The Catamaran Adventures of Noel and Ceu
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The Crew

Hi, I’m Noel Swanson. I have been sailing forever. the first time was when I was 12 or 13 and visited Holland with my parents. Somehow I ended up crewing on a dinghy in a race, and somehow we won! Well, that was kind of fun. So, back in Birmingham, England, I joined the Midland Sailing Club, and took lessons in a Wayfarer and GP 14.

As a teenager I raced Firefly 2732, ‘Minitoo’, in club races and open meetings – even winning the junior trophy at the nationals one year – with a revolutionary centre-main configuration!

From there, during the university years (Southampton, of course!),  I progressed to an OK and did the whole open meetings circuit for about three years, usually finishing in the prizes, but rarely winning anything. Some great times were had. I can remember one championship when…, hmm, no, better not get into that! No names, no pack drill.

Well, fast forward a few years and I have sailed and raced Lasers, Formula 18 cats, even a Etchells 22, and of course Windsurfers.

But never any ‘big boats’. They always seemed too boring. Until I got this crazy idea sometime in 2008 that I should get a boat and sail the world.

The boys are grown up, the business is sold, I have a wonderful new wife who is as adventurous as me, so here I am.

Lets go sailing!

Ceu and Tiago enjoying some snow

That’s me and my beautiful grandson Tiago when he was about 1 year old (2011). Now he has a little brother named Jonah!

Olá, my name is Céu Lopes (pronounced ‘sayo’)

and yes True, I had never sailed before until Noel had this crazy idea. I was born and raised in Portugal where my closest family still lives. Moved to Canada in 1984 and met Noel in 2007. We  lived in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia until this new adventure.

Wow…here we are!!!!

What started off with a 2 week sailing trip to the Caribbean in April 2009, which didn’t take much for Noel to convince me, turned out to be the decision of a lifetime adventure. After learning the difference between Port and Starboard and completing my CYA Basic cruising aboard ‘Stray Cat’ out of Vancouver for a week in the summer of 2009, with some trepidation and much excitement, we departed Canada for the Caribbean.

How long can I stay away from my 2 beautiful daughters and two  handsome grandsons,  Tiago and Jonah. I don’t know … but after 5 years and so many adventures (plus, of course, visits back home) I am still out here!

I feel I still have soo much more to learn, but I am looking forward to seeing the many great places still unexplored, and all the many more wonderful things life has to offer.

And to my partner in crime, amazing husband, thanks for making it all come true and having faith in me (just hope for no MOB lol) I look forward to many great adventures

Can’t wait!!!!!

4 Responses to “The Crew”

  • Anthony:

    I have enjoyed reading your story. I am filled with envy but happy and pleased to see two people living life to the full.
    I have so many questions. I am at the beginning. I have just purchased a 42 foot Lagoon, 2008. It is currently in the BVI. It was in charter. It needs some work but not too much.
    First. Finances. How much does one need or allow to call it quits and go cruising ?


    • Noel:

      Congratulations on your new boat! We also bought ours in BVI out of charter.

      The first thing to note is that a charter boat is a very bare boat. If you are going to live on board you will inevitably want to be adding new ‘stuff’ – both in terms of equipment and safety features, and just comfort features. See our page on home improvements to see some of the things we have added. All this stuff makes the first year pretty expensive – but really this should be factored in as part of the purchase price.

      Beyond the first year things get cheaper. Indeed, some people told us that the first year you buy a heap of stuff, and then the second year you start throwing stuff out again! How much you spend depends on your lifestyle. If you like to park in marinas and eat out ever night, it gets pretty pricey. If you prefer anchorages (we do), and entertain yourselves, then it is pretty cheap. Food is about double the cost in the Caribbean than it is in USA. Clothing is cheap, as you don’t wear any! No matter how long you have your boat, there will always be things that need to be fixed, so make sure you have an allowance for that. The more you move your boat, the more that will need fixing. If you anchor in Prickly Bay, Grenada for six months (as many do) then your expenses will be minimal (just food and drink, really).

      So, ball park? I would say that you will probably spend about 50 – 100% what you normally spend at home, excluding your rent / mortgage. I would guess that your car expenses will pay for your boat repairs, and then it is just your daily living expenses you need to cover. But there are LOTS of discussions about this whole subject on the forums.

      Hope that helps somewhat!

      Don’t be afraid to ask – everyone is a beginner at some point, and everyone has countless tales of adventures of when they got it wrong!


  • I was pointed to your note on flying a spinnaker and noticed you have a 42. We just purchased a 2005 43 in Cartagena, Spain and are about to begin a multi-year cruise. We will peruse your website and learn from your experiences. Please introduce yourselves if we ever cross paths. We are S/V Harmonia flying a Stars-n-Stripes. Meanwhile,
    Fair winds.

    • Noel:

      Hi Larry and Lynda,

      Welcome to the cruising life! You will love the 43. We were in Cartagena last winter. We are probably headed to Greece and Turkey this year, so if you happen to pass by, do let us know!

      Noel & Ceu

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