Welcome aboard the sailing yacht Atlantic

All about one of the most awesome classic yachts of all time, the three mast schooner Atlantic. Long time holder of the world record for the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean under sail, this one hundred and eighty-five foot schooner originally designed by William Gardner in 1903 has been relaunched and is sailing once more.

The Atlantic is currently in the western Mediterranean, and available for luxury sailing yacht charters.

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Atlantic Charter Yacht

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64.4m  /  211'3   van der graaf   2010.

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Cabin Configuration

Special Features:

  • Replete with exceptional craftsmanship
  • Highly unique period style
  • One of the most iconic sailing yachts of all time
  • Incredibly high performing
Coupling unique style with outstanding performance capabilities, ATLANTIC is unquestionably one of the finest sailing yachts available for charter

The 69.24m/227'2" classic yacht 'Atlantic' by the Dutch shipyard Van der Graaf offers flexible accommodation for up to 12 guests in 6 cabins and features interior styling by Kastelein.

Charge across the waves under sail aboard the spectacular classic yacht Atlantic, promising high adventure coupled with sublime luxury living for the ultimate sailing vacation.

Guest Accommodation

Built in 2010, Atlantic offers guest accommodation for up to 12 guests in 6 suites comprising a master suite, two double cabins and three twin cabins. There are 9 beds in total, including 1 queen, 2 doubles and 6 singles. She is also capable of carrying up to 11 crew onboard to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht charter experience.

Onboard Comfort & Entertainment

Atlantic benefits from some excellent features to improve your charter, particularly air conditioning to keep your comfortable throughout your charter.

Performance & Range

Atlantic is built with a steel hull and wood superstructure. Powered by 1 x Yanmar engines, she comfortably cruises at 9 knots, reaches a maximum speed of 11 knots.

Equipped with a selection of water-toys Atlantic lets you and your guests turn the Mediterranean into your own private playground. Principle among these is a twelve foot joll sailboat to bring out the explorer in you. When it's time to travel from land to see, it couldn't be easier with a 6.5m/21'4" Sillinger RIB.

Atlantic and her crew are available for charter this summer for cruising within the Mediterranean. She is also accepting bookings this winter on request.

This ocean-going luxury charter classic yacht carries up to 11 professional crew who will cater to your every need.


There are currently no testimonials for Atlantic, please provide .

Atlantic Photos

Atlantic Yacht 11

Length 64.4m / 211'3
Beam 8.85m / 29'
Draft 5m / 16'5
Gross Tonnage 268 GT
Cruising Speed 9 Knots
Builder Van der Graaf
Model Custom
Exterior Designer William Garden
Interior Design Kastelein

Amenities & Entertainment

For your relaxation and entertainment Atlantic has the following facilities, for more details please speak to your yacht charter broker.

Atlantic is reported to be available to Charter with the following recreation facilities:

  • 1 x 6.5m  /  21'4 Sillinger RIB 115 HP engine

For a full list of all available amenities & entertainment facilities, or price to hire additional equipment please contact your broker.

Atlantic Awards & Nominations

  • The World Superyacht Awards 2011 Best Sailing Yacht in 45m+ size range Judges' Special Award
  • + shortlist

For a full list of all available amenities & entertainment facilities, or price to hire additional equipment please contact your broker.

'Atlantic' Charter Rates & Destinations

Mediterranean Summer Cruising Region

Summer Season

May - September

€110,000 p/week + expenses Approx $118,000

High Season

€120,000 p/week + expenses Approx $128,500

Cruising Regions

Mediterranean Croatia, France, Italy, Monaco, Montenegro

HOT SPOTS:   Amalfi Coast, Corsica, French Riviera, Sardinia

Winter Season

October - April

Please enquire .

Charter Atlantic

To charter this luxury yacht contact your charter broker , or we can help you.

To charter this luxury yacht contact your charter broker or

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How to sail across the Atlantic and back

Elaine Bunting

  • Elaine Bunting
  • March 8, 2021

Confined to quarters during the pandemic, many sailors are itching to slip their lines and sail for the sun. Elaine Bunting explains exactly how to break free and sail across the Atlantic and back

A yacht sailing over the horizon

If your dream is sailing off into the sunset, making it a reality could be easier than you think

Just as the island of Hiddensee drew across the wake of the boat, Malin Andersson took up her camera and shot a video, writes Elaine Bunting .

When she looks at it now, a late summer scene from the Baltic coast of Germany, she remembers it as the instant she knew for certain she was right to think of leaving work to go cruising.

Malin and her partner Kaj Maass, both from Sweden and aged in their late twenties, met as students and formed a plan to take a year off before starting a family.

After years of scrimping, they bought a Bavaria 38 and renamed her Cross Ocean .

With the last tiny island of a summer cruise behind them, they began to prepare to sail across the Atlantic and back, and a year of adventure.

‘From then, we have never had a moment of regret about setting off,’ she says.

Each year, hundreds of yachtsmen of all ages sail across the Atlantic.

Some have only a few months of freedom, others plan to cruise indefinitely.

Their ambitions shape diverse choices in terms of boat design and preparations.

Here, we look at some of the biggest considerations if that is your goal, too.

What’s the right boat to sail across the Atlantic?

A good place to start might be with the question: can I sail across the Atlantic and back in the yacht I have now?

In most cases, the answer is yes.

Almost any well-prepared yacht of 30ft and upwards can tackle the downwind crossing, and indeed there is no reason why an even smaller boat can’t do it successfully.

People have crossed in Folkboats; the legendary American sailor Webb Chiles sailed across the Pacific in a converted 24ft dayboat, and some masochistic adventurers have crossed oceans in micro yachts not even long enough for them to stretch out in.

Two sailors I have repeatedly met over the years are Swedes Pekka and Barbro Karlsson.

They first crossed the Atlantic in 1986 in their 32ft Arvid Lauren-designed double-ender, Corona AQ .

A woman and two men sitting on the deck of their yacht

Pekka and Barbo Karisson have sailed their 32ft double ender across the Atlantic multiple times over 30 years. Credit: World Cruising Club

Over the last 30 years, they have made multiple crossings back and forth, observing boats getting ever larger, even of the same LOA as theirs.

By comparison, theirs is dwarfed in every dimension, including beam and freeboard, yet it has everything this experienced couple need for living on board for six or more months every year.

So, really, it is a matter of cost, preference and expectation.

The big question is whether your current yacht is the best tool for the job given your budget.

Is it large enough for the crew you intend for longer passages, for the provisions, fuel and water?

A 35-footer might take 25-28 days to sail across the Atlantic from the Canaries to the West Indies.

Obviously, the longer and faster your boat is, the more stowage and water tankage you will have for less time at sea.

You might also ask yourself which parts of the adventure are the most valuable to you.

You will need a solid yacht to sail across the Atlantic

A solid yacht set up for bluewater cruising is a good option and can be sold once you return home. Credit: Tor Johnson

If you don’t intend to do the more arduous return home to Europe, maybe you don’t need a bigger, more expensive, more complex long-legged bluewater cruiser; you could consider shipping back – more on that option later.

If you intend to live on board for longer, then perhaps you will want more space, including for guests, greater comforts and faster passage times.

In that case, one solution might be to buy for the duration of the project a second-hand bluewater cruiser already well kitted out with the right gear, then sell her right afterwards.

‘I think that makes total sense,’ says Sue Grant, managing director of Berthon International, the well-known brokers specialising in bluewater cruisers.

‘The best thing you can do for a North Atlantic circuit is to buy from the guy who had the dream, had the money and didn’t go. A refit will always cost you more than you think.’

For a two- to three-season transocean cruise, Grant advocates stretching up to your next level, especially to a yacht that doesn’t need a big refit and brands with a strong residual value.

‘If you buy a high-quality Hallberg-Rassy or an Oyster then sell it you’d lose 10% of value but have three years for it.’

Buy a boat you will enjoy

While in the Azores in 2012 I met Stuart and Anne Letton, who were sailing their Island Packet 45, Time Bandit , back to the UK.

