Seven at Sea, a review by Melanie

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Seven at Sea

Erik and Emily Orton

Published March 4, 2019

Shadow Mountain Publishing

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If you are around me enough, you will probably hear the words “I could live in that.” Tiny house, train car, boat…I like to reimagine my life simpler and with less stuff, less responsibilities, less worry. My kids would be harder to convince. New Yorkers Erik and Emily Orton didn’t have to do much convincing. After learning to sail and teaching their older children the basics, they sailed away to a slower life, spending nearly a year on a catamaran in the Caribbean. Sound impossible? Luxurious? Easy? No, no, and especially no.

We first meet the Ortons 6 years before their adventure begins, as Erik, Emily, and their oldest 2 daughters, then 9 and 11, enroll in sailing school. Erik, a former Broadway producer, and Emily, a teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom, began sailing as a hobby, which turned into a passion. The idea of sailing for a year as a family was born. They made a plan and bought a boat, Fezywig, and off they went.

I’m oversimplifying. It takes more than just making a plan and buying a boat, especially when you have 5 children. We are invited into their decision making process, their plan, and their hopes and fears. They are such a likable family, you can’t help but root for them when the plan begins to take shape and they step foot on Fezywig for the first time in Saint Martin. Over the next year, their story takes us around the Caribbean, eventually home to New York, aboard their floating home. Told by both Erik and Emily, in alternating viewpoints, we see the highs and lows of sailing and 24/7 togetherness, with many life lessons along the way. A year they will never forget, and a story you won’t soon forget. I rate it 4 boats that are big enough to live on.

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