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Jan and Ian Mitchell (round the world sailors) bought Realitas in 1983 so they could take their two growing boys ocean cruising. Crossings in Realitas tells of the trials and tribulations of raising their sons and teaching them to respect the ocean and sail her waves.

Realitas was a 32' ocean-going yacht on which the family voyaged up and down the coast, to Tasmania, New Zealand and out to Lord Howe Island several times. Within months of returning to Sydney after their 1970s circumnavigation, cruising sailors, Jan and Ian Mitchell (Two in a Top Hat) are the parents of a second child.

Their dream is to buy a larger boat and take their family on a second world cruise, but they soon realise this isn’t financially possible. Then they face the question: How can they ease the stresses of city living, paid work and child rearing, yet also include cruising into their lifestyle?

In Crossings in Realitas, Jan tells how they achieved the joys of taking their family cruising and the lows of their struggles, through illness and financial hardship, to retain ownership of their 32’ yacht, Realitas.

About The Author

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Jan Mitchell was born in Invercargill, New Zealand. She grew up in South Canterbury, attending the University of Canterbury (BA) and Christchurch Teachers College (Dip Tchg) before doing two years of teaching at the Bay of Plenty in the North Island.

In January 1970, she moved to Sydney and in November 1971, Married Ian Mitchell, a Civil Engineer educated at Sydney University. Meanwhile, Jan was furthering her tertiary education with an MEd from the University of New South Wales while she worked at Macquarie University as a tutor. The couple were still dreaming of travel overseas when Ian received an insurance payout large enough to buy a small yacht. Their choice was one of the newish fibreglass yachts developed in the late 1960s, a boat they called Caprice.

In February 1974, they set off south around Australia and out into the Indian Ocean. Once the couple had full-time jobs again and their boys were in school, they managed to buy the 32' Phantom yacht they re-named Realitas. It was a compromise, but was the reality of what they could afford at the time. Realitas provided a floating holiday home for the family until 2000.

For forty years, ocean cruising and two sons dominated the Mitchells' lives. Altogether, they owned six different yachts and had unrealised dreams of sailing to the fiords of Chile.

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