Their boat was brimming with sensible ideas for living aboard and I have kept in touch with them over the years as they are a wonderful source of thoughtful advice.

Since then they have sold the Island Packet , bought an Outremer 51 catamaran, sailed across the Atlantic again, and are presently in Indonesia having sailed across the Pacific.

In total, they have now logged a very impressive 60,000 miles.

A couple on the trampoline of their catamaran

Catamarans are increasingly popular thanks to their speed and space. Credit: Stuart & Anne Letton

‘Before we went cruising, I spent a lot of time looking at what would be the best, safest mode of transport. I wanted a proven, tough, sturdy, bombproof ocean cruiser, hence Time Bandit [the Island Packet], the “Beige Battleship”,’ says Stuart.

‘Having spent my sailing career racing performance dinghies and keel boats, this was something of a departure for me. It was safe. And a bit boring. However, the reality is you all end up in the same place, give or take a few days. With reflection, though, I’d say, buy a boat that will make you happy, one that reflects your sailing style and capabilities. We opted for slow but safe and used the safe features a handful of days in 10 years. Those were years we could have been enjoying more rewarding sailing.

‘Buy what you will enjoy, can afford and are able to keep running. Do the maths on running costs, rig, insurance and repairs, and work that into the budget.’

Asked about their ideas of the ideal size for a couple, the Lettons comment: ‘Generally I’d say bigger is better, but the costs are exponential. Personally, for two up, I think around 40-45ft feet is a good size: big enough to be safe and comfortable, small enough to manage.’

Tips on how to sail across the Atlantic from Stuart & Anne Letton

The couple own the Outremer 51, Time Bandit and have completed four Atlantic crossings and sailed 60,000 miles

Stuart and Anne Letton

Stuart and Anne Letton.

‘Being very well set up for dead downwind sailing is important, especially well thought-out preventers, fore and aft on the spinnaker pole and main boom.

‘An asymmetric or spinnaker will keep you moving in lighter air.

‘Save on gas with a Thermal Cookpot and get as much free power from water and sun as you can.

‘Trade in your trusty CQR or Bruce anchor for a spade or similar “new technology” anchor .

Is a bigger boat better for crossing the Atlantic?

Like the Lettons, I think 40-45ft is something of a sweet spot, offering the volume and tankage required for longer cruising, yet still manageable by a small crew.

Bigger has its advantages, even up to 55ft (above that the loads become too large to handle manually and maintenance is a massive chore for a family crew, requiring significant time and budget).

The waterline length and extra speed will be your friend, most of the time.

Speed is your ally in evading bad weather, and if you are sailing to a schedule.

A yacht anchored in a bay with a palm tree

The Witt family sailed around the world as part of the World Cruising Club World ARC

Karsten Witt and his wife, Sheila, circumnavigated in the World ARC in their X-55 Gunvør XL , and he says: ‘It was hardest work for the smaller or slower boats. They are at sea longer, therefore experience more and sometimes harder weather, arrive later in port, get more tired and have less time to make repairs and bank downtime.

‘I would always go for a modern boat that’s faster,’ he adds.

‘If you had a heavy 40ft cruiser you would miss weather windows. Other boats spend days battling headwinds because they were doing 6-7 knots upwind and they couldn’t point. We averaged 200 miles a day every day, so in five days were a long way away and in completely different weather.’

But you certainly don’t need a large or expensive yacht, just a well-prepared one.

Starting with the basics: safety gear, fire and gas installations, good sails with deep reefs, in date and inspected rig, winches and all machinery serviced, and power and battery systems upgraded if necessary, plus full inspection of keel fastenings and rudder, skeg and bearings.

After that, you really need to know how everything on board works, how you’d repair or service it and, if you can’t, how you would manage without.

A crew on a yacht about to sail across the Atlantic on the ARC

Karsten and Sheila Witt and family enjoyed the extra pace and comfort of their X-55. Credit: World Cruising Club

Only after considering that is it worth adding complexity.

Multiple power generation systems, including hydro-generator and solar panels, watermakers, diesel generators and WiFi networks.

Mark Matthews is marine surveyor who ran Professional Yacht Deliveries for 12 years, a company that moves around 200 yachts and averages 350,000 miles a year.

When he made his own Atlantic crossing, it was in a 42ft production yacht.

‘We kept the original sail plan and sails and did not have a generator or other means of charging the batteries apart from the engine. We took bottled water to supplement the on-board tankage. We only invested in a secondhand satellite phone, jerrycans for additional fuel, fishing tackle, wind scoops for the West Indies and provisions for the crossing. We crossed from the Canaries to the West Indies in 17 days,’ he explains.

But if you are looking at a boat for the way back to Europe or outside the downwind routes of the tropics, maybe you should look at more conservative, heavier displacement types, he suggests.

A yacht for a one-way voyage?

The downwind Tradewinds crossing can really be tackled in any well-prepared boat large enough for your crew, so one way to look at an Atlantic circuit is to weigh up first how you feel about the way back home, and factor that into the cost equation.

A growing number of sailors spend the winter season in the sun, or several consecutive seasons between periods of work, then ship their boat back.

This on-off cruising lifestyle could be compatible with some remote working, so while extremely expensive in itself, shipping represents a trade-off that could be worth considering.

A yacht being craned onto a transporter ship

You may find a smaller boat adequate, especially if you are shipping it home. Credit: Neville Hockley

Minus requirements dictated by the longer, more windward crossing back home, perhaps you could go in a ‘one-way/downwind-only/island-hopping’ boat option.

That could be a much smaller boat, a lighter, simpler or more performance-orientated yacht.

A one-way voyage involves relatively short times at sea, possibly three weeks at most, and you might be able to manage without spending a fortune on equipment.

This year, Peters & May will be loading from Antigua, St Lucia and Martinique and have ships going into the Med, Southampton and other North Sea or Baltic ports.

Michael Wood, general manager of Peters & May, quotes typical prices of US$10,200 for a 32-footer and US$21,600 for a 41-footer.

Unlike a delivery service, shipping saves on the wear and tear from an Atlantic crossing, so is also something to weigh up.

Ready to go?

Typically, getting ready to go off for an Atlantic circuit or more needs a two- to three-year runway.

I have met people who have done it much quicker – I recently met an American family who only decided to go cruising last June and were in the Canary Islands with a brand new catamaran in November – but it is stressful, and you risk sailing away with a long list of warranty work needed, and jobs lists incomplete.

It might take most of a year to choose, trial and select the right boat, then you could spend the next year sailing from your home port, preparing, fitting new gear, testing and sea trialling everything and upping your knowledge level.

Kaj Maass and Malin Andersson, an engineer and a pre-school teacher respectively, bought their Bavaria 38 Cross Ocean in 2016 for €80,000 and lived on board for a summer and winter to increase their savings.

Provision on yacht ahead of the crew left to cross the Atlantic

You’ll need space to store enough food for the crew – though choice in foreign ports may be limited. Credit: Kaj Maass & Malin Andersson

‘You don’t have to set off for several years right away, you could make the adventure in smaller parts,’ says Kaj.

‘We met several sailors who sailed for a couple of months, left the boat, flew back home, and continued later on. We adjusted upgrades, the time frame for the adventure, and saved during our day-to-day lives before setting off.’

Do make sure everything you fit for your cruise is well-tested and problems ironed out before you set out to sail across the Atlantic.

If you buy a new boat, expect lots of snagging.

Sorry to say it, but yards tend to put switches, filters and so on in silly places, and because yachts have relatively low volume sales, information about fitting or installation problems can take a while to circle back and be corrected.

Some cruisers decide to replace their engine for peace of mind before leaving to cross the Atlantic

Kaj and Malin replaced their engine for peace of mind. Credit: Kaj Maass & Malin Andersson

If you leave before inevitable glitches are corrected, you could spend days arguing with the boatbuilder or manufacturer about who is responsible and how they are going to get spare parts to you.

