Meet the participants

Atlantic Odyssey 2015-16: some participants profiles

Atlantic Odyssey IAtlantic Odyssey II

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Atlantic Odyssey I (Lanzarote – Martinique)

18 November 2015 – 15 December 2015.

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

Susan Rice & Nicolas Ewald
Colin & Sukie Gladstone
David Hitchcock
Frank Russell Altendorff
Roland Svensson
Bruno Couly
Jeffrey & Gayle Allen
Gilles Heilporn
Jean-Philippe & Anne Leleux
Markus Antonius &
Nicoletta Hochreutener von Laue
Roberto & Federico Maddalena
João Bispo
Momi & Lilach Avital
Sabine & Jörg Sander
Michel & Florence Ghys
Christophe & Rosy Barth
Adam Notley & Royston Collison

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Atlantic Odyssey II (Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Martinique)

9 January 2016 – 6 February 2016.

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

David & Karen Pratt
Michal & Igal Baldran
Jakob Reiner Gassen
Bill & Judy Rouse
Simon & Jenny Wilmshurst-Smith
Fiona & Michael Bennett
Dennis & Virginia Johns
Johan Brabanders
Colin & Pamela Rath
Henri Schongut

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Atlantic Odyssey I (Lanzarote – Martinique)

Susan Rice & Nicolas Ewald S/V Alba

We have joined the Odyssey to meet with and enjoy the company of like minded sailors who enjoy longer ocean crossings, to share experiences, expertise, stories and concerns.

The depth of experience of the Cornell team has already proven useful and the rally gives us a firm start date and departure port to plan around. Looking forward to it.

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Colin & Sukie Gladstone S/V Betsy

We started sailing with a Contessa 26 on the west coast of Scotland, moved to Cornwall with our Nicholson 32 and then to carry on with boats that cannot reverse easily, we bought a Bowman 40 called Betsy.

We have sailed to Brittany for the last few years and once to Spain, so this is our longest voyage. It has always been our ambition to sail the Oceans, so the Odyssey will further our dreams.

We look forward to meeting everyone and gaining knowledge from others.

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David Hitchcock S/V Dexter

The reason for joining the Atlantic Odyssey is to join a professional like minded group of sailors to cross the Atlantic in safety.

I have sailed with the ARC three times previously and am looking forward to returning to the Caribbean this winter.

My daughter and myself have owned Dexter, our Beneteau 411 Celebration
for 5 years now and have sailed her from the Canaries to Malta and we are currently back in Southern Spain until this May when Dexter starts to cruise the Med, Croatia and the Greek Islands, then off to Lanzarote the end of October to start the Odyssey.

Due to my daughter expecting this year (Grandchild number 5) I will be joined for the journey by my son William ( A Jamie Oliver Chef) so good food we hope, plus my partner Elena and a good friend Steve.

Once the other side of the pond, we may stay for one or two seasons, depends, its all about flexibility and  budget.


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Frank Russell Altendorff S/V Enterprise

I sailed from the UK to Lisbon singlehanded, and intended doing the trans-Atlantic crossing to Martinique alone. But, I was lucky to have an old sailing friend join me from Lisbon to Lanzarote.

Two things happened – one he decided he would do the Atlantic crossing with me, second my autopilot died 100nm from Lanzarote – this really made me re-evaluate.

It’s a happy coincidence that I discovered the Rally starting from Lanzarote and ending in Martinique! – a much more sensible option than solo, and the support structure is a perfect reason to join the Rally….and my family and children are relieved!

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Roland Svensson S/V Gunsan

My parents were very experienced sailors and enjoyed sailing around the Baltic Sea.

When I was old enough, I purchased my own boat and have spent all my summers sailing.

Since I got married and our kids have grown older, we have widened our sailing grounds and spent the last 7 years in the Mediterranean. I felt a growing need to take the next step and explore the Caribbean and this year I made the decision to just go ahead and do it.

For my wife and I, the sailing is one experience, but the exploration of new places is just as important.

I will do the crossing with two childhood friends with good sailing experience. My wife will join when we are there. She likes the sailing and exploration, but never liked the long crossings, which I respect.

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Bruno Couly S/V Happy Koumata

We joined the Odyssey to do our first major ocean crossing, the Atlantic. It has been a dream of mine for a long time. I still remember how I was worried the day before the first crossing to Porquerolles Calvi, how I prepared myself for weeks, especially psychologically.

