On May 4, 2000, 24-year-old Marco Amoretti, his two brothers and a friend, Marcolino De Candia, cast off from the Canary Islands in two of the strangest boats ever conceived. The four men were in cars. They had sealed the vehicles, mounted them with sails and were set for the Caribbean, around 5,000km away.
The journey had been Amoretti’s father’s, Giorgio’s, lifetime goal. But every time he had tried to organise the trip, the admin and funding had foiled him.
“He was a very a special personality,” Amoretti, from Italy, said. “A dream is a strange human feeling, but all his life he was searching for freedom, for fantasy, for a performance and try to cross the limits of the normal world.”
In 1999, Giorgio was diagnosed with cancer and given three to six months to live. The brothers went into action to finally get the trip off the ground. They got the cars to the Canary Islands together. But by the time they were ready to leave, Giorgio was too ill to join them. He was replaced by Candia.
“We started without my father. But by the time I was in the middle, he was dead. So, he never got to see us to the end. But, he could imagine it,” Amoretti said.
Only 10 days in, the two cars hit a patch of bad weather. Amoretti’s brothers got a bad feeling about the trip, and were rescued by helicopter, leaving Amoretti and Candia to continue alone. The pair were game for the adventure, but it was one of the departing brother’s who had skills as an engineer. So, when the satellite phone broke, it took Amoretti two months to fix it.
“So, I didn't know my father was getting worse in hospital,” Amoretti said. “When we fixed the telephone my family decided not to tell me because it would give us a bad feeling. They decided to wait until I arrived. Only in the last week did my mum tell me my father was not in this world.
“The last week, so very near to the victory, I was happy and not happy,” he said.
After 119 days, the pair finally arrive in Martinique.
“People imagine it is a bit boring because it is a very small space and everyday is similar,” he said. “At home, the floor is still, not moving. It's very easy to do everything, but in the car it is double the time to do everything. For just living, cooking, to keep everything working, you need almost all day. I didn't have much free time.
“In the evening, we write a little bit in a diary and the rest of the time was just to survive. We also fished. But sometimes, the rope between the two cars snapped, so we’d have to swim out and fix it. It was a busy time.”
The original plan was to arrive in La Martinique, then continue on to Cuba and finally the US, possibly all the way to New York, with the aid of a motor. But funds were low, so after a month on dry land they returned to Italy. The pair intended to write a book, raise more money and complete the adventure but they lost momentum.
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“When we came back we lost the dream,” he said. “When you come back home, you start normal life again. Now, I'm a little bit sorry we came back. If we stayed in Martinique, maybe we could have finished.”
Now, Amoretti is once again intent on repeating, then completing, the crazy feat. He is back to writing the book and searching for a film producer. Amoretti is looking for a young crew mate who is good with social media.
“I just want to try tell this story in a better way,” he said. “We made a fantasy. But we didn't find the right way to sell the story.”
Inevitably perhaps, the first adventure changed Amoretti forever.
“The normal route is school, work, marriage,” Amoretti said. “My father’s will was to break this normal system, but it’s not easy. The system wants to keep you in normal life. So, with this trip, adventure, journey, I feel a little bit stronger to go against the normal world.”
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