The background story

S/Y Tortuga is Nicholas and Hanna’s third sailing boat, the first multihull after 11 years with monohulls. We took delivery of our previous boat Thaleia in Greece and sailed her back to Sweden during 6 months of parental leave in 2015 (check out that story at https://sythaleia.wordpress.com). A fantastic trip in Mediterranean waters and European inland waterways. After one season in the beautiful, but much colder waters on the west coast of Sweden we decided to move her back to the Med. This time she took the roads on a lorry though. For four years our home base was the beautiful village of Milna on Brac, Croatia. Throughout these years we have much enjoyed receiving family and friends onboard to share the life we love on the sea. However, as our (and our friends’) family has grown, space has become a limiting factor. Additionally, the dream to throw off on yet another family adventure has been there for some time. Following a number of sailing families and YouTube-channels has convinced us that it might not be as crazy an idea as one might first think. But heading into ocean crossing and home schooling, we quite soon agreed that it would have be on a catamaran, for speed, comfort and space.

Last summer, one thing led to another, we had been in discussions with catamaran suppliers for a few years and when a serious buyer for Thaleia showed up, we had some serious decision-making to do. We ended up handing over the keys to our beloved Thaleia at the end of our last summer vacation 2020. Very emotional and many times around we were asking ourselves if we were really sane to let go of such a beauty that was so well equipped and has given us so many precious memories.

A month or so after coming back to Sweden we put our signatures on the contract for S/Y Tortuga, our Lagoon 42 being built on the French Atlantic coast. At the same time, we also signed a flexible seven year contract with Dream Yacht Charter to manage S/Y Tortuga in their charter fleet in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Many options of when and how to cast off have been on the table ranging from 2021 to after the end of the charter contract in 2028. Ultimately the final pieces of the puzzle where laid late this spring when our local school authorities gave us their clearance to take our children Harriet and Tekla out of ordinary school for a year.

Nicholas has devoted crazy amounts of hours into research and configuration of our ideal boat, with a lot of smart solutions and new technology, not least our electricity system where we believe we will be self sufficient without a generator but still able to run an induction hob, electric oven, dish washer, washing machine, watermaker and air conditioning on solar and battery power. This will definitely require a blog post of its own.

To begin with we were a little skeptical to taking our three girls on an ocean crossing. Primary concern being how to keep them entertained throughout a period of two weeks with no land in sight. But as we started probe for crew among our friends, typically asking one person in a couple or family, the response from Erik and Kajsa was that they both want to go! Hmm, could we really do it? Take our 5 kids and cross the Atlantic together? Of course we can! So more or less since the beginning this has been our joint project and will of course also be a little bit of a social experiment putting two families to live together on a sailing boat off shore for 100 days!

A year away and a number of weeks far away from unlimited internet access and instant googling, of course demands a lot of preparation and thinking in advance. We’ve been through a lot of different training and courses; off shore safety, off shore first aid, short range certificate, radar, weather routing, boat mechanics and so on. We’ve made up likely and unlikely scenarios and discussed strategies and tactics if unexpected things happen. A lot of good advice from years of ocean crossings has also been provided by the World Cruising Club who is organizing the huge rally with almost 300 boats in total that will leave the Canary Islands in two groups in November.

We have also stocked up with school material and books onboard to be able to follow the same curriculum as the classes at home. Hopefully we will also be able to keep in touch and give some reports back from our trip.

So we are now only a few weeks away from leaving Sweden. All the stuff that will be shipped down to La Rochelle on pallets is being prepared. The Tengelins, who are letting their house back in Sweden, are in the process of emptying it, we’re finishing off work and we are into the last rounds of visiting friends and family to say “so long” for a while.

We will try to write blog posts every now and then but on a more frequent basis you will be able to follow our journey through our Instagram account.

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