BLUEWATER BORN & RAISED
French couple, Estelle and Benoît set sail with two very young crew members, their daughters.
Jeanneau 36 Sunshine, owned by Benoît (32 years old) and Estelle (30 years old) has been a primary vessel for adventure, with their three-year-old and one-year-old daughters, Diane and Aliénor.
The family is passionate about sailing, and the young couple has traveled many miles, between the Mediterranean and the West Indies for both personal and professional expeditions, documenting their experience via their Instagram account @stel_sailing. A few years ago, in St. Martin (West Indies), they learned that they were expecting, which didn’t prevent them from continuing their adventurous life on the water.
“We simply rethought our project, and we gave ourselves three years after Diane’s birth to buy our own sailboat, validate other diplomas, and welcome another baby into our family,” says Estelle.
“Diane will be three years old in August, and for the moment the project is going ahead. Benoît is now earned his 500-ton captain license, and we have completely refitted our sailboat for our next trip, with our girls Diane and her little sister, Aliénor.”
After a long five-month period of work in Port Saint-Louis du Rhône, it was time to go back to the sea. “We hoisted our new North sails in great weather conditions to sailed to Corsica. We sailed from Port Saint-Louis to Marseille under the mainsail and overlapping genoa which was great for broad-reaching with 12 knots of wind, as we hit 6 to 7 knots hull-speed. It was a perfect cruising trip for everyone to get their sea legs. Sailing from Marseille to Ajaccio was done with two reefs and staysail downwind, with wind between 15 and 30 knots, and a swell of 3 to 4 meters, which allowed us to surf, making our experience sporty and fast, as we hit 9 knots.”
“We often sail under-powered since we have our daughters onboard, as it’s a question of safety for us,” Estelle said.
“For the remaining time, our plans are not defined, and the only constraint for us is having to stop for work. , We’re currently in Corsica for the summer season, and we’ll be heading for Gibraltar, then the Canaries and Cape Verde in September, hoping to be able to cross the Atlantic in December to reach the West Indies.”
“The people we meet are often surprised to see that you can travel and live with a family of four on a 36-footer, especially when you see families sailing on 40-footers minimum or catamarans,” explains Benoît.
This family shows us that everything is possible, even with little ones. “All it takes is a good organization, patience, and a few concessions of comfort can be quickly forgotten by the beautiful moments shared together! “
“Amazingly, our daughters are comfortable on the boat. Diane and Aliénor have developed an unparalleled balance. They’ve always known the boat as their home, it’s a familiar environment for them,” Estelle reports. “Sailing, changing ports, discovering new places, and meeting new people are now part of their normal, daily life.”
Through this alternative lifestyle of slow travel and taking things easy, the family has found a good compromise to combine their lifelong passion with their now, daily regiment. These experiences reinforce and unite the family, but also enrich and build their relationship together.. If you happen to meet them on the water, don’t hesitate to drop by!