This quickly rubs the nap off a dream cruising life.

A year of home-range cruising will also allow you to gain all the knowledge and training you need, which should include essential maintenance know-how and medical and sea survival training (people tend to rave about the latter, interestingly).

It will also allow you time to prepare a manual about your boat, with info and serial numbers and specs of everything on board, which will pay you back handsomely if you need advice or spares.

Tips on how to sail across the Atlantic from Kaj Maass & Malin Andersson

The couple own the Bavaria 38, Cross Ocean and have sailed from Sweden to the Caribbean and back via the Azores

A woman raised a flag on a yacht at the end of crossing the Atlantic

Malin hoists a courtesy flag as their Bavaria 38 makes landfall in St Lucia. Credit: Kaj Maass & Malin Andersson

‘You do not need that much. Less equipment equals fewer breakages.

‘We would never go without a windvane and we are definitely pleased with having a centre cockpit boat, which keeps you safe and dry in the centre of the boat, though the master cabin is worthless at sea.’

Go with the kids

There has been a big upswing in families taking a year or 18 months out from normal lives, to return later.

This seems to coincide with that point in an established, stable career where a sabbatical is possible, there is enough money to buy a boat for a special project, parents are healthy and the kids are not yet in the run up to major exams.

Most often, the sailing families I meet have children aged between five and 12.

A family on the deck of their yacht before they left to cross the Atlantic

Crossing an ocean with a family is entirely feasible. The Paterson family took part in the 2018 ARC on their Moody 471. Credit: World Cruising Club/James Mitchell

The obvious rewards for children spending every day with their mum and dad have to be weighed against the considerable extra work and commitment, though I have yet to meet a parent who regretted it.

In 2019, Russell and Kate Hall sailed across the Atlantic in their Hallberg-Rassy 46 with their boys, Hugo, 8, and Felix, 6.

‘Somebody said to us that living with kids on a boat for a year is like living on land with them for four years,’ Kate laughs.

‘It can be quite draining but it’s also part of the reason why we are doing this, so it’s the yin and yang.

School lessons kept the children from getting too bored during the crossing

Additional crew can help with sailing and school when you sail across the Atlantic. Credit: Erin Carey

‘There are jobs that require both of us and you have to rely on the children to keep themselves safe at times. They sleep really well on board and they go to bed at sunset and wake at sunrise, then they’re full of beans. You might not have had much sleep. It takes a while to adjust.’

The Halls concentrated on the basics of English and maths, and then tailored history or geography or science projects around places they were visiting.

This seems to work for most families.

Schools will usually provide a curriculum plan for time out, and there are a lot of distance learning and ‘school in a box’ courses for homeschooling children, such as Calvert and Oak Meadow.

‘My advice would be to be easy on yourself,’ advises Kate Hall.

Two children with a half way sign to mark the half way point of an ocean crossing

Celebrating milestones can help bolster a young crew’s morale when you sail across the Atlantic. Credit: Erin Carey

‘We started with five hours’ schooling a day and then reduced that to two-and-a-half. Chill and relax; it all works out. There are always things to learn.’

If you are planning to sail across the Atlantic with kids, look at taking on extra hands to help with the sailing.

Also consider joining the ARC rally where in port you share a pontoon with all the other family boats so there are lots of other kids of different ages for yours to socialise with, as well as an organised daily kids club.

The friendships made between adults and children also often shape later cruising plans.

Seasons and routes to sail across the Atlantic

If you are planning on sailing across the Atlantic, don’t leave it too late to set off across Biscay – late August or September is pushing your luck from a weather point of view.

Ideally, make the most of the summer cruising opportunities travelling south through France, Spain and Portugal – these could be among the best parts of the trip.

Annually, the ARC rally leaves the Canary Islands in November, the ARC+ heading for Mindelo in Cape Verde first, and the ARC direct to St Lucia.

This is so that crews can be in the Caribbean for Christmas.

A yacht set up with a preventer on the sail

White sails can make a solid downwind sail plan if well set up with preventers and guys

It is early in the season for Tradewinds, though, and you may have to be prepared for a trough, a front, or calms – or all three – on the way across unless you wait until January.

Whether you cross early or not, my own personal preference would be to go via Cape Verde.

It’s a fascinating archipelago and culture, a place to re-provision or make repairs, and it breaks up the crossing.

It lengthens the time away and overall distance, as Mindelo is 800 miles south- west of the Canaries, but the leg south into ‘butter melting’ latitudes will then put you into almost guaranteed Trades, even in November.

From the Caribbean, you can then sail up to Florida via the Bahamas, or the US East Coast, or return to Europe via the Azores.

Routes for sailing across the Atlantic

The routes to sail across the Atlantic and back. Credit: Maxine Heath

For the return to Europe, most cruisers generally strike out from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands or St Maarten, both good for provisioning, spares, chandlery and repairs, or head up to Bermuda and wait for a springboard forecast for Horta.

From here, crews will again wait to pick their timing to head across to Spain or Portugal or up to the UK.

According to Jimmy Cornell, author of World Cruising Routes , as early as March and as late as mid-May there are reasonable chances of favourable south-easterly and south-westerly winds on leaving the Eastern Caribbean.

The advice he offers is to track north-easterly towards the Azores and stay south of 30°N until 40°W.

For cruisers a southerly route is generally the preferable passage to choose, staying south of the Gulf Stream in lighter winds and taking on extra fuel and motoring if conditions deem necessary.

How much will it cost to sail across the Atlantic and back?

Cruising costs will depend on how you wish to live while cruising.

If you want to spend time in marinas, eat out regularly, hire cars, take tours and fly home occasionally, obviously that will be different to a more self-contained life on board at anchor.

As a guide, we asked Swedish couple Kaj and Malin to add up their costs to prepare for their trip and during the 14-month sabbatical.

A yacht at anchor in an anchorage

Costs will be much lower where you can stay at anchor rather than berth in a marine. Credit: Kaj Maass/Malin Andersson

‘The budget for our trip was €80,000 to buy the boat, and €30,000 of upgrades,’ Kaj says.

The upgrades included a new engine, new standing rigging, a Hydrovane and satellite communications.

They dropped the rudder and the keel and reinforced the area around it.

Of the total budget, around €10,000 was spent on safety equipment.

Continues below…

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Their cruising costs were around €2,500 a month for the two of them, averaging out the most expensive parts of the journey from Sweden to the Canary Islands, when harbour fees were costing around €40 a night.

This would cover some eating out ashore and car rental for tours.

Over the longer term, a good rule of thumb is to allow 20% of the cost of your boat for running repairs to cover antifouling, sail replacement, servicing and, if you are leaving your boat to return home, you’ll need to factor in haul-out, storage and hurricane tie-downs.

If you plan to buy a boat, sail it back and sell it right after your trip, however, you may be able sidestep some ongoing costs.

Cutting the cord

Maybe you don’t have to wait until retirement to go cruising.

There is a strong argument for taking a career break (or breaks) and working for longer if necessary as it spreads the cost and reduces the risk of the big adventure never happening.

Two yachts with white sails sailing

Additional offwind sails, like a furling Code 0, can keep the boat moving in light airs for more enjoyable sailing and to save fuel. Credit World Cruising Club

Around half of the people I meet on transatlantic rallies are taking sabbaticals and intending to return to the same post, or have quit a job.

Both options have become quite acceptable, and in some professions and countries sabbaticals are actively encouraged as a retention incentive.

‘Tell the world you are leaving,’ advises Kaj Maass.

‘Make sure you create some pressure on yourself to realise your dream. Involve your employer early on in the planning process. A modern employer will understand and respect your decision to explore the world and live out your dreams, maybe they even see a long-term benefit from the knowledge and experience you will gain from it and you can [negotiate] a leave of absence.’

A satellite phone on the deck of yacht

Satellite comms add a level of safety and keeping in touch but can be costly. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Those running a business may bring in a trusted general manager or step up a family member while they are away.

