Rob initially sent me the pdf of “No guts no glory” which I found a captivating and a well-written read. It is inspiring in the way it encapsulates true perseverance. Rob explained that his story is currently unpublished and that it was edited by Leonie Corcoran associated with the Dublin Times.

When asked why he decided to document his story, he told The Portugal News that “This is my first serious story, I don’t know why I did it but the amount of help I received from my sons and a considerable amount of people in order to get the ship over to Lagos, made me want to show them that they didn’t do it for nothing, so it is a tribute to them as well as Leonie Corcoran”.

Rob told The Portugal News that he studied Marine Engineering as years earlier he had become a gliding pilot but an early medical check revealed that his eyesight was not good enough to become a military or commercial pilot, which is why he decided to go to sea instead. However, following leaving his first company, an exit medical exam showed his eyesight was perfect and so he applied to become a military fighter pilot, and “the rest is history!”.

“I am still very interested in engines and grease and bought an old classic tugboat from 1938. I modified the ship to accommodate my wife Geraldine and my two young sons, Wouter and Tim.” Adding that, “It was an old, converted fishing trawler from 1934 type North-Sea-Botter…It gave us a bar, eight beds, a kitchen, two toilets, two showers, and a lot of work. This was a rather interesting challenge because we lived in Cambridge, UK and I needed to work on a ship moored in Amsterdam.”

“When I retired, we moved back to the UK, but after being away for eight years and with the UK in the midst of the Brexit struggle, we felt a bit lost. After we did some soul searching, we decided to move to an old favourite place of ours, Portugal. We bought a flat in a lovely harbour, the Lagos Marina.” When asked about how he finds living in Lagos, he replied “I would say I feel at home here, it is an expat community which I am used to, having lived in Canada, Singapore, and England but the people are extremely friendly in Portugal. I also have a motorbike and this is heaven for motorbiking.”

“In the meantime, I had the ship in Amsterdam and when you read in the story, I had an issue with a license, so the only way to get it working is to get it here which is why we decided to take it to Portugal and now it is here and a marvellous asset to us.”

Although Rob’s story is not published, if anyone is interested in reading the full version of his story, please do reach out to him via email at


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes