Seven years at sea brought the five-member Crafton family closer together, taught them to count on each other and imbued their three children with self-confidence and a raft of sailing skills. Seven years after the Craftons sailed away from Saverna Park, Maryland, they have returned, enriched by unforgettable memories of the strange and exotic places they visited during their 30,000-mile trek around the globe. (Click here to watch the ABC News report and view photos of the Crafton’s voyage.)
The adventuresome family sold their possessions in 2003 and bought a sailboat they christened Nueva Vida, a new life. Their youngest, Ben, who was just 7 when the Craftons set out on their journey, is now a strapping teenager. The Crafton children left tracks in the sand on a hundred beaches as they sailed through the milestones of what became an extraordinary childhood. During their journeys, the Craftons walked in the footsteps of Darwin and Captain Cook. A visit to the island of Vanuatu allowed mother Kathy to see where he father had fought during World War II. Daughter Jena was feted at a Guatemalan pig roast on her 17th birthday. Oldest daughter Kalena, now 21, met her boyfriend in the Solomon Islands.
Throughout their around-the-world voyage, the Crafton’s experienced many cultures, learning something new at each port-of-call and following what became their family philosophy. At dad Tom Crafton explained, “We tried not to leave footprints as we traveled. I think they had more to teach us than we could teach them.”