Meet the participants

Atlantic Odyssey 2016: some participants profiles

Start: 19 November 2016.

You can click on the pictures or the blue names to learn more about the participants.

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Geir Ove & Birgit Bø Careka

Birgit (Admiral), Geir Ove (Capt), Camilla (Party), Rebekka (Medic), Katharina (it)

We will sail down to Portugal then over to Porto Santo in September, then on to Canaries, and be ready in good time for start 19 November. Hope to meet you all there.

Blog (in Norwegian): Facebook page:

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Shaun & Sherri-Lynn Schmidt Element

We are a family of four; Shaun & Sherrie with our two daughters, Paige (13) and Jordan (7). We are genuinely excited to meet you all for the rally, as we have thoroughly enjoyed the company of other cruisers we have met during our travels and the family orientated Odyssey rally was just the ticket.

We have been aboard Element our Canadian flagged, Catana 471 Catamaran, since April 2015 in Marmaris, Turkey, then spent last Summer sailing the Greek Dodecanese and Cyclades Island groups getting to know our “new to us” boat, before returning to coastal Turkey to Winter in Finike Marina, where we had a great time socializing with fellow cruisers and great weather.

This year, we departed Finike late April, directly for Crete and the Greek Ionian islands, followed by ports of call in Albania and Montenegro before sailing to Italy. We are scheduled to haul our boat for pre-atlantic crossing preparations in Mallorca, Spain late August into early September, before making our way to Tenerife.

The Atlantic crossing will be our family’s longest passage and for extra help onboard (and extra sleep) we have two crew join us, (Alex and Wayne), both with previous Pacific Ocean crossing experience and are fellow members of a sailing co-op in British Columbia, Canada, where we started sailing more regularly 9 years ago.

Somewhat sadly, we named our boat from a list of short one word boat names that we compiled for ease of transmission phonetically over the radio. Element was picked from the list, because we thought it to be unique and we could derive an interesting boat logo with it. What has come as a surprise, is that internationally everywhere we go, everyone seems to know what an element is and how to spell it, which is a bonus over the radio and with officials filling out documents.

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Anders Bisgaard Nielsen & Merete Madslund Freja

We are a Danish family of five dreaming of a life less ordinary. And after talking much about it we decided to stop talking and start living the dream. So we sold the house, the cars and basically everything we own, and now we are ready to take the plunge into the yet unknown life as a cruising family with no hectic 9 to 5 schedule but with lots of freedom and adventure. At least for a few years, that is… 😉

Our boat is a Danish built Phantom 42 from 1985 designed by Elvstrøm & Kjærulff back in the early 1980’s. She was originally named Freja, and all the following owners (we are owner #3) kept that name – why brake a tradition? For us the name fits her perfectly, since Freja was a goddess in the Nordic mythology. She was known as the finest of the goddesses and humans worshipped her asking for love and happiness. So far she lives up to her name…

Our journey starts in Copenhagen in July 2016 and we plan to complete a full circumnavigation in 2 years. Since the Atlantic Ocean is our first ocean crossing (the Baltic Sea doesn’t really count) we´ve decided to join the Atlantic Odyssey – as much for the security and social aspects as for the learning experience. And we are really looking forward to meeting all the other participants and the Atlantic Odyssey Team.

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Stefan Oberndörfer & Johanna Keusch Good Times

Stefan and I met on a sailboat in 2010 and ever since, we have had the dream of cruising the world on our own boat.

The working title during preparation of our adventure was „Project Good Times“, so it was only logical to name our Sunbeam 34 alike.

We are already having a great time cruising Europe since we left Germany in June. On our way to the Canaries, we have met some Odyssey crews already and had loads of fun together.

Now we look forward to meeting everybody else and jointly crossing the Atlantic in November. See you soon!

Blog (German):
Facebook: project GOOD TIMES

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Jon & Mia Wright Itchy Foot

We are a family of three: Jon, Mia and Teo (5) living full-time onboard Itchy Foot, our Hallberg Rassy 39 and floating home.

Why Itchy Foot and not feet? The name came from a children’s book called ‘The Snail and the Whale’ written by Julia Donaldson, about a little sea snail, with an itchy foot, who travels the world on a humpbacked whale.

We are joining the Atlantic Odyssey in the hopes of meeting families bound for the Caribbean and to give our son a chance to meet and mingle with other kids.

If you are interested meeting up before the Canaries you can find us at:

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Rohan & Alana Robertson Jojo 1

Ro and Ali and our children Noah (6) and Tilly (4) have sailed our 39ft Fontaine Pajot, Fidji, catamaran, JoJo, 3700 miles from Grado, Italy, through Croatia and around the Med arriving in Tenerife 6 months later in mid September.

