Sailing in Antarctica: a story at the end of the world

November 13, 2015

Among several sailing holidays on Sailsquare, there are some that do not slip through the cracks: this is the case of those organized in Tierra del Fuego. The credit goes to Giambattista, aka Giamba, who treasures a story started in the Mediterranean sea and arrived in Antarctica, stopping by Gibraltar and Easter Island.

This story has probably been already heard: leaving your humdrum and opening a chiringuito seems the easiest way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the everyday life, either too difficult to face or simply too monotonous. Actually, that’s not the case: when talking about sailing, the first definition that bumps into Giamba’s mind is a “way to break out” rather than a “secret wish to make come true”. He always found in sailing his only way to leave his worries behind and get a breath of fresh air.


First the deadlock, then the big step

All of a sudden, turning 51, Giambattista faces an existensial crisis, making him doubt about the past and the future and he wonders: “What makes me really happy and which direction should I take?”. Up to that moment, he had by his side a woman, Valentina – 20 years younger – and his son, besides being motivated by a satisfying professional background.
Unhappiness is hard to be explained, most of all when everything seems to be right and you oblige yourself to be thankful for what you already have. After many bitter pills to swallow, he realizes the simple but uncomfortable truth: he was not at peace with his life and with what he had created so far. That’s when he decided to open up his arms and embrace a new idea: sailing around the world with his lifetime companion.


A U-turn that hurts

Giambattista begins to sell all his goods – even his beloved boat Angelique, not adequate for his new project – and says farewell to his professional interests. But then something even more unexpected than his future plannings happens: Valentina quits from the idea of a future sailing together after realizing how big this step would have been, especially because she was just 31. Giambattista had great feelings for her, but he was not ready to sacrifice his possibility to be happy again, even if this meant leaving her. So there he goes, leaving his house for a new one floating on the sea: Outremer 55, french flag, one of the fastest and safest boat ever built, obviously baptized as Angelique II.

His travel starts in France and continues in Greece, forsaking the Mediterranean to discover the Aegean sea. Thanks to friends popping in, the first year goes by quickly; that’s also the year when he meets Ray, an australian guy who’s currently on Angelique II and with whom decides to leave for Spain and cross the strait of Gibraltar, taking a plunge into the unknown.

Every cloud has its silver lining

Sometimes destiny seems cruel, but underneath, it’s only rearranging his paws to be more favourable. At the end of 2012, in order to sail to Gibraltar, Giambattista and Ray dismast Angelique II and take two different paths: Ray takes another boat to make his own world tour, Giambattista waits for his boat to be renovated. During these three months, he decides to write to Valentina, who hasn’t heard since he left for the sea. Her answer comes out of the blue: she tells him she realized to be ready to sail with him. Everything now is where it should be: taking advantage of the time requested to prepare the boat, the happy couple gets married. Giambattista puts off the departure for the unknown to make Valentina at ease with life on board in seas she already knows.


At the end of march 2014, Angelique II can be proud to have sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and have spent 1 year and a half enjoying the heath of the Caribbean, stopping by St. Martin, Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Guatemala. In this last destination they decide to take a break of 5 months to prepare Angelique II for stronger weather conditions, in order to make their dream come true: sailing around Patagonia. In november 2014 the boat approaches Panama, crosses the strait and the two of them celebrate New Year’s Eve at Galapagos. After that, they reach the most secluded island of the world, Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island. In march 2015, after approaching to Chile’s coasts, the couple is ready and thrilled to reach the most extreme part of the world: Antarctica.


Life at the world’s end

What is life for Giambattista today? He answers promptly: “Life for me now is discovering the world without hurrying, until your physical force allows you to do it. That means also to have a route but without schedules,far from harbours and big cities, so that you can relish new cultural lifestyles, full of different colours and vibes. We’re into deep in a culture where everybody wears, watches and listens to the same things, so I decided to reach for places where things go the other way round and where it is simpler to be happy”.


However, Giambattista realizes that there are also practical aspects to face: that’s why he decided to approach virtually on Sailsquare to balance the accounts. This also brought him to know new people with their own stories to share.
Aren’t you a bit envious? Or better, aren’t you terribly curious to get to know these two incredible people and see with your own eyes how life on Angelique II could be? If positive, you can taste a piece of their adventure sailing with them for some time, to discover wonderful places, but above all, to live the adventure of a lifetime.