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.

Christopher and Molly Barnes, and their two boys Porter and Jack, have just completed a 30,000-mile circumnavigation of South America in their Boréal 47, Sila, including cruising South Georgia—one of the toughest cruising grounds in the world. Not only do they write well, they are also acknowledged experts on risk management and motivating children, having founded and run a successful wilderness school for young people.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments