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Old 02-02-2017, 16:27   #1
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Sailing USA to Norway

I am researching sailing routes from USA to Norway. The best appears to be via Bermuda and the Azores, mostly due to temperatures and weather, instead of the shorter, northern alternative.

However, the main routing challenge appears to be latter leg, from the Azores to the southern tip of Norway.

I have heard numerous warnings against the Bay of Biscay (rough seas etc.) and the English Channel (traffic etc.), which appears to be the most intuitive route, as well as the Irish Sea (seas, tides etc.).

So what’s the best alternative – to sail around Ireland and Scotland, to sail around Ireland and through Caledonian Canal, or…?

Ideas and reasoning will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:54   #2
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

Hi Viben,
I have never crossed the Bisc - so take my comments for for what it is worth..
I know few that have, and I have never heard of problems. I understand it depends more on the season, and finding a suitable weather window. With todays weather predictions, you get a pretty good idea of what to expect 4 days forward. typically I think most cross in june/july. some go over in april/may heard of guys motoring over in september. which comfirms you really need to check the weather.

Entering the british channel is easier from west to east is generally, as most of the weather moves from east to west. Many do the route up via Scotland as you describe, and I would personally this at least one of the ways, as I would assume this could be more interesting.

I am sure you will get plenty of advise from sailors that have actually done this.

Wish you a great stay in Norway. ( if you are going "deep" into the fjords on the west coast, do not expect to much wind - but great views ). If you need any tips on destinations ( depending on areas ) feel free to ask.

hope useful
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Old 10-02-2017, 12:05   #3
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pirate Re: Sailing USA to Norway

From the Azores do a straight shot for the Western Approaches.. aim for Falmouth.. from there I'd recommend you go East up the Channel and run North up the English coast then jump across when you reach the Tyne.
The alternative is Cork then up through the Irish Sea and the West coast of Scotland and over the top passing the Orkneys..
Personally I'd rather the former where there's lots of places to duck into and spares/repairs are easier to get hold of than the remoter West of Scotland and North..
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Old 10-02-2017, 12:26   #4
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

We crossed last summer (August) from St. John's NFLD. I think it's a perfectly viable route if you don't mind some weather. Honestly, you can get it anyway (and your exposure is longer thanks to the longer distance) by taking the southern route, so we elected to go further north. It was also the hurricane season, so we wanted to have a shorter passage anyway.

We wound up sitting in St. John's for a week for the right WX pattern to develop, and had a great blast across. We were 8 days and change to Ireland. We're pretty fast, though. I think we averaged right at 10 knots for the trip.

I'd go that route again, don't see any real reason to go further south, as the chance of gales isn't really all that different.

As an added bonus, you get some time in Newfoundland, which is one of the world's truly spectacular places to sail.

We laid up in England for the winter, will go on to Norway this summer, via the Irish sea/Caledonian canal.
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Old 11-02-2017, 16:48   #5
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

Nice sail TJ D. It would be great to get some more information on this route.
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Old 23-02-2017, 13:12   #6
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

TJ D: I would be interested in learning more about the route and your experience.

I have sailed north of Scotland (Orkney / Shetland) and across the North Sea. It was a chilly experience, even at the height of summer…
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Old 27-02-2017, 05:03   #7
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

Hi guys,
Sorry, I sort of lost this thread.

We had the boat in Florida for last winter, then laid up in Charleston until July. We went from there to Newport, then one stop in Nova Scotia (1 night for an oil change, basically), and then straight to St. John's from there.

We spent last summer in Newfoundland as well, and are completely smitten with the place, by the way.

I did our WX routing based only on the GFS grib files, found them to be very good. We wound up substantially S of the great circle in our case, both for routing and for iceberg avoidance.

I've included our website in our signature, we have 4 or 5 entries about the crossing, plus a few years starting in San Francisco if you're really bored.

But, yes, it was pretty windy and chilly.

Let me know if you want something additional.
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Old 27-02-2017, 07:07   #8
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
From the Azores do a straight shot for the Western Approaches.. aim for Falmouth.. from there I'd recommend you go East up the Channel and run North up the English coast then jump across when you reach the Tyne.
The alternative is Cork then up through the Irish Sea and the West coast of Scotland and over the top passing the Orkneys..
Personally I'd rather the former where there's lots of places to duck into and spares/repairs are easier to get hold of than the remoter West of Scotland and North..
Statistically Northern Scotland has the fewest storms in June, something like 4 a month and very long daylight hours. It doesn't get dark, only going to dusk before the sun is up again. Scrabster is a big safe commercial harbour if it all goes pear shaped. Dunnet Head and the Pentland Firth has big tides and a huge drop as the North Sea empties into the N Atlantic, very impressive standing waves during certain tides.

The Caledonian Canal was built for a reason to avoid going over the top of Scotland and would make an interesting change to being at sea after the Atlantic crossing. Its a mast up route all the way across and should take 4 days (although I have done it in a long day at 25 knots) of easy pottering and stopping each night. Stock up on Whisky and all drinks, Norway very expensive for booze.
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Old 27-02-2017, 07:18   #9
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pirate Re: Sailing USA to Norway

I keep forgetting about the Caledonian..
But then I've been battered by 3 N'lies in succession N of Bermuda.. so statistics are just scribbles on paper to me.. lol
Should add.. the 2005 June crossing was based on Pilot Chart averages for June..
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Old 27-02-2017, 07:29   #10
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

As several others have said, from the Azores you'll be well clear of Bay of Biscay. The route I'd take, just to avoid the southern end of the North sea, would be west of Ireland and through the Caledonian canal.

Depending on your vessel and the weather, the crossing to Oban from Azores, 1400 nm would be about 10-15 days, add the transit of the canal and you will still be a lot quicker than the English Channel route and the CC is very relaxing compared to the straits of Dover.

Post back on what you decide..........
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Old 27-02-2017, 08:14   #11
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

did the crossing 5 yrs ago from Bonivista to Cork at the end of July. 18 1/2 days. No problems. Spent the rest of the summer in Ireland and over to the Isle of Mann laid the boat up in New Ross then the following year did the Irish Sea, Caledonia Canal North Sea to Stavanger then S to Oslo and returned to Ireland. Canal was expensive 300 # sterling I think. But saved about 3 weeks if going over the top. Following year returned to Norway and went North wintering the boat in Tromso. A Great trip and will probably go back in a year or two. Spent last summer circumvigating Ireland. if you want more specific info email me will be glad to share.
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Old 27-02-2017, 08:51   #12
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Re: Sailing USA to Norway

We sailed to Norway quite comfortably on our small boat from Bermuda (in June) to Azores. Then via the Caledonian Canal to Lerwick, Shetlands. From there to Christiansund (not Christiansand) via the North Sea. Lovely trip the entire way. But, we were cruising, not on a delivery. By heading further north in Norway, we had spectacular summer cruising.
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