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Old 21-07-2014, 05:33   #16
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Re: Transatlantic West to East, October

Originally Posted by WildWill View Post
Great info guys thanks for the replies. I'm flexible on departure after September, and given that hurricane season ends late October would November be a better time?
Its a difficult and dangerous route and a number of people died this year doing it, about 6 boats lost.

So its not a passage to do whenever you want because you just wont make it.

The good time to go is extremely narrow... About 6 weeks in May June.

Its not for us here to do your research.

Someone here mentioned "Perfect Storm" that wasn't just a movie but a real life storm. The fronts come off the Great Lakes from October and sweep towards Europe as far south as hatteras and a long way north. They sometimes get tied up wit hurricanes from the south whcih go north and then head east through the areas you wish to go.
After the hurricanes stop the fronts are never ending and only a few days apart.

Plus theres no threading the needle and avoiding any of them. They all come from behind you and stright over the top of you. You can not deviate around them, or slow down to avoid them. You cop each and every one of them.

If so many experienced ocean sailors were killed this year why would it be safer for an inexperienced person sailing at the worst time of year?

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Old 23-07-2014, 07:41   #17
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Re: Transatlantic West to East, October

Haha, I had expected such replies!! Thank you guys for taking the time, this is advice I needed.

To clarify, I am flexible in all regards. I can save the money from this season and wait for a better future. It seems obvious the North Atlantic in winter is a bad idea.
How about making my way south to Florida, as suggested, and fighting the wind across? What would be expected from such a route?

What I see with most of life is that people are scared. Scared of each other, scared of discomfort, scared of risk. I know I'm a bit too headstrong when it comes to risk, so to hear you temper it is probably good for my health! But from my perspective I see people psyching themselves up for decades before setting out on a TransAtlantic or TransPacific. I'm more go-for-it, live it, love it.

I was on a TransPacific earlier in the year, but the captain was manic depressive and so the crew left him to his own devices. The Pacific does seem more 'pacified' than the Atlantic, but on the same vein of commitment to take the leap of faith.

I see a lot of info for East to West crossings. Is West to East sensible in November further south?

Cheers guys

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Old 23-07-2014, 08:34   #18
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Re: Transatlantic West to East, October


I think you really need to do a little reading and research on the wind and weather patterns of the N Atlantic. The big picture is called the north Atlantic Gyre. The wind and currents are roughly a giant clockwise circle, going up the US east coast, east across the northern Atlantic to UK and northern Europe, south along the European west coast to north Africa and then back west across to the Caribbean to south Florida and back up the coast. In the middle there is a large dead zone that usually has little to no wind.

Going to Europe if you take a course too far south you are sailing dead against winds that can be 10-25 kts on the nose and a current that also pushes you back 1-2 kts. If you go a little further north you will have to cross the zone with no winds. If you go further north you have favorable winds but a very high chance of storms in the winter.

Go look as some pictures of this on the internet and you will see what I refer to. Google search north Atlantic Gyre.

So go to north Florida and you will be out of the worst winter storms and may get southerly winds to start but eventually you will have to go through the horse latitudes (the dead zone in the middle, named horse latitudes because sailing ships would be becalmed for weeks, run out of food and water and throw the horses and livestock in their cargo overboard) or go far enough to get the west winds but hit the storms.

The other option is to sail as far south as possible, say to the area of Barbados or Grenada. From there you could take a NE course across the trade winds and make a reasonable passage. But getting to the SE Caribbean is a long trip on its own.

You may call it fear but I consider myself a fairly adventurous sailor and I call it prudence.
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Old 23-07-2014, 08:54   #19
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Transatlantic West to East, October

It's purely a wind thing. Further south you go you'll end up in the NE trade winds with ocean swells against you. Not sure how tacking a couple of thousand miles across the Atlantic works! I suppose it would depend on how far south you could find the Westerlies. Avoiding a great circle route would keep you further south but would be slightly longer.
And as I posted, it's not about being scared, it's about being wet and miserable for weeks. I've found it exhilarating bearing off in 50 knots, surfing down 25 foot swells but only when I know I'm less than 24 hours from port in the Med! If the autopilot can't cope that's a lot of time you have to spend at the helm and it gets exhausting. That day we lost a starboard shroud holding the mast up on an expensive Cambria 46 so had to turn around and sail with the wind on the port side all the way back to Sardinia. It's not about you, it's also the boat you have to think about.
However, I'd still love to do it again, but my wife may have something to say!

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Old 23-07-2014, 09:48   #20
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Re: Transatlantic West to East, October

Just a quick question? Why do you want to sail to the Med anyway? Have you heard or read about the Schengren Agreement? Do you know what that means?
There is an entire posting on it and we sailed over, a 2 person crossing, last year and wish we had not. We could have seen a lot more and cheaper by flying over and renting a camper van.

And by the way we crossed over in May of last year, when it is good weather and we know of 4 boats that were lost that year with no survivors.

I use to climb big mountains and the first thing i leaned was to respect the environment you are dealing with and know when to go and not go. I went on a search and rescue mission on a 10k ft peak to find a bunch of folks who got near the summit on a day when they should not have been climbing and decided they made it this far why not. A bunch died when the predicted storm blew in and them on the summit trying to get off. It is not about braverly it is about doing the right thing at the right time and taking the calculated risk. This is not a computer game.
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Old 23-07-2014, 12:46   #21
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Re: Transatlantic West to East, October


You quote plenty of accidental stories of oceans and mountains. I think if you do some sound googling most of the info is readily available out there.

Pacific is not more pacific. There is no more nor less in this case. Any ocean can kill you, any time, at any latitude. Our boat got smacked on the easiest simplest route between C Verde and Martinique too.

You must be always prepared for the worst wx case scenario. This implies both the boat AND the crew must be up to the task.

I support sailors and other adventurers with wx services when not sailing our own boat. I think when people ask this type of questions, they are not up to the job yet.

You do not want opinions. You want hard facts. You want crew that can sail the boat in any weather, not just in whatever the statistically most probably wx configuration is.

Good luck,
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Old 23-07-2014, 12:57   #22
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Re: Transatlantic West to East, October

There is a BIG difference between "scared" and analyzing risk.

"World Cruising Routes" by Jimmy Cornell. That is where you need to look to have all these questions answered.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:55   #23
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Re: Transatlantic West to East, October

I will be waiting for the sensible time to cross, next year or the following. Thanks to all honest replies.

My intention for after the atlantic is tentatively; through the Med, down the Red Sea, stopping in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Oman and back to the Emirates where I grew up. I don't have much interest in the Med, but regarding the Schengen agreement I'm a British citizen. Thanks for the condescension though Chuckr
Pirates - sure, a risk. You may be able to help me calculate it. How popular is this route these days for private yachts? Looking at Suez Canal statistics, it looks as though around 700 passed through in 2013. For 2010, International Maritime Buereau lists only one yacht attack in comparison to 219 total attacks in the Red Sea.
Analysis of Attacks on Yachts in 2010 — Noonsite

I have a final concern to pass by you guys - I will be shopping around across North america for a $5-$10k boat from the 70s. Personally I have a lot more trust in the older designs and sturdiness for water sailing">blue water sailing. They are 40 years old though. Obviously a marine survey is important but is it just a bad idea to begin with?

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