Worldwide with a sailboat sounds exciting enough, but a world trip with the sailboat AND a baby? For many young parents a baby is already having enough adventure, even without traveling with their child. Joost and Ilse sailed around the world when they became pregnant. And instead of returning home, they sailed further, the world around. Together with their baby. Meanwhile, they are back in The Netherlands, now as a family of 4, but Ilse still likes to return to that time when she sailed around the world with her three-piece. I can enjoy the stories about their trip enormously. You hopefully too, because I felt her toothed about their experiences. Do you read?
Who are you and how did you come up with the world trip?
We are Joost and Ilse, together since we are 17, know each other from high school! We often agreed that we wanted to see a little more of the world. I thought of backpacking myself. Joost turned out to have a different idea. He would prefer a sailing boat around the world! This was when we were 20. I mainly thought of all dangers, storms, high waves, pirates, shipwreck. Joost had been in a bit and told me about it and slowly I began to see his idea more and more. I read the book of Tanya, ‘Solo’, a 18-year-old girl who sails the world alone. She became my great source of inspiration.
Joost and Ilse made a world trip with their sailboat and baby Siebe
You made a 3-year world trip with a sailboat! Wow!
Correction 4 years ;-). The plan was 3, but as we got our first child on our way we expanded. The fact that you do not make such a trip is clear. There was a year or eight of preparation in advance. This preparation consisted mainly of obtaining the shipping license (Joost), Vocabulary Certificate (Ilse) and Transmitter (Joost). In addition, many boats to the boat to get ready for the trip. We lived rented, so that was easy terminated. Lots of stuff thrown away and given away. Three car loads of items for in the sailboat and 20 moving boxes we could store at Ilse’s father. In addition, we could save well with two full-time salaries. Well, some things left, did not buy expensive items, but not cut off on fun things with friends. The hardest we found was to quit our jobs.
Did you buy the sailboat specifically for this trip?
We bought the sailboat specifically for the trip. The book ‘twenty small sailboats to take you anywhere’ was our guide. Robust, made of steel, so your boat does not sink immediately if you hit a rock or reef. Spacious, for a small boat of 10 meters. In the Netherlands this is not small, between the sailors though. It became a ‘Jan Haring’, built on a shipyard in Hellevoetsluis. Bought from the first owners. Have bought over 1.5 years before the trip. Very many weekends sailed with friends.And in the summer holidays, for Ilse, the first time the sea is on! For a 5 week trip to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. This was the big test. If not, we could always sell the boat again. But it felt great! So time to make the boat world-class.
Only after 4 years, Hafskip arrived again in Arnhem, with an additional passenger
What does such a trip cost and how did you save?
The boat itself cost us € 36,000. Then we also lost money. That’s a nice thing about a boat. During the trip we lived at € 1000, – per month. Of these we paid everything, such as costs for clearing in new countries, health insurance, groceries, equipment etc. The latter was almost half of our budget for the first 2 years, after which the boat was in better condition.
What places have you seen, what was your route?
This is a standard route ‘the barefeet route’ or ‘coconutrun’. We found out we were good! The book ‘world sailing routes’ of Jimmy Cornell is really indispensable. In which season do you find which ocean is safe for sailing and when there are hurricane seasons. There are wave currents, as well as prevailing winds. We have largely moved us westworths through the trade winds. The route started in Arnhem, the Rhine, at Hellevoetsluis the sea. Via the canal, Portugal, the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. Via the Panama Canal, the Galapagos Islands, Fans Polynesia to New Zealand. After a half-year job and sightseeing stop, via New Caledonia to Australia. Siebe was born here. The return trip was via Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand to India. I went to Siebe for a month back to NL because of pirates at Somalia, but then we boarded again in Eritrea. The Red Sea, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea and via the Rhone and the Rhine back to Arnhem.
In 4 years they sailed around the world and came to this kind of fantastic places
You were pregnant on the way. Did not you want to go home right away?
No definitely not. We did not want to trade the free boat life for a house in the cold wet Netherlands. We saw other sailboats how it was with a baby or with little children and it was just for us to do that too. We decided to stay away for a year!Joost really wanted to work abroad. So we went looking for a big city that’s just no longer in the tropics, so you can stay there during the hurricane season as well. We decided that Brisbane was the city where our child was to be born and Joost found a job to pay our extra year.
What did you eventually do and how do you look back there?
From New Zealand we sailed to New Caledonia in 10 days. I was just in my second trimester after admiring our little kiwi op on the echo in week 12. From New Caledonia, Joost’s brother sailed to Australia and his sister sailed to Brisbane. That was beautiful, so I did not have to do night watches.
The pregnancy checks I regularly arranged on the spot, following the Dutch schedule. Arrived in Brisbane, I was pregnant for six months and I was even taken in the birth hospital of the local hospital. Delivering in another country was not a problem for me.
Due to oxygen deficiency, baby Siebe was born with an emergency shortage. We stayed 5 days in the hospital and immediately we received the offer from several Dutch expat friends in Brisbane that we could stay with them until I was able to climb the boat again. We have made grateful use of that. When Siebe was 12 days old, we took him to our house.
In Brisbane, Australia, Siebe was born
We have spent 9 months in Brisbane on our sailboat. What a wonderful life! At 5:30 in the morning Siebe woke up and was warm and warm so we could have breakfast outside. Often a convenient ski moment with the home front. Joost went to work and was home early. When Siebe was 4 months old we went to show him in the Netherlands. For us, it was fine. For the family it was less fun. First, they heard from New Zealand that I was pregnant and that we stayed for a year. Then they can not keep their new-born grandson in their arms right away. After my mother, that could not really let the plane get to Brisbane.
The little Siebe then returned from Australia to the Netherlands.
Is not it very impractical, such a long sailing trip with a baby?
The first night trip with Siebe was a real disaster. We were both sea sick. We were afraid that our baby did not have enough breastfeeding because I could barely hold anything. Joost’s father is a doctor and, in doubt, we mailed him to our questions. A doctor in Brisbane had written out for our recipes so that we had the basic medication on board. We were really about to pick the best port, until we got into quieter waters and soon went better.
First Siebe slept in a hanging cot, but soon he lay in bed while sailing. Changing the guard now had to be a lot more careful, so that our baby could sleep well. We always found our turn with him. From our bed in the cabin we made a sturdy just a huge box. There he was delighted to roll in and play. On the side we carried him into the abdomen. The most beautiful was that we were both very close to Siebe all the time. Feel like a very long joint parental leave. It was impractical that I wanted to keep the Australian vaccination schedule, but this was just a bit skewed with other countries and it was difficult to get it done.
After 9 wonderful months in Brisbane, the sailing trip around the world continued with baby Siebe
How did you do that with diapers and other stuff?
Diapers can really be bought everywhere. To get enough of it we had an extra net hanged in the forefront. We were lucky that Siebe needed only 2 a 3 per day. We bought stuff at the Australian marketplace and the local children’s clothing fair.Siebe received breastfeeding. Just back in the Netherlands I bought a huge mountain second-hand baby clothes. Toys we often got from fellow sailors.