The sailing part of sailing isn’t what worries me. What worries me is that we’ve bought a new (and crazily expensive by our standards) yacht, created a lot of expectations, but when time eventually comes, we won’t really like it at all, to be out on the water and sail as a family.

I had a grand plan though, but it didn’t quite work out the way I thought.   

Since Charlotte had never sailed before, my plan was to make her first sailing trip as perfect as possible, hoping that this would turn her into a fan, and eventually maybe even into loving it as much as I do.

So I bought her this Lego Sunshine Catamaran set as a Christmas present, but replaced the original building instructions with my own.

My Lego instructions instructing Charlotte and me to fly American Airlines from Helsinki through Paris and Miami to Nassau, Bahamas.
My Lego instructions instructing us to charter a catamaran and sail to the “Pig Beach” in the Exumas.

“So did you open your Christmas present”, I asked her on the phone with a lot of anticipation in my voice.

“Oh yes”, said Charlotte, “it was very nice.”

No no no, she didn’t sound excited enough!, I thought to myself. “Well did you really… I mean really open it and ehm… read the instructions?”

“What do you mean?”, she said, “ok, wait..”

(Sounds of someone opening a package … taking out the instructions …)

“Oh wait.. what.. ? I mean .. what does this mean? What is this.. ?”

“WE’RE GOING TO THE BAHAMAS AND WE WILL SAIL WITH THE SUNSHINE CATAMARAN TO THE PIG BEACH!!!”, I practically shouted on the phone. 

“Oh wow, oh really?”, she said a bit shortly, but I heard it anyway. All the fear and anxiety, but also all the joy and excitement, all together in the speechlessness of her voice.

How It Went

First of all, the Bahamas and the Exumas are amazingly beautiful!

I had never sailed in a place like this before (never been west of the Shetland Islands or south of Copenhagen). The clear water, the sand and corals beneath it. Just totally inspirationally amazing.

And Charlotte thought so too, for a few hours. And then she got seasick. Nausea, vomiting, the lot. 

But in the end it passed, and the next day we visited this fascinating island called Norman’s Cay and had a really good dinner at MacDuff’s. 

And Charlotte thought so too. But then she got the worst stomach flu ever, and it didn’t pass, but stayed with us for the rest of the trip. (We’re not blaming MacDuff’s, though. It’s just something that happens quite easily when you go abroad and meet bacteria you aren’t used to.)

So we did the best we could. We went to the places we wanted to (the pigs! the sharks! the iguanas!), but for most of the time Charlotte wasn’t feeling very well. Still she did her best and I just love her for putting all her remaining energy into making it the best trip possible anyway. 

And the sailing. No, no sailing. For most of the days we had almost no wind, and when we actually had some wind and I tried to raise the sails, I found out that the genoa furler was broken. 

So, our perfect sailing holiday was a lot of motoring and a lot of being sick.

But we did love it, though, the both of us, Charlotte too.

Every week, once or twice a week, she keeps reminding me that she wants to go back there and do it again. “This time without being sick”.

And that’s why I feel at least mildly confident that everything will eventually turn out all right.

Charlotte with friend at “Pig Island” actually called Big Major’s Spot in the Exumas, Bahamas.