Grateful Sailing

A first overnight sail with the kids makes for a memorable Thanksgiving indeed.

December 6, 2013
offshore sunset
Loving a perfect sunset at sea. Jen Brett

Right now, I’m sitting in my V-berth, computer on my lap, glass of wine (empty… hmm.. need to remedy that) next to me, and I’m trying to put words to how far I feel we – myself and my family- have come in the last 10 days or so. In these days, we’ve had to sort out homeschooling, keeping the kids occupied, working remotely, being stuck while the transmission was fixed, replacing the alternator with one of our spares — not a plug-and-play operation as it turns out (more on that later) — and the logistics of trying to do it “all” in this limited time we have. We also accomplished our first overnight offshore passage with the kids, and celebrated Thanksgiving and a very special fourth birthday aboard. It’s a lot of living in 10 days, and all good reminders of what makes this cruising life so sweet.

Our first overnight with the kids — our Thanksgiving at sea (yes, I made a turkey, however we celebrated the night before) — gave me much to be thankful for. Caitlin, my 8-year-old, spent part of my first watch of the night with me, and her total delight in the phosphorescence, dolphins and stars was contagious. Her presence was a welcome distraction since my relationship with the ocean at night has always been somewhat complicated. It’s nice to be reminded sometimes of the incredible beauty around us that we are so lucky to witness.

That’s a very chilly me in the cockpit. Green Brett

This night (well… everyday, really) has also given me plenty of material for an upcoming blog called “Ways That Cruising with Kids Bears Zero Resemblance to Cruising Before Kids.” For instance, I was still on watch and Green had just put the kids to bed in the V-berth — which is very exciting for them since they usually sleep in the aft cabin. Not minutes later as I’m just settling in in the cockpit and Green is (already) sleeping in what is usually Caitlin’s bunk, Caitlin comes to the companionway and says “I think Jules just wet the bed!”
Ug. Really!?!? Remember this is my bed we’re talking about…(Fortunately it was a false alarm)


That night started as a motorsail, but somewhere around midnight Green realized that we were actually pulling juice out of the batteries instead of putting it in. Not good. Luckily at this point the breeze had come up, so off went the engine, and we made a sweet 6 to 7 knots on a broad reach. The cold night (I literally was wearing 3 pairs or pants, 2 pairs of socks, 2 shirts, a fleece, my Gill jacket, a fleece hat, gloves and boots, just for the record) was otherwise uneventful except for altering course for an uncharted blinking light that I’m assuming was some sort of buoy, and an amazing crescent moonrise that there was no way to properly photograph. We sailed into Charleston around lunchtime and anchored in the Ashley River right off the huge Charleston City Marina. First night with the kids — done — and no one is worse for the wear and tear. That’s definitely something to be thankful for.

Sailing into Charleston Green Brett

Cruising World associate editor Jen Brett lives with her husband, Green, and their two daughters aboard Lyra a Reliance 44 ketch. Typically, they can be found in Newport, Rhode Island. You can follow along as Jen shares her family’s cruising adventures during this winter’s southern sojourn in this blog.


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