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Old 26-10-2009, 13:57   #1
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Atlantic Crossing, West to East in Winter

hello there
im new to the board. i just got done with a 5 month trip up and down the east coast of the states. from cape fear NC to machias maine and back down.

we're planning our winter trip, and we're talking of crossing the atlantic to europe. the earliest we'd leave is in january and i was wondering if it would be a good time to cross the north atlantic. we wanted to potentially avoid the highs that constitute the bermuda/azores route so were thinking of taking the gulf stream from cape hatteras over.

if folks could point me in directions of things to read online, that'd be wonderful. i hear that the atlantic is pretty stormy that time of year, despite hurricane season being over. sometimes i hear to avoid the gulf stream to avoid conflicting current and gales. im also expecting it to be extremely cold.

we're in a 1977 cal 29 by the way, who has proved rather seaworthy, although im unsure of her crossing the north atlantic.

thanks, feel free to email me as well.
-steve
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Old 26-10-2009, 15:01   #2
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It is for good reason that Plimsoll Marks include a loadline for WNA (winter north Atlantic). January is not a good month.
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Old 26-10-2009, 15:13   #3
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excuse me?

Ekskuze moi - but how much experience do you have?

1977 Cal 29 North Atlantic US to Europe in January will be your LIFETIME adventure. And probably your last one too. Or is Cal 29 = 29 meters LOA?

If you are brave and your boat is in top shape, you can try June/July. I think most W to E people go via Bermuda and the Azores.

January I would go only in the following scenario:

- big safe boat (50' steel or alu and shipshape),
- 250USD per day and a bottle of cognac, why not, it could be my last,one,
- a gun pointed at my head and charged.

Or if I had a cancer and my doctor told me I had two weeks left.

Of course, every skipper is different, so you will hear some differing opinions in this forum;-)))

b.
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Old 26-10-2009, 15:21   #4
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N. Atlantic+ Janurary+ Cal 29 = Statistic.

N. Atlantic in February: (BTW, the boat is a large tanker)





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Old 26-10-2009, 15:34   #5
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S&S - I love this pic!

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Old 26-10-2009, 15:45   #6
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Steve,

I'm assuming that your post was not a joke, and that you're really serious.

Take a look at the Pilot Chart for the North Atlantic in January:Click image for larger version

Name:	NAtlJan.jpg
Views:	2340
Size:	390.4 KB
ID:	10722

Now, go back and read the above responses.

Then, please go back to the drawing board and try again...maybe in June?

Bill
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Old 26-10-2009, 16:00   #7
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If you're going on a trip in January, head SOUTH. Stay in the Bahamas until May and then you can head across the pond.
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Old 26-10-2009, 16:05   #8
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We have a standing joke here in Bermuda.

We wish the winter North-Easterlies would moderate down to some of the hurricanes we get in Sept/Oct.

Seriously, the North Atlantic puts out some bad stuff Jan/Feb/earlyMarch. Think Twice.
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Old 26-10-2009, 17:33   #9
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North Atlantic in January????

Steve,
I go along with all the others here....

North Carolina to EU across the N. Atl. + Cal 29 + January = BAD IDEA......REALLY BAD IDEA....


I've sailed thru Tropical Storms and many N. Atl. gales....as well as been on board, at anchor, during a few Cat 3 Hurricanes......
And, I'd rather be in a Cat 3 Hurricane, than in a January storm in the N. Atl.


{Just FYI, back in the 1970's one of my parent's voyages was from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Falmouth, England......they left Ft. Laud on April 2nd.....
And, boy oh boy am I glad I stayed in Ft. laud that spring.....
COLD and WET is undersatndable, but double reefed sails and winds/sea over 30-35 kts / over 15'-20' for weeks on end, plus worse weather in the heart of a few gales.....not my idea of a fun time!!!
And, their boat was significantly bigger/heavier and stronger than a Cal 29....
Now, sailing back from the Canaries a few years later (in Nov/Dec) was fun.....and more recently I've sailed another entire Atlantic Circle (crossing both directions), but I'd not consider a North Carolina to EU voyage in January.....}


And, lest I forget....S&S, I LOVE those pics!!!


