Technical

A Transatlantic Crossing à la carte

Published on 01 december 2014 at 0h00

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So you’ve decided you’re going to do it. Your beautiful multihull has been pottering up and down your local coast for the past three seasons. Sure, you’ve had a great time, but wasn’t your boat designed, dreamed about and bought because you wanted to go further afield? The little builder’s plate on the hull reminds you every day: Design Category A - Trans-ocean! So now the kids have grown up and you’ve got sufficient hindsight in your professional life to take a little time off. You have to go. Whether from East to West to enjoy the winter sun in the West Indies, or from West to East to make the most of the charms available to you on the old continent, at its best in the summer, the plan is the same. For best results, unless you are a complete masochist or totally reckless, it is imperative to respect the seasons: leave in November for the New World, mid-May if heading for Europe. Within the timeframe, geographical wandering is proportional to your available time. If you are heading West, the big jump can reasonably be undertaken from the Canaries, but also the Cape Verde Islands or Senegal can have their advantages. For one thing, a visit there means you can set off later in the season and from further south, and for another, you have more chance of picking up the famous tradewinds. Hoist the kite when you’re at the latitude of the Cape Verdes, and drop it again as you pass between St.Lucia and Martinique! Coming in the opposite direction, the route is almost imposed upon you. The Azores are an unmissable cruising crossroads, where Mediterranean fans go one way and those bound for the Europe’s Atlantic coast head the other. So the closer you get to departure day, the more fundamental questions there will be bouncing around in your head. Will the family cope with the distance and the time? Would I be better to go single-handed, and have them join me by air when I get there? Would it be better to ask one or two sailing friends to come along and share the watches and their experience, particularly if the going gets tough? Or what about joining a rally, to reassure everybody? In short, you no longer know where you are, or what to do. It’s time to weigh up all the pros and cons of the different options.

Atlantic crossing à la carte

A Transat is often a lifelong dream: following the sun across the Atlantic…

With the family

If you feel that you missed out on your children growing up, if your relationship with your partner isn’t what it once was, a Transat is a quick way of catching up! Twelve, fifteen, twenty days at the slow rhythm of the swell and the wind, with nothing to do other than share the experience. Of course there will be some stressful moments, but they will be quickly forgotten among all the happy moments: a sunset, a conversation, an enjoyable piece of music, a close game of cards or a watch change…
Talking of watches, don’t hesitate to get the children involved. The youngest can take the easiest watch, say 0900-1100 for example. If you sleep, ...

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