Passage Planning

Online Book: Getting Out There Cruising, Chapter 4 of 8

Want to Get Out Cruising? Don’t Be a Pioneer


Sure, diesel electric drives, lithium ion batteries, unstayed carbon masts, and composting toilets are fun technology and interesting too. But if your goal is to actually get out there cruising as soon as you can for a relatively reasonable amount of money, we recommend that you only use gear that has been in wide general use for at least 20 years. Here’s why:


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 [...]

Watch Out For Whales, Part II

Lunge feeding humpback

Collisions with whales and dolphins are becoming an increasing concern for offshore cruisers, as I outlined in a previous post. But up until recently there has been no serious attempt made to quantify the level of actual collision events, or to plot their geographical distribution. Obviously, having some idea of where and when collisions might [...]

Racing To Cruise


We recommend that those who voyage offshore or dream of doing so take the time to do some racing, preferably offshore. Now I’m not suggesting that racing, and particularly ocean racing, is for everyone. In fact, despite having done quite a bit of it, or perhaps because of that, I have a fair amount of [...]

Cris Craft 32 Sailboat Drawing

I received a Cris Craft 32' cruiser/racer as a gift. This is my first boat and I'd like to sail it to France from NYC. I'm preparing it for solo sailing and would like your opinion on it's survivability. A Sparkman& Stephens has a fin keel and a lovely interior. It has been upgraded [...]


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 [...]

Watch Out For Whales, Part I

OVNI 435 Pèlerin with a friendly whale swimming close by.

Another race, another whale collision, yet again ending in the loss of a boat and injury to a whale. Thankfully no loss of life, although one day that may not be the case. What is happening out on the oceans? Pirates everywhere, climate change driven hurricanes, and now homicidal whales? Well, the first and most [...]

Online Book: Weather Reception and Analysis, Chapter 12 of 15

Managing Ocean Currents

Jenifer's Clark's Gulfstream chart

I have written a lot about weather up to this point in the book, but in many cases routing for the combination of the prevailing weather and any current or tide can be the most important contributor to a comfortable and safe passage. In this chapter I look at a real Gulfstream passage and discuss what to look for.

Q&A: Trans-Ocean Navigation

The chart shows various great circle (dotted orange) and rhumb line (solid gray lines). Counter intuitively, the curved courses are actually shorter. The difference between the two tracks is almost nonexistent on the Caribbean to US east coast passage; larger on the westbound trans-Atlantic passage; and very large on the eastbound trans-Atlantic passage, to the point that the great circle course takes you over land and the iceberg infested Grand Banks—a good reason to understand which type of course your GPS is using!

Question: We are crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia. I found a large scale chart of the Atlantic (Imray Passage Chart 100). This single chart shows the entire Atlantic Ocean taking the earth's curvature into account and therefore does NOT have a compass rose to help steer by. I am having [...]

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 [...]

It was hard to leave our favourite Maine anchorage at Somes Sound, Mount Desert Island, but chilly nights reinforced the message that it was time to go.

After spending much of the last four winters in Maine and Nova Scotia refitting Morgan’s Cloud, John and I agreed that a winter in the Bahamas would be just the ticket. So when the blazing fall colours and chilly temperatures of early October indicated that Penobscot Bay, Maine wasn’t going to remain the balmy summer [...]

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