Steve, perhaps a total re-think is in order here.....
Best of luck...

John
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Old 26-10-2009, 17:55   #10
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ah yes, the ruthless throws of the internet. responses to a neophyte's hunger for the knowledge of their betters is conveyed in the form of flames, irony, and soapboxed jabs.

it's an uphill battle.

thanks for the advice. any discouragement to going from NC to florida/bahamas?
-steve
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Old 26-10-2009, 20:09   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesailor View Post
conveyed in the form of flames, irony, and soapboxed jabs.
Hi Steve,

You got some pretty good advice and people spent time on giving you their opinions in graphics, photos and in text.
I don't think it was 'flaming' etc. There was more things to think about in those replies to you than is perhaps obvious. Even Vasco's bit on the Plimsoll line is interesting and made me have a little think.


As for the photos: I wish someone had similar photos of the Southern Ocean for use in another thread. They clearly show certain elements, but not the whole story - that ship goes through waves, yachts go over them. But with quatering rollers like that maybe a yacht would be more like a bath toy

All the best on your endevours

Oh, and on the point: "any discouragement to going from NC to florida/bahamas?". Yes! Absolute discouragement at going at that time of the year! I'm an Australian and even I have heard the reputation of Cape Hatteras in winter.

Unless its the Inter Costal Waterway then all winter offshore sailing in your neck of the woods needs to be quite carefully considered.


Mark
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Old 26-10-2009, 20:36   #12
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Gee Steve, I have to go along with Mark. If you call that flaming, to paraphrase, methinks you doth protest too much.

You did get some strong answers but I think the question called for a strong response. Members here do take these questions seriously as there are plenty of people out there who would take off across the Atlantic in Jan and I am sure all wanted to make certain that you understood the magnitude of the risk.

Also, I might suggest that had you done just a slight bit of research before asking this question on a forum where there are some serious experts you might have asked the question a bit differently, if at all, and received a different response.
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Old 26-10-2009, 20:50   #13
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Steve, sailors on this forum tend to over-react when they see someone proposing to commit suicide by crossing the North Atlantic in Winter in a 29 foot boat. Ya see Steve, asking some folks on the internet doesn't constitute real passage planning...and it's obvious you need REAL help. Start here: Amazon.com: World Cruising Routes: Sixth Edition (9780071592895): Jimmy Cornell: Books
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Old 26-10-2009, 21:48   #14
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ah, i honestly do appreciate the advice. i was trying to just humorously comment on the ferocity that message boards often embody.
ill just keep things to direct questions. my apologies.

this was something that i did some research on, and concluded it was a bad idea. but, being a newbie, i do trust the experience of sailors over threads floating about on the internet and passages in books. i'm sorry if people felt that i wasted their time by posting this on the board.

thank you all for the advice, seriously. im sorry my attempts at playfulness were taken with offense. ill stick to reading and not asking as i feel that is the overarching sentiment being passed on.
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Old 27-10-2009, 04:10   #15
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Steve, I'm not sure how to ask this without it seeming a criticism, so please don't be offended. Have you done any 'blue water' cruising? I ask because it's totally at another level compared to coastal sailing, though coastal sailing is of course useful preparation. I certainly don't want to discourage you, but like the others on here who have chipped in their 2c worth, I'd hate to think you died because I or others didn't give it to you straight. Don't do the North Atlantic in winter. Avoid Cape Hatteras unless you really know how to long range forecast or employ a professional weather forecaster. Failing that, use the ICW, no matter how well found you think your boat is.

A couple of questions about your boat. Do you have a sea anchor or a series drogue, or both? Have you got adequate storm sails? How well does you boat hove too? What will you use to get weather reports? Can you read a grib?

I hope you don't feel defensive about this, when I was learning people asked me similar questions and the thoughts they provoked have probably saved my life quite a few times.

Granny Paige
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