Anchored and isolated on a sailboat

By: Stephanie Colotti Ferrie

As featured in Spinsheet Magazine

Imagine planning for years that you’d take an entire year away from your job, or maybe even put your career on hold, to purchase a sailboat (Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44i) for your family to sail the world. You’d probably sell your home, along with many of your possessions all for one dream. One that you may have dreamt about for your entire life. A dream many said would be close to impossible to execute.

When the day finally comes and you move on your boat with your few possessions and your family. You’re in a new country, maybe one that doesn’t speak your language and the only familiar faces you see are your family members. Figuring out how to get food and supplies, and for many, how to sail your boat. You wonder how you’ll ever adapt to such a different lifestyle.

What happens if weeks or maybe months into your one year plan, a global pandemic strikes and your dream comes to a complete halt. You and your family get stuck in a country, without anywhere to go. Healthcare is questionable. The language different, and the locals are petrified you will be the one to bring disease to their country, and it’s exceedingly clear, they do not want you there.

This is reality for many sailing families right now. Imagine that one week vacation you had planned, but add in leaving your career, selling your home for a floating one and selling all your things, and then the only thing you can do is stay on your boat and not leave. What about traveling to all those exotic places you had on your list? All those places you talked incessantly about to your family for years. Not happening.

Global pandemic was not on their list of “10 things you should worry about when moving your family abroad and onto a sailboat”

Right now, there are families all over the world, ones like the ones I’ve described above, who are close to waving the white flag. They didn’t sign up for this when they were leaving their jobs and selling their possessions. Global pandemic was not on their list of “10 things you should worry about when moving your family abroad and onto a sailboat”. One may think being overtaken by a rogue wave or boarded by pirates was pretty high up there on the things people worried about when you said you were going to sail the world with your kids, but a global pandemic? No freaking way. That’s like Sci-Fi crazy!

Not only are there families out there who aren’t even through their one year sabbatical, there are ones out there who may be years into their adventure, and even when they think they may have seen it all, they are faced with the unbelievable. The entire globe has basically come to a screeching halt due to COVID-19, and many families like us who travel by sailboat are left wondering, “what next?” or even more important “where can we go from here?”and most often, the answer is “no where” or “there’s no right answer.”