We have since made the journey nearly a dozen times and have enjoyed, with no worries, dolphin encounters, whales, and swimming in the middle of the passage between the mainland and Corsica. It was probably in a dream during a night watch, in the middle of the Mediterranean, that our project of sailing round the world materialized.

For our first crossing, Catherine was not very keen to participate. She suggested taking a plane and joining me on the other side. I realized then that the dreams, and our long distance cruising project were not really hers. I had some work to do.

It is at this point that we made a decision: we would join a rally across the Atlantic. Not very keen to start with, I saw a high flying couple, alone in the middle of the ocean, with a huge and probably self-centred sense of accomplishment. Today I think it’s a good first step and Catherine has signed up… she has joined the dream.

Sailing has taught me one thing: never over-estimate your capabilities and don’t neglect preparation. So for this first major ocean crossing, we will have a good boat, a good crew, ongoing support and undoubtedly memorable exchanges with other dreamers.

Strongly looking forward to November 2015.

Blog: (in French)

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Jeffrey & Gayle Allen S/V Lazy Bones

We are now starting our 11th year of circumnavigation which began in Los Angeles in 2005.

We have intentionally taken our time getting around. When we found a place we liked, we stayed for a while. For example, we spent two complete seasons each in French Polynesia and in Greece. We also spent 4 months in Vanuatu, and we hope to make our way back there to lend assistance if it is still needed.

Wherever we traveled, we tried to do extensive land traveling which has truly rewarded us with some wonderful experiences.

We have participated in a few large rallies, Sail Indonesia and Sail Malaysia, both of which were great fun. We made many friends, and appreciated having the support of the sponsors if or when we needed assistance. Several friends of ours who we have met along the way have also participated in the Atlantic Odyssey rally and recommended it highly.

Lazy Bones is currently in Spain. We will make our way to Lanzarote in late September and begin final preparations for the crossing.

We are looking forward to meeting everyone and sharing the experience of the crossing together.

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Gilles Heilporn S/V MERCREDI SOIR

After a tour of the Atlantic for two years … We decided to do it again!
With the Atlantic Odyssey of course; we have too many good memories of the closing party in Marin!

Note: Mercredi Soir did the Atlantic Odyssey in 2013.

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Jean-Philippe, Anne, Alban & Thibaud Leleux S/V NEW HORIZON

After a wonderful 6-month family cruise in the Caribbean in 2012 aboard a rental catamaran, we have decided to leave again with our two kids (10 and 14) for a North-Atlantic loop in one year aboard our own sailboat (a 2010 Jeanneau 53 we just bought).

The Atlantic crossing will be our first very long navigation and we have chosen the Atlantic Odyssey for the safety it provides and for the friendly atmosphere between sailors and especially between all the children.

We are looking forward to meeting all of you!

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Markus Antonius & Nicoletta Hochreutener von Laue

We are a Swiss Family from Zurich. We make a trip on Paloma every one to four years.

As a family with three children, we are interested to meet other families. This is one main reason for joining the Atlantic Odyssey.

The other reasons are the coaching and that we will have in a setting with other experienced sailors and supporters, because our bluewater-experience is limited.

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Roberto & Federico Maddalena S/V PATUK

My name is Roberto, 19 years old + 36 years experience! The second on board is Federico (aka Sì dai), my son, and 19 years old (really!). Both crazy for sailing, I was looking for something’s special to celebrate his boat license, full edge and maybe the last opportunity for us to journey together for long time.

Then I had the idea to cross the Atlantic Ocean (second time for me). His answer was very cool, without doubts or excitement: “Why not?”

Good, so far the decision about the crew: “Between you and me or with other mates?” The choice was easy: to avoid some discussions between father and son also two friends aboard!

Sitting at a “pizzeria” at Christmas time with Carlo and Manuel I threw on the table the crazy and magic words:”Atlantic Crossing together?”

Carlo (aka “Mast man” from past cruising with me) gave a laugh from ear to ear and a big “Yeah” rattled the room! Manuel (aka “Biancaneve” ) was astonished and incredulous that a dream come trough! White like a ghost he didn’t hesitate to say “Unbelievable, I will cross the Atlantic, my dream”!

