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Leg 1 & 2 Expedition ON 2022/ 2023 | Sailing Netherlands - Madeira - Canary Islands

Offshore Sailing Adventure & Island discovery on the Atlantic

With Adventure, Impact & Community, on Classic Schooner SV Twister

Departing in....

a sail boat in the ocean.
a group of people standing on the deck of a sailboat.
a young woman climbing the mast of a tall ship.
a silhouette of a man looking at the ocean at sunset.
two people smiling on the bow of a sailboat.


Adventure Rating
Activity Level

Introduction to Offshore Sailing

This is the pioneer voyage of Expedition ON around the Atlantic. We are sailing from the Netherlands to Madeira (Leg 1) and from Madeira to the Canary Islands (Leg 2) onboard Twister, a classic 36 meter schooner originally built in 1902. A hands-on +/- 2000 nautical miles voyage for life, together with a likeminded bunch of Ocean Nomads. Driven by passion and purpose for the love of the ocean, discovering ways to travel the seas sustainably and live more consciously.

If you’re curious what it’s like to sail offshore, admire the night sky, participate in ‘watch’, learn about sailing and seamanship, in most professional and safe environment as can be guaranteed, with a bunch of like minded adventure spirits of all ages, this trip is for you!

Discover what it feels like to wake up on the ocean, breathe the ocean air, have the wind in your hair, navigate by the stars, live simple and resourceful, and be eye to eye with dolphins. Day in, day out…

But without having to have a month of time which you need when crossing the ocean.

We are proud to have our Dom (Leg 1) and Paula (Leg 2) leading these expeditions. Both of them joined a trip with us last year and will now shine their light on these voyages. If your want to learn about boat ownership (and/or building), meet Dom! If you want to learn about hitching sailboat rides and being a long term global nomad, meet Paula!


Full ON Learning

Leg 1 is a great starting point to get ready for the next big adventure. From sailing the Atlantic to getting your own boat. You’ll be equipped with skills and connections contributing to your personal development and future ocean lifestyle dreams. Great emphasis will be put on learning sailing and seamanship. Our captain teaches meteorology. Is knowledgable about shipbuilding. You’ll learn about the Collision Regulations (colregs), the traffic rules at sea. Passage planning, and other elements relevant to both coastal and offshore sailing.


Few things are more exciting than leaving countries, and arriving in countries, by sail! We leave the Netherlands mid October. Just when autumn starts to kick in, we head south. It’ll be a little bit warmer every day. We may or may not touch land in the UK, France, or Spain. The weather decides. We’ll be sailing from the channel and the north sea into the Atlantic. A magical entree and change to be experienced. The destination is Madeira, a green lush island paradise where in November it’s likely we can hike and explore in the shorts. On arrival it’ll still be mango season! Leg 2 departs from Madeira and will explore islands from both Portugal and the Canary Islands. Every island is unique in its own way and rich in flora and fauna above and below the surface. Make sure to incorporate more island spending time on Madeira or the Canary Islands. So much to explore. 

Spotting Dolphins is pretty much guarenteed on both these legs.


Most of us spend more time indoors than outdoors. It’s easy to forget the natural world we’re coming from and living in. On the ocean, you face the wind and water elements and find that connection to nature. Imagine a scene with no traffic, no news, no pollution, no civilisation. Just wind and water – plenty of that! A scene where you can gaze for hours to the millions of stars above you; enjoy the dozens of dolphins sliding through the water at the bow of the boat; admire the pink-orange-red sunrises and sunsets, without any airplane trails changing the fluffy and cauliflower-like cloud patterns.

You’ll become very aware of the natural world around you. This inspires. And it’s eye-opening. You come to realise how disconnected from nature we are in our daily lives. In the middle of nature, far away from civilisation, you will see human impact. Usually we’re far away. It’s hard to make it tangible. It doesn’t really affect us. Or so we think. But by being out there, you literally broaden your horizon. Experience will make you think, gain fresh perspectives, and may inspire you to act to turn the tide of the ocean challenges.


The Route

This leg is offshore sailing but not a massive distance like sailing across the ocean. Leg 1 we set sail from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We sail through the English channel, then across Biscaye, with destination Madeira, ‘the tropics of Europe’. Now and then we may see a glimpse of the UK, France, Spain, and may even head in on of these countries depending on the weather. On purpose we don’t plan this out. We want to sail and go as much with the weather as possible. That’s why we allow 3 weeks for this voyage. The actual sailing time will be less.

