To get from El Hierro (Canarias) to Marie Galante (French Antilles) it took us:
- 2592 nautical miles, 19 days 3 hours and 20 minutes
- 6 mahi mahis, -9 fishing lures
- 90 litres of tank water, 105 litres of bottled mineral water
- 1 mayor breakage: the wind pilot
- An infinite number of squalls (rainy and windy clouds)
We keep on learning about sailing on Cirrus, and overall we are very happy with her performance accross the Atlantic. Here are a few things we consider to have done right:
- Not having a set date to leave, leaving when the conditions were good. The crew should not book their plane ticket in advance, so there is no pressure to have an arrival date either.
- Fresh water is precious. Sea water can be used to wash the dishes, teeth, take showers, cook steamed veggies or bread and pasta/rice/lentils… (in proportion to fresh water) instead of using salt. We had the fresh water valve closed all the time and only opened it when needed. Like this we economised a lot.
- Using the older sails instead of the new ones we bought this summer. With the wind and wave conditions we had, 20-30 knots from the back and 2,5-4 m waves, we almost never carried the full mainsail and we had the older jib poled out, sometimes reefed as well. We also tried having 2 jibs and no mainsail, which worked very well too. For this we used a second removable forestay and a block on the end of the boom.
- Having got rid of as much wrapping as possible when we did the shopping. We followed the advice of our Norwegian friends from Aluminati for the rest of the plastic waste: wash it off with sea water and press it into a plastic bottle that can be closed. It can actually nbe pressed quite a lot and like that it doesn’t smell. We threw organic waste overboard.
- The inReach is an amazing piece of equipment and we recommed it to anyone planning a long sailing trip offshore. People can seewhere you are and the messaging works perfectly well.
- Having brought foul weather gear. It is warm but it rains A LOT in the tropics…
And few things we have learnt for the next time:
- Before leaving, check very well the autopilot and wind pilot. We knew ours had failed in the past but because we hadn’t had a problem yet during the trip we didn’t pay much attention to it. Luckily we were four on board and we helmed the boat by hand from day 6 of the crossing. Not so fun if we had been only two.
- Eggs, cured cheese and cured meat keep well without a fridge for a very long time. The longest lasting veggies and fruits were potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, limes, ginger, peeled onions and garlic. We should have taken more fruit like oranges because we finished them during the first week. We had both yellow and green bananas but those riped quite early on the crossing. Our fresh herbs survived and added a touch to the food.
- It is ten times better and cheaper to do the food and especially fruit and veg provisioning in the island of La Palma rather than in El Hierro.
- We should have carried more lures and fishing gear as we lost all we had. Checking the fishing line regularly and putting a sound alarm on it helps.
It has been an amazing crossing taking the most out of sailing our beautiful Cirrus. There have been many beautiful moments enjoying the small things, like celebraing being half way in New Years eve or having pancakes for breakfast. Having a routine on a boat that keeps on moving thanks to the individuals that form the team.
And finally the magic moment of seeing La Desirade behind the rainbow after days of only seeing sea.