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Old 25-06-2024, 10:20   #1
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Higher Latitude West-East Atlantic Crossing

I'm planning to cross the Atlantic again next year, this time from West to East, from Newfoundland to Ireland or to Falmouth. This is about half the distance of my last crossing, only 1600 or 1800 miles, no more than maybe 9 days in this boat. Good thing because the weather at this latitude can be horrific.


My friend wants to do this in April, but looking at the pilot charts, this seems a bit risky. Isn't the traditional time for this June?


Anyone have any tips on timing for this trip?
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Old 25-06-2024, 12:59   #2
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Re: Higher Latitude West-East Atlantic Crossing

April, Ice, Titanic,
Avoidable, You also can expect fog. Lots of fog, or poor vis.
Even after April would recommend staying S of the Ice limit, Its not the big well marked spectacular ones you need to worry about its the little bits you might not see and radar wont pick up.
Still would be interesting to see Ice. As would be Iceland.
May might be ok, the chances of severe weather getting less as summer approaches, Depends on how much you enjoy gales. The chance of completing a 9 or 10 day trip across without at least one, possible but at least one is more one is than likely
Even in June and July the possibility is still there.
I would suggest you depart from NS and stay south of the Labrador current and Grand Banks. Fog sucks.
Even departing Cape Race Fog is likely.
You get all kinds there. Frontal fog, warm air over cold sea and cold air over warm sea.

Take a rhumb line to 44 40 then rhumb line to Fasnet you should be South of most of the Gale force stuff, You will still probably get a couple of depressions and there extended fronts overtaking you. So expect a stiff breeze, squalls ect rain fog and generally crap weather,
If you leave behind a system. you will get a few days of relatively nice weather. for a few days before the next one catches up and overtakes you.

You probably won't have much need for the bermuda shorts or sunscreen.

I would skip April, Pick later May or June. May might be a bit early by conventional wisdom. I always found May could be quite nice. I would choose May. and watch for a nice patch of weather before departing.
E bound you could find you get 3 or 4 nice days followed by 2 or 3 crappy days then nice as you get further east the systems are getting further North.

Don't be tempted into GC routes. Its less than a hundred miles shorter and takes you way further North.
Stick with the GS and it will make up for the distance. you will get there quicker.

Bon Voyage.
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Old 25-06-2024, 16:24   #3
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Re: Higher Latitude West-East Atlantic Crossing

Hi DH,

Not sure if this helps as my route was further South, but I did runs W to E twice leaving NJ in late April to Plymouth. 2 storms/gales each run. One very bad storm in which Phil Weld on a 60 ft trimaran pitchpoled right near us. Still the scariest, steepest waves I've ever seen. (Yes, in the Gulf Stream.)

Captain: "What does the anemometer say?"
Crew: "I don't know, it only goes to 60 knots."

After that storm the other 3 gales were no biggie. We stayed S of the Grand banks but still hit plenty of fog.

Even in June you can get whacked.
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Old 25-06-2024, 17:48   #4
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Re: Higher Latitude West-East Atlantic Crossing

We went from Connecticut to Cork in June and had a week of fog on a 22-day transit. We were also colder than we believed it was possible to be, despite wearing 4 layers of ski clothes, hats and gloves. We had at least two storms with gale force winds and 20' waves.
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Old 25-06-2024, 19:20   #5
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Re: Higher Latitude West-East Atlantic Crossing

We had four significant lows pass by on our 20 day June crossing from Halifax to Cork. The last was 970 mbar. The pilot promised statistically 1 low but we got 4. And yes, June is the optimal month for a crossing here. It was a parade of lows leaving the coast and intensifying as they made their way east.

We spent a fair amount to time side stepping (moving south) these beasts. In fact, we worked for 3 days getting out of the path of the big one. A 42 footer with strong crew was not so fortunate and ended up hove to for 12 hours in the worst of it.

Leaving on this route in April or May ups the frequency of the lows moving east. My suggestion is to not tempt fate so much as it can be miserable. You don't have to look for trouble on this crossing, it will come looking for you.
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Old 26-06-2024, 00:43   #6
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Re: Higher Latitude West-East Atlantic Crossing

Thanks for all the extremely informative posts!! I hope this thread will be a good resource for others besides me.
__________________
"You sea! I resign myself to you also . . . . I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me;
We must have a turn together . . . . I undress . . . . hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
Walt Whitman
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Old 26-06-2024, 05:57   #7
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Re: Higher Latitude West-East Atlantic Crossing

SH prefers July, or thereabouts....

https://youtu.be/DDmz9iqyeSU?t=573

...some great commentary
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