20th February 2021
Family bonding Oyster Rally style

For many sailing around the world will always be just a dream. But for more than 90 Oyster owners, it has already become a reality that has changed their lives. Robert van den Enden talks about his preparation for Oyster World Rally 2017-19.

Hailing from the Netherlands but living in the Philippines, Robert van den Enden, had cruised widely including going transatlantic in the ARC. To celebrate 30 years in business with a break, he turned his mind to sailing the world with his school-aged family. Renamed Talaba, Oyster 54-18 was set for her second circumnavigation.

“We bought Talaba through Oyster Brokerage in Palma,” Robert told us. “She’d been around the world previously but was in very good condition. After the survey, anything that wasn’t right Oyster fixed. But then once you start to look into doing the Oyster World Rally, naturally different things come up. She has completely new rigging, new sheets, halyards and replacement batteries – and that was just the start! Anything that runs and turns has been changed this winter. Oyster Palma has been very busy!”

“We sailed across to Ibiza, then to Gibraltar and Lanzarote where they have a good RYA school, where the family had extra training. When I’m on board they tend to lean on me but if I fell overboard, I would appreciate them turning the yacht around! It’s good for them to have more experience on their own, without me on board. I was born by the sea so sailed and did other watersports but when I started my company, it stopped – I was too busy and travelling all the time. Then with the kids a bit bigger, we started chartering.”

“Everyone liked the lifestyle and five years ago we bought an XC45, first cruising the Mediterranean. In 2013 I crossed the Atlantic with the ARC and then, with the family, we did the whole Caribbean trip through to spring. So they have done quite a few miles, but it’s been two or three nights at sea max.”

“We were thinking of doing the long trip and we had chartered cats as well, so I gave Marie Jane, my wife, and the kids the choice, a cat or a yacht? They said it depends, if it’s an Oyster, then yacht…  We had been planning to do this a few years ago when Sarah and Robbie were 9 and 11, (they’re now 15 and 17) but started to worry about taking them away from friends and school. In the end we just did the three months in the Caribbean and realised it didn’t have any real impact. We’re home schooling – it’s interesting, you actually lose all the wasted school hours so you normally need only about four hours a day. To make a head start and reduce pressure on the trip, we started with a teacher at home trying to get the core subjects, like maths and sciences, out of the way.”

“It is such a great opportunity to be together. My companies are all over the world, so I travel half the year. Sailing is family bonding time and unlike most teenagers, my kids can’t wait to go out on the boat with us.”

“I have also had some training onboard with Eddie Scougall who’s been with Oyster for many years and was on the world rally team. After a year’s sailing I know most of the common things but with Eddie we went into the jobs you might have to do yourself in the Pacific and to really understand where everything is. His shared knowledge of Oyster and the World Rally is so valuable.”

“My biggest worry was what spares to bring. I ordered a lot but there is a limit to what you can take, otherwise you need a second boat! Most important to me was to make sure this was an enjoyable trip for everybody. That it’s the experience we’re all dreaming of and that we can look back to it or forward to more adventures because the world is still big and I’m only 53. I’ve got a long way to go!”

Van den endens family
Fatu Hiva canva v2

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