Katamaran auf der Ostsee

Atlantic crossing to sail along

July 28, 2021, 10:44 p.m.


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Atlantic crossing: sailing trip with berth charter

Transatlantic sailing! - Crossing the Atlantic once with a yacht - a sailing trip that every sailor dreams of. Not only sailing along and travelling across the sea in a sailboat, but also the goal of sailing the Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to Martinique promises to be an adventure. Anyone who has always wanted to spend a longer time at sea will be thrilled by the sailing trip.

Segeltörn bei der Kojencharterreise in der Karibik
Der große Katamaran ist perfekt für Segeltörns in der Karibik geeignet

But as romantic and exciting as this idea may sound, there are many questions to be answered and things to be considered beforehand. After all, a quick stop at the supermarket to pick up the forgotten toothpaste is not possible on this tour. Everything has to be meticulously planned and thought through beforehand. In the following, we will explain to you what the most frequently asked questions are about the Atlantic crossing and what you absolutely have to bear in mind when sailing along.

That's what awaits you in this blog post:

- When is the best time of year and what route do you sail?

- How long does it take to sail across the Atlantic?

- Which ship is suitable for an Atlantic crossing?

- How dangerous is an Atlantic crossing?

- Crew: Who is on board and what are the requirements?

- Preparation is everything: what is needed?

- The ship and comfort during the voyage

Delfine beobachten beim Segeltörn
Segelreise in den Sonnenuntergang

When is the best time of year and what route to sail?

Before we can talk about the best time of year, we first need to clarify which route we are talking about, i.e. whether we want to sail from Europe to the Caribbean or back from the Caribbean.

To sail from Europe to the Caribbean, the best time of year is between November and March. The best known and most popular route for this is a section of the so-called Barefoot Route. The Barefoot Red describes a sea route that is preferred by many circumnavigators, as they can sail around the world with the trade winds behind them and rarely have to sail against the wind. When crossing the Atlantic, sailors use the constant north-east trade winds to sail west with a pleasant wind from astern. For this, the ships usually first come from the Mediterranean to the Canary Islands to start the Atlantic crossing from there.

If you want to make the most of the north-east trade winds, you should first sail south from the Canary Islands in the direction of Cape Verde and then turn west. If you are not in a hurry, take the opportunity to make a stopover in Cape Verde. Alternatively, many ships sail directly from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. On this route, however, you have to reckon with somewhat more unsteady winds, as depending on the state of the trade wind belt there, you do not always have the desired constant winds from astern.

Zusammen den Katamaran Segeln
Segeln in den Sonnenuntergang

If you want to return to Europe from the Caribbean, it is best to start in May. At this time of year, most of the strong spring storms have passed through and the hurricane season has not yet begun. First, you work your way north along the Caribbean islands to the Bahamas, from where many sailors begin their crossing of the Atlantic. To reduce the distance without a stopover, many sailors first set course for the Azores. This is an opportunity to restock the ship with fresh provisions and, if necessary, to fix any technical problems before setting off on the final leg, which usually leads to Portugal or directly into the Mediterranean.

How long does it take to sail across the Atlantic?

If you want to cross the Atlantic with a sailing ship, you need to allow three to four weeks. The most popular route is from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean and is about 2800 nautical miles. If you reckon with a common average speed of 5 knots, you need a good 23 days of pure sailing time.

Viel Platz zum entspannen und genießen auf dem Katamaran
Der große Steuerstand des Kojencharter Katamarans

Which ship is suitable for an Atlantic crossing?

A wide variety of ships have been used for transatlantic sailing trips. From the small old boat with only one cabin to the large sailing ship with three masts, everything is possible. However, in order to guarantee a certain degree of safety and comfort, it is advisable to choose a modern or modernised ocean-going vessel of 15 m or more in length. Ships of this size have optimal sailing characteristics for a big trip like this. They are often faster and lie more calmly in the water than ships of smaller size and provide a more pleasant and safer sailing experience even in rough conditions.

Regardless of size, every vessel must be in good technical condition before the transatlantic sailing trip, be equipped with the necessary safety-related equipment and have sufficient spare parts and repair facilities. For this reason, it is advisable to use modern or upgraded vessels.

How dangerous is an Atlantic crossing?