Keeping tabs on business while away is possible (though it can be expensive in satellite data) but it’s not something that generally works well on a day-to-day basis.

You do need to be able to cut the ties to enjoy cruising, not least because the cruising life comes with its own workload, from maintenance to laundry.

A man carrying out maintenance on his yacht

Long-distance cruising comes with its own workload and maintenance. Credit: Kaj Maass/Malin Andersson

‘Trying to mix work and pleasure compromises both,’ says Stuart Letton.

Before setting out, the Lettons brought their son in to run their web-based business supplying global brands with customisable marketing material.

‘While our business was under new management, it was still a struggle for me to let go. I can remember sitting in WiFi cafés from Spain to the Galapagos trying to blend cruising with work and, while it helped my conscience, I doubt the effort did much for work or cruising.

‘That’s not to say it isn’t possible. With good WiFi and satellite connections you really can work pretty much anywhere . But if you don’t need to, I’d cut the ties, burn the bridges and go. If you need to work, fine, just get your management team in place, communication systems properly set up and resourced, and go.’

Two yachts anchored in St Lucia

It helps to set a deadline so you can realise your dream and sail across the Atlantic. Credit: Kaj Maass/Malin Andersson

However you plan to break free, what really helps is a deadline: a date that you are going set off, with a scene you can visualise to keep you motivated as you work through the preparations and demands of shore life.

Most preparations are really just logistics, and you’re probably already pretty good at that.

The bigger obstacle is often mustering the courage to leave.

I often hear cruisers describe hassles – one described cruising as the act of sailing from one place where you couldn’t get something fixed to another where you hoped you would – yet when I ask for their best advice it usually boils down to a simple prescription: just go.

Kaj Maass said exactly that when I asked him that question.

‘Just do it. Life is too short not to live out your dreams.’

To rally or not?

This is entirely a personal choice.

Advantages of the ARC , which is the best organised and biggest, are great seminars, preparation information and tools.

It’s also an ideal way to meet lots of fascinating, like-minded people, and is agreed to be good value despite costs.

It also gives you a departure date to hold yourself too.

The ARC fleet leaving the Canary Islands

For a first taste of ocean sailing, it can be reassuring and fun to join a rally to sail across the Atlantic, like the ARC. Credit: James Mitchell/World Cruising Club

Plus is has good parties and entertainment on tap to keep crew happy.

The cons would be its early crossing date for the Tradewinds season, large fleet size (though check out ARC+, which is smaller) or if you just want to be low-key and go it alone.

The Viking Explorers rally is one alternative, but not many others still run.

If you do your own thing, you will still find a wonderful cruising community anywhere cruisers other, and there is fantastic support across the world for independent voyaging through the Ocean Cruising Club.

Preparations for sailing across the Atlantic  – the basics

While in no way a comprehensive list of preparations, here are some jumping off points to think about when planning your voyage:

  • Learn how to service and maintain your engine and key machinery, have a good set of tools on board. Video repair tips and techniques when you have technicians on board to refer to later.
  • Have your yacht lifted, antifouled , stern gear serviced, and anodes replaced. Consider fitting a rope cutter . Also check steering systems and replace rudder bearings.
  • Create a boat manual with all your procedures, equipment and the location of safety and medical equipment for crew to access.
  • Fit an autopilot capable of handling your yacht in an ocean swell, fully laden downwind in 30 knots of breeze. Have a back-up if shorthanded, or two separate systems for redundancy.
  • Have power systems checked and replace or upgrade batteries if necessary . If you upgrade batteries, consider if additional charging is necessary .
  • Get first-class safety equipment for all crew on board.
  • Have all sails serviced by a sail loft and consider double stitching all panels. With slab reefing mainsails, get a deep third reef.
  • Set up a good boom preventer for downwind sailing on both tacks. That can be just lines and blocks but set up so you can gybe and switch preventers without leaving the cockpit.
  • Check all running rigging and ensure you have adequate spare halyards set up before you depart. Think about chafe prevention.
  • Choose your crew carefully. Make sure you are all comfortable sailing together and that roles are established well before you leave.

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ATLANTIC Van Der Graaf BV | From EUR€ 110,000/wk

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62m sailing yacht ATLANTIC offering 15% discount in the West Mediterranean

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GUILLEMOT | From US$ 110,000/wk

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ATLANTIC Van Der Graaf BV | From EUR€ 110,000 /wk

The 2010-launched sailing yacht ATLANTIC measures 64.00m (203' 5") and is a magnificent replica of the 1903 William Gardner designed three-masted sailing schooner Atlantic, owned by Ed Kastelein. She sleeps up to 12 guests in 6 deluxe cabins, with additional accommodation for a crew of 12 on board.

NOTABLE FEATURES: ~ Fast schooner ~ Very spacious ~ Observation room ~Palatial Lobby ~ beautiful classic design ~ air-conditioning ~ WiFi

The 1903 sailing schooner was a long-time World record holder for the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean under sail in 1905 winning the Kaiser’s Cup from New York to The Lizard. The record held firm for almost a century, when it was broken in 1998. It is the longest standing speed record in the Yachting History.

Using copies of drawings of the original schooner, the yacht includes a large full-beam salon, a dining room, an observation room, gun room (for the owner to admire his collection of British hunting rifles) and a palatial lobby.

The Owner, Ed Kastelein is the man responsible for the recreation of this wonderful new schooner and is also behind such projects as the sailing yacht Thendara, sailing yacht Aile Blanche, sailing yacht Borkumriff, sailing yacht Zaca a te Moana and most recently the Herreshoff racing schooner Eleonora E.

The Dutch Van der Graaf yard first launched ATLANTIC in 2008. Following her launch, she underwent an extensive programme of fitting out. 2009 saw the assembly of her three masts, with a height of 45 metres, supporting 1700m² of sails. Her raven black high gloss hull reflects the ripples of the water, and one glance at the three towering masts instantly give the sense of power that this mighty yacht has.

ATLANTIC Specifications

Type/Year:Van Der Graaf BV/2010 
Beam:8.85m (29' ) 
L.O.A.:64.40m (211' 3") 
Max Speed:18 knots 
Engines:Yanmar 555kw at 1840 rpm 
Cruise Speed:10 knots 
More Yacht Info: , ,  
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Atlantic is the largest classic sailing schooner ever created, measuring 185 feet (56 metres) over the deck and with the bowsprit to boom length of 227 feet (69 metres). Her graceful sheerline and long overhangs accentuate her grace while her waterline length of 42 meters and narrow beam are a promise for unmatched speed under sail.

On June 23rd 2010, sailing schooner Atlantic sailed out to sea, three years after her keel was laid. The Owner, Ed Kastelein, saw his long term dream come true, as he witnesses his family, guest and crew step on board of Atlantic yacht. Her maiden voyage was a two-month leisurely cruise from Rotterdam to Cannes and she exceeded all expectations, sailing fast at every point of sail with amazing ease and comfort.

Yacht Charter Accommodation

ATLANTIC is able to accommodate up to 12 guests in 3 double and 3 twin en-suite staterooms including a large owner’s cabin with large double bed ensuite bathroom featuring a bathtub. She has a crew of 12.

Charter Amenities and Extras

Tenders & Toys: ~ Sillinger RIB 6.2 M.115 HP ~ Sailing boat with 12' doll- Water skis- bomber ring ~ Possibility to rent jet ski or other equipment depending on cruising area or itinerary.

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yacht Atlantic


Yard : Van der Graaf
Type : Sailing yacht
Guests : 12
Crew : 11
Cabins : 6
Length : 64.5 m / 211′8″
Beam : 8.85 m / 29′1″
Draft : 5 m / 16′5″
Year of build : 2010
Classification : Bureau Veritas
Displacement : Displacement
Type of engine : Diesel
Brand : Yanmar
Model : 6 AYM-ETE
Engine power : 744 hp
Total power : 744 hp
Maximum speed : 12 knots
Cruising speed : 11 knots
Range : 5000 nm
Gross tonage : 268
Hull : Steel
Superstructure : Aluminum
Decking : Teak
Decks : 3

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Sail Across the Atlantic – Everything You Need to Know

Whether you’re a serious sailor, sailing enthusiast or even a family with a shared love of the ocean, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean is an unforgettable offshore adventure.