Last but not least “The Boat”, Patuk, at the time under loving care to prepare at first to reach Canary Islands (3000 NM from her dock in Croatian) and after to “Caribbean passing”! She has had a brand new sail’s set to test!

The choice of Cornell Sailing was a suggestion of a friend (Gianpaolo Karis) who manages all radio stations in Italy for the “blue waters navigators”. The spirit of the Odyssey is the same for us: safety, friendship and fun!

Onboard we are all guys with special attention to the environment at work, as well as in life. Manuel has a chief rule on maintenance of heavy motors against air pollution, Carlo is a fine IT expert for the best resources used, Fede is working on a new Weather Sat Imagines Finder and I lead a company on environmental consulting. So we were happy to take an active role in the Environmental Program.

See you soon! CIAO from Roberto, aka “Skip Jas”!

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João Bispo S/V Seamount

As long as I can remember the Ocean has always been in my dreams. Latter in my youth I was fortunate enough to have read a book “SECRETS OF THE SEA – The fascinating world of oceans and islands” with the preface of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Then I knew I had to sail and enjoy the wonders of the Oceans.

Since then I was involved in Oceanographic investigation, Underwater Archeology and Navigation. Since 2011, after my first Atlantic crossing, I have been sailing through the Caribbean from the Grenadines up to Florida in the USA, discovering a wealth of cultures and natural beauty in islands and reefs.

I said goodbye the ‘old’ Seamount in Antigua, and this year I want to return to the Caribbean with the ‘new’ Seamount.

I believe that Jimmy Cornell and Atlantic Odyssey are bringing back the joy of Ocean cruising, providing a solid stepping stone for the Ocean adventurers.

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Momi & Lilach Avital S/V Shuti

We started our sailing adventure this summer from Greece (where we bought our boat) to the South Pacific. We have on board, our three boys (Yoav, Eyal and Dror) and their parents (Lilach, Momi) and one catamaran.

We are now making our way slowly to the Mediterranean, adapting to the life of sailing, and are looking forward to meeting you all (especially the kids boats ) soon.

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Sabine & Jörg Sander S/V Slowly

We heard about the Atlantic Odyssey from the previous owner of our boat, Stefan Wendl.

Stefan participated in the rally with his family last year – when the boat was called Anne.

We are very much hoping to have the same great positive experience on the Atlantic Odyssey Rally as Stefan and family.

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Michel & Florence Ghys S/V Ti Punch

We bought our catamaran Nautitech 442 in February 2012, directly from the Nautitech shipyard in La Rochelle. It was named after our favorite cocktail, Ti-Punch, as a foretaste of a trip to the Caribbean…

The catamaran has been delivered from Vendée to Corsica, where it is based in the beautiful harbor of Porto-Vecchio.

Our team will consist of 6 people:
– Michel, Florence and our 12 year old daughter Aliénor, from Lyon
– Olivier, Florence’s brother, from Briançon (Alps)
– Damien, our friend professional photographer, from the Gers
– Michel n° 2, skipper and sailing teacher, from Lyon

We are still professionally active, so our adventure cannot last for more than five months. The first part of the journey will be to take Ti Punch across the Mediterranean Sea, sail through Gibraltar, and reach the Canary Islands in the first half of November. That’s where we’ll all get to know you all. After crossing the Atlantic, we plan to sail for 2 months in the Caribbean, having family and friends onboard most of the time.

Crossing the Atlantic is a big dream and a big challenge to all of us. As nobody in the team has already completed it, we felt it was safer, more reassuring, and also more convivial to cross with a Transatlantic Odyssey.

We look forward to meeting all of you in Lanzarote in November!

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Christophe & Rosy Barth S/V Vitavi

We have decided to spend one year sailing around the Atlantic with our four children aged 4 to 11. This will be the first experience of off-shore navigation for our family, after the small cruises performed when the kids were younger.

We have bought Vitavi for this project, a Sun Magic 44 that we have prepared during spring and the beginning of summer. After a small cruise in Corsica, we will start our trip towards Lanzarote to join all the other Odyssey members.

We are very excited (and feeling reassured, also) to dive in this adventure with so many crews coming from all across the world, especially other families with children.

See you all very soon.

