Tuesday 24th of June. The arrival to our home port of Nieuwpoort marks the end of a beautiful and unforgettable year. 

Aspro took us all safely and rather quickly to the beautiful places we visited. Although Wouter has been busy all year to repair and maintain, Aspro never suffered a major damage, in contrast to many other boats travelling the same route at the same time. Minor repairs and replacements were necessary like the autopilot, the VHF, the toilet; rust maintenance and cleaning of the heater and the winches was a constant; we improved solving the water ingress through the anchor chain. However, never were we surprised by major problems during crossings.  Very aware of the risks we took, and we tried to prepare as much as possible. Even then, we could not avoid a storm crossing our path from the Azores to England. Aspro proved her ocean worthiness: I will never forget the feeling and deep respect I felt the last night before reaching our shelter port safely : with one reef in the main, although two were needed, Aspro was flying across the waves straight to La Coruna, crossing the shipping lanes at 9.5 knots boatspeed, steady and stable,  straight to her waypoint, convinced to bring her crew as fast as possible on shore before the full storm set in.

From the medical point of view, we have been lucky the entire year : as expected, most accidents happened on shore.  A crash from Wouter and Kwinten had us end up in a Portuguese hospital; Hannelien suffering from heavy stomach pain had me walking around at night on a deserted island, searching for the doctor, being scared she ate glass particles on the children’s play ground. Nevertheless, I found it more than worth to carry amount of pharmacy inventory that we did.  When sailing on the ocean, there is no option to put your boat on the hard shoulder, to get a doctor involved or a breakdown repaired.  You trust your boat and each other, to reach home safely.

We restarted working soon after our arrival in Belgium, the children back to school. Aspro sailed away from us on the 19th of October while Sander was born the 27th. The age difference between Sander and Hannelien, will always remind us of this year. When the children are old enough to remember and young enough to still go with their parents, we will sail away again. Long enough to enjoy, short enough to nourish every moment we travel, intense enough to carry the memory for the rest of our life.

Wouter  Leen Kwinten Lieselotte Hannelien  Sander  S/Y Aspro.

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