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Family of 6 Traveling the World in Their 28 Ft. Sailboat (with NO engine)!


Living tiny with a family of 6 is already impressive — but what about living tiny on a 28 ft. sailboat with no engine? This amazing family got rid of fossil fuels and has been living on the water for 3 years, sailing sans engine most recently.

They converted the engine room into cabins for two of their 4 children. Their floating home has no formal kitchen, meaning they eat mainly a raw diet or cook what they can in a solar oven. Their plan? Travel the world!

Dad works as a teacher (he rows to shore to get to work), and mom homeschools the kids. She’s an intellectual at heart and you’ll be amazed at how many books they’ve fit into this little home. Enjoy the video tour below and be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel here.

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This Family Fit Tons of Books into Their 28 Ft Sailboat!

There are lots of chalkboards onboard to facilitate learning.

Music class! Beautiful sounds.

They use a rowboat to get to shore.

Just part of the library in this little home.

All their clothes and blankets fit in that cabinet!

Mom talks about her book obsession.

Here’s where they store dishes.

Roo, the oldest, in his room.

Engine room turned bedrooms.

Hammocks provide extra storage.

Water views everywhere!

The Family’s Story:

After traveling around the country looking for a place to call home for more than a decade, Tom and Anna, along with their three-going-on-four children Roo, Zibby, Mia and, now, Xani, took the plunge and moved aboard the 28-foot sailboat Blowin’ in the Wind.

That was three years ago, and this trim little vessel has become their tiny house, their experiment in minimalism, their off-grid cabin, their homeschool (or boat school, as it were), their place to be in nature and to build their awareness of their carbon footprint and ecological impact. It’s been their spiritual retreat, their art / writing / music / dance studio.

Now, after some 1700 or so nautical miles of cruising in the usual way, they’ve removed their engine and all fossil fuels from on board, and it’s about to become their experiment in ecologically responsible travel.

VIDEO: BOAT TOUR

VIDEO: A Day in the Life

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Our big thanks to Tom for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Marsha Cowan
    January 31, 2021, 9:15 pm

    Wow! What an amazing family! What an amazing story! If only all the kids everywhere could be raised and educated by family that are so inspired to learn and grow and adventure. God bless your journies and keep you safe. . .oh, and I love the boat, too : )

    • Gary
      February 1, 2021, 9:34 am

      A very narrow scope of learning! Sure, for a year or two; but, after that time is wasting away!

      • James D.
        February 2, 2021, 6:23 am

        No, it’s pretty much the opposite of what you suggest. 71% of the surface of this world is ocean. It’s a far narrower scope to stay on land and in many cases never move far from one local area for most of your life.

        While they can not only continue to explore the oceans but just about any port of call around the world. Really, you can spend multiple lifetimes trying to explore and learn everything there is on this planet.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 3, 2021, 3:59 pm

      Totally agree, Marsha!

    • LJ Corley
      September 26, 2021, 1:23 pm

      Nicely said, Marsha

  • Mark
    February 1, 2021, 10:25 am

    Every generation or so. ..some wacko does something wacko like this ..? And the media? In this case social media. Pumps it up? Soo predictable? So rediculouse ?

    • Nemo
      February 2, 2021, 6:07 am

      Agreed! Several families have tried this before with less children on bigger sailboats WITH motors and it has never ended well. Do they not love their families?

    • James D.
      February 2, 2021, 6:50 am

      Nothing wacho about it as it’s something thousands of people do all the time. Just like full time RV’ers, there’s tens of thousands of full time boaters, including large families. In just the UK, for example, there’s over 15,000 people living afloat full-time on the rivers, canals and coastlines of the UK… and many more crisscross the world, some even without engines on strictly sailing vessels.

      There has always been a percentage of the population that has chosen to live on water rather than on land, for a variety of reasons, or simply are nomadic and it’s one of many ways they may travel over the years.

      Just because it may be a life you don’t understand or desire doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it, just like many things it’s not for everyone but there isn’t much that would be in any population of diverse people…

      • Gary
        February 2, 2021, 11:34 am

        Living on water is fine; but, most have a job, attend school etc! Living on water ‘on the cheap’ seems a bit of a waste after some time!

        • James D.
          February 2, 2021, 12:21 pm

          No, just a different lifestyle that still addresses everything… People who travel can still have jobs, they can still school their kids, etc. It doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice anything significant.

