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Old 01-10-2018, 08:32   #1
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Atlantic Xing E->W, ARC, NARC, Groups or individual

Hi there.

There are many ways to cross an ocean I learned. I am curious to hear about your way you have done it. The reason is, we are planning to do it some time during end 2019 / beginning 2020 on a catamaran.

What obviously comes in mind is joining the ARC - and most people very likely chose this route. I read a lot about it, the advantages of socializing upfront and get forced to equip the vessel to the standards set by the rally statutes, but also the possibly not ideal weather windows, over-crowded marina and busy chandlers.

Arriving on the Canaries shall be latest beginning of October because of the rough weather from Gibraltar to the islands.

Then I read about the NARC - people that may sail around this time window, but do not join the ARC activities, so they use the advantage of a crowded ocean (ha ha ha) for peace of mind, save the money - but also stick to the same weather - not ideal.

Other options would be to maybe find some like-minded yachts to do your own passage and maybe even chose a more unusual / interesting route at a different time - like sailing during the end of the summer from Gibraltar to the Canaries with nicer weather, doing earlier the Maintenance at the Canaries (e.g. in September / October) and leave before it gets too crowded to the Cap Verde's, than maybe sail earlier more south and do a different landfall e.g to Brazil, than stay there for a while and sail after the hurricane and rain season - maybe in January - up north through the Caribbean to Florida, Bahamas etc.

Than go back for the next winter to Panama and cross to the Pacific - this may become challenging with the Hurricanes.

I am reading the World cruising guides and try to figure out, what would be the most pleasant weather window to make the longer legs using the trades and avoiding the squalls and Hurricanes, but also having a nice round-trip on the Caribbean in 2020.

So here we go, ARC, NARC, individual crossing, what did you like most, what least - have you considered different land falls, is Brazil / French Guiana worth the deviation etc.

South America is not a very frequently traveled sailing destination. Is it worth it (and safe) to visit before going to the Pacific? (Maybe stay there / sail the Brazil / Uruguai coast down and up during the next winter and do Panama later during spring time - like a 1 year round-trip eastern America's coasts and islands?)
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:55   #2
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Re: Atlantic Xing E->W, ARC, NARC, Groups or individual

First of all, whether you go ARC, NARC, or on your own, the ocean is not a crowded place--you will rarely see another boat, and will only occasionally talk to one on the VHF which is in AIS range. Trying to sail in company with another boat or boats is more difficult and stressful--you have to match courses and speeds, and then worry about running into each other when you do.

For your first long passage, don't complicate things by trying to go to Brazil and back up to the Caribbean--stay in the trade winds. The ARC flirts with late season tropical storms because trying to get all the boats across before Christmas--you will probably have a safer and better passage if you wait a month.

I find that daily SSB nets make the passages more enjoyable. You can give your location to boats who are in a position to do something if you have a problem. You can also share the weather and hazards to navigation with a larger group than through sat phone or email.
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Old 01-10-2018, 14:04   #3
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Re: Atlantic Xing E->W, ARC, NARC, Groups or individual

Don't expect to do more thsn the normal maintenance ( antifouling - hull.cleaning) in canaries , spare are easy to find only in las palmas and some times you have to wait 3 weeks to arrive , the yard is very busy after August (I had to wait 1 month almost to get a place ) and my boat is not big .
So prepare most of the boat before you reach canaries .
If you don't have a water maker and you plan to fit one the prices in canaries are the lowest in Europe due to lower tax .
But liferaft are expensive as hell.
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Old 01-10-2018, 23:02   #4
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Re: Atlantic Xing E->W, ARC, NARC, Groups or individual

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmakhs View Post
Don't expect to do more thsn the normal maintenance ( antifouling - hull.cleaning) in canaries , spare are easy to find only in las palmas and some times you have to wait 3 weeks to arrive , the yard is very busy after August (I had to wait 1 month almost to get a place ) and my boat is not big .
So prepare most of the boat before you reach canaries .
If you don't have a water maker and you plan to fit one the prices in canaries are the lowest in Europe due to lower tax .
But liferaft are expensive as hell.
I intent to prepare and outfit the boat for the circumnavigation before leaving the Med and do the shake down cruise there - in fact most equipment is already on board and we have copper coat - so no anti-fouling to be done. But it is a one week ocean sailing from Gibraltar to the Canaries and some minor things may break or need attention - as always. So what I intent to do there is to check again the rigging and the sails, refill fuel and provisions, relax for some time and then go on when the weather is right.

The question points in another direction. ARC / NARC or individual - and then the standard direct route after the ARC or earlier and a longer via Capo Verde - then where and when to landfall on the other side, where to re-provision and do possible repairs after the crossing and what could be the next destination of the journey.
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Old 01-10-2018, 23:48   #5
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Re: Atlantic Xing E->W, ARC, NARC, Groups or individual

My plan is to leave as individual , head to mindelo for fresh fruits reprovision and then to.guadeloupe or Martinique for provisioning again .
I choose those islands because they are north and easier with immigration (I have a cat)
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