Ever since he was a boy, when he played with little boats, the capixaba Renato Silveira had it in his head that, one day, he would buy a real sailboat and sail around the world.
For decades, while earning a living as a member of the Air Force and a pilot of private planes, he nurtured the dream, mentally planning what that trip would be like.
Until, five years ago, shortly after turning 50 and retiring, he decided it was time to make the old wish a reality.
He then bought a used sailboat and set out, with the aim of sailing around the world – which he has been doing for four years, although the pandemic has slightly hampered his plans.
Had it not been for the crisis triggered by Covid-19, Renato would have already completed the trip, which he had planned to last four years.
But, with the ports closing due to the pandemic, he had to leave the boat stationary in Panama for months on end, and only resumed the trip a year and a half later, when, finally, he was able to return to French Polynesia, the place he always wanted. to meet.
“It was wonderful to visit the islands in the Pacific, although most of them are still closed to tourism. So, the solution was to stop the boat only where it was allowed and stay longer than expected on them. But I’m enjoying the trip just the same”, says Renato, who is in no hurry to complete the trip.
Quite the opposite.
on the other side of the world
At this moment, the former aviator from Espírito Santo is on the other side of the world, in Australia (click here to see his location, in real time), where he arrived a month ago, waiting for the best moment to continue his journey – now towards Indonesia.
Afterwards, he intends to visit some isolated islands in the Indian Ocean, such as Christmas, Coco, Mauricio and Réunion, little visited by conventional tourists.
“This is another advantage of traveling with a boat: you go to places where tourists normally don’t go”, says Renato, who, on his way to Australia, spent a few days anchored on the deserted island of Monuriki, in Fiji, where he was the film O Náufrago, with Tom Hanks – the one with the ball-friend “Wilson”, which the capixaba gaily copied in the photos he took.
in the rhythm of nature
His return to Brazil is scheduled for “sometime next year”, without much precision.
I’m in no hurry to get there”, says the retiree. “I’m taking the trip I’ve always wanted to do, at the pace that nature and my will allow. The longer it takes, the better.
“Roll around the world”
“I’m taking a tour around the world”, sums up the capixaba, on his social networks, where, he turns and moves, he publishes inspiring videos.
“I’m getting to know new lands, new peoples, new cultures, and making more and more new friends. Lots of friends”, he says, happy with his life.
“Whoever travels around the world with a boat ends up being embraced by a kind of nation, the so-called ‘Nomads of the Sea’, who form a world community made up only of nice people”, guarantees the Brazilian. “I was adopted by them”, he jokes.
So far, everywhere he went, Renato says he was very well received. Much more than he expected.
“Everyone wants to help those who arrive by sea”, he says. “It’s not what happens to someone who arrives by plane, stays for a week and leaves. This is just a tourist; not someone who came from far away and spent many days at sea, until arriving there. It’s different”, explains Renato, who also ensures that the fact of being Brazilian helps a lot in this friendly receptivity.
“Brazilians are seen worldwide as a happy, fun people and, therefore, welcome. I have felt this everywhere. When people see the Brazilian flag on the boat, they approach, offer help and start a conversation. another friend that appears”.
I’ve lost count of how many great people I’ve met on this trip.
better than i imagined
“Despite the inconvenience caused by the pandemic, the trip is going much better than I imagined. And much simpler and quieter too”, guarantees Renato.
So far, he hasn’t had any problems with the boat and has only faced a single storm, on the stretch between French Polynesia and Fiji.
“The wind was strong and the waves were high. But it was just a matter of increasing caution and waiting for everything to pass”, recalls the Brazilian, who, since he resumed the crossing, in Panama, a year ago, is having as a traveling companion the friend Fernando Baldini, who is a chef.
On top of that, I’m eating pretty damn good.
2,000 dollars per month
To pay for the trip, Renato uses the money he receives from retirement, plus some reserves, for extra expenses with the boat.
“To sail around the world is to repair the boat in the most paradisiacal places on the planet”, he jokes, referring to the constant maintenance that a sailboat requires.
On average, he has spent about US$2,000 a month (approximately R$11,000) on food, fuel, repairs and daily pay at the marinas where he leaves the boat, while walking on dry land.
I could spend less, but I’d have to save money on tours, fun, and beer, and that would take some of the pleasure out of the trip itself.
How is his boat?
The capixaba sailboat, called Free Wind (“Free Wind”, in Portuguese), is just over 11 meters long and has a cabin that mimics a small house, with two bedrooms – one of them, a suite – living room, kitchen and bathroom.
It was built in 2005 by a dedicated engineer from Rio Grande do Sul, who also dreamed of sailing around the world.
But the sudden death of his wife – and of himself, later on – meant that the boat was sold to Renato, who is now, of course, also fulfilling the dream of the boat builder, who ended up becoming his friend.
“He couldn’t go around the world, but the boat he built is. I’m making the trip he can’t make”, says Renato, who sees it as a form of homage.
Easier than it looks
“The truth is that sailing around the world doesn’t have great mysteries, and it’s much simpler than it seems. What everyone discovers is that it’s a perfectly possible crossing, for people of any age”, says Renato, who has 56 years old and two grandchildren, and he already knows what he will do when the trip is over:
“I’m going to take another trip around the world, stopping in places where the pandemic didn’t let me visit”.
And he ends, with the mantra that he never tires of repeating:
You have to enjoy life. She’s too short to be small.
Around the world at 81 years old
When he returns to Vitória, where he left in 2018, Renato Silveira will not be the only sailor with a mature age to arrive from a round-the-world navigation already thinking about leaving again.
On the contrary, most of those who make this trip repeat it, despite what the calendar says.
The most emblematic case is that of Australian Bill Hatfield, who, two years ago, sailed around the entire planet alone, without stopping anywhere and on the worst possible route, when he was already 81 years old – click here to know the impressive story of the oldest man in the world traveling alone around the world in a boat.
And he, like the capixaba Renato, is also already planning to leave again.