Leg 2 is a combination of Offshore sailing and Island Exploration. We have 350 Nautical Miles to cover which includes a night sail. The route will further be decided on the weather. There’ll be lots of time for islands exploration. If the weather allows we also make a stop in ‘Ilhas Salvajes,’ ‘wild islands’ only to be reached by sail. 

We make the best and most beautiful possible route, ruled by the weather.


Last year we left the Netherlands fully layered up, but after a few days less layers were needed. After a week or so the shorts were on and we were in summer. And we jumped into 4000 meter deep ocean water to cool down on the non windy day. This voyage we can have all sorts of weather conditions. It can get rough, it can get tough. We always sail with safety as top priority. The temperature in Madeira and Canary Islands are around 25 degrees this time of year. SV Twister has a steering hut to stay warm and dry in case of bad weather, something rare on vessels and making the voyage extra comfortable.



Offshore sailing on SV Twister with us allows for maximum adventure but with minimum risk. Mum will be happy. SV Twister sails under the Dutch flag including professional crew with the necessary qualification and experience to undertake this voyage. On board, there’s an extensive medical kit and we take extra precautions may you have a certain allergy or challenge. The entire voyage we are in contact with our shore contact, always aware of our position. In any case of a medical emergency, actions will be coordinated with a medical team. Ocean worthy lifejackets will be provided.

At sea, we use Iridium for weather forecasts. The number you can give to your friends and family. They can reach us if there’s an emergency. Also you can give us email addresses of people you would like to keep informed. Every few days we send an email who will then forward this to your people. 


Adventure, Activity & Lifestyle on board

This is a hands-on active expedition. We have a professional captain and crew who’ll be showing us the ropes, excited to teach you, show you and support you. Everyone on board is expected to take part in the running of the ship. This includes doing ‘watch’, cooking, cleaning, setting sails, chartwork, and learning and sharing as much as possible from each other.  It’s part of the fun, experience, development and epiphany moment creation. That said, we’ll be many hands on board so there’ll be plenty of room to chill, relax and simply BE.

SV Twister allows us to connect more souls in one place, away from civilization where we disconnect from everything but each other and nature. Instead of just sailing with a few souls, you’ll have around 15 beautiful people to talk with. We also encourage everyone joining to share their superpower, skill or story. So many interesting things to learn from each other.

No wind? No worries! We just jump into 4000 meter deep ocean for a refreshment.

Ocean Nomads trip are beyond ‘the usual’ sailing holiday. It’s and adventure experience aimed at making the dream lifestyle reality, not just for the time with us but beyond all that. Incorporating the Ocean Nomads values, of community, exploration, and positive impact into the elements of the trip. Ocean Nomads trips are always hands-on, everyone helps with the running of the ship. 

Read more about the ON value and trip operations on the big Expedition ON overview page.

This is an active adventure trip. But ofcourse, you’re always welcome to chill and read a book or just do nothing, but BEing.

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sailboat, green background
Nautical Miles
sailor, hat
Nomad Spots
a boat with crates of vegetables on the water.
a person is swinging from the side of a sailboat.
a group of people on a boat in the ocean.
a woman is standing on the steering wheel of a sailboat.
a man in a yellow jacket standing on a sailboat.

Your Captain

Frans Veldstra

Frans grew up in a seafarer family, both builders and seamen. He started racing at a young age sailing regatta’s in Europe and many deliveries. He now holds a 500GT Captains license worldwide. He sailed many Tall Ships and oceans in several fuctions: engineer, officer and Captain. He has done many sea training trips and is eager to teach you about sailing, seamanship, meteorology and all that comes with navigating the big blue. Next to this experience has a carpentry nearby Amsterdam. He has done this voyage numerous times and one of the most magical things is sailing from the north sea, the channel into the big blue Atlantic ocean, her wide swell, into the wild. In Madeira and the Canary Islands it’ll be the remote wild anchorages he’s keen to go after. He’s looking forward to welcome you on board and make the experience a beautiful memory of a lifetime!

ON Expedition Leaders

Leg 2: Paula Mata

Ocean Nomad, Adventurer, from zero to hero !