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Adam Notley & Royston Collison S/V Walden

Roy Collison (Navigation/Captain) – Sue Notley (Medical and Provisions) – Ross Collison (Engineer) – Alex Notley (First Mate)
Kneeling down: Scott Collison (Communications) – Adam Notley (Captain)

We are team Walden and our crew is made up from the Collison and Notley families.

We have all been sailing as families in France, the Solent and further afield for some years and more recently we have been sailing together training towards completing our trip across the Atlantic and enjoying the best of the English weather.

Our boat Walden a Dufour 425, will be joining the Odyssey fleet in November ready to cross the Atlantic, just as our team motto says “Living the Adventure.”

It’s going to be a great challenge for all of us and we look forward to meeting the fleet and starting our adventure!

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Atlantic Odyssey II (Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Martinique)

David & Karen Pratt S/V Amokura

Our home sailing area is around the coast of Australia, but the last 3 years has been the UK and now in the Mediterranean, we are slowly sailing our way back to Australia with no time line.

The skipper David is a Marina Engineer with many years experience in the field as well as sailing most of his life. His first mate Karen has experience in sailing mostly learnt from the skipper, and has volunteered in the Coast Guard for a few years in various rescues off the coast of Queensland Australia.

One of our dreams is to go to the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal. We love everything about sailing, being a liveaboard, sightseeing and the achievements that we have made throughout the years of sailing.

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Michal & Igal Baldran S/V Baloo

We are a family of 6 who have liveaboard Baloo for the last three years: Michal, Igal, Dolev (16), Matar (14), Telem (13) and Noga (11).

Boat, sailing and home schooling became our lifestyle five years ago when we first subscribed to a sailing course at a sailing club.

Since then we have been sailing around the east Mediterranean sea dreaming on Ocean crossing – “To boldly sail where nobody sailed before

We are currently in Greece adjusting Baloo to the crossing event.

We were happy to learn from friends about the Atlantic Odyssey and as it is our first ocean crossing we decided to join it.

Looking forward to the rally event and ocean crossing.

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Jakob Reiner Gassen S/V Balou

We are Beate and Reiner from Germany.

After 5 years of preparation for us and the boat, we are now ready to go. We will start very soon from the Baltic Sea to spend enough time with the other participants from the Atlantic Odyssey in La Palma.

For us, the Atlantic Odyssey was the best option because it is more family orientated and there are two start dates available.

We chose the January option and hope to have a more stable weather situation than in November.

We are looking forward to meeting different people from different countries and have a lot of fun together.

Blog (in German):

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Bill & Judy Rouse S/V Bebe

We are Bill and Judy Rouse and hail from Houston, Texas.

We began sailing in the mid-1980s in the Caribbean. Our current adventures aboard S/V BeBe, an Amel Super Maramu 2000, began May 2006 in the Virgin Islands. We transited the Panama Canal in April 2008, headed west.

While in India in February 2011 our plans for completing a circumnavigation on our own keel were destroyed when piracy suddenly increased exponentially and political unrest throughout the area exploded. We deemed it unwise to chance those waters, and arranged for a cargo ship to transport BeBe from Male, Maldives to Marmaris, Turkey; 17 other yachts joined us for this transport. But a true mariner’s circumnavigation was never our goal anyway. Our goal was to sail to as many countries as possible and visit as many different cultures as we could. For example, we berthed in Malaysia for 10 months in order to do land travel through SE Asia and China. It is meeting people and different cultures that interests us, not being able to claim that we circumnavigated.

We enjoyed Greece, Cyprus and Turkey (with a lot of wonderful land travel in Turkey) for 3 years; finally departing Turkey in April 2014 and sailing to Montenegro and Croatia; wintering 2014/2015 in Marina di Ragusa, Sicily. In 2015 we again will sail westbound with plans to arrive in La Palma, Canary Islands in mid-to-late November and cross with the Atlantic Odyssey in early January 2016 to Martinique.

Crew will be just the 2 of us; we enjoy ocean crossings and long passages with just the 2 of us aboard.

We have never participated in a rally or any form or organized sailing group. This will be our final ocean crossing and we thought it might be fun to enjoy the experience in company with others. We are looking forward to crossing with the Atlantic Odyssey. The emphasis of the rally on environmental awareness is what appealed to us most.


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Simon & Jenny Wilmshurst-Smith S/V Fenicia

Simon and Jenny Wilmshurst-Smith returned to sailing 9 years ago after a long interruption from it due to their careers and family commitments, finally becoming liveaboards on their Nauticat 37 last year.

