In March 2008, the Forlini family launched their 42-foot catamaran from Fort Lauderdale. Mike Forlini; his wife, Sotiria Klironomos; and their two grade-school-aged children, Dantes and Matteo, cruised the Caribbean for the next year and a half, making stops at a host of islands. They didn't return to their native Montreal till this month.
The Montreal Gazette has been following the family's adventure since the Forlinis put their home up for rent and left for South Florida.
The family had next to no experience with bluewater sailing. A short sailing course in the British Virgin Islands was all the time the couple had amassed together on a boat. And naysayers abounded, warning them of every worst-case scenario known to mankind.
This article retraces the family's itinerary. And here's an article that compares the parents' attitudes before they set off on their voyage with their perspective upon returning home. Some highlights:
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THEN: "The security issue is most important. We won't jeopardize the children."
- Mike Forlini.
NOW: "When we were anchored a lot of times at night, the kids would start playing and running around the boat. I would say to them, 'In the dark, if you fall in the water, I can't get to you.' At night, that was stressful. You can't treat life the same on water as you can on land. They didn't understand the concept of danger."