After seven years sailing the high seas and exploring the world, a Maryland family of five has returned home, 83 months after their departure, and 30,000 miles behind them. The Crafton family consists of father Tom, mother Kathleen, and 22-year old Jena, 18-year old Kalena, and 15-year old Ben. The kids have spent much of their formative years aboard their 43-foot sailing yacht, and are now dealing with the rough re-entry into normal life.
Departing in 2003, the family spent the first few years sailing throughout the Americas. In 2006 they made the big move to cross the Panama Canal and enter the Pacific, where it was on to Vanuatu and other locations in the South Pacific. They took an 18-month break, staying in New Zealand for an extended time, but after that they pointed the ship west, and kept on sailing, finally making the last crossing for home, a 43-day journey from Ascension Island.
The Crafton kids practically grew up on the boat, and it brought them all more closely together as a family. Even though they are now back in port, they are still living on the boat while the decide what to do next. For the older girls, it’s on to college, for Ben it is home schooling, while the formulate a plan for getting back to a more “normal” life.
And what brought them home after their seven year sojourn? Two things. First, the kids are all getting older, and Ben and Kathleen wanted them to have their own life and a more stable environment. But perhaps more importantly, as Kathleen says with a chuckle, “we’re flat broke!”
What a way to grow up huh? Traveling the world from a sailboat, visiting distant lands, and visiting place that few people ever get the opportunity to see. Personally, I think a return to life in the U.S. would be nearly impossible for me after a journey like that one. I won’t be too surprised to hear that the kids will be heading out on circumnavigation expeditions of their own in the near future. The wanderlust will no doubt hit them hard after being on land for awhile.
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