          Besides, don’t forget the pandemic we’re in right now. Being able to isolate, work from home, home school, etc. are all things presently considered advantageous…

      • LJ Corley
        September 26, 2021, 1:15 pm

        Thank you, James, I was a boat bum for years and I know families that live like this and the kids turn out to be more well rounded, self-sufficient and know more about our planet from real-life experiences, Those that are negative, look at the great successes of our present school systems, children that don’t know their history and think the world owes them something. Nothing is perfect in life and the parents will have to adjust their belts as they all grow but the children will have a solid base. People that don’t know this style of life should not call people names, All ahead full James

        • James D.
          September 26, 2021, 1:39 pm

          Very good, sir. – All ahead full…

          “Take charge of your life! The tides do not command the ship. The sailor does.” —Ogwo David Emenike

  • THomas Manning
    February 1, 2021, 1:28 pm

    Are they posting a log on a regular basis??? Would love to follow – they might get enough followers to get some ad dollars to help them out

  • Rene
    February 1, 2021, 4:08 pm

    That sounds like fun. I wish I could do it.

  • William Hobbs
    February 1, 2021, 5:49 pm

    When your kids are old enough they’ll go to a regular life you people are insane I got news for you there’s no substitute for gasoline get used to it this isn’t Star trek

    • Nemo Nemo
      February 2, 2021, 6:15 am

      Agreed! How much raw can you eat? No heat? How do you clean and wash your dishes and laundry? Candles at night with 4 children?

    • James D.
      February 2, 2021, 7:22 am

      No, the boating world has never been limited to only engine vessels. People have been sailing for centuries long before modern engines, it works and there’s nothing insane about it. It just requires a level of skill and there’s even families that have been boating for multiple generations.

      Besides, they’re actually more free to travel because they don’t have to worry about the limits of a fuel supply and the need to re-fuel… Allowing them to spend more time at sea, especially as they can use the freed up space for more supplies, and reach places they otherwise may not have been able to without switching to a larger and more expensive vessel. So there are situations where relying on fuel can be a handicap and an expensive one to boot…

      It is nice to have an engine for backup, but it isn’t a requirement for sailing vessels.

  • Jennae Nicole Feil
    February 1, 2021, 6:29 pm

    Wow what a beautiful family that’s so amazing all the kids are wonderful in their little projects and talents worth drawling and playing the guitar That’s wonderful. Keep up the great work also don’t forget about the Bermuda triangle but your little family IS amazing I’m subscribed to u and I’m going to follow u your great and i already love u. Great family.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 3, 2021, 3:53 pm

      I loved their music!

  • Tracey
    February 1, 2021, 6:37 pm

    Bless you sweet family, Less is truly more! You are rich in God’s greatest blessings of family. Man and woman married and blessed with children.
    The world has gone crazy and will only get crazier as the BIBLE tells us.
    Peace and blessings to you for raising your family the way that has been put on your heart. You all are an inspiration to the world in chaos.
    Peace and Love

  • Megan H
    February 1, 2021, 6:56 pm

    Not cool.

  • Sherrie Johnson
    February 1, 2021, 7:23 pm

    I grew up in the Florida Keys. This family is doing something many never have the opportunity to do. When I was a kid, my parents decided sailing the islands was for us. We travelled many nautical miles, met incredible people along the way, learned to survive off the sea and not be eaten by the creatures of the sea. We had an incredible childhood, one I miss greatly. Although we had a motor, my father rarely used it. No point in sailing if your motoring the whole way. Some of my best memories of sailing was during rough weather. The boat would lean over and speed through the water during high winds. Often I would crawl up to the bow of the boat, wrap my legs around the anchor off the front and ride the waves gripping tightly to the anchor as lightening and thunder ripped through the sky. It was a ride like no other, and memories like no other.
    Bless you and your family during your wonderful adventures. Keep up the good work and happy sailing!

