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Going for the big adventure was for many years a dream and an ambition for Anneline and Axel, better known under their Instagram alias Sailing Xantippe.

The couple from Oslo grew up with various degrees of experience in sailing – and whilst Axel had previous experience with sailing boats, Anneline came from a childhood where the family had a motorboat.

Yet, the story about Anneline and Axel and their current adventures on Xantippe is also a story of inheriting the passion for sailing and indeed exploring.

To find out more, we called Anneline and Axel for a chat from St. Martin, where they currently stay onboard Xantippe - their 2014 Hanse 445 equipped with a full Elvstrøm Sails wardrobe.

Anneline and Axel, better known as @sailing_xantippe on Instagram, have made their way to the Caribbean.

Antigua by boat

Antigua was in many ways the destination the Norwegian duo had their sights set on from the start.

And that for a wide array of reasons, as it is a destination which holds a very special place in the hearts of the couple, Axel says:

- Going to Antigua by boat, and indeed my own boat, has always been my big dream. I half-way grew up here as my granddad did something similar many years ago and ended up staying out here. And since my parents both had international jobs around the Caribbean, I have in some way grown up with Antigua as a second home. I love it here and I have been here a lot – but going here by sails is a totally different ballgame and it was a huge experience to do it.

Anneline adds:

I will never forget this journey. The biggest experience for me was undoubtedly that Axel proposed to me in Galicia – what a day that was. In terms of sailing, I’ll probably go for the experience of crossing the Atlantic. It is a great accomplishment for any sailor, and it definitely was a big thing for us.


The dream through ten years

Thus, the idea was underway for a long while. Anneline and Axel have known each other for around ten years – and for just as long, the dream of sailing far, far away has been an underlying dream.

We had been talking about this on and off for quite a few years. I didn’t really feel convinced that we could make any of it into reality before we both had “real” jobs and all of that. On the other hand, we also felt we would regret it big time, had we not given it a shot. To this day, I am still not sure what exactly happened, but someday I felt it just made sense to me. We made the leap and shortly after, we had rented out our apartment and things started to shift, Anneline says.

Half a year of preparations followed:

We made the final decision just over half a year before setting off, and we had to learn and work quickly in terms of boat maintenance, modifications and so many things. Just finding the right watermaker and installing it was a big deal. Solar panels, sails and many other questions also had to be answered before any of this would be remotely possible, she says.

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Setting off

They set off on May 2nd 2023 from Oslo and have since enjoyed the Mediterranean, crossing the Atlantic and now cruising the Caribbeans. They did not have a specified plan from the start, but it took shape along the way, Axel says:

- I don’t really know if we ever had a big plan. We wanted to do the Atlantic Circuit so to speak, but we also wanted to experience the Mediterranean, which also meant we ran out of time and budget to do the full lap. But I have the feeling that we will be back for more at some point. We have actually sold the boat now, so we will hand it over in a few weeks time here in St. Martin and head back home.

- Crossing the Atlantic was really special. My dad has always had a dream of doing it, and we actually ended up taking both of our dads with us for the crossing. It was a brilliant experience and it sure is one of those memories we will all cherish, Axel says.


Gaining experience

Having gained good experience from sailing at home in Norway, things did however change shape as the duo started sailing full time. It changes the perspective on sailing a bit, they say:

- I wouldn’t say it’s easy to sail full time. It is not by any means, But I would suggest that you have an advantage, if you can do everything in your own time - or wait for better conditions to move on. Having the chance to aim for better conditions makes the sailing better - but it is also a luxury you will not have, if you must be somewhere at a certain time, Axel tells.

Full-time sailing does however have its perks when it comes to learning new tricks, Axel admits:

- We have gained so much knowledge on sails and trim through this trip, and it was fascinating to see how much of a difference there is between here and then what we were in, when we were sailing in the Mediterranean. Wind conditions in the Mediterranean are a bit crazy as the direction changes so often. This is why you must be prepared to adjust and find solutions all the time. Our jib was great for that job, while we have run our gennaker and spinnaker for the longer hauls. The spinnaker did especially come in handy as soon as we realized how much of a difference a spinnaker pole makes – I’m so glad we took the plunge and bought one.

Staying in St. Martin is also the last stop on the tour for Anneline and Axel this time around. Xantippe has just been sold, and the couple are soon returning to Norway. Going back home to work is – however – not the end of more dreams for the duo, Axel ends:

- We didn’t make the full Atlantic Circuit, so one could say we have something to aim for, when we hopefully are able to do this again someday. We would love to get through the Panama Canal and further on next time. But first… We must find a new boat!

You can follow Anneline and Axel on Instagram @sailingxantippe