Fam­ily ad­ven­ture on the high seas

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

“Life’s an ad­ven­ture.”

It’s a phrase with which Olympian, trans-Atlantic row­ing cham­pion, au­thor and mo­ti­va­tional speaker Rob Hamill some­times starts his talks.

This time, the phrase couldn’t be more true for his wife, Rachel, and three chil­dren, Finn, 16, De­clan, 14, and Ivan, 11, as they join Rob on another ad­ven­ture liv­ing on the high seas.

The fam­ily have packed up their Te Pahu¯ home, fos­tered their dog out and moved aboard their 13m cata­ma­ran Javelot.

“I wish we’d done it sooner,” says Rob.

He was in­spired when get­ting ready for the Atlantic Row­ing Race in the early 2000s and he saw chil­dren run­ning be­tween boats in the ma­rina talk­ing to each other.

Rob had won the in­au­gu­ral Atlantic Row­ing Race with Phil Stubbs in 1997.

He spoke to some of the par­ents, who said the chil­dren got an ed­u­ca­tion just meet­ing other chil­dren.

“That’s such a cool way to bring up chil­dren,” he says.

In late July the fam­ily left Auck­land bound for Whangarei. Af­ter a month in Whangarei get­ting re­pairs and work done, the fam­ily set sail for Fiji via Min­erva Reef.

Af­ter that it’s Van­u­atu and New Cale­do­nia . . . then “wher­ever tick­les our fancy”.

Rob said the fam­ily are con­sid­er­ing fol­low­ing the jour­ney his brother Kerry took in 1978 aboard his yacht Foxy Lady, through South East Asia to Koh Tang Is­land, where he was cap­tured by Pol Pot’s Kh­mer Rouge and killed.

The boys have been taken out of school, with the goal of learn­ing by life ex­pe­ri­ence.

De­clan said he was ex­cited about “see­ing new stuff”, while Finn was look­ing for­ward to nice weather where they could wear shorts and T-shirts.

They said their friends thought it was cool, but thought leav­ing school was bad. The boys and their fa­ther aren’t fussed.

Rob wants his chil­dren to be able to adapt to chal­lenges, em­brace new cul­tures and learn by dis­cov­ery. He also likes the idea of less screen time for his chil­dren.

The fam­ily bought the boat in 2014 and sailed it to Fiji in 2015, which helped whet their ap­petite.

Rachel said liv­ing in close quar­ters wasn’t a prob­lem.

“Al­though it’s a small space every­body’s got their own room so they can still dis­ap­pear and have their own space.”

It might not be a smooth start to the ad­ven­ture with Rachel and De­clan known to suf­fer sea sick­ness for the first two days of open sea sail­ing.

The fam­ily is doc­u­ment­ing their trav­els in a video blog. Search “The Cruis­ing Ki­wis” on Youtube to keep up.

Photo / Michael Cun­ning­ham

Rob Hamill, his wife Rachel and boys (from left) De­clan, Ivan and Finn leave on a an around-the-world ad­ven­ture today.

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