Feels like a life accomplishment

Roland Jarlgaard returned to his home in Denmark on the 20th of March just as the corona outbreak started closing flight traffic. But with 8 months of crossing the Atlantic and sailing the Caribbean’s, having to stay home doesn´t seem to upset Roland. On the contrary, it leaves time for reflection and of course time for planning how to bring back the X4.3 Xplorer !

From having sailed optimist and dinghy throughout his entire childhood, to being part of a crew on different boats in local clubs, and later in international regattas to chartering in Croatia and the Mediterranean Sea, Roland bought his own X-Yachts X4.3 back in 2016.

“Originally my idea was to buy a boat for luxury cruising in Scandinavia, but suddenly things took a turn for more long-distance sailing. I have used the last 5 years improving my sailing skills theoretical gaining Yacht Master 3rd and Yacht Master 1st Class. So when my daughter one day exclaimed; Dad, let´s cross the Atlantic, the idea wasn´t that far off. And my own father joined in on the idea, along with more friends and family members. Having had the opportunity of three generations sailing together is unique and a precious memory.”

From the idea was born in November 2018 until august 2019, when Roland started on the first leg from Denmark to the Canaries, he used a lot of hours on the water, on longer and longer cruises.

“One of my first longer cruises was to Oslo, Norway with friends of mine. And as I gained more and experience with longer distances including night sailing, my courage grew stronger and stronger. My first long-distance cruise was in fact as a crew member and goes years back to a 3 months trip from Bali to Sri Lanka. I have always had a passion to explore and a dream to sail around the world, inspired by the Danish sailor and author, Troels Kløvedal”. 

ARC developed into ARC +

Roland and crew crossed the Atlantic in 2019 as part of the ARC. “I wanted to be part of something bigger than “just” crossing the pond on our own. It made me feel safer, knowing that a lot of other fellow skippers and crew members were crossing “with” us, enabling us to share experiences. On top of that the ARC organizes lots of events and happenings. It soon became clear to me that crossing is not just a question of moving from A-B. My daughter might slightly disagree here, but nonetheless we decided to change to the ARC+ which includes a 5-day stopover in Cape Verde. Why not explore, when you have the chance to do so. Being part of the ARC was never a race to us, but I have to admit that the competitive instinct developed as it was clear that we were doing very good. And now I am quite proud that we in fact won our class; Cruising Class B.”

Planning is crucial

“To me this has indeed been a huge project with lots of ends that needed to meet. But being able to look back now is a huge satisfaction. I did a lot of planning, down to the last detail. Being the skipper there is a lot to attend to all the time. And even though I had everything planned, I was a bit overwhelmed by how much you need to manage. My 8 months of sailing has left me with a feeling of being a much more complete sailor and I really know my boat and my equipment now.”

Equipment is key

Speaking about equipment Roland has made no compromises. “With X-Yachts the boat was configured in close cooperation and I had a lot of good advice from my close sailing network, Elvstrøm Sails being one of them. For this adventure I chose to complement my cool EPEX sails with a new main and jib of Dacron and Hydranet, respectively. And even after my 8.000 NM the sails are in a very good shape indeed. Of course, there are a few spots with wear and tear that could probably even have been avoided. But I have to say that I am more than satisfied with the overall shape of the sails after my big adventure.”

Achievement and bonding

“Overall, we had a great experience. To me this really feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am a much more experienced sailor now, I feel 100 % confident with my boat and I feel much closer to my daughter and the rest of my family and crew members that I was lucky to have on board.  Being that close for so long under so many different situations really make you see and understand your relatives from another perspective.

If you have the chance, there are so many wonderful adventures to pursue out there. Planning, training offshore and going with the Yacht Master class, I can truly recommend before heading out on the big blue ocean. Getting to know your boat and your equipment to the fingertips is key in a hassle-free experience, and at the end of the day that is the job of the skipper!”

New adventures ahead

With the pandemic Roland´s plans have changed from hoping to sail in the Med to trying to get the Xplorer all the way back to Danish waters. “I feel much more grounded and during my many hours on the water far from home, I realized that home is where I want to explore from. So, I am looking very much forward to sailing in Scandinavia, when I manage to get her back home”.