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean is a dream that has captivated the hearts and minds of adventurers, explorers, and sailors for centuries. The vast expanse of water stretching between the continents of Europe and the Americas offers a unique and exhilarating challenge that beckons those with a spirit of adventure.

How Long Does It Take To Sail Across the Atlantic

Embarking on a transatlantic voyage is a dance with time itself. The duration of the journey hinges on several factors, especially the route you choose to take.

The northern passage typically takes between 15 to 30 days, depending on the specific route taken and prevailing conditions, while the southern passage route usually takes around 20 to 40 days to complete, depending on factors such as wind strength and sailing speed.

Transatlantic Routes

The Atlantic Ocean offers several routes, each with its own unique character and challenges. 

Sailing West to East with the North Atlantic Route

The North Atlantic route is known for its challenging conditions, including strong winds, rough seas, and rapidly changing weather. Sailors must be prepared to handle adverse conditions and make strategic decisions to ensure the safety of the crew and the vessel.

The voyage typically begins on the east coast of the United States or Canada and follows a northeasterly course toward Europe from Bermuda. 

One of the most popular routes is from Bermuda to Portugal and covers just over 2,706 nautical miles and takes 20 to 25 days to complete. Another popular route is Bermuda to the United Kingdom via the Azores covering 3,129 nautical miles and taking 25 to 31 days to complete. 

The best time to complete this route is from 1 July to 30 September. 

Sailing East to West with the Southern Passage

The southern passage route from Europe to the Caribbean is guided by steady trade winds and a gentler rhythm of the ocean. It offers a more predictable and comfortable sailing experience, as sailors can harness the consistent trade winds that blow from east to west across the Atlantic. This route is popular among sailors seeking a smoother and more leisurely crossing. 

The voyage typically begins in Europe , often from ports in Portugal or Spain, and heads southwest toward the Caribbean. While the southern passage is generally more favourable in terms of weather and sea conditions, sailors must still remain vigilant and prepared for changes in wind strength and direction.

sailing yacht atlantic

The most popular routes east to west are from Portugal to Barbados which covers 4,100 nautical miles and takes 21 to 31 days to complete, and from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia which covers 2,700 nautical miles and takes 20 to 25 days to complete. 

The best time to complete this route is from 30 November to 28 February. 

Weather on an Atlantic Crossing

The weather during a sailing trip across the Atlantic is influenced by a complex interplay of factors. Prevailing wind patterns, such as the Trade Winds and the Westerlies, shape the direction and speed of the vessel’s journey. 

Ocean currents, like the Gulf Stream, can accelerate or impede progress, affecting navigation decisions. Atmospheric pressure systems, such as high atmospheric pressure and low-pressure areas, dictate wind strength and weather conditions. 

Seasonal variations and geographical features, like the Azores High and the Intertropical Convergence Zone, introduce variability in wind and rain patterns. Additionally, the Atlantic’s vast size and varied geography contribute to regional differences in climate, with the potential for sudden weather changes and the formation of storms.

Weather information and forecasts play a critical role in helping skippers make informed decisions to navigate challenging conditions and avoid potential dangers.

The Right Sailboat to Sail Across the Atlantic

Selecting the appropriate vessel for a transatlantic voyage is a decision that shapes the entire experience. 

Monohulls: Monohull sailboats are known for their stability in rough seas and their ability to handle a variety of weather conditions. However, it’s essential to choose a well-built, ocean-worthy vessel designed for long-distance cruising. The right one can provide a level of comfort and convenience that can be especially appealing for those seeking a more leisurely transatlantic crossing.

sailing yacht atlantic

Multihulls: Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a multihull sailboat, which includes catamarans and trimarans, is becoming increasingly popular due to their unique advantages and capabilities. Multihulls have multiple hulls, which offer benefits in terms of stability, speed, and comfort, as well as much mroe deck space. 

Tall Ship: Steeped in history and romance, tall ships evoke the nostalgia of a bygone era. Their majestic masts and billowing sails harken back to the golden age of exploration and offer a unique and authentic seafaring experience. However, despite their size, crossing the ocean with a tall ship has its challenges and demands a skilled crew familiar with traditional sailing techniques.

Unconventional Boats: Many unconventional boats have crossed the Atlantic. British adventurer Roz Savage completed two solo Atlantic Ocean crossings in a rowboat. While others have tried but not yet succeeded in unconventional vessels like Andrew Bedwell who tried to cross in a 3.5 metre vessel. 

Technology Onboard

When undertaking an Atlantic crossing, a boat should be equipped with essential technology for safety and navigation. This includes GPS, electronic charts, radar, AIS, communication tools like VHF radio and satellite phone, emergency equipment such as EPIRB and life rafts, navigation and weather software, power generation sources like solar panels and wind generators, and backup systems for redundancy. 

Having backup tools, spare parts, and navigational charts ensures preparedness for emergency repairs. Proper familiarity with and maintenance of these technologies are crucial for a successful and secure voyage.

Is Bigger Better?

Ultimately, the “right” boat size for crossing the Atlantic depends on your personal preferences, the type of vessel you’re comfortable with, your sailing experience, and your intended voyage. Smaller boats, including monohulls and multihulls, have successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean, often with solo sailors or small crews. 

It’s essential to match the boat’s size with your skill level, comfort, and the goals you have for your voyage. Proper planning, preparation, and understanding your boat’s capabilities are key to a safe and enjoyable transatlantic crossing.

Who Can Sail Across the Atlantic

The allure of transatlantic sailing transcends skill levels, beckoning both seasoned sailors and those new to the world of seafaring.

sailing yacht atlantic

Skill Level

Novices can sail in guided group expeditions. Many sailing schools and organisations offer transatlantic training programs designed to prepare novice sailors for the challenges of open-ocean voyages. These programs cover topics such as navigation, seamanship, weather forecasting, and emergency procedures, ensuring that participants are well-equipped to handle the demands of a transatlantic crossing.

To start gaining more knowledge consider a course like your RYA Day Skipper. 

Solo and Groups

Experienced sailors can opt for solo endeavours, navigating the challenges of the open water alone. Solo transatlantic crossings require a high level of skill, self-sufficiency, and mental resilience. Solo sailors must be prepared to handle all aspects of the voyage, from navigation and sail trim to maintenance and emergency repairs. It is not an easy task but a rewarding one. 

Group transatlantic voyages offer the opportunity to share the challenges and triumphs of the journey with like-minded individuals. Crew members can provide support, share knowledge, and contribute their unique skills to the overall success of the voyage.

When Is The Best Time To Sail Across The Atlantic?

Navigating the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean demands strategic timing to ensure a safe and rewarding transatlantic crossing. Sailors must carefully consider multiple factors when determining the best time to embark on this epic journey. 

Avoid Hurricane Season

To mitigate risks, it’s crucial to avoid the peak of the hurricane season, which spans from early June to late November, by planning departures before or after this period. 

Trade Winds

The trade wind seasons play a pivotal role. Departing between November and January is ideal for east-to-west crossings (Europe to the Americas), taking advantage of strong easterly winds, while west-to-east voyages (Americas to Europe) are best undertaken from April to June. 

Transitional Seasons

The transitional seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) offer milder conditions, reducing the likelihood of encountering severe weather. Additionally, the Northern Hemisphere summer (June to August) may provide calmer conditions near specific regions like the Azores and Bermuda due to seasonal temperature gradients. 

Monitoring and Flexibility

Even with careful planning, weather conditions can vary. Modern technology, including advanced weather forecasting and satellite communication, allows sailors to monitor changing weather patterns closely. This flexibility enables them to adjust departure dates to align with the most favourable conditions.

