Siblings at sea

The Firestone family on board Tamsen

Siblings at sea

The Firestone family on board Tamsen

Kinship

Siblings at sea

The Firestone family has owned Tamsen since 2007. Sisters Carolyn and Lena recall the pleasures of growing up sailing on this remarkable boat.

By Jill Bobrow | 10 September 2017

Lena

“We have a very close, extended family that includes many brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews with whom we often travel. Our father, Robert, started his boating life before we were born, with Vltava. By the time we were born in the 1980s, our father had Tamara. When I was three days old, I flew across the Atlantic with my mother and joined the boat in the Mediterranean. So I literally grew up sailing. Every winter we’d spend at least a month on the boat and every summer we’d spend three months aboard. Sailing was more than a vacation, it was a way of life. When I was eight years old, I was standing four-hour watches. We sailed to Alaska when I was nine. My sister and I helped cook and clean. There was a whole bunch of us on the boat, camping out, sleeping on sofas and on the floor, everywhere — siblings, cousins and close friends. Our family sailing trips meant we were all in it together and we were all part of the crew.

We have had two sailing yachts, both called Tamsen. Our current Tamsen, spearheaded by our brother Steve and named for our mother (his stepmother), was custom-built – our boat was designed specifically for our big, extended family. For instance, we needed large communal dining spaces. Also, our galley is on the main deck instead of below deck because we all like to cook together.

While Tamsen certainly is luxurious and beautiful, our life aboard is not what one imagines. The crew is made up of close friends and family, and we all pitch in and work together.”

Carolyn

“Growing up in a communal yachting family where we all worked together gave us an incredible foundation for our current lives. We learned to co-exist in a relatively small space, and we solved problems together. We had a real sense of responsibility to each other.

Every time we got to a new port, we were not only excited to be there, but we took pride in getting there. It was always a great sense of accomplishment. We were also exposed to different countries and different cultures. Tamsen has travelled from the Med to the South Pacific, to Australia and to the Caribbean.

My two-year-old son already feels very much a part of the boat. The sense of love and family togetherness has translated to our adult lives. Four of our siblings work together professionally for a mental health non-profit called the Glendon Association and we have a website called PsychAlive.org – psychology for everyday life. We owe a lot of who we are to our sailing together as a family.”

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