A few other thoughts from our crossing last year.
Seriously consider your charging
arrangements. ( I know this has been mentioned above). Consider that charging
will be done probably with peak electrical load - Autopilot, fridge, freezer
, gps/plotter, radar
. Consider the services that you need to have on when charging - take the total electrical load (in amps) that you have on and subtract it from the battery charger
capacity (generator) or alternator
capacity (engine). This will give an indication of the charge rate and the number of hours necessary per day. The results can be surprising!
Consider several charging 'opportunities' per day rather than just one. We found we got a better overall charge this way.
Be careful about crew... nuff said.
Pre-cook and freeze meals
. We used a slow cooker to prepare meals
during the week or 2 before we left. This allowed us the freedom to be out and about and we then just popped the meal into bags and froze FLAT (quicker) every day. Frozen meals - much tastier and easier to prepare. Less opportunities to have accidents.
Bread! We had soups and bread often. When there was no soup, we had fresh bread. Even the smell lifts morale!
Fish! Get good, strong gear
. Forget it above 7kt - I personally didn't have the strength to pull them in and/or their jaws didn't. Use the fishing
line as a good way of increasing wind when boat speed decreases! (Put away at dusk - out at first light). Yellow/green lures or pink seem to work
Make use of the SSB
nets. Get to know others and chat frequently, you never know when they might need you or you them.
Write a text message to family
along the way and send it. It will be transmitted as soon as you are within sight of land or thereabouts. A conversation with family
and friends is a good way of passing the hours as land inches slowly closer.
Have a modern phone
with a gps
, wrap carefully in foil and waterproof just in case of lightning
. It will get you through. Know how to do a manual gps
fix on it to keep battery
life to a maximum.
If you have a watermaker, consider a buffer tank that will contain 1 hr of watermaker output. Taste the product at the beginning and the end of each hour before pumping to main tank. This allows the following: Less emergency water
. One might calculate for loss of main tank as you depart the Canaries
and drinking emergency
rations for the rest of the crossing. That's a lot of water! With a buffer tank, total loss of water would have to be a double emergency and the watermaker would have to die as well. We carried 20 Liters per person + liferaft
emergency packs. This strategy allows you to live very comfortably and have adequate reserves.
Don't be afraid of the acceleration zones but be aware that they can exterd 50 miles to the south of Grand Canaria. It makes for a spirited start if you are prepared to reduce sail. If your on the ARC
, you'll leave the south of the island about sunset so you''ll want your sail reduced anyway.