Farm family's sailing seachange

Four years of planning will culminate this February when Wilyabrup’s Bergstrom Cotterell family depart on an adventure of a lifetime.

The family will set off on Singa, a 55-foot Outremer sailing catamaran, exchanging their lives on the land for 12 months on the sea.

The journey is a lifelong dream for Maria and Craig, who have called the South West home for 24 years.

Maria and Craig will be joined by their children Lani, 18, Felix, 12, and six-year-old twins Joey and Noah.

Maria said the family was excited for their dream to become a reality, but felt bittersweet about leaving their farm behind.

“We’ve always wanted to do this and just figured this is our window with the kids ages to get them all together and do it,” she said.

“We have had a lot to sort out with our property and animals, there is no perfect time but if we don’t do it now then we aren’t sure when we will be able to.”

Preparations have included everything from education options for the children to navigation and first aid.

St Mary MacKillop College student Felix and Cowaramup Primary School’s Joey and Noah will be home-schooled by Maria.

Maria completed a St John first aid in remote situations course, which she said provided a lot of useful skills for the journey.

She said the family wanted to be prepared for anything before they departed, especially as they couldn’t rely on ambulance assistance.

St John Ambulance Western Australia First Aid general manager Aaron Harding praised the family’s readiness.

“St John knows only too well how dream holidays can sour in an instant so it’s great to see families like the Bergstrom Cotterells being so conscientious,” he said.

“Having a well-stocked first aid kit and the knowledge of how to utilise it, is key for any sort of travel, particularly when people are heading off the beaten track.”

The family will depart from Adelaide within the next few weeks and plan to travel the East Coast, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.