Setting off from England in May 2014 they sailed to and over-wintered in Lisbon, Portugal and have since sailed into the western Med.

The idea of an Atlantic crossing is a lifetime’s ambition for Simon; Jenny is a more recent, but no less enthusiastic, convert. Sailing is a jointly enjoyed passion where, seemingly, something new is learned every day!

They very much enjoy the company of other sailors so the Atlantic Odyssey seems the most natural way to fulfil their dreams and make their first Atlantic crossing.

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Fiona & Michael Bennett S/V Follyfin

We retired from paid work in 2010 and moved from Cambridge to North Yorkshire in 2011. This enabled us to acquire our first boat – a Southerly 38 – in 2011 and continue with unpaid work as a result!

Having done our sail training in South Wales and Scotland, and chartered yachts for several years in Turkey and Croatia, we were keen to spend much more time exploring more of the world’s coastlines.

Since 2011 we have circumnavigated the UK and spent 2 years exploring Brittany. This year, 2015, has seen us return from France to the UK south coast for some fitting out, sail across the Bay of Biscay and thence down the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal.

A long-held ambition for us both is to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. So we are much looking forward to joining the Atlantic Odyssey and meeting other like-minded cruising sailors in the Canary Islands.

We especially like the environmental aims of the Odyssey. We are definitely not into racing!

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Dennis & Virginia Johns S/V Libertad

We bought our 1982 Amel Maramu in 2000 and spent the next 11 years preparing for our retirement cruise – a westward circumnavigation. We are members of the Santa Barbara Sail and Power Squadron and have taken many of the USPS courses. We got in some overnight practice by participating in three Baha Haha Rallies (2004, 2006, 2008) and in between made many trips to the Channel Islands near our home in Santa Barbara California.

We started our voyage in January 2011 and are on somewhat of a fast track, but taking time to do some land travel along the way.

  • The first year we sailed from Santa Barbara, California south as far as Golfito, Costa Rica.
  • The second year we sailed south from Costa Rica to Ecuador and then across the Pacific to the Galapagos, many island groups of French Polynesia, ending in Bundaberg, Australia.
  • The third year we sailed Indonesia (Sail Indonesia Rally), Malaysia (Sail Malaysia Rally), and Thailand. At the end of that season we transported Libertad from Phuket, Thailand to Turkey via Sevenstar Transport freighter.
  • Our fourth season started in Turkey where Libertad was offloaded and we cruised westward through the Med starting in Turkey and ended in Barcelona, Spain. At this point our plans changed as we went home to California for family needs and had a seven month hiatus.
  • This, our fifth season, we are back on the boat in Barcelona preparing for our trip to Gibraltar, then onto the Canaries where we will cross the Atlantic January 2016 with Atlantic Odyssey II.

We enjoy the comradery of rallies and especially appreciate the SSB connection with the group during long passages to share positions, weather, etc. We have long admired the cruising support provided by Jimmy and the Cornell Sailing group and are looking forward to participating in the rally.


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Colin & Pamela Rath S/V Persevere

We are sailing back west to eventually move to New Zealand. We look forward to traveling across the Atlantic with a group that has kids. My wife and the twins flew over this summer as I raced across doing the NYYC Transatlantic race 2015 with my daughter Breana and crew. So they are all excited to do the crossing aboard Persevere.


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Henri Schongut S/V Serendip

Let me introduce myself, I am HENRI, a retired Graphic Designer from Antwerp Belgium. It’s about two years ago that I started to build my life around what upto now was just a dream: live on a boat in beautiful cruising areas.

I acquired S/V SERENDIP, just to do that: living aboard and cruising without bothering by schedules. “Time”… all my life was driven by this concept : delivering in time, being on time, optimizing…time. With this Odyssey we would do just the opposite: enjoying the extraordinary luxury of being able to spend time, even more to lose time in our quest for the “unexpected”.

That’s one of the reason the boat is named “SERENDIP“. (“Serendipity” being the discovery of one thing while searching for another).

So don’t ask me why I want to cross an Ocean, I just don’t know… and that’s OK with me. Isn’t it pure serendipity ? But it relies on our faculty to look around us and also on the relations we will be able to establish with the other participants of the Odyssey.

Blog (in French):

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