Ottawa family donates belongings to sail Caribbean

An Ottawa couple has rented their house and donated most of their belongings to set out on a nautical adventure with a 15-metre catamaran and their four young children.

'I long for something beyond cleaning my eaves'

Lorraine Escher poses with her four children. (Counterclockwise from left: Henry, 4, Karen, 4, Betty, 9, and Paul, 7.) (Stu Mills/CBC Ottawa)
A young Ottawa family is preparing to set out on a nautical adventure across the Caribbean after donating most of their belongings and renting out their home.

Lorraine and Rick Escher bought a 15-metre-long ocean-going catamaran to live on with their four children for a life at sea that could last as long as eight years.

"Our house was a lifestyle. We didn't even realize we were choosing a lifestyle where we were building shelves and putting our things on shelves so we could buy more things and put them on shelves," Lorraine Escher told the CBC's Stu Mills.

While her husband upgrades their four-bedroom catamaran in Florida — a St Francis 50 Catamaran they named Aphrodite — Lorraine Escher is living at a campsite with her nine-year-old daughter, seven-year-old son and four-year-old twins.

The Eschers plan to sail around the Bahamas until 2017, home-schooling the children. The family will then have a meeting to decide whether or not to extend their nautical adventure around the world for another five years.

"As you know, teens might not want to hang so much with their parents. We'll be glad to have these years [spending] as much time as we can with our kids," she said.

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Snowsuits 'hardest to part with'

The couple met cycling the U.S. Pacific Coast.

"We kind of had a bit of a passion for adventure," she said.

The technical writer and her entrepreneurial husband camped through California last year, and found coming home to be a let down. 

"I long for something beyond cleaning my eaves," she said.

The family has since whittled down its belongings.

"Snowsuits — that was the hardest thing to part with," she said. "I really can't wrap my head around going to a place that will always be warm."

As novice sailors, the family has sought out an expert to help survive hurricane season.

"We're hiring a skipper on two occasions in mid-August to find ourselves a hurricane hole because we're sailing in hurricane season," she said. "We're looking for a place to hide out​."