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Old 17-09-2015, 10:51   #1
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Crossing the Atlantic in October?

I saw a "crew wanted" posting for taking a 36 ft catamaran from France to the Caribbean starting late September. It was my understanding that most people prefer to go later in the year. Is it safe in late Sept and October?
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Old 17-09-2015, 11:59   #2
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

You need to get from France to the Canary Islands. Then you leave there at a better time.
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Old 17-09-2015, 13:12   #3
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

Safe way to do it.


ARC
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Old 17-09-2015, 13:17   #4
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

I would say they're probably looking at setting out from France around late September and making their way down to Portugal and then the Canary Islands before setting off for the Caribbean some time in December once the trades have set in nicely. Doing that crossing in October would be very foolish in my opinion. October is often the most active month for hurricanes in the North Atlantic. Last October we got hit by two within 8 days here in Bermuda.
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Old 17-09-2015, 14:47   #5
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

They say they want to start next week and that it could take up to 5 weeks. France, Maderia, Canaries to the Caribbean.
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Old 17-09-2015, 15:41   #6
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

Now is a good time to leave france.

You should not leave the canaries until mid-oct very earliest - that's still a risk both of a hurricane and of no wind (trades not filled in) - but I would describe it as a calculated risk rather than a foolish risk.

Unless you are going Canaries to Cape Verde's and hanging there a bit. If so you can leave Canaries whenever the forecast looks decent, and not leave Cape Verdees until (again) mid-oct earliest.

Better to wait until around Nov 15th to leave Canaries or CApe Verde's - then you have likely hood of better winds, less hurricane chance and still get to the caribbean before christmas.
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Old 18-09-2015, 08:14   #7
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

I've just "rescued" a cat in Madeira and delivered it to Annapolis. 2 handed Madeira to Bermuda, then 3 handed into The States. Deliveries, unfortunately, practically always occur during the not so good seasons and this last month has been no exception with quite a bit of tropical activity, luckily well South of us.

It comes down to what the communications fit is: I used a satphone and received texts from a sailing friend telling me what weather to expect over the next few days and the whereabouts and movement of the various nasty weather systems. He got my position from my daily "SPOT" reports.
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Old 18-09-2015, 11:16   #8
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

You have a bad area for forecasts when you leave the Canaries. Right on the bottom of the N Atlantic map and on the limit for the USA tropical forecast area so even with SSB it can be hard to see what is going on. That time of the year you can get hit both ways, tropical systems from Africa and extra tropicals hitting UK/Biscay and sending cross seas down to you.
That said you would want to do the leg from France to the S coast of Portugal ASAP, its already past the ideal time for that. I mean S COAST the west coast all the way down can have bad autumn storms and all the ports have bars so close in strong westerlies.
All that said it mostly depends on the boat and crew, is it a ocean going boat or a 3 story 'gin palace', scratch crew or experienced delivery sailors?
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Old 18-09-2015, 11:26   #9
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

Thanks for all the replies. The crew is very experienced, except for me. The skipper has crossed the Atlantic over 40 times. The boat is an FP Lipari. Two reasons I am keen to do this are:
1. I can learn a LOT from a skipper with this much experience.
2. I am planning on buying a catamaran late next year and the Lipari is one that I am considering.

So I am likely to do this, despite the concerns about the weather.
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Old 18-09-2015, 11:46   #10
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

The trade winds don't really set in until January. Of course its variable, you never know, but my understanding is the trend is that the trades are staying further south, and filling in later than any time in the past.

I was at 20 north, 30 west...the famous 20,30... in Dec 2010, and found only headwinds.
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Old 18-09-2015, 15:32   #11
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Re: Crossing the Atlantic in October?

Yep, it is eating at you little by little. It is a great opportunity to get some real sea miles under you on a boat that you are dying to see what it is really like in real conditions. To have a skipper that has that much experience to mentor you is also heavy sand.

On the other hand....there are hurricanes until late October and no one can predict track or occurrence this far in advance. So, it comes down to a calculated risk, doesn't it?

Remember last year the French boys delivering a large factory Cat flipped it somewhere off the east coast of USA? Shizzle can happen anywhere and at anytime of the year. Personally, I would accept the risk and take the offer. But I am a risk taker by nature...

The main thing is this...make a decision and don't look back. Do it or don't do it...stop beating yourself up with indecision. That is not an endorsement to go ...nor is it a judgment of weakness or strength if you stay home. It really is about calculating risk versus rewards. That is why I would go...for that reason alone.
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