Son Sails Solo Across Atlantic to See His Elderly Dad


When 47-year-old Argentinian Juan Manuel Ballestero found himself trapped on a Portuguese island after Covid-19 cancelled all international flights home, he could have easily stayed where he was. The scenic island was largely spared from the pandemic, and he had his 29-foot sailboat to live on. But he thought the world was ending and he missed his family, so he cast off and for 85 days sailed solo across the Atlantic to see his 90-year-old father again.

Ballestero’s journey was challenging. One island did not allow him to replenish his supplies, at one point he thought his boat was being chased by another and his boat was damaged, but he also encountered moments of great beauty and spirituality.

He returned to Argentina to a hero’s welcome. This New York Times story is a lovely read about resolve and love of family in a time of worldwide challenge.

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