New Writers Join AAC


We first met Christopher and Molly Barnes and their two boys Porter and Jack eleven years ago when they stopped by to have a look at Morgan’s Cloud and talk about their plans to go voyaging when their boys were a bit older.

Since then we have watched with appreciation and not a little amazement as this very smart and motivated family have converted themselves from sailing neophytes to competent sailors who, as I write, are cruising South Georgia—one of the toughest cruising grounds in the world—as part of their circumnavigation of South America.

But I guess we should not be surprised at the speed with which they attained their goals since before getting the sailing bug they founded and ran a successful wilderness school for young people—these people get hard stuff done!

Not only do they write well, Christopher and Molly are also acknowledged experts on risk management.

They are also cruising with children, which brings a whole new aspect to AAC. In fact, that’s the subject of Christopher’s first article. Look for it in the next few days.

While you are waiting for Molly and Christopher’s debut article here at AAC, have a look at his TED talk on risk, you will be glad you did, and you will also learn a few of the reasons that we are so excited about this opportunity for all of us to get to know, and learn from, the Barnes family.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

9 comments… add one
  • Alex Fontes Feb 27, 2015, 8:57 pm

    Hi John et al at AAC, congratulations … As great as AAC already is, I guess the expression “it doesn’t get any better” just doesn’t apply to it, because it does!
    Christopher, Molly … Welcome onboard. My family and I became full time liveaboard cruisers six months ago, and AAC has been THE source of inspiration, motivation and information for us. Even more so now, with your perspectives about cruising with kids (we have two, ages 10 and 9). Looking forward to your first post.
    Best Regards

    • John Feb 28, 2015, 10:57 am

      Hi Alex,

      Congratulations on getting “out there” and thanks for the kind words.

  • Matt Feb 28, 2015, 10:28 am

    Welcome aboard, Christopher & Molly!

  • Colin Speedie Feb 28, 2015, 12:10 pm

    A warm welcome to Christopher and Molly, Porter and Jack.
    Anyone who has the dream of sailing away with a family will find inspiration, ideas and insight from reading of their amazing exploits, objective planning and humble attitude.
    You’re going to love this!
    Best wishes

  • Marc Dacey Feb 28, 2015, 4:22 pm

    Given that we are in the run-up to taking a young teenager offshore, I look forward to some first-hand reportage. The cruising community as it exists is a terrific resource, but it does skew demographically to the older, usually retired side of the equation for fairly obvious reasons, so it is always welcome to hear other viewpoints.

  • Darrian Gourdine Mar 1, 2015, 3:29 am

    After watching the video, I believe Christopher and Molly Barnes may just be the visionaries needed in leading the movement to being exceptional, socially responsible, and a remnant of what life and living are meant to be…… I am excited and can’t wait for his first installment. Welcome aboard!!

  • Eric Klem Mar 2, 2015, 12:11 am

    This is a wonderful addition to the site. They are both incredibly talented people who have accomplished amazing things. My sister was lucky enough to work for them briefly at HMI and she thinks very highly of them.


  • Westbrook Mar 3, 2015, 2:38 pm

    As an illustration of how not to teach a child to manage risk: Today’s Washington Post includes a story about local parents being investigated by child protective services for allowing their two children to walk home from a nearby park without a adult escort. The bureaucrats found the parents to be responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect.

    • Marc Dacey Mar 3, 2015, 3:37 pm

      I would not be alone, I’m sure, were I to describe my childhood and have it condemned today as neglect. My standard operating procedure when 10 or 11 during the summer was to leave the house at 9 AM, helmetless, on a bike, to points unknown and unasked about, with a house key, some coins, a folding knife and maybe some matches and caps (the junior terrorist manifest today). I would get back for lunch, perhaps wet from falling into a river or pond, perhaps dirty from climbing a fence and “exploring” some abandoned factory, eat a hearty lunch, and buzz off again for another six hours. Scabs, cuts, tetanus shots and the occasional arm cast or stitches were seen in September, but only the unvaccinated died.

      A guy flashed me once (the old “letting the robe fall open behind a storm door accidently on purpose tactic). I pointed at his genitals and roared with laughter and called other kids to join me in the mockery. No counsellors were harmed, or indeed employed, during my childhood. The only therapy I required was speech to correct an impediment. Today, of course, we have precious snowflakes that cannot bear to know about physics and consequently are not great with initiative or in some respect self-preservation. We have lost a great deal, I think, in the process, but the acceptance of the New Coddling is in stark contrast to taking kids to sea, which I’d better get to before our own snowflake is persuaded by social media to join ISIS, I suppose.

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