About Diana and Stein

About Diana and Stein Hoff (Written in 2003)
Diana is Scottish, born in 1944, spent most of her childhood in Glasgow. Stein is Norwegian, born in 1945, and grew up in Sandefjord. Both decided to study medicine in Glasgow where they met through the rowing club. They rowed for the University with some success at British Universities level, won Scottish championships and even appeared in the Scottish teams. Stein rowed for Norway in 1971-72 and still rows in veteran rowing championships with some wins in recent years. Both were interested in travelling, and planned life to include marriage, getting specialist qualifications, having children and do a circumnavigation. By 1977, Stein was a physician, Diana an ophthalmologist. Elisabeth had arrived in Drammen, Norway in 1972, Martin in Reading, England in 1973, and in Bergen, Norway in 1975-76 they fitted out a 39’ ferro-cement hull and named the boat after a butterfly, Red Admiral.

Two books were written (Norwegian)
about their first circumnavigation

From 1977 until 1982 they sailed this gaff-rigged Colin-Archer ketch round the world, working in Barbados, New Zealand and South Africa. Elisabeth and Martin went to school in these countries, and in 1980, another child, Robert was born in Gisborne, New Zealand.

Elisabeth, Robert & Martin on Red Admiral

They have since lived and worked mainly in Kristiansand in south Norway. But their love of travelling took the whole family around the world again in 1986, spending nearly 3 memorable months on Pitcairn Islands, and in 1988-89 they again worked and went to schools in Barbados. Red Admiral crossed the Atlantic again in 1989, 1991 and 1995. She was sold to another Norwegian couple, Astrid and Per Haugen, in Barbados in 1999. After sailing her back to Norway the Haugens had a successful year sailing the Atlantic with their two young boys 2001-02.

In recent years, another challenge has taken up much of Diana and Stein’s time, that of ocean rowing. This began in 1997 with the first ever ocean regatta from Tenerife to Barbados, which Stein took part in, along with Arvid Bentsen from Kristiansand. They had a great trip, though with a time of 67 days were not among the fastest teams. After this there were three attempts by women to row over the Atlantic, all having to be rescued, the third of these was Elisabeth in February 1999. This presented Diana with a challenge, and from September 1999 until just after the Millennium, she rowed alone from Tenerife to Barbados in 113 days. She had hoped to be the first woman to row an ocean alone, but was beaten to it by Tori Murden from USA.

Diana on Star Atlantic

Stein was not to be outdone, and also prepared for a solo row, this time from Portugal to Guyana, the first row from continental Europe to South America. This was successfully done from August to November 2002 in 96 days and makes Stein and Diana the only couple in the world to have both rowed an ocean alone!
Ocean rowing days are now over, and they are going back to sailing. Diana has for a while dreamt of getting a catamaran and in 2001 in North Germany they bought the 42’ Grung Thep, now renamed White Admiral (after another butterfly).

The three children are now independent. Elisabeth is a photographer in London and about to be married to Hugh in September, Martin is in finance and has two children Hedda (born 2002) and Johan born 2004), they live in Oslo. Robert, the youngest, has a degree in maths from Bergen University and is currently working in Venezuela developing a traveller webpage, insightsvenezuela.com. Diana and Stein have semi-retired from their practices in Kristiansand, and feel very privileged to be able to set out on another circumnavigation by stages. The plan is to find safe places for White Admiral each summer and fly back to do locum work in Norway for 2-3 months each year. Stein also will do some writing. In the past they have written two books on the circumnavigation as well as a book on Norwegians in Galapagos and children in Pitcairn.

Interests that Diana and Stein share in addition to sailing and rowing are jogging and generally keeping fit; in the past both have done marathons (especially Diana) and triathlons, both love classical music and have played together for many years in Agder Orkesterforening (Diana viola and violin, Stein clarinet), on board is a guitar, a violin, the clarinet and many song books as well as a small library of books, sound books and CDs.

Ambitions for old age: Stay happy, see more of the World together and have more fun with friends and family.

Is this a possible combination?

Check in and find out on these pages for the next 4-5 years. We will enjoy your company, and hope you will let us know about your presence by greetings through our Guestbook.

An update, August 2013.
Written by Stein

Time to correct and update some information about ourselves. I can only say sorry for being so slow and hopefully you forgive and agree that better late than never…
Details are all there in the 64 reports and corresponding picture albums, I suppose, but few, if any, will have read and remembered it all. And hopefully we occasionally have some new followers. The web-site has also changed format, the newer having pictures of a quality we could only dream of in 2003.
This is written in Gullaug, Lier, near Drammen. Diana and I moved here in February 2009. Our large house in Vigeveien, Kristiansand was exchanged for a medium-sized, sea-side flat by the Drammen fjord. We wanted less to look after, and we wanted to be closer to our son Martin and his family in Oslo, Stein’s mother Eli in Sandefjord, who was needing us more and more, and the summer cottage at Veierland. I got work at Drammen sykehus, eventually with a similar contract to the one in Kristiansand, mostly cardiology and taking part in the duties and on-calls like the other consultants whenever we were not sailing. Diana has done locum work partly in the hospital at T√łnsberg, partly for colleagues in private practice in Lillehammer and in Mo i Rana. (Mo I Rana is a long way north in Norway and made us both get to know the amazing Helgoland coast!) 

We did originally think of another circumnavigation, even brought my mother Eli with that in mind, she was 88 when we crossed the Atlantic, but decided that the Pacific is awfully far away and that the Caribbean has plenty to offer. So, instead we have sailed or cruised twice a year, mostly in Western Caribbean,  from 6-10 weeks at a time.
Initially we sailed for 9 months before we stored White Admiral on land in Trinidad in May 2004 for the first time. Since then she has been stored, mostly on land, while we have been back to Norway,  in various places along the coasts of Venezuela, Dutch Antilles, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, Belize, Cuba and is presently in St. Augustine, Florida. We have had a break-in once, in Venezuela, been aground or hit coral a couple of times, fortunately without any serious damage, had lots of friends and family sail with us, some repeatedly, and have really had a wonderful time. The climate, the beautiful islands, the friendly locals, our friends aboard, the swimming and the snorkeling are some key words to sum it up.

Earlier this year we had quite a challenging sail from Panama to Florida via Isla Providencia, Grand Cayman and Cuba, see Travel Reports 62, 63 and 64.                                                                                         The Bahamas is going to be the last group of islands we visit before we now approach the last leg home.  The plan is to sail White Admiral to the Bahamas in November, leave her there for 3 1/2 months while we travel by plane and supply-ship to Pitcairn in the Pacific to visit and work there as  doctors for the 55 or so inhabitants. Back in Bahamas in the middle of March we have a succession of visitors before sailing in late May to Azores, England and Norway, hopefully arriving early July 2014.
My mother, Eli, had failing health and had to move to our flat at New Year 2011. She passed away quietly 16th September 2012. Her last trip with us on the boat was in spring 2011, not bad for a 95-year old. Her last trip to her beloved cottage was in July 2012. With her gone and none of our children taking it over, we sold the property recently. More about that will follow soon in Report 65.

Martin has carried on working with finance, presently with Pioneer Capital, where he is very happy. He has become a very good biker and competes regularly in races. He has a popular web-site – a blog, about cycling, it has with a lot more followers than this web-site! Martins Sykkelblogg - check it out, especially if you speak Norwegian.  His children are Hedda born 2002 and Johan, born 2004, both are active and well, but he is now married to Tonje, originally from Kristiansand and and for many years in the same school as Martin. They got married in Taormina, Italy I 2012 (Travel Report 60) and 18th June came Oscar, our fifth grand-child - another healthy specimen!

Elisabeth is still a successful photographer in London ( www.elisabethhoff.com ). She married Hugh in September 2003 and in 2008 had Finn and in 2011 had another boy, Soren.
The first is dark like his dad, the second blond like his mum. - Another healthy and well-functioning pair.

'Robert has done two post-graduate degrees in Cambridge University, first a Diploma and then a Masters in Computer Science. He likes it in Cambrigde, has many friends there and will probably settle there. He is still single, and is working full-time on his own data project, which hopefully will be a success. We all joined Robert in a memorable, belated by one year, 30th birthday celebration in Cambridge in July 2011.

Diana and I have also become older…  
Norwegian retirement age is 67, so Diana retired in 2011 and I in 2012. Diana still did some part-time work until May 2012 in Lillehammer. I have carried on doing 2 out-patient cardiology clinics per week and I love it. In Norway you can usually do part-time work without having your pension reduced. Our health is good, some joints are showing some wear and tear, but we had no problem, for example on the Inca Trail in 2012. I still take part in the annual Birkebeinerrittet 95 km cycle race and the FISA Masters rowing championships.

15th July 2013 Diana and I celebrated a joint 45 years' wedding anniversary and Finn’s 5th birthday as well as birthdays for Elisabeth, Robert and Johan, all born in July. All our children, grand-children, son-in-law Hugh and daughter-in-law Tonje were there in Veierland. So at the same time it was a farewell to the cottage where I have spent so many summers since I was 11 years old. July in Norway had the best weather for many years, so we were very, very lucky.  
Veierland, July 2013: Diana and Stein in the back. In front Robert, Elisabeth, Soren, Finn, Hugh, Oscar, Tonje, Martin, Hedda and Johan


  1. Hi Diana! Just found this blog. I am in awe. So much has happened since we were in Hutchy. So nice to hear all about you and your family.

  2. PS I was Sally Walker. Now Horton.

  3. Hi Stein and Diana. This is Paul Fenton - we met in Vanuatu in June 1981 and saw the land diving together. Pentecost. remember that? How could one forget! It would be great to be in touch again. I am writing a book about my medical adventures, mainly in Africa but starting in Vanuatu.
    My email is uam.paul@gmail.com

  4. Daytona Beach is one of the perfect tourist destinations in Florida as it offers entertainment and fun for entire family,also check Best daytona beach kayaking.This online guide helps you to find some vital information about this fascinating and interesting city of Daytona Beach