House sold, boat bought, set sail. The Barberis family’s dream come true


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barberis round the world tourThey set sail the day before yesterday from Bocca di Magra (La Spezia), aboard their ketch Mikado “Shibumi,” Stefano and Sara Barberis (with their children Iago, Nina, Timo and dog Pepper) To realize their dream. Around the world by boat.

Here is their story.

“To those in the industry, we are the classic family leaving by boat, and we, not to fall into this category, didn’t want ours to be just a long sea voyage, we wanted to share and involve all round ‘friends’ and nonland ‘friends’ in discovering what it can mean to travel responsibly and sustainably with three kids on board, while remotely maintaining a relationship with land life, specifically school.”


In these simple words of Sara Barberis is all the philosophy behind the choice of her family, consisting of her husband Stephen, children Iago (11), Nina (8), Timo (3) and dog Pepper. Words written just days before the deed that sanctioned, in effect, the beginning of their adventure.

The 56-foot (17.25 x 4.80 m) ketch Shibumi

They sold the house and bought a boat, Shibumi, a 56-foot Mikado rigged ketch from ’82 (designed by Michel Bigoin and Daniel Duvergie, also known for designing Eric Tabarly’s PenDuick V., and in September, after a complete refitting, will depart from Bocca di Magra (SP) for a long round-the-world boat trip.

Iago, Nina and Timo in the Corinth Canal during Shibumi’s transfer from Greece to Bocca di Magra

“On board is a nuclear physicist, Stefano, a creative, myself and our three children. We sold our house to leave, as if to testify to the importance of this adventure for us and the choices you can make when you really believe in a dream,” Sara says. “On our own it would have been much more challenging, but thanks to the support of partners who believe in us and support us, the mission is becoming something even more ambitious and valuable than we ever thought it would be.

On board we will set up a Floating lab (go and find out about it in detail, it is very interesting:
), which will be the practical translation of everything that has animated our idea of the voyage: environmental awareness, smart use of resources, energy budgets, fighting waste, respect for the seas and the species that inhabit it, and again data collection and subsequent dissemination to those who will carry out the workshop from the ground, schools and associations.”

Among the many partners are our friends at Rivelami, who bring out wonderful items from used sails (even the exclusive Sailing Newspaper bag and shoe rack).

On the hunt for plastic!

Not the usual world tour, then. But an experience and a journey that we could call “scientific” from which so much data will come out that the Barberis family will make available to the entire sailing community.

And just to anticipate the criticism from the keyboard lions (“eh but then they are rich, lucky them who can afford it”): here is what the Barberis write on their website. “Savoring life at sea during the two summer months, which we accumulated between parental leave and extra work hours during the year, was no longer enough for us. Noting that we do not have the lives of cats, we have decided to gamble everything to live as we see fit the only life we are allowed, or at least try.

We are a simple family who, like many, make it to the end of the month with the water at our throats; two normal salaries that added up to somersaults and sacrifices were not enough to allow us to take the plunge into the blue, so we came to the extreme conclusion that we had to sell our house.”

It could only be so. That for the sea was the passion that united Stephen and Sara, who fell in love in 2002 during a sailing cruise as complete strangers. “We realized that we were meant to stand together in the good and the sea, as the banner at our wedding read.”

Good wind guys, we will follow you closely!


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