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Old 10-04-2016, 08:52   #1
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Atlantic south to north

Hello all,
I'm busy planning to sail from cape town to england. It is my first time planning an ocean crossing, my previous experience is coastal trips on the east coast of africa and traversing the med from west to east, so it's time to strike into the big pond! I have a rough plan: set sail jan/feb from cape town to st. Helena (20 days) > Ascension (10 days) > cross the equator at 27' (11 days) and take 3 long tacks to reach cape verde before end of april. If I can't hack it to windward, change course for carribean and cross to azores further north. Assuming i reach cape verde, set sail for azores beginning of may and arrive 20 days later. In june make the crossing to plymouth. I estimated 106 days at sea but maybe with good currents and favourable winds might make a better time. The yacht is a Flicka20 with hull speed of 6knots. I am assuming I can average 3 and a half knots. The motor is a 5hp outboard just for harbours etc, but I'm wondering if it would be any help across the itcz? I can stow 60 days of food and water, maybe more at a push but obviously I will need to provision at one of the islands. Does this sound feasible? Before I go buying all the wrong books and charts I would be grateful of any advise. Particularly an alternative route if I can't make cape verde...and where best to provision...and crossing the itcz...any helpful information welcome. Interested to hear anyones experiences along this route. Thanks, looking forward to your input.


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Old 10-04-2016, 09:00   #2
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Section to Cape Verde and section from Cape Verde to Azores will both be difficult.

Much easier St Helena to Caribbean then direct to uk (with stop at Azores if needed).

And best provisioning in Caribbean.

You can get stuff in St. Helens but not much choice.

I personally would skip Ascension, not much there and anchorage not so great.

Yea, motor in itcz could be helpful - about 12 hours motoring could save you 2 or 3 days. Or sometimes you are lucky and just sail right thru with almost no doldrums. Hard to predict.
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:17   #3
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Should be an amazing adventure in a Flicka 20.

I look forward to hearing about the trip as it progresses.
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:29   #4
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Hey thanks for the quick replies👍 so far. If I go carribean, which port should I aim for from st Helena? And which port should I depart for the northern crossing? What kind of waves should be expected in the itcz, will the ouboard be effective?


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Old 10-04-2016, 10:26   #5
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Re: Atlantic south to north

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Originally Posted by Selected Risks View Post
Hey thanks for the quick replies�� so far. If I go carribean, which port should I aim for from st Helena? And which port should I depart for the northern crossing? What kind of waves should be expected in the itcz, will the ouboard be effective?


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I've done it both ways,and indeed crossing to the carib then to the azores was the easiest.

without the aid of an engine with a decent range,reaching the cape verdes from st Helena will be difficult if not impossible.

crossing the itcz to the east where it is wider~300miles+ will prove more problematic,than to the west off the Brazilian coast where it is at its narrowest~60miles.

the best bet would be heading direct for the azores from st Helena or ascension if you want to reach the uk sooner.

otherwise from st Helena,fortaleza in brazil is a good landfall,then you have plenty of places you could stop on the way to Tobago or further north plus a good current pushing you along and fairly steady SE and NE trades either side of the equator.

ITCZ was flat as a pancake,but with se and ne ground swell
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:35   #6
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Re: Atlantic south to north

In either direction, its almost always a zig zag. Get some old sailing route charts(they come in spiral binders nowadays). And then be prepared for the weather to do exactly the opposite.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:46   #7
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Re: Atlantic south to north

We found the ITCZ toward Brazil quite wide - guess it just depends on how lucky you are. You might consider stopping in Namibia. Breaks up the trip to St Helena and gives you another water/provisioning stop. Also quite an interesting country. If your schedule allows the Caribbean makes sense as long as you can leave before hurricane season or you can spend the northern winter there.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:52   #8
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Re: Atlantic south to north

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We found the ITCZ toward Brazil quite wide - guess it just depends on how lucky you are. You might consider stopping in Namibia. Breaks up the trip to St Helena and gives you another water/provisioning stop. Also quite an interesting country. If your schedule allows the Caribbean makes sense as long as you can leave before hurricane season or you can spend the northern winter there.
Yup, the hurricane issue is a biggie; but for the past several years, not an issue. He could also hitch a ride on the gulf stream all the way up to Land's End. Congrads on your circling the Earth. Now aren't you glad its round?
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:04   #9
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Gosh what a great adventure! Through the Caribbean for sure. You're getting plenty of great advice from the posts above so not much for ole PRB to add :-)
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:09   #10
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Check him - just did this way - in a faster boat but have look on his way....
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Old 11-04-2016, 23:49   #11
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Thanks for the great advice guys, starting to build a good idea of the passage now. Was kind of hoping to avoid the hustle and bustle and looking forward to visiting only remote places. But on a 20ft yacht with only a small outboard motor, I guess I need to be realistic and take the easiest route possible. If I leave cape town in Jan/Feb to st helena, then onto Fortaleza to tobago and then off to azores, hopefully I should have enough time to avoid hurricane season. When does it start getting risky? If I do have to winter up, where's best to do it? Is it very expensive to do?


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Old 11-04-2016, 23:59   #12
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Can't help with the route as I haven't done it yet. I did catch up with "Heart of Gold" a couple of times in the NZ Bay of Islands. She's a Flicka that's been to Tonga and Fiji and across the ditch we call the Tasman Sea. It seems about three and a quarter knots is the planning number for long passages, not three and a half. Yes she has done 100+ mile days but around 75 to 80 is a better estimate.
Get the longest shaft outboard you can. 40 years ago when I was doing long passages in a 21ft yacht the Johnson 9.9hp Longshaft Sailmaster was my favourite. (From memory a 25 inch leg). And it had a 12v output to charge up my nav lights.
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:04   #13
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Re: Atlantic south to north

Hey Kiwi, I know Richard from heart of gold. He kindly sent me all the measurements so I could copy his bowsprit. We are the only two flickas sportIng that stainless steel bowsprit/pulpit. Yeah, flickas are great little boats, I have no doubts. I'm trying to be conservative with my passage estimates, but I reckon with the right wind and current she'll make 8 knots + but with little wind she's slow. And my ocean navigation is not tested so I cant assume my cmg will be all in the right direction haha. I just bought a new sazuki 4 stroke 5hp with long shaft. Had to make a special bracket otherwise I couldn't get the prop out of the water when lifted. Now when lifted the prop is just out of the water and when down the prop isn't very deep. The flicka transom is her only downfall.


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