North Atlantic

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Question [Edited for brevity]: I’d like to move my boat, a 50’ Hinckley Yawl, from Mt Desert, Maine to Mallorca, Spain and "do" the Med for 12-18 months. I’ve been thinking about single-handing her across; from Maine direct to Gibraltar. The boat is in good condition but 33 years old, I am in good condition [...]

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I am a fairly experienced Swedish sailor;  however, I have never “crossed the pond”. We have decided to buy a MacGregor 65. There are several for sale at good prices in the US, but very few in Europe. We will miss the most appropriate season [to cross the Atlantic]. Hence, I want to ask your [...]

Q&A: Trans-Atlantic In An Old Boat

A map showing east to west sailing routes across the North Atlantic: The North Route, The Tough Upwind Route, the Downwind Route Via The Azores, and The Traditional & Best Route.

Question: I have my 36' Aage Nielsen yawl in Norway and I need to bring her home to Maine. I would appreciate your comments regarding my choice of routes. One idea is down to the Azores and then over to the eastern US; the reverse of how I sailed to Europe. The other option I’m [...]

Q&A: Risk Management, Hurricanes

Question [received July 11, 2008]: We’re in St. John’s, Newfoundland, waiting to cross to Scotland. We’re just about ready to go and the weather forcast is good for leaving. However, Hurricane Bertha is just south of Bermuda. The current forecast is for her to weaken to 55 knots within four to five days, and stay [...]

A friend of ours, who is a cruise ship captain, sent along the following list of links to everything, and I do mean everything, you have always wanted to know about the Gulf Stream. Some interesting stuff. Our friend is on the New York to Caribbean round trip run. Apparently the pay off for him [...]

Starpath Weather Trainer computer-based learning program.

Question: I’m planning an Atlantic Crossing from Boston to Scotland. How can I recognize the best moment weather wise to leave for the safest crossing? Answer: Since weather forecasts are only accurate for about four days, at best, there is no way to manage the weather for an entire crossing of that length by picking [...]

Front cover of the RCC's The Atlantic Crossing Guide.

Question: I will be sailing to Gibraltar from the Chesapeake via the Azores. When would be the best time to leave and when would be the earliest I could/should leave? Answer: This is a pretty standard west to east Atlantic crossing. The best time to leave the east coast of North America is late May [...]

Q&A: Timing, Caribbean To Europe

A map of the North Atlantic showing two possible routes from the Caribbean to Europe, one via Bermuda and the Azores, and one direct.

Question: What is the best time of year to sail from the Caribbean to Europe? Answer: Due to the earlier hurricane seasons of the last few years, you really don't want to be out in the western North Atlantic any time after early July. So you probably want to leave the Caribbean for Europe in [...]

Q&A: Norway To The Chesapeake Bay

A map of the North Atlantic showing the west to east sailing route via Newfoundland and Iceland to Faeroe and Norway.

Question: I'm planning to sail from south Norway in mid-June in my Oceanis 46, hoping to arrive in the Chesapeake Bay by the beginning of August. The crew will be 5 to 6 relatively experienced sailors. Presently I’m looking at routing via Færoe and Iceland, then across to Newfoundland and then coastal. My idea is [...]

A map of the North Atlantic showing the direct sailing route from Scotland to Newfoundland and another showing the route via Iceland and Greenland and Labrador.

Question: I’m planning an east to west crossing via the northern route from the UK to Canada. Ideally I would like to do this in August or September and without stops. My boat is a Hallberg Rassy 46. What do you think? Answer: I would strongly recommend against this passage, at that time of year. [...]

A weather fax map of the North Atlantic for October 06, showing a hurrican force storm.

Question: I am planning a west to east North Atlantic crossing and have read that most yachts leave in May and June. What about leaving in mid-September or early October? Is that still a possibility? Ideally I would like to cross from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Britain. Answer: We don’t recommend autumn crossings of the [...]

Question: I just brought my 34-foot sailboat down the Saint Lawrence to Nova Scotia, and I'm considering making the passage to Bermuda in November and then continuing further south for the winter. I've been hearing all kinds of differing opinions about the safety of heading out from Halifax in November, and I thought you could [...]

Q&A: Trans-Atlantic Singlehanded

Question: I’m at a point in my life when it’s time to live the dream that I’ve had since childhood and that’s to sail across the Atlantic single handed. I’m a complete beginner to sailing. I’m currently doing a skipper's course which will take me up to advanced cruising, coastal navigation and radio operation, although [...]

A map of the North Atlantic showing a route Newfoundland to Spain via the Azores and another showing Newfoundland direct to the UK.

Question: We would like to seek your advice on my next summer’s trip from Newfoundland to the Azores, then on to Europe. We left our boat in Newfoundland last year and plan to leave for Europe in June to avoid the hurricane season. Answer: I have read over your plan and it looks to me [...]