Crossing the Atlantic buy boat – Find out what we used for communications with ARC to get weather and fleet updates. Discover why the weather was not our main point for discussion.
Crossing The Atlantic By Boat Day 3 – Hearing from Home
After doing my second-night watch (during the same night) with Kenny from 4 am to 7 am, I slept until 10 am. I wasn’t feeling good – a bit bunged up and head still hurting from my fall. I didn’t die from a brain clot so that was good news.
After the seasickness and painkillers kicked in I was fine.
Kenny and I worked together to successfully receive email reports regarding weather, ARC updates, and personal messages. For communications, we purchased a Red Box router from Mailasail that had a port for our Iridium satellite phone. Wirelessly, I’d connect to the Red Box from my MacBook Air and tell the phone to dial up a connection. Once connected, we’d request the weather reports via an automated email system. By placing the name of the report we wanted in the subject line we’d simply need to send the email and a report would come back within seconds.
For our first attempt, at sea, we received a weather report, an email from my brother, Bryan, and another little note from my dear friend, Becks. Bryan wrote a message to me in Morris code thinking I’d find it funny… I didn’t even attempt to figure it out. If I had access to the Internet, I would have Googled it.
That wasn’t the first time I wanted to Google something but realized that wasn’t going to happen. Using a satellite phone is like using the Internet back in 1980. It’s slow and you have to do everything with the smallest file size possible.
Sending or receiving a large image file would be fatal.
During our email hook up, Kenny and I also received a position report on all other boats. This report came out every day around noon UTC, or Las Palmas time. We could also request a position report as a one-off. I think the report was updated every four hours.
Little did I know that the position report would become the main discussion topic every day.
It’s funny because I assumed that we’d spend most of our time on the weather, but we rarely spent more than five minutes looking at the forecast. For the most part, we’d look at the GRIB file (an image that shows where the wind is and how strong it is) and aim for wind.
Regarding the crossing the Atlantic by boat position report… Simon and Murray started off by plotting the longitude and latitude of our main rivals on a map. Later Kenny developed an insane excel spreadsheet to allow deep analysis! We noticed that some boats went north and others went south.
The suggested route was to go south until the butter melts and then head west to get the trade winds.
The North route is most direct however there’s a higher chance of missing the winds and becoming becalmed.
Looking back over the whole trip, our main points of discussion included: how we were doing against our main rivals, whether or not we should change sails and what’s for our next meal.
Day three of crossing the Atlantic by boat also included a lesson on map positions from Murray.
He showed our newbie guests how to find and plot a position on the map. Eve and Sienna later made thanksgiving decorations and I defrosted beef stew I made a few weeks ago. Simon, Sienna and I all went to bed and watched a movie – Despicable Me 2.
I wrote in my journal:
For many moments during the film I felt ‘normal’ or ‘at home’ – I lost the sense of the back and forth rocking. I lost sense of being in a boat in the middle of the Atlantic.
During my night watch (with Simon) I couldn’t believe it when we had to navigate between two ships and one sailboat. Simon called one of the ships – a research vessel to find out if they could see us on AIS. Unfortunately, the guy that responded said we were weren’t on AIS. Bummer. We were now seeing ships but they weren’t seeing us. Ho-hum.
What’s Next in our Crossing The Atlantic by boat series?
- In the next article, the highlights for day four were visiting dolphins, doing 190 miles in 24 hours, and having a shower: Sailing The Atlantic
- In the previous article discover how we decided upon a watch schedule, what we ate, the tasks we assigned everyone and who we managed to speak with that was around us. Read Transatlantic Crossing.
- Click here for a general overview of our Atlantic Crossing