  • Christopher James Mcdanel
    February 1, 2021, 7:27 pm

    When I was a young boy of around 4 years old, my family and some friends built a 70 ft sailboat in Wilmington California.
    We set sail from southern California headed up north to Washington state to procure our spare.
    Once spare was hoisted firmly into place, we gathered all the food and equipment we would need for a trip to Tahiti and marquesas. After visiting some of the most beautiful islands in the world (this was in the early 70’s , none of these islands had any amount of tourism) including Bora Bora and Roratunga, we headed back up north. We then visited Palmyra island ( no people and amazing wildlife.)
    We eventually ended up on Kauai, Hawaii. It was an amazing adventure that many folk now could not even imagine.
    The name of our vessel was “Moksha”, the final passage before nirvana.
    Aptly named, she brought to our Hawaiian hale before sinking and becoming a home for the sea creatures.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 3, 2021, 3:51 pm

      Wow! Now that sounds like the adventure of a lifetime, Christopher!

  • Beverly Smith
    February 1, 2021, 11:18 pm

    I think what they are doing is wonderful! The children look so happy and the education they are getting cannot be found in any schools in this world. I say Bravo and to the naysayers. you are all just jealous!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 3, 2021, 3:50 pm

      So true! And it’s clear from their “Day in the Life” video that they are being taught very well! Tons of books, lots of reading and plenty of extracurriculars.

  • Sherrie Johnson
    February 2, 2021, 6:31 am

    People will always critisize, but remember people who cannot phathom, cannot do! Your children will have knowledge and memories that many will never know.

  • Sherrie Johnson
    February 2, 2021, 6:57 am

    For those who critisize that which they cannot comprehend, I too lived aboard a sailboat. Best experience of my life and best damn sleep I ever got! Try it before you think it is crazy. I even remember climbing off the bow of the boat in my prom dress to get to the limo during my senior year of high school. I drove the dingy to tennis practice and ran around the islands having fun fishing and lobstering.

    • Alex
      February 2, 2021, 12:55 pm

      Hi Sherrie, wow, very cool and interesting, thanks for sharing!!!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 3, 2021, 3:47 pm

      That sounds so cool, Sherrie!

  • Sherrie L Johnson
    February 2, 2021, 7:14 am

    Agreed! How much raw can you eat? No heat? How do you clean and wash your dishes and laundry? Candles at night with 4 children?
    Answers: Sailboats have stoves for cooking and even grills run from propane. Washing dishes in salt water is very common, as is collect rain water for showers and washing other things. Actually the salt water is beneficial to the skin and pores. Then there is a good wind generator that can keep refrigerator and freezer running solid. Lanterns are best, but we used battery operated flash lights. Ports often have facilities for shopping, bathroom and laundry also. Where there is a will, there is a way!

  • James D.
    February 2, 2021, 8:11 am

    There’s people who eat nothing but a raw food based diet, just like there are people who are Vegans and Vegetarians, and do that for their whole lives. But this family does cook with a solar oven when they can and they have some power with a solar power system and can run small appliances like a Nutribullet mixer… They also go ashore every now and then and can eat out…

    While ocean water, albeit salty, is still water. You can bathe with it, wash clothes with it, wash dishes with it, brush your teeth, etc. Though, soap behaves differently, and ideally you should have soaps that are made with a Lye that has a high content of Potassium Hydroxide, but otherwise all those basic necessities can be handled for even prolonged journeys…

    Bathing can be a issue for some if it irritates them but okay for others…

    Mind, they’ve been living on the boat for over three years now… So obviously those are all things they would have figured out already and have decided they are okay dealing with what that lifestyle requires of them…

  • Gary
    February 2, 2021, 11:18 am

    I enjoy taking pics in the mts & desserts (camping in the wild); but, work needs to get done! I enjoy cycle touring in Europe most years & most local errands are done via my bike; but, for trips to the Home Depot I need my Toyota Tundra; so, living with little or no consumption is just plain depressing, depriving & pointless!

    • Deb
      February 2, 2021, 4:18 pm

      I guess I’m a little confused as to why anyone would subscribe to a tiny house newsletter if they weren’t already desiring and/or committed to a life of limited consumerism. Isn’t that the whole point of tiny house living? To limit the accumulation and consumption of “stuff” so as to have the time to appreciate the things in life that have meaning?

  • Megan H
    February 2, 2021, 3:35 pm

    Exactly

  • Michael
    February 3, 2021, 3:54 pm

    Wow I think this is just awesome that people can adjust to this type of lifestyle. It would really be a challenge from what we are used to but I’m sure that it could be done. I say go with it if you can.

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