TV, computer games and continual stimulation, is no mean feat. However, finding the time for a break, especially one where kids get to stop, look around, and be amazed by something new, is in incredibly valuable thing to do, for all round mental well being. Kids who spend too long in front of screens struggle to sleep, can struggle with attention disorders and show heightened rates of obesity, as a result of a more sedentary lifestyle.
Persuading even reluctant family members to give up the computer shouldn’t be too difficult once they experience the outstanding nature on offer in the local area. The waters around St Vincent and the Grenadines are blessed with a fantastic range of wildlife for the family to spot and enjoy whilst you sail. Eleven species of dolphins have been identified in our waters, including pan-tropical and spinner dolphins. You may also get to see pilot and sperm whales, not to mention any of the 225 different types of fish that call our area home.
Help your kids to slow down and drink in the beauty of it all, by spending time talking as a family about what you see and experience. Not only will this help everyone appreciate the moment more, it also helps to cement what you see as permanent memories to revisit in future.
A final sensory pleasure for the whole family to enjoy, is to indulge in the fantastic range of tropical fruits, fresh fish and local vegetables that are available for you during your trip. Tropical Fruits like Paw Paw (Papaya), Guava, Cashew, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Banana, Soursop, Sapodilla, Coconut, Breadfruit, Sorrel and Mango are popular, and can be found fresh and plentiful. Try also the local Vegetables such as the spinach-like Callaloo, Plantains, Okra and Christophene, along with better known produce such as Sweet Potato and Yam. Introduce your family to these delights, and add an extra dimension to your trip, that they’ll recall every time they taste the flavours of the area again.
Plan to prevent problems
Travelling with the family means getting organised to ensure everything goes smoothly, from the big things, like having insurance cover in place well in advance and that it extends to partaking on this kind of holiday, to the small, like making sure the kids choose a favourite toy to carry along. Some time spent in advance talking about what to expect, what wildlife and scenery you may see, and how the boat you have chosen operates, will help kids get excited in advance, and focused on enjoying the experience once they’re here. Age appropriate reads can be found to stimulate the discussion.
Read up on the likely climate for the time you plan to visit, to make sure you pack perfectly. Don’t forget to research and pick up any relevant performance clothing, or essential personal kit for your brood. Having the right gear means there’s no such thing as bad weather!
A family sailing holiday is a perfect mix of action adventure, meditative silence, dazzling nature, and family bonding, to mean every member of your party can have their ideal trip. Each journey is different, but what unites all our family sailing adventures is the fact you carry away with you a unique and unforgettable set of family memories to treasure.
Barefoot Contributor, Susie Lynam