Crossing an ocean: an achievable dream!

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Whether it's an Atlantic, Mediterranean or Pacific crossing, going across an ocean is an exceptional moment in a sailor's life. It's a key moment, the realization of a long-held dream. It is also sometimes an opportunity to take stock of one's life during the two weeks or so alone, or with family or friends in the middle of the ocean. The only horizon is the blue of the sea and you are striving to live the dream that your teenage reading had elevated to a mythical level. To ensure that the reality matches the dream, here are a few pieces of advice to help you prepare and to make the most of the experience

Dream to cross the Atlantic ocean

Heading west... The route is easy: follow the sun!

The ideal crew

The archetypal transatlantic crossing starts at the Canary Islands, finishing in the West Indies (although there are alternatives-see later). A trans Pacific usually starts from Panama or the West Coast of the USA, heading for Polynesia or Hawaii. These journeys usually last from two to four weeks, although this depends upon the route that you take, the sea conditions, the wind, your boat and of course the crew... A successful crossing has to be shared with a like-minded crew, who want to experience the same things as you. So before setting off, thinking about the make-up of the crew is crucial.

A family crossing is usually borne out of a father's wish to live out his teenage dreams and to share an intense event with his wife and children. If the family takes up the challenge willingly, then it can be a wonderful time. But you must ask yourself the questions as to whether your children will really appreciate the crossing. It usually turns out fine. However, for children that are too young to get involved in any of the maneuvering, the time can drag on, and it's highly likely that they don't really get the "mystical" challenge of taking on thousands of waves...

The way around this is to set off with a group of friends. Again, everyone needs to buy into and fully understand the program. There's nothing worse than a budding racer who wants to mess around with the sails every half an hour (first the spinnaker, then the gennaker, followed by some risky weather-related maneuver...) if the rest of the crew are just looking to make the most of this period of plenitude, and to enjoy the break which the journey represents, or to have another go at the complete works of Proust, or the adventures of Harry Potter (delete the incorrect suggestion!).
And then there's the option of striking out on your own... This is just for hardened sailors. It is the ideal way to live out the dream, but obviously the experience cannot be shared!

Dream to cross the Atlantic ocean

During a crossing, preparing meals and fishing are the main occupations...

The Right Boat And The Right Timing

Even though there are examples of crossings in smaller boats (the first Transat crossing in a sports catamaran was in 1986, and Alessandro di Benedetto is still the only person to have crossed the Pacific solo in a sports ...

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