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Old 16-04-2013, 02:32   #1
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Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

This has been discussed in various forms in a couple of threads but I wanted to ask this in its own thread.

What is your opinion of a straight shot passage from southern Caribbean to the Azores eventually ending up in Ireland? With more modern boats that have greater motoring capacity and better upwind sailing ability is the old route no longer optimal but perhaps just habit?

The basic idea is that you do an almost straight shot from where you are in the Caribbean, weather dependent of course, to the Azores - the further south you are in the Caribbean the more you benefit from this route option as well.

Myself and Dockhead were chatting about this passage option as it is a faster route back to Europe. I have read several passage logs and I think Boatman and Barnie have done the route - so I am looking for feedback from any who have as I have only done the normal "northern" up the gulf stream and across.

Southern Route Pros:
1. Less time in High Lattitude
2. Quicker Passage

Cons:
1. Can be very little wind so may be alot of motoring.

Would you recommend it?

Thanks.
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Old 16-04-2013, 02:59   #2
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

Just wondering straight over the Sargasso sea? Could be a bit of debris floating there..
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Old 16-04-2013, 03:32   #3
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

Have you got the fuel for 2200 miles of motoring even at a gentle 4 knots? nice if you have.

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Old 16-04-2013, 04:13   #4
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

The issue at the western side is head winds, then potentially no wind,at the Eastern side, you could have anything depending on the azores high and the lows tracking into Ireland, but usually all of them have too much wind in them as you approach the continental shelf

Hence you could experience a significant amount of adverse sailing or diesel burning

Dave
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Old 16-04-2013, 04:14   #5
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

Quote:
Just wondering straight over the Sargasso sea? Could be a bit of debris floating there..
Thats a bit of a myth really.
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Old 16-04-2013, 04:38   #6
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Have you got the fuel for 2200 miles of motoring even at a gentle 4 knots? nice if you have.

Pete
4 knots is enough to sail in depending on sea state.
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Old 16-04-2013, 04:40   #7
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

Not so sure about "excessive" diesel burning compared to many other crossing in the south pacific, indian ocean, South Asia, etc.?? More than the Northern Route yes but...

This is the website that really got me thinking about it - they present a compelling case

Routes to the Azores

Their main point being that with higher performance sailing ability in modern boats and better access to very accurate weather one should be able to sail a more direct and shorter route without getting trapped in the High and not going so far North you’ll be uncomfortable.

Would obviously also be dependent on the given locatoin of the Azores high for that time and year.

I was looking to leave next year as late as possible to avoid late spring storms (exactly like we just had in Ireland this week with F10+ winds) but before Hurricane risk.

Maybe leave last two weeks of April into first 2 weeks of May?? Would be leaving from Trinidad.
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Old 16-04-2013, 04:47   #8
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

A bit earlier than I would plan on going but here is a grib image for today of the region for discussion

Seems like you could go NE from Trinidad to get through the high at 40-45W and at 30N you stay close to the high and come up to the Azores - just follow pressure and use plain ol' Synoptic charts to keep yourself in a good pressure line up?
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Old 16-04-2013, 04:52   #9
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pirate Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

I've done it twice solo and would not take the other route.. via Bermuda.. done it once from there to the Azores... I'll pass.
I carried no extra fuel and took 21 days from SMX.. easy sailing... if you wait for a SSW window on the wind its no big deal... 3 days beating in 10-15knots then mostly the wind was aft of the beam the rest of the way... sure there's calm days.. but that the nature of sailing... PITA for you.. then buy a motorboat..
If you can do without the Bermuda 'mental security blanket' its the only way to go.. great sailing..
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Old 16-04-2013, 04:54   #10
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

Hmmm, of course this is what could also happen - make for a long trip with the diesel


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Old 16-04-2013, 04:55   #11
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
If you can do without the Bermuda 'mental security blanket' its the only way to go.. great sailing..
I can definitely do without going up the whole damn Caribbean to get to Bermuda and then make a crossing!!!

Thanks for the info!
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Old 16-04-2013, 04:59   #12
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

Only done it once, slow north to near Bermuda, maybe motored half the way with a ridge of high pressure following the boat north. Then nice fast sail across to Azores. I'd do the same again, motoring for weeks is just not nice, well worth the extra miles to be sailing instead of burning diesel.

Couple satellite wind sites..
Map » Pitufa.at
Climatology of Global Ocean Winds (QuikSCAT)

Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
1. Less time in High Lattitude
38N isn't really that high, with the added advantage of more than likely wind behind the beam and occasional rain to top up the tanks and have a shower in.
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Old 16-04-2013, 05:31   #13
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pirate Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
Hmmm, of course this is what could also happen - make for a long trip with the diesel


True... but bear in mind this year the Artic jet stream has been unusual to say the least this year.. so some 'effects are still lingering before those lows move further N.
Plan an earliest date then watch the windows for that favourable 'Push' across the stream.. as I said I've gone mid-April and mid-June... if as your saying your going next year... go later rather than earlier.... mid May onwards... just a feeling...
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Old 16-04-2013, 07:02   #14
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

I did a straight shot from St Martin to Azores a year ago, en route to Norway (terrible boat, lots of problems!). Apart from the boat it was a perfectly ok trip. As has been pointed out, a modern(ish, in this case) boat goes to weather much better. I've done the Bermuda route several times: don't like it much and would only now do it if I was departing from Bahamas or Florida. Tony
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Old 16-04-2013, 08:23   #15
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Re: Is it better do W to E Atlantic Crossing via the Southern "Straight" route?

looking at the unseasonably cold north atlantic this year you may have to head for newfoundland before getting any westerlies in may and june!

motorsailing through the center of the azores high,might save weeks of tacking into headwinds.

the north west coast of africa has had southerly winds the last 2 months! wtf is going on!!!!!!!!!

PS the azores high has been replaced by the azores low..................
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