From working at the UN in Ethiopia, to work at a ski resort in Iceland, to leading waterfall jumping excursions in Brazil, and working for NGOs in Egypt and Bolivia, to Sailboat hitchhiking the Atlantic. Paula is a nomad by heart driven by purpose and passion for adventure. Since joining Ocean Nomads in Galicia in 2021 she has not stopped sailing. Now we proudly have her on board as Expedition Leader for Leg 2: Madeira – Canary Islands. Speaking Portuguese and Spanish and eager to share with you her passion for exploring, sailing, and an adventurous life, she’ll be there for you!


Shore support: Suzanne van der Veeken

Ocean Nomad, Adventurer, Captain & Freedive Instructor

Hi! My name is Suzanne and half my time on this planet, I’ve been living a nomadic ocean minded lifestyle, navigating ocean and coastlines by sail, van, surf and mermaid fins. I hitchhiked 30.000 miles on +50 different sailboats and then I got my Captains licenses to I could take you sailing. I’m now slow travel coastlines living in my van, surfing, hiking and accelerating Ocean Nomads. I wrote the Atlantic ocean travel guide Ocean Nomad and founder of the Ocean Nomads community. The mission: Connecting you to ocean, and to cultivate and encourage a simple, natural, conscious way of life. 


I’ll be present on departure of Leg 1 and be there on arrival of Leg 2, to meet you, and support you and the Ocean Nomads team where needed, before I set sail for the Atlantic and Caribbean. I’ll be leading Leg 3: Atlantic Crossing Leg 4&5 on Nomad Lifestyle designing and Leg 6&7 Kitesurfing & Sailing.

a sail boat in the water.

The Vessel

SV Twister

Home port : Harlingen, Holland

Year built : 1902

Displacement : 88 tonnes

Length overall : 36m/118′

Draft : 2.8m/9’2″ Beam : 6.2m/20’3″ Rig : Schooner

Sail area : 332.5m/1090’8″

Number of sails : 6

Engine : Mercedes Benz 300 PK

Total number of berths : 22

Bathrooms : 2

Two adventurers embark on a sailing journey.
A man from an offshore sailing crew is working on the sail of a sailboat.
A woman from the offshore sailing crew is sitting on the deck of a tall ship at sunset.
A offshore sailing crew navigating their sailboat in the ocean.

“During my interview call with Suzanne for ExpeditionON with Twister last summer, I immediately knew I wanted to join the Ocean Nomads network and sailing adventure. Her energy and values were exactly what I was looking for and I could NOT wait to get onboard and meet everyone. As soon as I hung up the phone I thought to myself “This trip is going to change my life”…. and it sure did. So I packed up my life into a duffle bag a few months later, boarded Twister in Madeira and set sail towards The Canary Islands. 

Long story short, after I hopped on Twister and sailed off into the sunset, I was surrounded by amazing people and had the complete feeling of freedom I had hoped for. With little convincing from fellow ON members during one of the monthly meetups, I also decided to take their advice and spend the winter in the canaries. This included…renting a caravan  with fellow Nomad Cay, sailing on Bluepearl with Captain Wolfgang , Thomas, Robert, Kyra, and meeting Jacky, Eoin, Luca, Sael and of course Suzanne.

My lifelong dream has been to spend time outside of the US, explore different places, meet , new people and just live somewhere different than what I grew up with. If you told me this time last year that I would have spent the better part the last 365 days sailing around The Canary Islands,surfing in Ireland, sleeping in a van ALONE in England and writing this newsletter on an island in the Adriatic Sea, I would have rolled my eyes at you.  But after joining Ocean Nomads a little over a year ago my life has done a complete 180° ( in the best way possible) and I have the network and so many of you to thank for that!” – Brianna

What does Previous Ocean Nomads crew say?

Still smiling at the memories! Met – and still talking to – some lovely people. Refreshed my nautical skills (helming, navigation, astro identification, etc.) Shared some great experiences through conversation, music, stories, yoga, cooking together, seeing ocean wildlife, and so much more!

a silhouette of a man looking at the ocean at sunset.


