Advertisement

Extreme Family Voyaging, the Anasazi Girl Way

For James Burwick, Somira Sao, and their two young children, 200-mile days on the Open 40 _Anasazi Girl _are just part of the everyday routine.

November 13, 2012
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
James Burwick on Anasazi Girl

James Burwick on Anasazi Girl

James Burwick on Anasazi Girl Somira Sao/http://www.flickr.com/photos/ssao/

It’s always interesting and worthwhile to hear the thinking and motivations of sailors who are doing something unusual. Last month, I checked in with Webb Chiles, who at 70-plus plans to solo circumnavigate on a Moore 24. And since then I’ve been chasing after James Burwick, who is making long ocean passages with his partner, Somira Sao, and their two (very) young children aboard an Open 40 called _Anasazi Girl_.

I first took note of Burwick and his family when he crossed the Atlantic in the summer of 2011. But he isn’t very easy to catch up with because, well, most of the time he is at sea. But for the moment, he and his family are settled down in Auckland (for a very good reason–see below), and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about what he, his family, and Anasazi Girl are up to.

Photo: Somira Sao

Advertisement

Before you read the Q&A, perhaps you should get a taste of what his world is like by reading his account of the passage from Melbourne to Auckland via Bass Strait (which I have no doubt will make you want to read deeper into his fascinating blog because he and his family truly are engaged in something special).

It’s also worth watching this video of his 2011 Transatlantic crossing:

null

TZ: Why are you sailing around the world with your kids, and what does the rest of your route look like?

Advertisement

JB: We are not really sailing around the world. That is not the goal or the plan. We are giving the gift of the sea to the children. We are spending the formative years with them 24/7. We’re doing a program of experiential education. We like very much the Southern Hemisphere so we have been sailing in the westerlies downwind. We are in New Zealand awaiting the birth of our third child, due Dec 22. We have no plans at present. This is a real gift for us.

TZ: How have you dealt with questions of safety for the young ones, and what sort of rules and procedures have you put in place?

JB: It is all about risk management. On deck, full body harness, no life jacket. Make the clip [to the safety line] or take the ride [into the sea]. We clip in. No compromising at this time. I sometimes demand crew confined to their berths. The kids know why this is happening, and it is cool with them as this means either story time, book reading, or movies.

Advertisement

Photo: Somira Sao

TZ: How do your children feel about your voyage?

JB: They are are bit young to ask. Raivo is two and T-bird is four. She was asked upon arrival in Auckland how the passage from Melbourne was. She replied, “It was short, just 10 days.”

Advertisement

Are they aware that they are doing something unusual? Yes, they are. They see the other life experience, the rooms with toys and houses with things, and at the end of the day, they want to go back to the boat where it is simple.

TZ: How has Anasazi Girl worked out as a family cruiser?

JB: We are not cruising, we are voyaging. We are sailing from world port to world port [on] long passages not easily done by a cruising boat as we are making steady 200-mile days and sometimes more. We have a safe ocean voyager with no compromise for living comfort. This is comforting for us.

TZ: What do you love best about_ Anasazi Girl_? What do you dislike most or wish you could change?

JB: She is a go-anywhere, at any time of year. We have done 3/4 of the Southern Ocean. We are thriving in the wilderness of the sea. The ports we visit are ports that we know and have many friends. The kids are bonding with our friends and making lifetime connections. What a gift.

Photo: Somira Sao

The boat is simple enough that we are not bogged down dealing with stuff. We have, for example, four cups and four spoons–not a lot of time doing dishes. We play a lot. I am so familiar with the boat that it is not stressful maintaining her. There are not any unknowns to worry about.

TZ: Have you ever had any doubts about being out there on a voyage with the kids, and if you have, what were the circumstances?

JB: NONE. I am uncomfortable on the land, not at sea. I am in my comfort zone 1000 miles offshore, and a little edgy closer to land.

TZ: Do you have a favorite moment so far, in terms of experiencing this voyage with your family?

JB: Every landfall we have a two-liter bottle of Coca Cola and chocolate and scream “Land Ho!”

Photo: Somira Sao

Advertisement

More Sailboats

Advertisement