We did it. We crossed the Atlantic, and were awestruck by its vastness. Here's a photo summary of our lives way out at sea.
Megan and I, and our hearty crew of Dan, Jonno and Erik, celebrate our arrival in Grenada. It was a great team.
A Right of Passage
If we follow ancient mariners' tradition, Megan, the whole crew and I should be visiting the tattoo parlor for our anchor tattoo! That's the navy tradition for a sailor's first crossing of the Atlantic. OK, so ours in the photo are the rub-on temporary kind, but who knows, the real thing might be in the making!
Our Secret Weapon
Perhaps "weapon" is too strong of a word, but this 2,800 square foot trade wind sail was designed for exactly this type of downwind passage and it is the sail that powered us almost the entire way across the ocean.
Repairs at Sea
We nearly lost our wonderful trade wind sail during a surprise squall with 40+ knot winds. This video shows us doing some post-squall patchwork at sea that fortunately kept the sail in one piece for the journey.
Surprise squalls nearly did us in several times during the final few days. They hit with only seconds of warning, blew out two heavy-duty blocks that literally exploded shrapnel across the boat, and almost shredded our big downwind sail. We never got video of the worst of the weather (too busy saving the boat), but this video gives a squall-lite view.
Food at Sea
We no doubt ate well during the passage, thanks to lots of planning, provisioning, and advanced food prep (thanks Christine!!). Our fresh produce ran low the 2nd week of the crossing, but we still had carrots, apples and cabbage to spare.
Dan and Jonno put in a yeoman's effort at fishing throughout the passage. Sadly it yielded only 1 small meal of fish. Ironically, lots of little flying fish landed themselves on our deck and trampoline, including one taking a nap with Megan.
Dolphins and Whales
We never tired of visits from marine mammals. Dolphins typically played nimbly at the bow of the boat like in this video, while whales typically swam more sedately along the side.
A Typical Day at Sea
Clockwise from top left: Dan and Jonno on daily guitar duty, Erik jury rigging chafe preventers, Megan snacking on baby food, Dan and Jonno watching dolphins, Jonno practicing his celestial navigation, and Megan keeping an eye on an approaching squall.
Nighttime sailing is a totally different experience than daytime sailing. It takes awhile to get accustomed to the eeriness of sailing blind. But there was tremendous peacefulness and beauty as well - especially the brilliance of the stars and the bioluminescent plankton that appeared almost nightly like sparks flying in our wake.
Our overnight watch schedule proved helpful, with rotating 3-hour shifts that balanced out the burden. We all got sufficient sleep. Heaven knows how the many ARC boats double-handed by just two people did it. That would be exhausting.
We always dutifully maintain a ship's log, recording all kinds of weather and position data in 3-hour increments throughout each passage -- just in case our electronics get zapped, or an incident occurs where the authorities seek details.
We crossed the finish line at 16:31 local time on Friday, December 3. Our dock line throw was kindly caught in the photo above by a local journalist. The initial arrival photo of our crew still in life jackets was soon followed by a photo of our crew celebrating with gin and tonics.
So now what? Well, after a few months of island-hopping in the Caribbean this winter, it looks like we will be turning east and sailing back across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. We need crew, so anyone interested in joining should drop me a line.