Returning to Tasmania for a family wedding, Ro will return to Santa Cruz in November to be joined by 3 mates for the Odyssey.

The “AustrALian” crew:

  • Ro Robertson … Austrialian from Tassie, currently on leave as Principal, Hayman Island School, Great Barrier Reef…. Have loved sailing since I was a boy, offshore racing, including 4 Sydney-Hobarts but my love is with cruising.
  • Stephen Evans … Australian Army Reserve Captain from South Africa!
  • Stefan Steinhofer … Austrian, Dentist, Doctor, Sailor, Chook Lover, grandfather, Marathon Runner and previous owner of the goodship Jojo.
  • Walter Steinhofer… same surname, same Austrian village, but not directly related, is Stefan’s mate from childhood, and his first mate from Jojo.

Ali and the kids will rejoin Jojo in Barbados where we will continue our adventures onboard. Really looking to the adventure and the shared experiences.
Thank you Cornell Sailing for your support and assistance.

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Thomas Eggert & Leila Kabiersch Lilli

We would like to join the rally to discover the Atlantic and to share our experience with other people.

We only began sailing in January 2014 and have travelled around the Caribbean and the BVI’s.

We said that one day we would go back to that place with our own boat. We also hope to learn from Jimmy Cornell and his talent for organisation.

See you all soon

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Ian & Glenda Sales S/V Lucy Alice

We have been sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean for the last four years and have been thinking of moving on and contemplating where to go. So when we read of the Barbados 50 rally it fired our imagination and rekindled our
hunger for some more long distance sailing.

We have taken part in a couple of rallies in the last six years and have always enjoyed the social side of meeting like minded people and sharing experiences with them. What better way to cross to the Caribbean than with a well organised group, with the added dimension of fully exploring the Canaries and Cape Verdes en route.

We have several sailing friends who are either already there or are crossing this year and it will be very special to meet up with them again, rather than just reading the blogs.

We have not been to Barbados before so this offers a great opportunity to visit and take part in their fiftieth anniversary celebrations.

With regard to the boat name, it is named after my daughter, and although I had not met Glenda back in 1998 when I bought the boat, perhaps I should have kept the original name

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James & Valerie Toomey Sacre Bleu

Hello, we are the Toomey family. We love to sail, travel the world, and meet new people.

Jim is dad, and he is the captain. Valerie is mom, and she is the admiral. Dad is from the USA and mom is from France. Dad and mom met is San Francisco, USA, many years ago.

We have two first mates, Madeleine (14) and William (12). We decided to go on a cruise about two years ago, but we couldn’t decide where. We considered the Caribbean, the Pacific, and finally we decided to sail the Mediterranean. We have loved every day of our cruise, though some days were easier than others.

We started our adventure last August (2015), when we bought our catamaran in La Rochelle, France.

We named her “Sacre Bleu” for two reasons. Dad likes to use a lot of bad words when things go wrong on the boat, and so, it is a tribute to Captain Haddock in Tin Tin, who thought up colorful ways NOT to use bad words.

The second meaning of “Sacre Bleu” is “Sacred Blue,” and it’s a tribute to our love of the ocean. Dad draws a daily comic strip called “Sherman’s Lagoon,” which is about a shark who lives in a lagoon. He has loved the ocean and its inhabitants his whole life. Mom worked for the French boat company Jeanneau, and she came into sailing later in life, after she met dad. In fact, dad proposed to mom on a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay.

Our cruise has taken us to France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Italy, Croatia, Monte Negro, and Greece. We loved every country, each in its own way.

We look forward to crossing the Atlantic and consider it our “final exam” as a cruising family. We’ve really enjoyed meeting everyone else doing the Atlantic Odyssey 2016, and look forward to staying in touch with everyone and following all of your adventures.

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Neil & Gillian Anderson Silver Lining

We are a New Zealand couple who have sailed the South Pacific from New Zealand on a couple of occasions. Both were wonderful experiences and triggered a wish to sail further.

We bought our Hanse 400 in the UK in 2015 and plan to sail her back to New Zealand starting off with the Atlantic Odyssey this year.

We chose the name Silver Lining as it seemed to epitomise our sailing experience i.e. always something to look forward too, even when times are tough. We have previously participated in the Island Cruising Association rally from New Zealand and found it a great way to meet interesting people and to feel supported by others whilst in remote places.

We look forward to all the camaraderie that the Atlantic Odyssey will bring.

The photo is of us on North Minerva Reef, South Pacific.