What To Expect When You Sail Across The Atlantic

Embarking on a transatlantic voyage is a transformative experience that unveils a variety of emotions and encounters.

guests sailing across the atlantic

Isolation and Self-Discovery

The vastness of the open ocean fosters introspection, offering moments of solitude and self-contemplation. Sailing farther from land, the ocean becomes a place for self-discovery. Away from distractions, sailors connect with their thoughts, gaining profound insights and a deeper understanding of themselves.

Adapting to Dynamic Conditions

Navigating the Atlantic demands adaptability, as calm waters can swiftly turn tempestuous. Sailors encounter a range of weather patterns, from tranquillity to storms. Success hinges on quick decision-making, adjusting sails, altering course, and ensuring safety in rapidly changing wind and wave conditions.

Marine Life and Celestial Wonders

The Atlantic unveils captivating marine life and celestial spectacles. Sailors witness dolphins, whales, and seabirds in their natural habitat. Nights offer starry skies and bioluminescent wonders, like meteor showers, illuminating the transatlantic journey with awe-inspiring beauty.


The challenges and triumphs of crossing an ocean create a deep bond among crew members. Everyone is on the same journey, facing the same conditions, and working together towards a common goal.

Preparing for Sailing Across The Atlantic

Preparing for a transatlantic crossing demands meticulous planning and a comprehensive understanding of the necessities.

Route and Preparation

Craft a detailed route plan, communication strategies, and contingency plans for a successful transatlantic journey. Thorough preparation is key, covering route selection, departure dates, emergency procedures, and communication protocols. 

Consider wind patterns, currents, and potential hazards during route planning. Prepare provisions like food, water, and supplies. Develop contingency plans for adverse weather, medical emergencies, and navigation challenges.

Apparel for All Conditions

Pack layered clothing, foul-weather gear, and safety equipment to adapt to changing weather. Proper clothing ensures comfort and safety. Layering helps regulate temperature, and specialised gear like waterproof jackets, pants, and boots protects against the elements. Safety items like life jackets and harnesses are crucial on deck. Include hats, gloves, and sunglasses for sun protection.

Essential Gear and Tools

Equip with navigation tools, communication devices, safety gear, and spare parts. Success relies on proper gear. Navigation tools (GPS, charts, compasses) aid in plotting courses. Communication devices (satellite phones, radios) keep sailors connected. Safety gear like life rafts, EPIRBs, and flares are vital in emergencies. Carrying spare parts and tools prevents breakdowns.

Stock up on non-perishable food, fresh water, and cooking facilities. Consider food diversity and nutritional balance. Fresh water should be rationed, and watermakers or desalination systems help generate freshwater. Cooking facilities enable meal preparation, accounting for dietary preferences and nutritional needs.

Navigating Legally

Secure necessary permits and documentation for international waters. Crossing boundaries requires permits, visas, and paperwork for foreign ports. Research entry requirements and apply for permits early. Maintain organised vessel documentation for customs and immigration inspections.

Risks of Sailing Across the Atlantic

While Atlantic crossings offer an unparalleled sense of accomplishment, ocean sailing carries some inherent risks.

Weather Challenges

The Atlantic’s unpredictable weather presents dangers from storms to hurricane-force winds. Vigilant weather monitoring and advanced prediction tools help sailors adapt routes and sail plans. A defined storm plan, including course adjustments and reducing sail, is vital for safety in the face of approaching storms.

Health Considerations

Seasickness, fatigue, and medical emergencies require self-sufficiency at sea. Coping with seasickness involves staying hydrated and using medications. Combatting fatigue demands a well-structured watch schedule for adequate rest. Basic first-aid training and well-equipped medical kits are crucial for addressing health issues in remote settings.

Equipment Reliability

Vessel malfunctions demand resourcefulness and preparation. Mechanical, electronic, and communication systems can fail due to the ocean’s rigours. Pre-departure checks and onboard tools aid in identifying and addressing potential issues. Crew members should possess repair skills and improvisational abilities to tackle unexpected breakdowns and ensure vessel safety.

The ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers)

Participating in organized events like the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is one way to cross the ocean. The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is a renowned annual sailing event organised by the World Cruising Club and a favourite in the yachting world. It brings together sailors worldwide and provides an opportunity for sailors to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the company of a group, enhancing safety and camaraderie. 

ARC yachts sailing

There are three different ARC events, which present three different ways to cross the Atlantic. 

The original and most well-known event is the ARC. It typically takes place in November and involves a west-to-east crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands to Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean. 

The ARC covers a distance of approximately 2,700 nautical miles and is open to a wide range of sailing vessels, from small cruisers to larger yachts. It offers a combination of bluewater sailing, challenges, and social activities, making it a popular choice for sailors seeking both adventure and community.

ARC Europe is a variation of the ARC that offers a more flexible route for sailors who prefer a northern European departure. It typically starts from a European port (such as Portsmouth, UK) and finishes in the same location as the main ARC event, Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia. ARC Europe provides participants with the opportunity to experience a mix of coastal and offshore sailing as they make their way south to the Caribbean.

The ARC+ is designed for sailors who want to extend their voyage and explore more destinations before reaching the Caribbean. The ARC+ event offers two routes: one starting from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as in the main ARC event, and another starting from Mindelo in Cape Verde. Both routes converge in Saint Lucia, giving participants a chance to experience different cultures and sailing challenges along the way.

Each of these ARC events emphasises safety, camaraderie, and adventure. The World Cruising Club provides extensive support, including safety seminars, social events, weather routing, and radio nets to ensure participants have a smooth and enjoyable crossing. 

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean is a remarkable journey that demands a blend of skill, preparation, and a spirit of adventure. While it may seem like a daunting experience, it’s not just for seasoned sailors. With the right boat, people, equipment and preparation it is an accessible, life-changing adventure that almost anyone can enjoy. 

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What kind of boats cross the Atlantic Ocean? 7 Options explained

You’re looking for a way to go across the Atlantic without flying. What options are out there? Here are 7 options explained. I’ve tried five of them.

Sail across the Atlantic on a small vessel

Sailing an ocean on a Small sailing vessel

Many privately owned sailing vessels cross the Atlantic to spend a sunny sailing season either in the Mediterranean or Caribbean or as part of their around-the-world voyage. It is a big deal for them and attracts all sorts of seamen and women: young ‘pirate’ dudes who have escaped the rat race, adventure couples, retirees, families, groups of friends, and single older sailors.

The largest share of the captains is between 50 – 65 years old. It’s the group that has the time and money resources to sail. All sorts of nationalities make the crossing, with the French and Swedish seeming to dominate the fleet.

By crewing on a small sailing yacht, you’ll be involved with every aspect of seamanship and sailing. You will learn a lot for sure. Many boats choose to stop in Cape Verde or the Azores, and often don’t have tight schedules.

Sailing across the antlantic ocean

Boats come in all sorts of shapes and materials. Hulls are made from steel, wood, aluminium, and today mostly of fibreglass. 90% of the boats crossing the ocean is bigger than 36ft, with most of them measuring around 44ft. (14m).

A smaller yacht could also be perfectly ocean-worthy. I’ve seen boats of 26 ft. crossing the pond. Some adventure people row across the Atlantic. In 2017 someone even Stand Up Paddled (SUP) across the Atlantic. Being on any boat is a luxury compared to that.

Six people (out of 100) I interviewed in my book crossed the Atlantic on a boat smaller than 36ft. and all of them would like to do it again. This year we also have Nadiem, Ocean Nomads member who’ll sail across in his little sailboat.

Both monohulls and catamarans cross the Atlantic. Catamarans are generally faster, more spacious, and rock less. On the flip side: they can flip!  If  they do, it’s a major challenge to come up again. Don’t worry, this is extremely unlikely. Having seen hundreds of boats planning, preparing and making the crossing, I estimate that roughly 70% of the boats that cross are monohulls.

With Ocean Nomads we sometimes have small liveaboard sailing vessels looking for crew in the network to sail across, or members recommend a vessel from their networks.

In our brand new Ocean Nomads Crew Course , I share all the tips and tricks for finding and securing a safe sailing vessel with which to sail as crew. Eco & Adventure style. 

Sail with me & Ocean Nomads in Greece in 2024! Level up your sailing skills and make ocean people connections accelerating your sailing journey. 4 vessels, 11 days, 30 nomads! Learn More. 

Sail across the Atlantic on Superyacht

Many larger yachts cross the Atlantic as a ‘delivery’, where a boat needs to be taken from point A to B. Boats have to be moved across the ocean for a new charter season, for the private owner who will hop on board again on the other side, or because someone bought it on the other continent.

Usually, paid and professional crew do these types of deliveries. As an amateur crew member, you can be a cheap extra set of hands.

A yacht is a ‘superyacht’ when it is over 24 metres (79ft.). These are  big yachts. They often have generators running every day to keep fridges and freezers going. They load up thousands of litres of fuel and water, and are less dependent on the wind.

As such, there is less risk and generally more comfort. These trips often run on a tight schedule, so there won’t be much flexibility for stops along the way (like in Cape Verde or the Azores). In most cases, there will also be more people on board (five-eight people compared to three-five on smaller vessels).

Crossing on a big boat like this is faster, less adventurous, and more comfortable. The crew are often younger, and some live and work permanently on the boat. Many of them have crossed the Atlantic Ocean numerous times and are therefore less excited about it than the average ‘yachtie’.

Timelines are tight and there’s often not time for island exploration. Usually, you are expected to work hard. Also, it’s not unusual that superyachts don’t even use the sails to prevent damaging, and have the sails tip /top for when the owner comes on board.

A Transatlantic on a Charter yacht

If you would rather not have the pre-crossing adventure or spend too much time searching for a boat, and/or if money is not an issue, you can book a charter ocean passage. Charter trips are organised on all sorts of boats: small, big, monohulls, catamaran, and racing boats.

Numerous racing yachts cross the ocean reaching boat speeds up to 35 knots! In addition to professional crew, spots are sold and you can sign up for a wet and speedy adventure guaranteed.

A charter trip costs between €2,000 and €10,000. An organized trip like this could be advantageous if you’re on a tight schedule. It’s more likely to leave on the planned date.

At the same time, the time schedule could be a disadvantage. What if the weather window is not ideal to leave? In many cases, though not always, everything is taken care of such as provisioning and cooking, so you wouldn’t have to figure out much yourself.

Charter organisations need to comply with a lot of safety requirements and check ups to legally carry out the voyage. This assures some safety but still you need to do your homework if it’s a safe ride.

Another consideration of booking this type of passage is that you won’t know your shipmates. When you search the adventurous way, you have the opportunity to meet the other sailors before you commit to joining the crew. On a chartered passage you’re stuck with whoever else has booked the trip, even if you don’t like them.

With Ocean Nomads we work together with SV Twister and have the following Atlantic Crossing planned .

Sailing the Atlantic on a Tall ship

Every year, numerous tall ships sail across the Atlantic, like the Stad Amsterdam or Oosterschelde, and this year also SV Twister :) .  Sailing across on a large traditional boat is spectacular. Many young people work on the tall ships. You could either try that or buy yourself a passage.

I wrote the above in my book, a friend of SV Twister reached out to me. Long story short, last  year 2022/2023 I, with Ocean Nomads, organizing a trip across the Atlantic, Caribbean sea, and back across the Atlantic , and I now experience this way of sailing across also. You can join this trip in 2025 .

Sailing the Atlantic on a Tall ship

Update! We’re back from the Atlantic. And we made a film about it:) Here is a the film about Sailing the Atlantic with Ocean Nomads. My 5th Atlantic crossing.

Travel the Ocean with a Sail Boat Ferry

There are no sailing ferries (yet), although boats are being built for this purpose. At the time of writing, Voyagevert is conducting feasibility studies to construct the fastest and largest sailing catamaran for a ferry service as a sustainable alternative to flight for transatlantic travel. Also Fair ferry is looking into it.

A transatlantic on a cruise ships

Another kind of ferry are the cruise ships. More and more cruise ships cross the Atlantic to do the season on the other side. They need relocation and spots on board are sold as ‘repositioning cruises.’ It’s often cheaper than airfare and your house rent combined. One option that is cool, is ‘ Nomadcruise ,’ an Atlantic crossing for entrepreneurs and digital nomads.

These floating cities are not an environmentally friendly way to cross. It takes around eight days and a lot of noise to cross with a cruise ship. Data on emissions is remarkably difficult to find. Some sources state that an average cruise ship at sea emits more, and less filtered, smoke than one million cars combined each day.

In a one-week trip, a large cruise ship generates ten backyard swimming pools of blackwater (raw sewage) and 40 more swimming pools of greywater (water from sinks, baths, showers, laundry, and galleys). It also generates large volumes of oily bilge water, sewage sludge, garbage, and noise.

Sail Across the Atlantic on a Cargo ship

More cargo ships cross the Atlantic than sailboats. This is a non-sailing ship option that can take you across. Cargo ships usually rent out a few cabins to passengers. This costs a few thousand euros. Travelling with a cargo vessel can be a good alternative if you want to cross the ocean, don’t like sailing, and do not want to fly. Prepare to be surrounded by engine noise. Crossing on a cargo would take one to two weeks. Depending on the weather, cargo and size, cargo vessels run between 15-25 knots . 

There are also  sailing  cargo Atlantic crossing possibilities out there. ‘ Tres Hombres ‘ is a 32 metres Schooner transporting traditional goods like rum and chocolate between the Caribbean and Europe. Timbercoast is a 1920 built 43.5m Schooner that transports goods like coffee and gin. Both ships welcome crew on board helping out with this sustainable way of transporting goods.

My ocean sailing preference

“What kind of boat are you joining?” This was the first question most people asked me when I told them I was going to cross the Atlantic Ocean by sail. At the time, I knew nothing about boats, and thought “Does it matter? I just want to make the passage!” Having sailed across on five completely different boats across the Atlantic, I know now that the type of boat determines large part of the experience.Not just because of the boat, but because of the tasks and people involved with that type of boat.

My preference is to crew on a smaller monohull sailboat of 40-44ft – basic but adventurous and on these boats, I’ve met the coolest captains. Monohulls are more fun to sail. It’s easier to ‘feel’ the boat as opposed to a catamaran. It’s kind of like a scooter versus a quadbike.

Smaller boats generally allow for more exploring and socialising time around the harbour- since there’s usually less work to be done. This is the adventurous way of travelling by sailboat where you go with the weather and with others as excited about the adventure as you. I sailed as crew on these kind of sailboat for years ( Here is a video summary of my story ).

At the end, it’s the people who make the trip! In my survey amongst 100 Atlantic ocean Crew & Captains who have done it, almost everyone answered to the question: “what would you do different, if you’d go again?” “I’d take more time to find the right vessel, with like minded and value sharing people.

Finding a boat is the easy part, finding the right and safe vessel aligned with your vibes and values, is the main challenge. With Ocean Nomads we now created a toolkit to help you dip your toes into the ocean nomads lifestyle , happy, safe, and meaningful.

How to find a sail boat ride across the Atlantic?

Here’s what I and ocean nomads have created for you to help you get out there, happy, safe, and meaningful.

It’s that time of the year again when many head south and west to follow the sun, catch the tradewinds, and realize ocean dreams.

Travelling an ocean on someone else’s sailing boat, or taking a stranger on board is not a straightforward endeavour. To be ready to expect the unexpected, careful investigation and preparation is essential. Four Ocean Crossings and 30.000 Miles of boat hitchhiking on dozens of vessels, as well as organizing crew for +10 different trips now, I figured out a few things, and keep learning:).

