On Tuesday, Philippe Guglielmetti, 50, landed in Barcelona, Spain, some 4,300 nm from his starting point in Miami, on his Nordhavn 40 Embracing Life. An Atlantic crossing is a major event for anyone, but particularly for Guglielmetti, who has been in a wheelchair since May, 2015, when he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke.
An adventuresome spirit, Guglielmetti, who lives next to a canal in Miami, wanted to cross the ocean on his own boat. He bought the Nordhavn, a 2001 model, in February, and had it outfitted so he could be comfortable on board, adding a helm chair, active stabilizers and a stern thruster.
The idea was that he would cruise to Lisbon, Portugal, with stops in Bermuda and the Azores, and then make the Atlantic crossing a round trip, returning either to Miami or New York.
An Atlantic crossing is nothing new for Nordhavns; 16 of them crossed from Fort Lauderdale to Gibraltar in the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004, and a Nordhavn 40 went around the world in 2001 and 2002.
Guglielmetti left Miami on May 28, and the first leg to Bermuda was uneventful. But halfway through the second leg, on the way to the Azores, the boat lost the stabilizers in rough weather, and then a line wrapped around the prop. Embracing Life lost propulsion for two days, until one of Guglielmetti’s sons was able to dive down and cut it free.
During this time, Guglielmetti was in daily SAT phone contact with his wife, Florence, back in Miami, and also with Nordhavn’s Garrett Severen, who put him in touch with two other Nordhavns, Carmanah, a 60, and Festus, a 57, which were just ahead of him.
When Embracing Life finally approached Horta in the Azores, the crew from Carmanah jumped on board to help bring it in.
And Guglielmetti changed plans. Instead of the third leg to Lisbon, Embracing Life would head to Barcelona, where it would be put on a ship for the return to Miami. But this week Guglielmetti achieved his goal; he crossed the Atlantic on his own boat.
When he reached Barcelona, Guglielmetti wrote on his blog, philcrossing.com, “Bye, Embracing Life, see you in Miami, with brand-new stabilizers! Philippe.” Read more: