Atlantic Crossing 1st. Leg.

Wing and a Prayer
Joy Hughes
Sat 16 Jun 2007 14:55


First leg back to Europe completed.

My second Atlantic passage, we did 2300nm from Beaufort N/C to Flores in the Azores. A long and relative hard passage compared with the first Atlantic passage the Canaries to St. Lucia that we did in 2004.

Most noticeable was the weather. We headed away from the sun to a cooler Europe. Going west we headed into the warm Caribbean.

The passage took us 20 days. We had a variety of weather. Seas calm and rough, winds light to gale force. We had warm sunny days, but also cool wet, stormy uncomfortable days and nights.

We spent a lot of time looking for the Gulf Stream which we fell into intermittently and scanning weather charts for the stormy lows, that come off the coast of the US and track across to Europe along these latitudes.

Graham and I have been accompanied on this trip by two friends Andy and Chris. Without whose help it really would have been tough. Neither had done an ocean passage and I hope they both feel they have achieved a personnel goal. Back home we had Peter, our shore base contact. Peter advised us as to impending weather fronts and it was good to know we had someone to call if we had had an emergency. It’s very lonely out there, there is an awful lot of sea around you, we didn’t see too many merchant ships and only one yacht as we got within 4 days of our destination. 

Low  points for me were – a) The death of the swallow, Sid we named him. Sid took shelter with us during the first storm but unfortunately died. We buried him at sea wrapped in a Union Jack. I like to think his last hours were comfortable and dry. b)The daily forecast that gave us impending lows and poor weather. Thankfully we were able to skirt round the edge of or motor through when there was no wind.

c) The illusive Gulf Stream we never really found.

Positive points.

a) The Dolphins that visited everyday also the Whale sighting , one of which a basking Whale on the surface was a little close for comfort.

b) The clear starry nights on watch, that make you time to think and plan.

c) Doing a record 188nms in 24 hours when we managed to find the Gulf stream.

d) The warm sunny day when we were becalmed 700miles from the Azores and Chris took a dip in the Atlantic. Verdict COLD.

e) Finally arriving in Flores to find we had done as well if not better than other boats who had done the crossing. All having had problems with the illusive Gulf Stream and the unsettled weather.

So here we are on the lovely island of Flores. The most western part of Europe. Its 17miles. long and 12.5 miles wide with a population of 500 very friendly people.

We are on anchor within the breakwater of  Lajes das Flores.

Andy and Chris have left and should be in the comforts of their home and families now and we are having a well earned rest.


Thankyou to you all for your support and E.Mails