The Chesapeake Family Cruising Network (CFCN) is slowly picking up new members with ideas and desires to arrange raftups or with questions for other cruisers with kids. Though it is difficult to work around normal summer schedules, we found that when cruising families are away from home port, the kids find each other like a sack of magnets.
Last summer a few raftups were proposed, but schedules and weather often got in the way. In March, my son and I trailered Pneumatos 1, our Oday 25 down to Marathon in the Florida keys for 3 weeks. Kids seem to come out of the woodwork after word got out on the morning "harbor net" (VHF 68) that we had kids aboard. We heard about several gatherings and home school meetings around the harbor, and when kids were planning to be at the city marina lounge. When moorings were full at Sombrero Reef, we rafted off a sailboat that had kids aboard. Before we had our fins on, two boys were alongside our boat telling David to hurry up so he could see the parrot fish they had just located.
The CFCN is not a "club" or source for events, but, like the Florida morning radio net, it serves as a "coconut telegraph" for people with kids to swap information, ask questions or arrange get-togethers if they choose.
As a Yahoo Group, you can select to get updates however you want. It is simple and free to join, will never have any dues or other fees, so there is no reason for anybody with cruising with kids not to join. Currently, there is little traffic, but post a question or event, and it comes to life.
Planning a trip? Ask where the "kid friendly" marinas are. Planning to anchor out for the night? Invite other kids to join you. Want advice on how to get your teen off the phone and participating in the sail, post the question. All you have to do to join the group is to send an email to [email protected]. Please include a brief description of your boat/family, as we try to filter out automated requests. After you join, you can send your posts to [email protected] and everyone will get them. It is that simple. Do understand that posting a message is as public as an announcement on Ch 16, but often just as helpful.