Last November, Aurore and Florian, nautical experts at GlobeSailor, embarked on a challenge: sailing across the Atlantic!
Once Aurone and Florian made up their minds about a transatlantic sail, they then approached our partner from Lorient, Challenge Océan, to secure their place on board a Challenge 67; a monohull with a crew, equipped to navigate the Atlantic.
In this article, our nautical experts will tell you about their experience and provide expert advice to help you take the plunge!
For more information and to discuss the subject, do not hesitate to contact us.
Why did you embark on this adventure?
Aurore: “Making a transatlantic trip was a way to prove to myself that I could complete an extraordinary adventure. Moreover, the challenges of wide-open spaces, disconnection and offshore navigation encouraged me to set sail. There is no doubt that I will soon return to conquer this ocean…”.
Florian: “Crossing the Atlantic has been a dream of mine for several years. Working in the boating industry with sailing enthusiasts only accentuated this desire for adventure, so I jumped at the opportunity.”
What were the major stages of your transatlantic adventure?
This offshore course was divided into two parts: the first stage; Lorient – the Canaries and the second; the Canaries – Saint Lucie, as part of the ARC rally.
The adventure began in Lorient on November 4th 2022, the same weekend as the planned start of the Route du Rhum. They delayed their departure, we did not. The crossing of the Bay of Biscay was vigorous and wet, with gusts of more than 40 knots and an enormous sea swell. A beautiful beginning!
After stopping at Cape Finistère, the descent to the Canaries was quieter, forcing us to crank up the engine, as they were expecting us in Las Palmas.
For the second stage, we participated in the ARC, a rally gathering more than 150 boats with the common goal of crossing the Atlantic. After the festivities in Las Palmas, we headed towards Antilles on November 20th. Despite a smooth start, we were forced to stop in Cape Verde as our boom broke during a manoeuvre. After a few days in Mindelo waiting for our boom to be functional again, we set forth again, still part of the race, but with the fleet well ahead of us.
During the season, the Alizés (the wind that crosses the Atlantic and pushes us towards the West Indies) were weak, which pushed us down south in search of wind. After 15 days of crossing the world alone, Saint Lucia appeared in the early morning. We returned to the mainland and were greeted by the ARC team, as well as rum for breakfast, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful moments of this adventure!
How do you prepare physically and mentally for this crossing?
A good physical condition is required, as this is an active sail. There is no autopilot on board, so you may be subject to navigational shifts, both during the day and night. You must be ready to go on deck at 3am, perhaps to change a sail when approaching a grain.
Seasickness is a worry that is heightened for some at the beginning of these great trips, especially for one’s first adventure, spending so long at sea and being so far from the coast. However, don’t worry, our inner ear quickly gets used to the roll of the boat! Mer Calm medications or patches are useful in the early days to help your brain adjust to the situation.
How was life on board the sailboat?
Life on board is punctuated by what we call quarters. For 3 hours, we were at the helm, the next 3 hours at rest and the final 3 hours at ‘vigil’. We spent the latter 3 hours on standby for a manoeuvre requiring help on deck, or simply preparing meals or cleaning the boat.
Unpredictable sea conditions made life on board like a roller coaster. You may spend a day chatting, listening to music, preparing food, sunbathing and reading, and the next day making complicated manoeuvres in rough sea conditions.
During the day, we spent time reading books from the small library on board. We also prepared meals, some more successfully than others, depending on the cooking skills of the sailor! Savouring a good bowl of Mont Blanc (a classic French dessert made of baked meringue, whipped cream, and sweet chestnut cream) became a popular hobby.
We also occupied ourselves by cleaning the boat, emptying the bilges, sewing a torn rod or filling our logbooks. Reading one another’s logbooks became another favourite pastime.
Overall, our transatlantic travels helped us to appreciate the little pleasures of everyday life. We enjoyed the simplicity of taking a seawater shower, our daily appointment not to be missed.
For what type of person?
A transatlantic sail is accessible to highly motivated individuals in good physical condition, regardless of your experience level. For inexperienced sailors, we recommend that you prioritise reviewing the information given by the skipper. A one-week livable sailing course is a great way to familiarise oneself with the technical vocabulary and the different manoeuvres to master on a boat, before embarking on the great adventure of a transatlantic sail.
How did you feel at the end of the adventure?
Florian: “This journey will remain a beautiful memory engraved in my mind. I improved my nautical skills and met some great people. My desire to go sailing again is stronger!”.
Aurore: “This transatlantic trip was a valuable experience for me, teaching me rigour, tenacity and perseverance, while also being the most beautiful human adventure I have known so far. Like Florian, my desire to sail is only reinforced and I am already eager to conquer this ocean again!”
What are the expenses for a transatlantic trip?
There are many options for crossing the Atlantic, embarking as part of a team, or on a boat that performs a convoy. You can participate in the navigation, but there is no guarantee of real training (everything will depend on the crew on board).
On a transatlantic trip organised by a sailing school, such as those of our partners, Challenge Ocean and Open Sail, you will make a payment before departure and this price will remain fixed, no matter what happens on board. During Aurore and Florian’s Transatlantic trip, the crew broke the boom halfway through, but no fees were charged.
In terms of budget, an organised trip will cost between €7,000 and €9,000 per person, onboard box not included. It is an amazing experience that you will not regret.
In short, DO IT and if you seek more advice, do not hesitate to contact Aurore or Florian to discuss it with them!