Reve de Lune and Calypso – the adventure begins, by Liesl King
Almost two years ago Reve de Lune and Dave Oppermann set off for his “Big Crossing”. Being an Amel Sharki 39 ketch rigged boat, Reve de Lune is ‘a great no nonsense blue water cruiser’ according to one yacht broker and that is precisely what Opperman wanted to do. On the 17th of March 2020, Reve de Lune left RCYC en-route to St Helena. The plan was that Oppermann and his friends would deliver the boat to Brazil and once there, his wife would fly in and they would then head north.
They had a lovely downwind sail, and all was going well until Oppermann made the mistake of flushing their fresh water out instead of making water. Without water the decision was made to head to Lüderitz for fresh water before proceeding. “That actually saved us,” Dave explained, “because once we got into Lüderitz, the extent of the corona virus became apparent and the reality of us not being able to get into St Helena or get flights out of Brazil meant we had to reconsider our options.”
He wisely decided that it would be more prudent to head back to Cape Town and to “wait out the effects of this corona virus and allow for ports and the freedom of cruising to open up again”. Little did he know it would be just shy of two years before he and Justin Going would be sailing Reve de Lune out of the RCYC marina en-route to St Helena. This time however he wasn’t heading out alone on his transatlantic crossing, as Reve de Lune was to be the buddy boat to Andrew Henshilwood on Calypso and therein lies another story.
Andrew has had a dream to sail across the Atlantic for a very long time. Now many of us have dreams. Some big and some small, yet sadly most of them stay just that, dreams. Andrew, however, is one of those rare people who hold on to their dreams and then slowly, step by step, turn that dream into a reality.
“It has been quite a journey getting to this point,” he says. “We said we were going to do this about 15 years ago. And now here we are. I started on windsurfers, hobies, then keelboats, small keelboats, coming down to the Club and sailing on other people’s boats to get miles. Doing our skippers tickets, more miles, night hours and then progressing to a 23 foot boat, to a 32 foot boat and then to Calypso, which is a Monteverdi 43. Always with the dream of crossing the Atlantic.
The planned route will take Calypso and Reve de Lune to St Helena, Ascension, then possibly Fernando, possibly Surinam and ultimately to Grenada. “We have short-term plans. The first goal is to get to Grenada. Once there we will reassess and decide what to do. We will probably hang South around Grenada till after the hurricane season and apply for US visas. Then go up the Caribbean to the Bahamas and if we do get US visas then we will do the East Coast of the States.
“The trip is open ended. We have rented our house; we gave away our car to family and our stuff is in storage. We might cross the Atlantic, hate it, fly back, and sell the boat, or we might love it and keep going.That is the nice thing about this trip, we really don’t know. Ultimately, I would love to recross the Atlantic and get into the Med. We have done a lot of overseas charters and we absolutely loved the Greek Islands; it was special. And to be able to do it in our own boat will be even more special.
“There are only three of us on board, my wife Siobhan and my daughter Laura. Laura is 24, and she has special needs as she is mentally handicapped. She doesn’t do a lot of the sailing, but she loves the water, doesn’t get seasick and is very comfortable on the boat. I think the only negative is that she is going to miss all her friends. She is incredibly accommodating, as long as she knows what is going on. She came with us to Knysna where we had horrific conditions on the trip up and she was fine. We also have a son, who is staying behind and our dog will be staying with him.
“Finally getting to the stage where you are taking your own boat across the Atlantic with your family is quite emotional and very special”, he concludes.
Andrew, Siobhan and Laura; Dave and Justin, we wish you fair winds, following seas and a magical and exciting adventure! We look forward to following you on your journey.