How to Cross the Ocean on a Yacht

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Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a sailing yacht is a really big adventure and a dream that not everyone dares to realize. Every year between October – February more than 1.500 sailboats are making the Atlantic Ocean crossing from Europe to the Caribbean.

If you are interested in experiencing an unforgettable trip on a yacht, Ragnar travel provides exciting traveling experiences and cruise trips to satisfy a deep desire for adventure. Besides, according to Statista, chartering a yacht is already the most popular recreational activity.

Preparations for the voyage need to begin before you leave home, so we prepared a list of what you should consider. 

Type of Yacht

You don’t need a special yacht to cross the Atlantic. Standard cruisers can develop excellent speed and are considered quite safe vessels for such a long sea voyage. Typically, the most difficult part of the Atlantic crossing begins in the Bay of Biscay. All you need is high-quality radar equipment on the boat, a decent supply of drinking water, food, and fuel, and a map of the South Atlantic.

Equipment

If you are going to cross the ocean, you cannot do without a desalination plant. Modern desalination plants efficiently extract drinking water from seawater.  Thus, there are several reasons why choosing the right desalination plant is of great importance. On average, one person in the sea needs 10-15 liters of fresh water per day. An average watermaker produces approximately 30-60 liters of freshwater per hour.

It should be noted that the most important advantage of the desalter is its own weight. Although it weighs decently, the water weighs even more. And instead of carrying a ton and a half of freshwater inside the yacht, it can be obtained directly from the sea on the go. This significantly reduces the weight of your yacht and improves performance and travel speed.

Another big investment that will make your life on board an ocean-going sailing yacht much more enjoyable is the spin sails. This system allows sails to be set, grooved, and removed without much hassle. The twist will do everything for you.

There are many ways to keep your head safe from the scorching sun. But a cap or panama at sea won’t save you. A more serious cover is required here. It is possible, of course, to install a rigid cockpit awning on the yacht, but we prefer the fabric bimini awning. They come in a variety of modifications, up to awnings that completely cover the cockpit from the sun or bad weather. So, a cockpit awning is a must.

Clothes

If you are going to go on long voyages across the ocean, get a full set of waterproof yachting clothing, gloves, and good rubber boots.  Clothes should have three layers: thermal underwear, insulation (middle layer), and a waterproof outer layer, warm socks, and waterproof boots in case of bad weather. If suddenly there is bad weather, and you didn’t take waterproof clothes with you, you will be freezing all the time, and you will not be able to work fully and keep watch. 

Training

Maintenance of diesel engines, basic survival skills at sea, first aid, maintenance of all equipment – all this knowledge and skills will be useful not only to the yacht’s skipper but also to every crew member who sets off to cross the Atlantic.

Besides, gain experience while walking in more loyal conditions.  Take your time to conquer everything in one fell swoop. In summer, take the route to the Canary Islands. France, Spain, Portugal, and Madeira could all be the best ports on this trip.

Crew

Underestimate the complexity of such a trip, because there are likely cases when it will be difficult for you to control the yacht on your own, and the autopilot will be broken. An additional crew will make your trip more comfortable and safe.

Be prepared for a possible failure of the main engine and the need to replace parts

It is better to foresee the options for equipment failure in advance and be prepared for such a turn of events than to face problems at sea, being unprepared for them. As a rule, it is not uncommon to rely on autopilot, but you should have a plan of action in case of failure. If the autopilot fails, the small team will find themselves in a quandary. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all, or at least the majority of the crew, have steering skills experienced in such conditions.

It is important to have spare parts available in the event that critical equipment fails. It is good if your team members have professional technicians familiar with the installation of the equipment, but it is still best if you yourself are aware of how to carry out the repairs.

Budget

The budget for any trip consists of well-known points: the trip itself, food, payment for parking, payment for fuel, and a round-trip flight. If this is a round-the-world trip, then you do not spend anything on the flight, and if you plan to return by plane, then you need to take into account that tickets from the Caribbean are quite expensive.

Food is not very expensive, the most expensive thing on the boat is fresh fruit. You should take non-perishable cereals, pasta, fish, meat, and canned vegetables. As for perishable food, try to choose stronger apples, greener bananas so that they lie down longer, take citrus fruits as they are well stored. 

Parking in the Caribbean is quite cheap. However, if there are any troubles along the way and something breaks down – these are unforeseen expenses. It is difficult to predict them in advance, but you need to somehow take them into account when calculating the budget. If the boat is rented, then you also need to consider the rental cost.

Crossing the Atlantic on a sailboat is not a cruise on a liner where you don’t have to worry about anything. It is about gaining a worthy personal experience that cannot be formed from books and films. Yes, you may need some time to get used to everyday life onboard during such a sea voyage, but the received experience and impressions received will be the best reward for the journey.

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