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Old 30-03-2015, 12:58   #1
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An Atlantic roundtrip - the finer points of routeplanning

Hi there,

So we've been daysailing for a few years now, while we've been restoring/refitting the ol' gal to get her ready for a big trip. We're based in Belgium, and have set our minds on an Atlantic crossing in 2016 to the Caribbean, returning across the Atlantic again in 2017.

After many, many hours of reading Jimmy Cornell's books, the Atlantic crossing guide and countless forum/blogposts I've come up with a general plan. It's a pretty standard "roundtrip Atlantic", with two little quirks I guess:
  • Belgium - Falmouth in may-june 2016
  • Biscay crossing when the weatherwindow is right (before september)
  • Down the Spanish/Portugese/Morrocan coast to the Canaries
  • Canaries to Cape Verde islands
  • Detour up the Gambia river (or the Casamance river in Senegal)
  • Atlantic crossing with landfall in Suriname (stopover in the Cape Verdes)
  • Stopover in the Orinoco delta on our way North to the Caribbean
  • Season of sailing in the Caribbean, working our way North to Antigua
  • Crossing back over to the Azores (possible stopover in Bermuda)
  • Azores to the UK (and home through the English Channel)

Since my only experience with "routeplanning" has been my shorter daysails, I'm a bit uncertain on how the finer points of planning such a route work. The prevailing winds, weatherpatterns and oceanic currents obviously have a great inpact on the routeplan, but I assume there's more to it than just reading up on those and then picking a general direction and freestyling it towards the destination... Certainly when sailing closer to shore and rounding capes I can imagine matters to be slightly more complex.

Anyway, how would you guys suggest going about working out the details of such a route-plan? Or better yet, is there anybody on here who's done a similar trip and would like to share his/her experiences with me?

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Old 30-03-2015, 15:10   #2
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Re: An Atlantic roundtrip - the finer points of routeplanning

I would just go ahead one stage at a time and that's that. No mambo jumbo wx magic to this trip.

You do not want to be in the Vizcaya to late (Sept can be either fine or rough, depending on the year). We too crossed in Sept but next time I would opt for an earlier crossing.

You are not crossing the Atlantic above the CV - Trinidad line hence you can do this anytime.

You are coming back about late May crossing the pond in June. Too early is a bit more risky, too late is also a bit more risky.

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Old 30-03-2015, 19:50   #3
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Re: An Atlantic roundtrip - the finer points of routeplanning

Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
, is there anybody on here who's done a similar trip and would like to share his/her experiences with me?

Done almost the same, without Casamance (regretfully..) and to Brazil as well as Suriname.
I'd say you're trying to do too much in too short a time

Add a year and go to Brazil as well.

Or Straight to the Carib, Suriname is nice, but not that nice.
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