Expedition ON '21

"The experience on twister with other Ocean Nomads was just really beautiful and I felt connected for the first time in decades, I felt part of a community and had companionship. I was so happy that it’s so all inclusive of gender race religion nationality and most importantly age. It has connected me with like-minded people of all ages and being very transformational personally because my life has been incredibly isolated as a single parent Who works from home. I can honestly say October and November I felt happy and free for the first time in maybe 22 years.  It gave me everything I was looking for. It has opened up so many possibilities to meet new people with similar vibes, including connection, companionship, purpose and being one with nature." 

a woman sitting on a boat reading a book.


Expedition ON '21

“In my opinion Ocean Nomads sailing adventure are: 1. A reward for the senses by discovering incredibly beautiful places and breathtaking sceneries. 2. An unbeatable way to get introduced into the nice world of sailing, 3. An open window to learn watching our world and the people from another more conscious perspective. I see Suzanne as an inspirational person who, with her example, inspire others with ideas and proposals to define or redefine life projects and use inner energy for more noble purposes. Our oceans need strong committed people like her to advocate for our natural resources and leave them intact for the generations to come.” 

an aerial view of a boat with dolphins in the water.

Jose Maria Perez

Sicily 2018

"The sailing with such a beautiful ship. It is absolutely breathtaking to sail a tall ship and minimize the use of the motor as much as possible.

I joined the Twister Expedition to share my knowledge as a marine scientist studying cetaceans. I look at the sea a little differently than most sailors do, so it is beautiful to be able to share this knowledge and viewpoint since I believe science is not only for scientists.

There are many things that sailors and Ocean Nomads can do to help as citizen scientists.

Small tasks such as collecting data on cetaceans (Whales and Dolphins) on a sail can have a large impact in the management and conservation of species. 

an aerial view of a boat with dolphins in the water.


Expedition ON 2021

"It’s amazing how many awesome friends you can make, and how much just one week on an ON trip can change your life"

an aerial view of a boat with dolphins in the water.


Canary Islands '19

“Good sailing experience that makes me feel more confident on open seas.
Made good connections to nice people and got valuable insights for my master plan.”  

a man is standing on the deck of a boat.


Expedition ON '21

This was one of the most epic experiences of my life so far, and I can tell it is just the beginning.  The ocean has taught me so many lessons…to embrace all experiences (even seasickness), not worry so much, and just be in the moment. Two weeks without connection to the outside world was absolutely glorious. I feel reset. After a very fragmented life the past few years, being around a crew of 17 people every day was amazing…to interact naturally with each other, feel a part of a family of diverse ages, nationalities and backgrounds…I learned so much from these amazing humans. My heart feels so full.” 

a young woman climbing the mast of a tall ship.


Expedition ON '21

“Last summer I had my first sailing experience on an Ocean Nomad Sailing Trip in Spain. I initially signed up for one week, but ended up staying 1,5 months, and sailed as part of the crew from Northern Spain to the Canaries Islands. On this trip, I met a lot of like-minded people with similar goals and dreams. I also realized that it is possible to learn sailing in a low-key, affordable way. After this trip, I got so inspired that I decided to buy my own sailboat. After some research, I decided to buy a previous sailboat of an Ocean Nomad friend that I just met, and together we sailed the boat from Ireland to Spain. Without Ocean Nomads this would not have been possible. So if you are slightly interested in sailing, the ocean, meeting like-minded people, join!"
a man is standing on a sailboat with a sail in his hand.


Galicia '21

The most unforgettable week. The trip preparation and the crew members turned what would otherwise be an adventure into something a bit more special. I took part in two ocean nomads trips so far. To say it was life changing sounds dramatic but it really was. Being able to share time and experiences with people with different backgrounds but of a similar mindset was incredible. I like to think that I can have and help contribute to a similar experience for myself and others as a member of the Flotilla crew.” 

a group of dolphins swimming in the water.

Ben Clipstone

ON Lanzarote & Galicia

“The things I like the most about trips with Ocean Nomads is the mix of different nationalities, ages and levels of experience. With these trips, there’s always a general plan but also plenty of opportunity for spontaneity to have a real adventure!”

a woman reading a book on a boat.

Louise Agren

Croatia 2019 & Madeira-Canary Islands 2021

Connect with trip alumni & other ocean adventurers on our member network

Are you ready to be part of the Expedition ON crew?

Learn about the Ocean Nomads trip Values and Expectations



We are a global vagabonding community of impact-driven travellers, sailors, (free)diver, surfers, and active salty souls passionate about the ocean and driven to not settle for anything less we’re capable of living and contributing.


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