For Guyon and Ali Moseley, who bought a Leopard 48 and expect to spend two years living aboard and circumnavigating with their three middle school aged boys (pictured here with additional family crew for their Tortola to Bermuda passage), the planning for their extended cruising aboard WIDAGO began about 4 years ago. This week, their adventure more formally began as they left Tortola for Bermuda - Azores - England with the ARC Europe rally. How does a family plan for such an unconventional experience, especially with three kids?
Creating and Committing to a Plan
"We'd been working pretty hard at giving ourselves the flexibility for this for a while," explains Guyon, who named the project the MoFAP, or Moseley Family Action Plan. Formalizing this plan helped make it a reality. As Ali writes in WIDAGO's blog, "the MoFAP was a declaration. We put it onto paper (it was literally push-pinned on the wall next to the little league schedule and Angler's Club Calendar).
"The biggest challenge I had was actually selling the idea of a circumnavigation to our extended family, specifically my wife's family who had less experience with sailing and cruising," says Guyon. He met this challenge by recognizing that the extended family needed time to plan too. He kept communication open during the early planning process, emailing out itinerary ideas more than three years before the adventure would begin. Ali also adds that sharing the plan with others helped her and Guyon realize a plan that could easily have been abandoned:
With any major life change, you can think about it and dream about it all you want, but once you put it out there for others to see, then you're like 'we've got to do this.' It really provides the extra push.
Preparing for "Boat School"
How did they determine when the adventure would start? "We focused it on the kids' ages," says Guyon. "We wanted them out during middle school. Nobody likes middle school. It's the perfect time to go on an adventure with them for a few years. That really set our window and we worked everything around that." Ali elaborates on how they planned for home schooling, "We had them in traditional school until last year. Before we moved onto the boat, when we still owned our house in Florida, we pulled them out to try to figure out home schooling first. We didn't want to have too many variables at once when it came time to move aboard. It was good for us to get used to having the kids home every day, and the increased patience required on our part." The boys finished their curriculum for this year on April 30th, making the Atlantic crossing fall nicely during summer vacation.
Selecting a Boat
As the boys approached middle school age, it was time to choose and buy a boat. The Moseleys attended boat shows, looking at catamarans in the 50-60ft range. "Once we saw the Leopard line we pretty much just stopped looking at everything else. We wanted a more cruising-oriented boat. We really just wanted to be comfortable. The Leopard 48 fit in beautifully with impressive speed for the size and uber comfortable," says Guyon, who also emphasizes that the forward cockpit was a major selling point for them.
Outfitting and Training
After receiving the boat in October 2014, Guyon and Ali had a long list of prepaparations to make. They tackled everything from outfitting the boat to suit their needs to arranging private lessons with a local captain, taking some short passages to accustom the family to blue water sailing, getting certified for diving, taking offshore emergency medicine classes, and more. The preparation never really stopped. Two days before departure from Tortola, the boys were learning how to use flares and practicing getting into a liferaft in the pool at Nanny Cay marina.
Enjoying the Adventure
Now the MoFAP is fully in action. The Moseleys have spent the last few months living the island liveaboard life in the Caribbean, catching fish, enjoying quiet anchorages, absorbing local knowledge in a growing list of locations, hosting family aboard, accumulating sea stories, and experiencing the joys and challenges of being together 24/7. At the writing of this article, tracking shows WIDAGO should reach Bermuda in the next 8-12 hours. After that, next stop: the Azores. Then on to England, the Baltic Sea, the Med, and back to St. Lucia - their departure point for a westward circumnavigation with the World Cruising Club. For the Moseleys, four years of smart planning has opened up this amazing opportunity for quality family time.
For us it was not just about planning a sailing cirumnavigation, but it turned into long-term planning for where and how we wanted to live our lives over the next 20 years.