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Old 15-07-2020, 04:55   #1
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noob question re-crewing opportunities for Summer 2021 Atlantic crossing

Hi All,

I am 54 year old looking to tag along on a 1st Atlantic crossing on a sail boat paying my own way to the start point and back home.

By way of a quick intro, I have extensive coastal/Med experience and certified Yachtmaster (Offshore), Diver (Padi Advanced) and pretty handy with boating all stuff ... but zero ocean hours. I am working for a big4 firm and at that point in my life where i am looking to take some time off next year.

Expect those planning a crossing next year to have started the motions - is this forum a good place to look for opportunities? Anywhere else? Or am I too late to the party unless there is a drop out?

Assuming a July/August -2021 start would it be safe to assume a west to east route?

What would be a realistic amount of time and money to budget for?

Are there any must reads for prep?

Any other pointers?

tk u for looking and possibly sharing some insights.
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Old 29-07-2020, 09:06   #2
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Re: noob question re-crewing opportunities for Summer 2021 Atlantic crossing

Here are some comments to help "tighten your shot group" for such a trip.

West to East needs to be as early in the year as wind and weather permit. One can read planning guides based on accumulated data, and there are several books on global sailing, conditions, route planning. If you have not read it, I suggest "the Long Way" as an entertaining and thought provoking read. Then dig in to the Route Sailing books.
West to East: there is a window between the end of Winter storms and the beginning of Hurricane season.
Time frame and budget. Longer than you thought, and more expensive.
For consideration, one could make there way to St Martin in the early Spring and enjoy the island while waiting for a weather window to cross to The Azores. That weather window usually stabilizes at the end of May/beginning of June. The crossing takes about 21 days. Some folks plan to stop in Bermuda, which will add several days to the trip.
The Azores are amazing, so a quick reprovision stop can easily turn in to 2 weeks of exploring, drinking, and eating. I spent three weeks. If you like really great food, super fresh and tasty seafood, and great company to enjoy it with, the Azores is the place.
Once you decide you have had enough, the crossing to Europe is the next step.
Budget: i guess some folks do this on a shoestring budget and it works for them. Other folks spend a lot of money, and it works for them too, so really the budget is what you make it. You will need offshore gear.
Offshore Life vest. I got a Spinlock deck vest. In that deck vest i installed an individual AIS and an individual EPIRB. I also had a fixed blad rope knife for emergency cut away, and a Leatherman Wave multi-tool, and a little stuffed monkey for a mascot. My vest was heavier than some others, but I felt confident that whatever happened when I was on deck, if I somehow ended up in the water, that I would be ok and recovered, and I had a little monkey to keep me company as I floated around. The cost of that setup was about $1,700 USD.

Foul weather gear. This is a spot where good money gets good gear and cheap money gets stuff that works but can be uncomfortable. My recommendation is spend the money to get good, 3 ply gear. 3 ply gear will keep you dry and keep you feeling dry, warm and "not clammy". The middle of the Atlantic is an odd, cold, incredibly wet place. It is hard to describe the penetrating damp of the ocean: the water is wet, the air is wet. Everything is wet. During my crossing, we kept watch in full foul weather gear - boots, bottoms, tops, gloves, hat. We did not need this gear for the whole crossing, but there was a period, about 2 weeks out of St Martin, where night watches required full gear. I was in a pinch for time and my good foul weather gear was in another country. I had to buy new, and all I could get was Gill 2 ply. It kept me dry 100% and worked well, but I felt wet and clammy. My crew mate who had the three ply was dry and not clammy. The budget for foul weather gear is $1,000.

Communications. It is great to be off the grid and tell the world to piss off for a while, but it is also good to be able to communicate with the world as needed. I had a Garmin In Reach with unlimited subscription. $500 for the device and $65/ subscription. I have kept this gear and service for my other travels around the globe, India, Croatia, Sweden, etc, and I found it to be essential. It also gives you a nice map and record of your adventures.
I rented a satelite phone. Before my next crossing, I will buy one. The cost is about the same actually. $1,500 or so plus service as time goes on. I never used it for emergencies, but I was able to call people on birthdays and stuff.

Other gear.
Good, waterproof, rechargeable headlights - multiple, redundant. I had 5 with me. Budget $75 each. Get spare batteries, of course,

Omg, the gear list is long.
Compression, dry sacks for your stuff.
Waterproof bags for your gear.
Chemlights,
First aid kit.
Emergency signal gear.
Sunglasses.

One thing to consider is that the Ocean will eat and break everything, it is just a matter of time. If you have something that is critical for you, then have multiples of it.
Space is a premium consideration as well. One has to have all the gear, but still only occupy a limited amount of space. I cut down on space by reducing the amount of "civilian" clothes I brought with me. I really cut that down to bare minimums.
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Old 29-07-2020, 11:01   #3
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Re: noob question re-crewing opportunities for Summer 2021 Atlantic crossing

July / August are somewhat late on the W to E route. You are already into early hurricanes after they recurve. More boats try to make this passage between late April and June.



If you are a Med sailor, the natural way would be to look for an E to W passage instead - finding a boat somewhere around Gibraltar or even going as far down as Canary Islands - where there are at least 3 rallies each year as well as a smaller number of non-rally sailors that cross to various destinations (towards Brazil or Caribbean, mostly).


Most such passages are done in October - January, fewer from February onwards (till about late March).



How much it costs depends on your attitude and luck. I never count on luck however. If it happens, fine.


Last year a typical ride was in the range of 500 - 1000 freedom tokens. Not everybody pays, but when you do you find that boat so much sooner. If you join a rally boat, you will have to pay a rally fee, which can be bloody steep (look up ARC website, e.g.).



You do not need any skills and if you are easy going and easy on the eye, people will take you on 'good faith'. There is nothing you can do to tell a good crew from a bad one from talking on the dock. Same attracts same and posh yachts tend to turn down crews with dreadlocks. People who look plain and average have best chances, just like in land life.



If you are an attractive tall blonde or blond, you find it much easier to get a ride than if you are old, fat male. Take away: avoid competing with them.



Bigger faster boats get there in about 3 weeks. Slower tubs in about 5 weeks. Ticket back home costs depending on which island or country you disembark in. Normally about 1000 tokens, before Covid hit.


Good luck and enjoy the adventure!


barnakiel
Canary Islands
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Old 29-07-2020, 12:10   #4
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Location: Headed tio the Cheasapeake for the Summer
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Re: noob question re-crewing opportunities for Summer 2021 Atlantic crossing

Hi jaybeegee,

I will be moving my boat from US to Med next year, but haven't made any final decision on sail versus ship.

If sailing, I'll be leaving with the ARC early May, Portugal 6 - 8 weeks later.

PM me so we can keep in touch about possible crewing opportunities.

Duncan
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