Adventure: This teenager will sail solo around Europe for a year – Luxemburger Wort

(HP) One year alone at sea, sailing around Europe – that is the challenge an 18-year-old pupil from Luxembourg has set himself.

Antoine Woestelandt, from Remich, will set off on his journey this summer.

And despite having never sailed solo before the Lycée Vauban pupil will embark on an adventure which will see him stop at 21 countries to meet locals and take part in ecological projects.

His journey will begin on the Côte d’Azur before making his way around Italy, Croatia, Greece, Malta, then to Spain and north towards the Netherlands, Lithuania
and Finland

before heading back to France.

“The idea was to go travelling but I wanted to make it a little different,” Antoine explained. “My dream was to go by boat, meet locals, experience different cultures and also link an ecological project to all of that.

“I’m going alone but I have invited people to come aboard and join me for various parts of the journey. Some are friends and family but I will also take people I don’t know.

“There is a concept similar to BlaBlaCar but for boats so that will be a good way of getting to know different people along the way.”

€15,000 budget

After watching documentaries about marine ecology and the human impact on oceans Antoine wants to raise awareness and has contacted a number of schools in areas where he will dock along the way to give talks about the subject.

He will also take part in projects and work with associations helping with initiatives such as cleaning beaches.

With an estimated budget of 15,000 euros for the trip Antoine is yet to buy the 7m60 sailboat he will travel in – which should cost around 5,000 euros.

“To raise the funds I have created my own association, called Ad[vent]ture, which has enabled me to find sponsors,” Antoine said. “Some local sponsors, such as  Boutique Napapijri in Luxembourg city, are supporting me.

“I also received 1,500 euros from the Luxembourg government as part of the Luxembourg Let’s Make It Happen initiative and I have raised money through Crowdfunding.

“Individual people have also contributed and I will write the names of everyone who makes a contribution on the sail of the boat.”

A large part of the budget will be used to buy the boat but also for food on board, harbour fees, equipment and unexpected costs while at sea.

‘I’ve never sailed alone before’

With both sets of grandparents living in Nord-Pas-de-Calais Antoine is used to watersports and has been a keen kiteboarder for many years.

He added: “Since I was a child I have been into kiteboarding and have always loved catamarans and sailboats.

“I did a sailing course in Brittany over the winter and I have taken part in a regatta through school. I also sailed with a professional to Sicily to learn more about long distances and I’m reading about old navigation in case the electrical equipment fails.

“I’ve never sailed a boat completely alone before but it doesn’t scare me. I love nature and I love extreme sports and this is something I really want to do so I can’t wait.

“My parents were a bit nervous about it when I first spoke of my plans but everyone has been very supportive and my friends think it’s a great idea – a lot of people have already booked holidays to join me along the way.”

Antoine hopes to be in Athens for the New Year and has plans to spend a few days kiteboarding in Spain.

After returning from his adventure next summer he wants to go on to do business studies – while hopfeully living in the boat.

“I would love to keep the boat and live in it,” he said. “My dream is to be able to dock it and use it as a houseboat. That way I would save on rent and I’d get to live in the boat.”

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