Sailing around the world — with three children
- Cravens sailed around the world with three children, aged 9, 7 and 2
- Family took five years to plan the trip
- Journey chronicled in new book “Where the magic happens” by Caspar Craven
That was setting sail on a two-year odyssey around the world with his inexperienced wife and three young children, aged nine, seven and two.
They didn’t even have a boat when the idea first took seed.
But their journey, which began in 2016, was life-changing for everyone, and Caspar has distilled their adventures into a book: “Where the magic happens. How a young family changed their lives and sailed around the world.”
The idea for the family’s circumnavigation came one hot day in June 2009 during a garden party in a leafy commuter village in Kent, England.
“We had two children then, and I was the co-owner of a small consultancy business, working 18 hours a day and barely saw my wife and my children,” Craven told CNN by phone. “It was one of those things, like, ‘What are we doing all this for?’ Our marriage was strained.”
Life would never be the same again when his brother-in-law told him about a family who had sailed around the world.
“He went on to say what a ridiculous thing it was,” Craven said. “And that was the seed of the idea that caught the imagination of both my wife and I, and for the next six months. We literally sat down every weekend, got pens and paper out, and sketched out where we wanted to go, why we wanted to do it and why it was so important to us.”
Although Craven had competed in the 2000 BT Global Challenge around-the-world race for amateur sailors — at the time known as the “world’s toughest yacht race” — his attorney wife, Nichola, had only been sailing twice, both times getting sea sick.
“We didn’t have a boat either, and when we told everybody, they laughed and thought it was completely ridiculous,” Craven said.
Craven started his first business catching crabs and lobsters when he was 14 before going to university and training as a chartered accountant. He used some of his business experience to plan the trip.
“We created a vision statement, which we put on the wall in our kitchen,” said Craven, a former investment banker at KPMG, turned e-commerce entrepreneur in 2001 — building, growing and selling companies mainly in the technology sector.
“It basically said, ‘On August 1, 2014, we are going to set sail.’ So we gave ourselves five years to transform our finances, our relationship, how we worked together as a family, to get a boat and to get all the training and preparation in place. The sea can be a dangerous environment, that’s why we did so much preparation.”
Their main motivation?
“Creating magical life experiences for our children, let them explore and see the world,” Craven said.
Over the next five years, Craven said he created three separate $1 million businesses — one of which, a data analytics company, he sold for a seven-figure sum while he was sailing across the Pacific Ocean.
There were some hurdles to overcome: Craven had back surgery five weeks before departure, while the family also welcomed their third child, Willow, in 2012.
“We were outnumbered,” laughed Craven.
In August 2014, Caspar, Nichola, Bluebell, Columbus and Willow Craven set sail in their 53-foot boat Aretha from Southampton on England’s south coast.
They made their way to La Palma in the Canary Islands and joined the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), where some 200 yachts crossed the Atlantic in convoy to St. Lucia in the Caribbean.
After passing through the Panama Canal they joined the World ARC in Panama so they could sail in company across the Pacific to Australia.
But after leaving Tahiti en route for Australia, disaster struck.