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Old 02-12-2012, 05:48   #1
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Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

My boat will be substantially renovated and refit by the time I splash her next March, and I am itching to roam further afield. The problems are twofold, however:

1. I am not retired and can't just take a year off; and

2. I have a permanent mooring on the River Hamble, one of the world's most desirable moorings, probably, and it is practically free and for life. I can't leave it for more than 9 months without losing it.

So I was thinking -

How about if next fall I sail non-stop from the UK to the Canaries, which ought to be more or less downhill. Maybe in September or October while the weather is still nice. Should take less than 2 weeks, I should think. Leave the boat and go back to work.

Then join the ARC in December. I'll take off two months from work - Dec and Jan; for that period of time, my company won't die without me. So that would give me the ARC plus more than a month of glorious Caribbean cruising. Leave the boat and go back to work.

Then take a spring break - a couple of weeks in March, say, for some more glorious Caribbean cruising.

Then at the beginning of May, sail the boat back to the UK from the Carib via the Azores. Shouldn't take more than two or three weeks, I shouldn't think, although there might be some days of motoring on that route, I do understand.

All in all, about 4 months off work, which is only 2 months more than I usually take. Should be doable from that point of view.

My boat has a 46' waterline and nearly always averages more than 8 knots on passage under sail in the English Channel. At economical cruising speed of 7 knots motoring, I have about 800 to 900 miles of range (for getting through the Sargasso Sea).

What do you guys think? Great adventure? Or stupid?

Does this sound realistic, or will I spoil the trip by rushing?
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:05   #2
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

I don't have a clue about travel times but on the mooring you could always get a small junker hull and put a bilge pump and solar panel on it. Use it as a place holder until you get back.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:07   #3
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

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I don't have a clue about travel times but on the mooring you could always get a small junker hull and put a bilge pump and solar panel on it. Use it as a place holder until you get back.
Unfortunately (or fortunately for those on the 20-year waiting list!), you can't do that! The mooring is personal to the boat as well as to me.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:15   #4
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

Good plan. When my boat was new I was still working. Set off from France mid-October ( bit cold and windy in the Bay), one stop in Portugal then onto the Canaries to join up with the ARC. Then a month in the Caribbean before leaving the boat in the BVI and rejoining the rat race for a further 5 years.

We never brought the boat back but since you are planning on heading back to the UK in May, you could join up with ARC Europe. Starts from the BVI in May, heads to Bermuda, the Azores and then Portugal or the UK.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:44   #5
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pirate Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
My boat will be substantially renovated and refit by the time I splash her next March, and I am itching to roam further afield. The problems are twofold, however:

1. I am not retired and can't just take a year off; and

2. I have a permanent mooring on the River Hamble, one of the world's most desirable moorings, probably, and it is practically free and for life. I can't leave it for more than 9 months without losing it.

So I was thinking -

How about if next fall I sail non-stop from the UK to the Canaries, which ought to be more or less downhill. Maybe in September or October while the weather is still nice. Should take less than 2 weeks, I should think. Leave the boat and go back to work.
Allow for 3 weeks...

Then join the ARC in December. I'll take off two months from work - Dec and Jan; for that period of time, my company won't die without me. So that would give me the ARC plus more than a month of glorious Caribbean cruising. Leave the boat and go back to work.
Your still too opptomistic on the mileage...

Then take a spring break - a couple of weeks in March, say, for some more glorious Caribbean cruising.
Good plan...

Then at the beginning of May, sail the boat back to the UK from the Carib via the Azores. Shouldn't take more than two or three weeks, I shouldn't think, although there might be some days of motoring on that route, I do understand.
St Martin - Azores direct is around 2500 miles as the Gulf stream and the easterlies push you W for the 1st 600 odd miles... skip Bermuda your just adding milage... then Azores - UK is another 1500 miles... you'll be doing well if you average 120 - 130 a day...

All in all, about 4 months off work, which is only 2 months more than I usually take. Should be doable from that point of view.

My boat has a 46' waterline and nearly always averages more than 8 knots on passage under sail in the English Channel. At economical cruising speed of 7 knots motoring, I have about 800 to 900 miles of range (for getting through the Sargasso Sea).

What do you guys think? Great adventure? Or stupid?

Does this sound realistic, or will I spoil the trip by rushing?
Great adventure... just need to get more realistic on passage times... coastal and ocean sailing are two different animals..
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:47   #6
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

I think it might be prudent to plan on 4 weeks from the carib to britian. 2-3 weeks sounds awful fast and you've left no time for " sh&t happens".

Sounds like winner though. Let me know if you need crew.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:50   #7
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

Rigid schedules kill!
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:57   #8
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I will warn you some friends of mind started a circumnavigation of the Atlantic, on what was suppose to be a few month sabbatical. They came back 2+years later having travelled around the world
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:06   #9
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Rigid schedules kill!
+1 on that sentiment...

However... I have learned something while dealing with the professional demands of my workaholic wife. When boats and weather inevitably fail to cooperate and we do not have her back at her desk on schedule, the world does not end. In short, it's better to be sailing the boat and postponing work obligations, than dealing with clients and postponing life.

Best of luck,
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:24   #10
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

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Rigid schedules kill!
Well, that was kind of my concern. There is a limited amount of flexibility, but it's not unlimited.

4000 miles to the Uk from the Carib - I didn't figure that right. Carp. That's nearly a month, I guess. Back to the draw g board
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:41   #11
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

Maybe what you need is an intrepid Delivery Skipper fitted into your plans? - even if that amounts to a one way Transat trip for you.

I can't quite think of anyone .
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead

My boat has a 46' waterline and nearly always averages more than 8 knots on passage under sail in the English Channel.
A quick-and-dirty way to figure passage speed is .7 x theoretical hull speed. Running that for a 46' LWL I come up with 6.4 knots. For planning purposes, you might be better off using that figure, and then if you get your average of 8 knots it's gravy.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:55   #13
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

Why not just throw out the plan as far as locations and just call it cruising? It seems to be a lot of distance sailing to a schedule given you have a "need" to be back within a time frame. Isn't there a lot of cruising to be done without the long sailing periods? Unless of course you are really more interested in sailing than visiting places.

Other than that is sounds fun so I'm just throwing it out there.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:58   #14
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[QUOTE="Dockhead"]

4000 miles to the Uk from the Carib - I didn't figure that right. Carp. That's nearly a month, I guess. [QUOTE]

No need to guess. At a passage speed of 6.4 knots, it's 26 days.
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Old 02-12-2012, 15:46   #15
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Re: Feasibility of an Atlantic Circuit on a very short Sabbatical?

The plan seems a bit ambitious to me. Leave yourself some slush for weather systems and boat maintenance. You may want a bit more than two weeks to reach the Canaries and head home.

If you are considering joining the ARC you will be committing yourself to their timetable! You will need to be in the Canaries for a week before the scheduled departure so that they can inspect your boat.

Two weeks cruising the Caribbean will be great. Don't forget to plan some sight seeing along the way. Day sailing from Rodney Bay to Sint Maarten should take 5 or 6 days There is a lot to see and do on the days you are not sailing.

Don't commit your self to a fixed timetable. Last year I had planned to leave Sint Maaten the first of May. It was almost 10 days later that there was actually enough wind to depart. Those who went straight to the Azores took about 3 weeks on average. Once in Horta there was a string of deep low pressure systems passing to the north towards the Bay of Biscay. Many boats waited a week in Horta for a decent weather window. I had planned to depart Sint Maarten 1 May and I did not arrive in Lisbon until 1 July because of weather delays in the Carib and Bermuda and boat maintenance in Horta.
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