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Vincent Depoortere & Katrien Mertens Sta Vast

We are a Belgian family of four and this will be our first long sailing journey. The first of August we will leave our home harbour for an exciting year at sea.

By the time we cross the Atlantic, Elise will be 8 and Simon 10 years old. We count on our Moody 46, named Sta Vast, and the captain’s sailing experience to make this voyage successful and safe.

Although it is difficult to say goodbye to family and friends, we are excited to set off and give our kids the gift of experiencing the power and peacefulness of the ocean, and meeting different cultures and people.

Looking forward to meeting all of you!

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Klaus & Margret Matzka Starship

The boat name is Starship, a Beneteau Oceanis 48 (2012).
Why Starship: it resonates well with reaching out to the stars as man’s next frontier, with adventure, with sailing across an ocean during the night watching the stars and enjoying the moment.

We are joining the event because we are looking forward to get to know likeminded people, become part of the community, to learn and prepare together for the crossing and last but not least to party together!

Looking forward to seeing you all in November in Tenerife!

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Kevin Miller & Camille Vassart Thera

We are a young Belgian couple whose common main interests are adventure, nature, protection of the environment and… sailing!

We both wanted to travel the world in the cleanest manner possible and therefore decided to acquire a sailboat in October 2015. We named her Thera mainly because it is an anagram of ‘earth’; it is also a greek island’s name and it simply sounded good to us!

The Atlantic Odyssey seems a safe and fun way to cross the Atlantic! We are planning a 2-year trip, starting in July from the North Sea.

Looking forward to taking part in the rally and meeting all the participants!

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Allan & Linda Fraser Touch of Grey

In the early 1960s, when Allan’s dad rebuilt a wooden Enterprise dinghy and took his reluctant 10-year-old son club racing on the very chilly River Tay, he had little idea that he’d sown the seeds of a life-long love of sailing.

Once married and in our early twenties, Allan sensibly took me to the warmer waters of Menorca to learn to sail. And since then we’ve been racing ever increasingly tippy dinghies, from 420s and Fireballs to ISOs and RS500s, competing at various clubs in SW London and on the national open circuits.

Our ventures into bigger boats started with family flotilla holidays in the ’90s, and we’ve had lots of fun sailing around Croatia, Turkey, the Greek Islands and the Caribbean.

In 2012, our tentative retirement plan of buying a cottage by the sea somehow morphed into buying a boat of our own, and in August 2013 we flew out to Germany to pick up our brand new white and grey Hanse 415, which we named Touch of Grey, after a song by the band The Grateful Dead. (The band’s two nautically themed songs, Ship of Fools and Lost Sailor, were rejected early in the selection process.)

We sailed Touch of Grey from the Baltic via the Kiel canal to the Solent for the first winter and then, early the following year, headed up to Scotland where we spent a cool yet wonderful summer cruising in Shetland, Orkney, and the Western Isles. Last year we headed south from the UK, sailing down to southern Portugal via Ireland and Spain, and this year we ventured into the Mediterranean and have spent the early part of the summer cruising around the Balearic Islands and preparing for the adventure of an Atlantic crossing with the Odyssey.

For the crossing we are being joined by our long time friend Ted Toth who is flying in from Austin, Texas a week before the Odyssey sets off. Besides all of the shore-side preparation that week, we are also planning to get in some sailing so that Ted finds his sea legs before the start.

We are looking forward to meeting the other participants, sharing experiences and learning from Jimmy and his team.

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Riccardo Salimbeni Venus

We are a couple that live and work on board all year round, so why should we stay in the cold Mediterranean sea during the winter ??! We have sailed all over the Mediterranean sea, and now it’s time for us to discover new seas and know new people.

Our boat Venus is an old lady but she’s still in a great shape; we are sure she would always do her best to bring us every where we would like to go.

We are looking forward to this adventure, together with all the other participants. We are sure it will be the adventure of our life!!

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Sergio Bernardi & Gemma Perretta Zoe

At first, I was refusing the idea of joining a rally as it seemed to be taking away some of the sense of adventure in what Gemma and I were about to do.

As we read more about the Cornell Atlantic Odyssey and spoke with friends, we felt the pros (e.g., the added security, the social aspect) were overcoming by a great deal the cons, so here we are… 10th in an entry list that should count maximum 60 boats when complete.

We initially did not choose the name of our boat as we bought it second hand. However, we had to decide if changing it… and we did not! In fact, it seemed to be perfect for our project – in ancient Greek “ZOE” means “the essence of life” – we hope to honor such an important name!

Blog (in English): Sail out of the box

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