Our Atlantic Crossing was monumental. It took a lot of planning, hard work getting the boat ready, quite a bit of courage and a substantial financial commitment.
We did our Atlantic Crossing with The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). ARC is run by the World Cruising Club and provides support, education, safety measures and a way for sailors to all make the journey at the same time. The route that we took was from Gran Canaria, an island off the west coast of Africa, to St Lucia in the Caribbean.
Get a feel for an Atlantic Crossing before you do it yourself!
Within each of our Sailing Guides on the website, we provide information that will give you a feel for our passage. The information includes a diary-style article about what we got up to and a few videos showcasing the before, during and after of our Atlantic Crossing. The videos were created in our early days but nonetheless they still have some valuable content.
What will you gain from reading this guide?
The guide starts off with our arrival in Gran Canara and the preparations we made prior to setting sail. I cover various aspects of being docked in Las Palmas including what the marina was like, the surrounding area, the sailing community, all the kids preparing to cross, and will provide you with an idea of what the lead-up to The Atlantic Crossing felt like.
And then I cover what considerations we made about stocking the boat with spare parts and provisioning. Two big topics to cover. Aside from inventory and food, we had a huge list of things to fix.
Get a handle on what it was like arriving, settling and preparing the boat for the Atlantic Crossing by reading Preparing to Sail Across The Atlantic Ocean.
And there are Atlantic Crossing Videos Too.
In addition to having an article, I put together a video that will introduce you to the crew, show some pictures of some of the preparations – fixing things, provisioning, and getting spare parts. The video also showcases what it’s like to be with the ARC. There are talks to attend, a parade of flags and loads of parties.
Watch the video: ARC Sailing
Before we left Land I got one last post on the website.
Before leaving Las Palmas I managed to get a quick note uploaded to the website. Getting an internet connection was very difficult. We had to stand outside closed bars in the early morning to get anything online!
To see my last words before we left land, check out Sailing Across The Atlantic Ocean From Gran Canaria.
From here on out, I offer a daily report on how The Atlantic Crossing was going.
From time to time I add my diary entry. My hope is that this guide will provide you with an idea of what it’s like to cross the Atlantic Ocean, a 19-day passage.
Day 1 of Sailing Across The Atlantic
We crossed the line without hitting any other boats. It was mayhem. Everyone told us to hang back but we all got caught up in the excitement and got to the line just as the starting gun went off. It was overwhelmingly exciting.
The seas and winds were high. It was not an easy start. We had an accidental jibe and discovered that our compass was off by 50 degrees. We were heading to Africa instead of the Caribbean! And then our AIS system went down. Read more about this here: Sailing Across The Atlantic.
Day 2 of our Transatlantic Crossing
Discover how we decided upon an Atlantic crossing watch schedule, what we ate, the tasks we assigned everyone and who we managed to speak with that was around us. Interestingly we couldn’t see any other boats bay day two however our AIS would work intermittently and we’d be able to call other boats over the VHF. Check out more here: Transatlantic Crossing.
Day 3 of Crossing The Atlantic By Boat
Find out what we used for communications with ARC to get weather and fleet updates. We didn’t have an SSB radio so we had to work with what we had. And contrary to what I thought, the weather was not our main point for discussion. The fleet position report was. Find out why: Crossing The Atlantic By Boat.
Day 4 of Sailing The Atlantic
Would you believe that the highlight for the day for was dolphins, doing 190 miles in 24 hours, and having a shower? On the negative side, we smashed some plates. One of our cupboards opened and they all few out smashing into tiny pieces. Top tip – stock your cupboards with plastic only! Check out: Sailing The Atlantic here.
Day 5 of Transatlantic Sailing
Our day 5 during our Atlantic Crossing was American Thanksgiving Day. The day started with American pancakes and proceeded into a long discussion about how we needed to handing night watches as we crossed time zones. It was something that I hadn’t even thought about! And we finally caught our first fish. It was a beautiful Mahi-Mahi. Check it out here: Transatlantic Sailing.
Day 6 of Crossing The Atlantic In A Sailboat
I wrote: “It’s day six and I have to say that my expectations have seriously been surpassed…I’m enjoying every moment of this experience. The 360 views of different shades of blue, the smells of fresh air, the sounds of wind, sails, waves, the bubbling wake, conversation in the background, THE FOOD, interacting with all my crewmates, playing with Sienna… Do I miss not having internet, news or contact with other people?! No.” Find out more about Crossing The Atlantic in a Sailboat here.
Day 7 or our Ocean Sailing Adventure
This is when I started to become a bit unwell. Little did I know it was going to get worse. Find out why my tongue swelled, got cracks and I couldn’t eat any food. Aside from that issue, I seemed to enter a rather weird state of bliss: Ocean Sailing.
Day 8 of our Sail Across Atlantic Trip
After a week behind us on our Atlantic Crossing, we were in the groove. Unfortunately, the wind totally died but we took advantage of it and did laundry. We played games, took naps, and even did a mud mask! And finally, the weather started to turn hot. We could feel the Caribbean calling us. Find out more about our sail across Atlantic trip.
Day 9 of Atlantic Passage Sailing
I caught a fish! It was amazing. I was a bit worried that the fish would be a tiny thing when it arrived and I would look like a wimp. Check this page out to determine what you think. And then we caught a massive tuna. It was amazing – we weren’t even trying to catch fish. Check out Atlantic passage sailing for more.
Day 10 & 11 & 12 & 13 Sailing Across The Ocean
On day 10 I was so sick I couldn’t write. Looking back it was the long term effects of taking seasickness pills. The pills caused my entire head to block up. I lost my hearing, became dizzy and was not in a happy place. Find out what I was taking to make me so sick: Sailing across the ocean.
Day 14 Ocean Passage Sailing
I was sick and others seemed a bit down. We were past the halfway mark and it seemed like it was going to be ages to finally arrive in St Lucia. And it was getting hotter and hotter. Read more here: Ocean Passage.
Day 15 – We broke 200 miles in 24 hours
We finally broke 200 miles in 24 hours during our Atlantic crossing. And we had a bit of a disaster. We attempted to get the gennaker up despite the fact that the last furling went unwell. As we made a human chain to guide the sail up the lower furling unit (attached to the sail) came loose, went flying out of our hands and the wind took it out to sea. Imagine a sail attached to the top of the mast but nothing holding it to the boat. It was nuts. Find out how we handled the situation here: Ocean Cruising Yacht.
Day 16 – A Hat Party To Improve Moods
To get the crew active I decided to through a hat party. Everyone had to make their own hat and we’d take a vote as to who had the best one at the end of the day. The task improved everyone’s mood and we had a wonderful day. Not long to go now. Check out Sailing Over Atlantic.
Day 17 – Up goes the spinnaker
We got our Spinnaker up. It was crazy. The wind was good but because of the swell, the boat was heeling too much one way and then the other. Flying the Spinnaker was like flying a kite we just couldn’t control. Check out: Atlantic Crossing With Spinnaker
Day 18 – We’ve Almost Completed Our Atlantic Crossing
Tomorrow we’ll hit land! What a feeling. And I was getting more and more philosophical. “I wrote, As I sit here on what might be my last full day, I feel relaxed, grateful and full of peace. The sense of nothingness that has been pervading my spirits most of this trip is _______. I cannot find a word for it. It’s not a ‘bad’ or ‘good’ feeling. It’s beyond bad and good. Perhaps peacefulness gets close to how I feel. I feel nothing yet at the same time I feel everything.” Read: Almost Across The Atlantic
Day 19 – Success! We made the Atlantic Crossing!
Our last sail change went without a hitch. I couldn’t help but think, ‘it’s official, we finally know what we’re doing to a competent level and we’re quick.’ I also thought that it was a shame the trip was ending. With the finish line in sight, we did the sail change while posing for the photographer. Most of the crew had beers in their hands and stood on the foredeck as we crossed the line. I could finally say, ‘WE MADE IT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!’ Find out the full scoop here: Successfully Cross The Atlantic