How it all began…

Things in life often grow from a little innocent statement…

This whole Atlantic experience is no different. My Dad taught me how to sail when I was very young, and as I grew to be a teenager sailing would be something we had in common. Over the years as I learned about my father’s youth I was always impressed with the self made nature of his life. He left Spain to go to Cuba on the Marqués de Comillas looking for a better life. He spent countless hours in fishing boats and for a while that is how he made a living. He left Cuba to go to Venezuela, worked during the day and studied at night so that he could offer our family a better future. Later he became Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Venezuela and was able to purchase his first sailing boat.

It was a small sailboat in Spain, a 23-foot Somo that was painted apple green so it became known in the bay of Ares as Manzanita, which means little Apple. I have the fondest memories of that sailboat and my share of goofs and scares. Throughout the years, I remember the topic of crossing the Atlantic would come often when we were sailing. “One day we will cross the Atlantic” either of us would say. But as a teenager that statement registered with me perhaps a little stronger that either of my parents had realized. You see, the idea of my father and I returning to Spain from the new world on our own sailboat just for fun was to me the ultimate gift for a man that had done the trip initially out of necessity and sacrifice.

In a twist of destiny, I too had left home to go to university in North America. For me the decision to come to Stanford and later decisions to stay and work in the United States were not out of necessity like my father’s but out of a need to prove myself independently of my father’s own success. Now apart of each other for so many years, the aura of the Atlantic for us had kept growing and growing like any dream that seemed just unattainable.

Almost eight years ago Dad retired after twenty years heading the firm. Then two years ago, after many years in Silicon Valley I left with my family and relocated to Colorado looking for a more balanced life. As part of the process of reassessing my priorities in life the statement “One day we will cross the Atlantic” pop back into my life. One day when? How about the summer of 2003!

Two days ago, Dad and I hugged as we watched the lights in the horizon from the Azores. As I described that night, the emotions were overwhelming. We had dreamed of that moment for so many years and for so many years it seemed just that, a wishful dream. But it wasn’t, it was real. The unattainable was real. We were crossing the Atlantic together on our own sailboat and we were arriving in the Azores.


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