A couple who have quit their jobs to sail round the world with their toddler daughter have set sail from Gibraltar - first stop the Mediterranean.
Kim and Simon Brown, together with three-year-old Sienna and Kim’s cousin Loryn, set off in their 56ft Oyster Yacht Britican on Monday.
Speaking about the first days of the trip Kim said: “We were finally reunited with the marina that Britican is moored in.
“I felt very shaky as we approached the boat. I was tired, anxious and freaking out as usual.
“When I saw Britican on the boom (we renamed her so that was the first time I saw our name on the boat), I felt even more scared. I though, ‘Oh my gosh – what are we doing?!’ I pointed the boat out to Loryn and she said, ‘Wow – that’s big!’
“Sienna ran around saying, ‘let me show you my room Loryn!’ Sienna gave the grand tour as Simon and I walked around making sure everything was okay.
“Sienna started to yell out, ‘I love sailing. I love boats. I love my family. I love my life. I love you mummy!’ Hearing all her love pour out made me feel more comfortable about our decision.”
And Kim also spoke of the media coverage the trip received last week from papers including The Times and the Daily Mail.
She said: “The article in the Daily Mail definitely didn’t paint me in a good light. They indicated that I was being irresponsible and putting my daughter at risk.
“Sadly, I think that even if you were perfect the Daily Mail would find a way to paint a negative slant on a positive story.
“But some people like to read that kind of stuff and that’s what’s so cool about the world we live in – we all have the ability to choose what we want to fill our minds with and what we don’t.”
Simon has quit his job as a PE teacher at Aylesbury Prison, and Kim has scaled down her role in her two companies to take on the challenge which will be tracked on their own website Sailing Britican.
But it is little Sienna who will experience the most change, the tot will be educated by Kim on the family’s yacht in a move which the mum admits is scary.
She said: “I was worried about the whole home-schooling thing but we’ve read all about it and the more I talk to people the more it seems like I’m capable of doing it.
“There are lots of resources out there and the crazy thing is she won’t know any different – she will think this is normal.”
The couple are also taking extra special precautions to keep themselves and their daughter safe during the trip.
Kim said: “When we first decided to do it I was a bit worried, but we have had a boat for a couple of years and Sienna is used to wearing a life-jacket and knows about the dangers of water.”
And other dangers like pirates and perilous weather conditions have lead the couple to make contingencies for the trip.
Kim said: “There are areas of water that we will just not go into to protect ourselves, but there are other areas where for safety we can create a convoy with other boats.
“It’s about being smart about it and not going to certain places.
“Of course we have our daughter with us and we care about our lives too, there is no way that we would jeopardise that.”
The couple set off from Gibraltar on Monday and will spend the summer in the Mediterranean. Then in November they will sail to Las Palmas in Grand Canaria.
But is the next part of the trip, 17 days to cross the Atlantic ocean, which will be the greatest challenge for the trio.
Kim said: “For most of the trip we will be around the Med and will be able to get our food shopping in the ports.
“But when we are crossing the Atlantic, which will take between 17 and 20 days, we will have to stash food all over the boat, there will be lots of cans of baked beans.”
The 56ft Oyster Yacht has four bedrooms, and has room for seven people.
Kim, who is originally from Rochester, New York, said: “We’ve had a 35ft boat for the last couple of years, when we first got on this one I felt like it was huge, but it is actually easier to drive bow thrusters which make it easier to navigate.”
The couple are looking forward to visits from friends and family during their stay, and believe that meeting new people from different cultures will help with Sienna’s education.
Kim said: “It is going to be just the three of us but my father-in-law is coming to visit and we already have lots of people booked in for their holidays.
“I’m really interested in meeting new people, and from a home-schooling perspective we want Sienna to find out about people and hear stories and get to know different cultures.
“It will be lovely for her and us to try all of the different foods and see all the sights.”
The couple will stay in touch with loved ones via their Sailing Britican website, so named because Simon is from Britain and Kim is American. They will also be updating their progress on Facebook and Twitter, documenting the highs and lows of the journey. Visit www.sailingbritican.com