Featured Instructor: Sailing Maestro — Unveiling the Stories and Passion of Captain Ricardo Barradas

By: Instructors

Ricardo Barradas, the seasoned sailing instructor at Atlantic Explorers in Portugal, stands against the backdrop of the vast Atlantic, his eyes reflecting the depth of his maritime experiences. More than just a guide on the water, he is a storyteller of the sea, weaving tales of adventure, friendship, and the joy of sailing.

“The first time I sailed was on an Optimist. I was just 5 years old,” Ricardo reminisces about his early sailing days. From those childhood adventures, his passion for sailing grew. He sailed various boats, mostly cruising and participating in boat deliveries. In 2013, he took the leap to become a full-time sailing instructor, turning his love for the sea into a lifelong career.

Ricardo’s most memorable student is Peter Schlumpf, a Swiss gentleman who undertook a Day Skipper course. “I told him one day he would become a sailboat owner,” Ricardo recalls. Against all odds, Peter bought a Hanse 415 a year later, and 18 months after that, they were navigating from the factory in Greifswald, Germany, all the way to Menorca, Spain. Their bond grew stronger as they crossed the Atlantic together in the ARC rally. “Now, we’re good friends,” Ricardo adds with a sense of pride.

When asked about his favorite place to sail, Ricardo’s heart resides in the Gulf of Cadiz. “Nice breeze, good places to explore, rivers to anchor and spend the night,” he describes. Beyond the beauty of the Gulf, Ricardo emphasizes the incredible food and the charming towns of Cadiz, Rota, and Chipiona. It’s not just about sailing; it’s about immersing yourself in the region’s entire experience.

“I love it,” Ricardo declares when asked why he sails. “I like the easy-going way of sailing. No shouting, no rush, good breeze, and not cold weather.” His passion for sailing is evident in the joy he finds in exploring coastal villages, discovering hidden corners, and seeking out the best tapas places to enjoy a meal.

“Sailing can and should be fun, safe, and rewarding if you follow some basic rules,” Ricardo advises when asked what people may not know about sailing. He emphasizes the importance of learning the right way, exploring your way, and enjoying every moment on the water.

Ricardo Barradas makes a compelling case for why people should sail. Sailing offers a myriad of experiences—connection with nature, relaxation, stress relief, adventure, skill development, teamwork, physical activity, independence, and more. It’s a journey that appeals to various interests and motivations, providing a sense of freedom, cultural enrichment, and a connection with heritage and tradition. For Ricardo, and for many enthusiasts around the world, sailing is not just a pastime; it’s a way of life.

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