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Old 02-09-2012, 06:19   #1
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Crossing Atlantic Going West in November

Advice from Atlantic crossers please. We want to leave Cape Verdes as early as possible in November. What risks are we looking at? There will be loads of others with opinions as we prep but I just wonder if there is something we haven't thought of.

We are ok with our insurance for that time. Mostly we hear about December to cross but we are getting tired of killing time.

We expect to head for St Thomas....we have no desire to see anymore Caribbean Islands than we have already. It's high time to get home and sell this tub!! If possible!!

In Morocco headed for Canaries soon.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:27   #2
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Re: Crossing atlantic going west in November

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Originally Posted by Lexxy View Post
Advice from Atlantic crossers please. We want to leave Cape Verdes as early as possible in November. What risks are we looking at? There will be loads of others with opinions as we prep but I just wonder if there is something we haven't thought of.

We are ok with our insurance for that time. Mostly we hear about December to cross but we are getting tired of killing time.

We expect to head for St Thomas....we have no desire to see anymore Caribbean Islands than we have already. It's high time to get home and sell this tub!! If possible!!

In Morocco headed for Canaries soon.
take lots of fuel! if the trades havent kicked in yet,cross to fortaleza brazil,then follow the south american coast,upto 3 knots of current and fairly steady winds up to 100 miles offshore, this avoids late season hurrycames as well except for the last 600 miles if heading for the leewards.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:56   #3
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Re: Crossing atlantic going west in November

When my wife and I crossed the Atlantic in our Bianca 27 back in 1977, (before GPS, satnav, weather routing, etc., etc.) we left Grand Canary on 6 November, and arrived in Barbados on 3 Dec. Technically, the hurricane season did not end until 30 November, but we figured that if there were any remaining hurricanes, they would likely be ahead of us. I am not so sure of that any more-hurricanes seem to be getting more numerous and worse. At the time, we were aware that the best time to cross the Atlantic is probably December through March or April.

We took a number of charts for the northern coast of South America, and we navigated by running sun sights on our sextant and radio direction finder. No matter the weather, we found we were always within about 20-25 miles of our chosen track to Barbados. With today's technology, it is not difficult to stay even closer to the track. We did not need those SA charts at all.

We planned for a 30 day passage (took 27 days) and carried provisions for 45 days. We had 50 gallons of water on board in 2 x 25-gallon built-in tanks, plus another 4 gallons in 2 jerry cans. This was plenty--we rationed water going across, and had a full week of unrationed supply when we got to Bridgetown. You may very likely have a watermaker on board, or more capacity than we had. Water is really the most critical commodity that you will need, so don't skimp on that. You can get by without fuel--you are a sailboat after all--but you cannot get by for long without water.

Leaving from the Cape Verdes you should hit the trade winds fairly soon. Our track took us down the coast of Africa for 6 days, then spent 11 days trying to reach the center of the Atlantic. We were becalmed for about a day or two. Then the trade winds hit, and it was a quite boisterous 10 days to sail the other half of the Atlantic. It will likely be a bit bouncy--we could detect 3 different wave trains that whole second half of the trip--from the NE, E, and SE all at once--but the wind was great and sailing fairly easy, downwind all the rest of the way.

I hope you'll like flying fish--makes for a tasty breakfast, just pick them up off the deck. (at least it was at the time--I've been a vegetarian for over 30 years now).

If you have a quick passage, no reason why you cannot head straight to St. Thomas. If you have a slow passage and want to hit shore before you get to the USVI, plan on an alternative harbor. Martinique and Guadaloupe are good islands for respite, particularly if you are inclined with the French. Otherwise, Antigua is a great stop.

Good luck, hope you have an enjoyable trip.

Eric
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:56   #4
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Re: Crossing atlantic going west in November

Security can be an issue in Fortaleza
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Old 02-09-2012, 13:55   #5
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Re: Crossing Atlantic Going West in November

The major risk is probably getting run down by the ARC fleet.

Nov is OK, use wx data (radiofax, or fax and gribs) and you will be fine. If faint at heart, sail low so that any nasties that might untimely evolve would statistically pass to your N. As already stated above, you may and you probably will, run out of wind, likely more than once. This is not directly related to the selected month, but rather to the way wx is in any particular year.

If it is difficult for you to get any wx data for the passage PM me and let me know what you want I can then look up any relevant sources here for you.

Cheers,
barnakiel
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Old 02-09-2012, 14:01   #6
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I have no idea where Fortaleza is but thanks. I think my capt read the story of your 27' boat crossing today as we were checking out the net. I think we will moderate our plans to leave after the middle of the month. I would like more ease of mind. We crossed the Indian ocean and red sea last year alone when other boats were captured and don't want any mor excitement than necessary. We have 200 gal of water and water maker and washing machine along with more electronic stuff tan a 77 crosser Could imagine....5 computers...ha! I still admire you folks that did it the hard way. Our previous ocean crossings have been so blissful that I am afraid to hope this one will be to...as its our last one.

When we heard that insurance was ok for anytime after nov1 we started thinking about then but now the 15 th looks better. Appreciate the ideas...thanks.
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Old 02-09-2012, 14:06   #7
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Thanks for weather offer but our ssb weather fax has done us for years. I can't seem to get cut and paste to work on the app on the iPad. Don't mind occasional slow day...time to clean and do laundry. At least I expect ,ore rain than the other oceans.
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Old 02-09-2012, 18:52   #8
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Re: Crossing Atlantic Going West in November

Rain? Well, maybe, but do not count on it. In our case the Atlantic crossing was the driest and the Pacific one was the wettest. Sometimes towards the West Indies a tropical wave will catch up with you and then some rain comes in a nasty squall - all mixed up with salt spray and so pretty useless.

Nov 1 or Nov 15 is all the same. You will see how the season develops. Unless there is plenty of late activity, Nov 1 is OK. Remember where they form at this time of the season and also that no hurricane appears overnight - they are a depression, then a storm, etc.. Nov 1 or 15 could be early for your Carib arrival but it is unlikely to be too early for your CV departure.

Cheers,
b.
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