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