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Old 06-12-2010, 14:15   #1
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TransAtlantic - Europe to USA, Mid-December - Advice ?

hi, I'm taking part in my first transatlantic.
it's crewing a delivery of a 41ft lipari catamaran from france to chesapeake bay, scheduled to start in mi december.
the planned route is france west coast to azores and then west to usa direct. fast as possible.

i'm concerned its not the safest route for that time of year.
also boat is brand new and with still unknown equipment.
i have experience in the med, but this is my first ocean experience

would greatly appreciate opinions!
thanks in adv
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:43   #2
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mi december. france west coast to azores and then west to usa direct.

would greatly appreciate opinions!
Cold, upwind, against the current (Gulf stream tail), winter gales . . . what more could one ask for in a first passage
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:47   #3
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i was thinking it's best after azores head more WSW toward bahamas/florida and then NNW with the current up to chesapeake??
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:48   #4
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Mid December? That sounds crazy unless there is complete protection from the elements which is kinda hard to do on a sailboat..
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:49   #5
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I think that route is a very, very bad idea. As estarzinger said, against the wind and currents all the way and you are far enough north to catch winter gales.

Much better idea, go south to the Canaries then take the southern route with the trade winds and Gulf Stream helping. Make a course for south Florida. This will also give you the option of stopping in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas on the way.

If you need to go further north in the US at least you will be across the ocean and can move north in the protected waters of the Intracoastal Waterway.
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:49   #6
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Just take the ARC route and then up from there
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:50   #7
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Last month I went from Portugal to New York via the Azores. Three days (1,200 miles or so) from New York (the ship averaged 18 knots), we experienced 60-mile-an-hour winds and cresting/breaking 45-to 55-foot waves for about 18 hours.

Good luck! Hope you have enough speed and timely weather reports to stay out of harm's way.
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:56   #8
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Last month I went from Portugal to New York via the Azores. Three days (1,200 miles or so) from New York (the ship averaged 18 knots), we experienced 60-mile-an-hour winds and cresting/breaking 45-to 55-foot waves for about 18 hours.

Good luck! Hope you have enough speed and timely weather reports to stay out of harm's way.
Sounds hellacious. Did you manage to take any videos of the experience? Wish people would post videos of nasty parts of passages on Youtube to counterbalance all the lovely offshore sailing vids...this passage is seriously a bad idea in winter.
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Old 06-12-2010, 15:01   #9
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Wish people would post videos of nasty parts of passages on Youtube to counterbalance all the lovely offshore sailing vids...this passage is seriously a bad idea in winter.
Sometimes they are too busy wetting their pants to film...
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Old 06-12-2010, 15:13   #10
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Sounds hellacious. Did you manage to take any videos of the experience? Wish people would post videos of nasty parts of passages on Youtube to counterbalance all the lovely offshore sailing vids...this passage is seriously a bad idea in winter.
No videos. My girlfriend took some stills (taken from inside because people weren't allowed on decks) but those aren't immediately available. People were falling out of chairs, plates/silverware/etc. crashed onto floors, had a bowl of milk fall into my lap and badly strained my knee (it still hurts). An interesting trip from the perspective of a 965-foot, 93,530-ton cruise ship with stabilizers.
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Old 06-12-2010, 16:45   #11
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Take a look at whats happened in Madeira and the Azores this w/end past... Gales, floods.. a few deaths... your in for a bumpy ride and mostly under motor... methinks... Skippers got a schedule... not a good thing.
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Old 06-12-2010, 20:24   #12
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Winter storms in the North Atlantic...



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Old 06-12-2010, 22:43   #13
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The North North Atlantic in wintertime????

I'm with Evans on this one, 100%!!!
What a memorable first passage you'd have...


I've sailed across the North Atlantic quite a bit, but never north of 25 - 30 degrees in the wintertime.....

And, I have personal (family) knowledge of the North Atlantic (north of 40 degrees) in the "off-season"......
Back in the 1970's my parents sailed from S. Florida to UK in early April (departed April 2nd).....and it was ROUGH, COLD, and WET.....and that was on board their well-built and well-equipped Hinckley.....(I wisely stayed in Ft. Lauderdale and met them next year in the MED)...they had a fun time, but not something I'd choose.....(I'm a warm weather guy!!)
{When I write "sailed", I really mean it.....a day after leaving Bermuda, they broken a piston and connecting rod in the engine.....and the "sailed" the rest of the way, including into Horta, and up the river in Falmouth!!!!}

I cannot image anyone "volunteering" to sail a catamaran, upwind across the Atlantic north of 40 degrees, in the wintertime.....
You might make it fine, but I'd certainly NOT recommend anyone doing it as their first passage.....and I'm the kind of guy that likes screaming across the Gulf Stream in a decent northerly wind...


I usually close with "Fair winds", but that seems a bit odd in this instance...


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s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:36   #14
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thanks for the advice guys.
i pretty much expected that things are looking dangerous.

i think the plan is to head towards florida after azores - that would mean sailing between 28 and 35 degrees N...
then when we reach the gulfstream sail up towards chesapeake.

i wonder if that's good enough ...
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:43   #15
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Ditto the previous advice.

The ARC transatlantic rally starts (November) from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay marina in St. Lucia.

The 2700 nautical mile passage across the Atlantic on the north east trade wind route takes on average between 12 and 24 days. The fastest crossing recorded was in last years rally in just under 12 days.

The "ARC Europe" is the West to East rally from Bermuda to Azores.
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