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Old 24-04-2010, 09:09   #1
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Hi - Atlantic Crossings - S. Africa to Portugal

Hi Everybody

We are new to the forum and are planning a trip from durban, south africa up to portugal. Can anyone help us with route suggestions, best time of year to go, and any other helpful hints for long crossings?


Mitch and Sarah
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Old 24-04-2010, 11:39   #2
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Welcome to the Forum, Mitch & Sarah--good to have you here!

I can't help with firsthand information, but I'm sure we have someone onboard who can offer some advice.
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Old 24-04-2010, 11:42   #3
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Hi there,

Your boat and it's windward ability might influence your route.

We did the passage twice. Once with a Swan 42 and the following year with a Farr 38. We sailed in the days way before receiving weather forecasts on board.

With the Swan we sailed St Helena, Assencion and then curved North, North west and then East around the Azores high to Horta in the Azores. Portugal is then a short hop away. We very much followed the route as prescribed by Ocean Passages of the World.
The trick after leaving Assention is to keep the wind just forward of the starboard beam and bend around the high. Eventualy the wind moves aft and you then run and reach in to the Azores.

The next year we sailed the Farr 38 up. After Assencion we saild straight up to the Cape Verdes, mostly hard on the wind. Then straight up to Madeira hard on the wind. Then to Gibraltar, hard on the wind.

I suggest you sail via the Azores!

The joke is that somebody asked me the same question after I got home from the trip via Cape Verdes and Madeira. It was at the Club and the guy was smashed. He got my answer all screwed up and went via Cape Verdes and Madeira..................and had following winds all the way! He returned home and thanked me for my good advice!

Serious though, I would go via the Azores. Horta is just simply a "must call" for ocean voyagers. It is an amazing ocean cross road.

Time to go? Depart from Cape Town end- April, early May. That gives you good sailing up the South Atlantic before it gets too cold and you get to the Azores mid summer.

Happy sailing,

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Old 24-04-2010, 13:02   #4
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I cant say anything about south of the equator... but what's been said about north of it is spot on.
An increasingly easy sail to a unique place in the sailing world.. after the infectious craziness of Horta.. head for Terceira, an easy day sail away and anchor for a day or two at Praia de Vitoria before heading for Cascais/Lisbon or the Algarve..

It was a dark and stormy night and the captain of the ship said.. "Hey Jim, spin us a yarn." and the yarn began like this.. "It was a dark and stormy night.."
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Old 25-04-2010, 13:38   #5
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Thanks for the help - we're sailing in a south african built knysna 44ft catamaran. The azores is sounding like the best option so far thanks
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Old 25-04-2010, 16:17   #6
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There are two main options with countless variations in-between:

A) to Brazil / West Indies / via Azores (or not) to Portugal, or:

B) N along African coast, slightly to the West over the Equator and then onwards to Portugal - possibly with stopovers at Cabo Verde / Canary Islands / Madeira, or none.

If A) then depart so that you can depart from West Indies towards the Azores in late April / late May. Passage from RSA to West Indies is some 6000 Nm and may take like 50 days.

If B) then depart so that you do not run into Atlantic hurricanes (they last June-November).

Both Ocean Passages for the World and Cornell's book will give you very good idea of the timing/routes.

Simon's Town is a nice take-off point but many depart from Cape Town.

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Old 27-04-2010, 10:39   #7
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
It appears that you've got some good advice.
kind regards,
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Africa, atlantic crossing, Portugal, South Africa

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