Seven at Sea

by Emily Orton, Erik Orton

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Hardcover SKU 5214772

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Reg. $27.99

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Product Description

A New York City family's remarkable story of how they gave up their urban life, packed up their family of seven, and braved the difficult conditions of the Atlantic Ocean as they sailed 5,000 miles from New York to and around the Caribbean.

Working the night shift as a temp in a high-rise cubicle, Erik Orton knew something had to change. He felt the responsibility of providing for his wife and their five children—the youngest with Down syndrome—but craved a life that offered more than just surviving.

Watching the sailboats on the Hudson River during his sunset dinner breaks, Erik dared to dream. What would it be like to leave the hustle of the city and instead spend a year on a sailboat, somewhere beautiful, as a family? Despite having no sailing experience, his wife Emily's phobia of deep water, and already stretching every dollar to pay rent and buy groceries, the family of seven turned their excuses into reasons and their fears into motivation. Sure, they would miss their friends, the could go broke, they could get injured or die. Worst of all, they could humiliate themselves by trying something audacious and failing. But the little time they still had together as a family, before their oldest daughter left for college, was drifting away. The Ortons cast off the life they knew to begin an uncertain journey of 5,000 miles between New York City and the Caribbean, ultimately arriving at a new place within themselves.

A portrait of a captivating and resilient family and a celebration of the courage it takes to head for something over the horizon, this is a deeply compelling story—told alternately by Erik and Emily—for all those who dream of leaving routine in their wake.

Product Details

Size6 x 9
PublishedShadow Mountain 2019
Audiobook NarratorErica Sullivan
Audiobook NarratorGeorge Newbern
Audiobook RuntimeApproximately 8.5 hrs.

About the Authors

Emily Orton

Emily Orton is a former English teacher turned homeschool mom. She speaks and writes about living with purpose. Her writing is featured in Dare, Dream, Do by Whitney Johnson. Curiosity has led Emily to become a rock climber, a sailor, a scuba diver, a world traveler, and most recently a surfer.

Emily, along with her husband, Erik, continue to learn, grown, and travel with their five children. They love to gig as a family band when their two oldest children are home from college, and they occasionally post music videos to YouTube. They are currently traveling Europe by sailboat and VW van with their younger children. They blog together at and make their home in New York City.

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Erik Orton

Erik Orton is an Emmy Award-winning writer and former Broadway tour manager. He was raised in Germany and the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He has produced various musicals Off-Broadway. His original musical, Berlin, won an Emmy Award as well as a CINE Golden Eagle Award and Bronze Telly Award. In 2018 he climbed El Capitan—the tallest granite cliff in the world—got scuba certified, and learned to surf.

Erik, along with his wife, Emily, continue to learn, grown, and travel with their five children. They love to gig as a family band when their two oldest children are home from college, and they occasionally post music videos to YouTube. They are currently traveling Europe by sailboat and VW van with their younger children. They blog together at and make their home in New York City.

View more products by Erik Orton


Average rating:

(based upon 6 reviews)

By , Submitted on 2019-05-31

I enjoyed this book quite a bit more than I could have imagined. I found myself jotting down little ideas and quotes here and there as I read. It is motivational and makes me want to live my life with more purpose. Even if we do not all get on a boat and sail for nearly a year, we can make better use of our time, our lives, etc. Dare to dream! I would recommend this book to teenagers and up. It is a wonderful book that inspires you to change grow.

A great real-life adventure by a family willing to risk comfort and security!
By , Submitted on 2019-04-28

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about an adventure-seeking family who was brave enough to ditch the norm and do something seemingly outrageous! I've never sailed (nor do I plan to), but I have traveled the world with my similarly-large family--and I could relate with them throughout the entire book (We could be best friends. Seriously)! I often found myself reading portions out loud to my husband after he would ask "What's so funny?" (which is my definition of a good book (and yes, the book is on his nightstand now). I appreciated the gentle nuances of the life lessons learned that were highlighted in their various escapades and experiences. It's articulate, efficient writing that evokes contemplation and reflection, without throwing "lessons" in your face in a preaching manner. Dive as shallow or as deep as you want. Overall, it was enjoyable to read a travel/family/adventure memoir written by WRITERS (because let's face it...many travel memoirs desperately need a ghost writer). Recommended!

Thought provoking
By , Submitted on 2019-04-23

Inspired me to look within to provide unique learning for my own family! Real!

Dare To Dream
By , Submitted on 2019-04-02

I have never wanted to live on a boat. Ever. And after reading this book? I'm even more convinced that I would never, ever want to live on a boat. But, it takes all kinds of people to make this world go around and I like reading about people who are different than me, who have different dreams and go for them.

This book is told from alternating perspectives of both authors, Erik and Emily Orton. I'm really glad it was that way because it was Emily's insights that really connected me to this story. Maybe that's because I am a woman? A wife? A mother? I'm not sure but one thing I do know is that Emily is a saint among women. She supported her husband's dream and helped bring it to fruition. I mean, five kids on a boat? Doing school and balancing chores, meals and everything else? She was the glue that held everything together and I really came away from the book with a healthy admiration for her.

The pacing of this book is slow, but there were interesting things that kept me going. I think the Ortons are a great of example of daring to dream and making those dreams become reality. My dreams may not be the same as theirs, but I love the reminder that with planning, hard work and determination, dreams can come true.

Content: mild peril, an instance or two of mild swearing
3.5 stars, rounding up

By , Submitted on 2019-04-01

This book seemed like it would be a very interesting read, and at the beginning I was very intrigued and engaged. I find the reasons why people do certain things very interesting and the Orton's are no different. It takes brave people to do what they did. I took away some good ideas for my family, but I can definitely say we won't be jumping on a boat right now. After the first few chapters, I found myself skimming through the next several. What they were talking about did not hold my interest, however, I see the necessity of including it in the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good memoir or how loves reading about real life adventures of others.

This book gave me lots to think about!
By , Submitted on 2019-03-07

This book is so great! The voice of both of the authors, Erik and Emily Orton, were both amazing. I loved the way they both talk, giving the story of their family and adventures a complete feeling.

The authors start this one out before they’ve even learned how to sail a boat. I loved the way that gives the reader the full story of what they did and why. The reader gets to follow these two and their family as they learn to sail, figure out what kind of boat they want, and deal with their adventures and misadventures at sea.

This book includes maps and pictures. This gives the reader a way to form images in their mind. I loved being able to see where each of the sections took place and relate all of those things to the story.

This one’s non-fiction. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to live with our three kids on a boat on the ocean. But reading this book made me see that there can be so much more to life for a family then being in one central location. It’s something to think about!

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