On an Atlantic crossing, i.e. a long-distance route, dangerous situations can never be completely ruled out. The weather, the technology and also the health of the crew are the biggest unknowns here. That is why it is important to prepare for all eventualities in advance. Particular attention must be paid to the weather: the time of year, the route and the ship are decisive in determining how high the risk is of running into bad weather. Bad weather here means in particular high and steep waves, as well as extremely strong winds. To minimise this risk, we sail in autumn, a time of year when a relatively constant wind, the north-east trade wind, blows between the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.

Segeltörn begleitet von Delphinen
So beginnt ein wirklich schöner Morgen

But broken components on the ship can also become a big problem at sea. A well-maintained ship with plenty of spare parts and a technically skilled crew are the best precautions here. With expert preparation and creative craftsmanship, almost all problems can be solved at sea.

Extraordinary health problems or accidents cannot be influenced in advance. For this reason, at least one crew member should have taken a "medical at sea" course or similar beforehand. In addition, a well-stocked on-board pharmacy is absolutely essential.

With all these measures, we can keep the risk low and set sail well-prepared with a seaworthy and well-maintained ship and a good feeling.

Crew: Who is on board and what requirements do I have to fulfil?

On long-distance sailing trips there are always at least two experienced sailors on board (skipper and co-skipper) who have the necessary certificates. In addition, there is a maximum of 7 guests.

Guests are also considered to be co-sailors if, according to their level of knowledge, they are actively involved in the day-to-day sailing activities and assist with the usual work on board. This could be, for example, keeping watch with a crew member, carrying out light maintenance work on board or providing meals together.

Mit Freunden das warme Wetter auf dem Katamaran genießen
Der große Katamaran bietet viele Aufenthaltsbereiche zum Relaxen

Many may take this for granted, but due to the extended time on board the ship and potential weather changes, a healthy physical condition and seaworthiness are essential for the Atlantic crossing. Severe pre-existing conditions that could lead to complications at sea are therefore unfortunately too high a risk for the trip and participants should generally be in good physical condition so that safe movement on board can be ensured even in heavy seas. In-depth sailing knowledge is not a must, but of course an advantage. However, initial sailing experience is necessary to assess seaworthiness. Every fellow sailor should have sailed on a multi-day trip beforehand to know whether the movement at sea, the space on the boat and the sailing without land in sight are suitable for them - this way we can ensure well in advance that everyone on board really enjoys the trip and has a great time!

Preparation is everything: what is needed?

But before we can set off on the big voyage, we first make sure that we are also well prepared: Electrical and mechanical fittings have to be checked, the boat has to be equipped with spare parts and, if necessary, new systems such as a second, smaller watermaker and solar panels have to be installed. The sailing route from east to west has to be planned and options for bad weather phases worked out. In addition - and perhaps most important for maintaining good spirits on board: the provision planning! A meal plan is drawn up, paying particular attention to the perishability of the food, quantities and storage due to the long time on board the ship.

Segeln in der Sonne vor der traumhaften Kulisse
Viel Platz für die Törnplanung bietet die Fly des gen Lagoon 52

On board there are life jackets for all persons, a life raft and a satellite telephone that can be used to contact the outside world at any time. In addition, there is the so-called Epirb (Emergency position Indicating radiabeacon station), which transmits the position of the boat to the rescue service in case of an emergency at sea. Furthermore, the SART (Search and Rescue Transponder) sends the position data in an emergency to ships in the vicinity. Particularly well equipped for the longer trip is the catamaran, which offers many different accommodation options on three levels. Thanks to the spacious, comfortable cabins, the deck level and the bridge, the ship sometimes even seems almost empty during the changing watch rhythm.

The ship and comfort during the voyage

On our luxuriously equipped sailing ship it is possible to travel in comfort, which is why even long-distance journeys such as the Atlantic crossing remain comfortable. By means of the engine or generator operation, 230 V power supply is ensured for approx. 2-3 hours a day. In addition, a desalination plant, also called a watermaker, on board can turn salt water into fresh water for showering and rinsing. As the generator and thus diesel are needed for the watermaker, care must nevertheless be taken with the water supply. We also carry bottled drinking water on board. The catamaran also offers a continuously stable swimming position without heeling. Furthermore, during the sailing trip is the perfect time to escape the stressful everyday life and to do a little "digital detox" and put the mobile phone aside, as internet and mobile phone network use is no longer possible as soon as the coastal region has been left. Contact with the outside world is not completely cut off, of course, as there is always the possibility of communicating by satellite phone in case of emergencies, as described earlier, and a daily weather report can also be obtained in this way.

Der große Salon des Kabinencharter Katamarans