The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Attainably Adventurous Children


A thousand nautical miles from the Galapagos and halfway to Easter Island, a new member of the crew, a 20 year old family friend, has asked for help getting our wind self-steering settled back onto the correct course. The conditions were tricky: light airs coming over the stern quarter with waves coming from the opposite quarter.

While I was getting ready to help, another crew member turns on the electronic autopilot, trims the sails to balance the helm, disengages the autopilot while engaging the wind steering gear (always a tricky manoeuver), and then patiently tweaks the wind steering and sail trim to get us exactly on course. Arriving on deck, there is nothing for me to do but bask in the proud parent moment, given what our 10 year old son has accomplished all by himself.

As we write, we are anchored in Porto Profundo, just north of the Straits of Magellan in Patagonia. It is very exciting for us to be this far south in Chile, close to such an important area in nautical history. We are, as a family of four, off on an adventure.