Here are the latest waypoints to help you on an ocean adventure, fun & impact:


  • We’ve created resources and mini-courses on Sailing across the Atlantic, Offshore crew packing lists, Ocean crew preparing tips. Provisioning with minimum waste, Veggie recipes, Zero waste nomad life, and ocean education information. But the real value is the network you can tap into, find answers, connections, and support to make the ocean adventure dreams real.


  • Because of that we can create way real value and attract real dedicated members only who are serious about making dreams real. 

NEW in 2024! The Sailboat Travel Crew Prep course.

I help you transition from being new to sailboat travel to a confident crew member securing a position safe, soon and sustainable. All my sailing lifestyle crew tips condensed into one pack. 

Collage of various travel-related images and documents spread out around a central computer screen, displaying a video on travel with a young woman smiling.

Ps. If any of the above has helped you, I’d love to hear so! Make a comment, leave a review on @oceanpreneur or @oceannomads.community, fill out the big Atlantic Ocean Crew survey

On which boat have you crossed or would you be most exciting to cross the Atlantic?

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Hi! My name is Suzanne. I'm here to help you go on ocean adventures and make positive impact for a healthier ocean. Explore this website to learn what I do and how you can make some splashes too!

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🧜‍♀️Ocean & Eco 💙 Explorer Tips & Tales 🗺️+15yr Fulltime Adventurer by Sail & Van 🧭Travel Oceans @howtotravelbysailboat ⛵️Tribe @oceannomads.community

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the call of the crossing, transatlantic superyachts

The unexpected joys of sailing across the Atlantic

Three owners joined their superyachts to cross the Atlantic and found more than they expected in the vastness of the ocean, they tell Caroline White .

Crossing oceans is a necessity if you want to get your yacht to the good stuff on either side. But, of course, the owner doesn’t need to be on board – that’s what paid crew (or even a yacht transport ship) are for. The conventional view is that two weeks and 3,000 nautical miles of rolling Atlantic – with bad weather or a technical failure the only likely source of excitement – make the Atlantic milk run a chore, a bore, even a little frightening: a venture you’d probably want to get a pay cheque out of.

But three owners defied this received wisdom to see other possibilities in joining their sailing yachts across the pond, from Europe to the Caribbean. Ilia Rigas and her daughter Nepheli, owners of 50-metre Almyra II , started from Syracuse in Sicily, while Nina Vibe-Petersen, owner of 54-metre Parsifal III and 52-metre Q , started from Gibraltar on the latter. Both yachts left in November last year to arrive in St Barths.

“Our goal was to do a circumnavigation,” says Rigas. “This is the reason we bought a Perini . We thought okay, let’s do the crossing, let’s go to the Caribbean.” She was inspired, in part, by the poem Ithaka , by the great Greek poet C.P. Cavafy, about how the value of a great journey lies in the journey itself, rather than the destination.

For Vibe-Petersen, a physical ailment brought with it the impetus to seize the day. “I was planning to do it with my family, but nobody ever had the time. And then last year I broke my shoulder, and I felt so helpless. I was like, I have to do it now.  And then some of my friends said they would love to go with me – they’re not used to sailing at all, so that was exciting.”

In terms of prep, Vibe-Petersen stocked up on craft materials, while Rigas made sure they had a wealth of movies queued up – both on the reasonable assumption that they’d have long, empty days to fill. Nepheli, meanwhile, didn’t think too much about it at all. “I have a  few friends that have done it and some of them didn’t have the best experience,” she says. “So I shied away from really thinking about it or discussing it until I was on the boat. I was trying to focus on the moment and not overthink anything.”

Initially, at least, this trepidation was well-founded, as Ilia recalls. “The weather turned bad when we reached Gibraltar and some crew left us out of fear, leaving me in charge of the ship’s kitchen,” she says. “I had reservations about cooking for the crew and loved ones, but I managed to brave the situation, wading through the unfamiliar kitchen and huge waves with nothing but grit and determination. Even with all the uncertainties, I found some much-needed time to relax. I started practising yoga, walking on the treadmill, and looking at the sea’s vastness while listening to the white noise of the ocean.”

Vibe-Petersen and her friends also tried yoga on deck but, “we were just rolling around”, so they put on loud music and danced: “that was really fun”. The endless sea and sky, far from requiring distractions, proved hypnotic, even addictive.

“There’s no light pollution and the stars almost hang,” she says. “You think you can actually take them with your hands. It’s just so beautiful and so peaceful to be there – I think we got less sleep because we wanted to be up and see the sunrise, and then we also wanted to see the sundown.”

In the end, the crossing experience confounded apprehensions for the owners of both yachts. Rigas, who heads the sustainability department of a FTSE 250 energy company, usually has scant time alone with her thoughts. “Normally, I cannot concentrate because my life is so hectic but here, without anything else, I could focus; I could read a book, play backgammon, things that I cannot normally do in my daily routine. And that’s what I loved.” In effect, the difference in situation changed the way her mind worked, “Automatically though, without really making any effort. Because you’re there and you cannot escape.” She kept a journal for the first time in her life, and it helped her reflect on: “my needs, what gives me passion, and what brings me down in life”.

Nepheli planned to catch up on work during the long hours at sea. But instead, she ended up on night watches with her father. “It was very quiet,” she recalls. “You could hear nothing but the sea and the waves. You’re in the middle of the Atlantic so there’s not much to see at night, other than the stars. Sometimes the sea was shining from the plankton. It was the two of us – no one else around. There were times we were talking the whole time. There were other times that we were completely silent. It was amazing.”

In the middle of the Atlantic, owners and guests also spend considerably more time in close proximity to the crew than they would normally. “All of us had a lot of fun with the crew and they were very engaged – they wanted to give us a beautiful first [crossing],” says Vibe-Petersen. “When we were halfway they dressed up and we were [as is traditional] baptised in rotten food and eggs; we also had to swim when we were halfway with all the crew, and had a lot of nice talks on the watches. I think everybody enjoyed that very much and yes, we became very good friends.”

On board Almyra II the owners strived for a relatively egalitarian lifestyle. “We were trying to prevent a disconnect between us and the crew,” says Nepheli. “All of us did six-hour shifts to support the crew – on a boat going 24 hours a day, everyone needs to help. At the halfway point we had a big party on board, with a lunch all together. It was very important for us to have the sense that we’re in this together.”

What about when they finally arrived in the Caribbean – were they itching to jump onto a powder sand beach? “Normally when I come to St Barths I’m very excited,” says Vibe-Petersen. “But this time we were almost crying; we didn’t want to get off the boat again.” Similarly, Nepheli recalls waiting gloomily for customs to clear them into one of the world’s most beautiful anchorages. It is perhaps Ilia, however, for whom the crossing was the most profound experience. “I think when you know that it’s going to finish soon, this makes it more magical,” she says. “I learned to appreciate nature more than before, watching sunsets, the shapes of the clouds.”

The experience was so affecting, in fact, that she did it again. “On my first crossing it took a while for me to realise that I had started with the weight of my city burdens on my shoulders. I had let the problems of my city life, my business life and the crew life follow me onto the ship, inadvertently impacting my experience,” she says.  “I knew I wanted to cross again, but this time I wanted to do it all on my own. I left behind any responsibility, family or friends and embarked on my journey with the minimum-possible professional crew. By the second crossing, I felt content exploring and soaking in the different Caribbean cultures, ending the journey with the St Barths regatta. Having such an amazing racing experience made it all so much more memorable. I returned home alone, feeling energised and reinvigorated to take on whatever came my way.”

Throughout this second, pared-back crossing she was freer to do as she wished – she loved being out in the open, setting the sails, letting different music dictate her mood. “The repetition of my daily routine made me feel like I belonged, and I found myself laughing every morning. I savoured every ounce of time away from the pressure and guilt of free time found in the hustle and bustle of city life,” she says.

Aside from the thrill of adventure – exploring vast stretches of open water – this environment offers vistas and sunsets unlike any you can experience elsewhere. On a practical level, Rigas points out, a crossing tests a superyacht’s endurance, stability and navigation systems in the most extreme conditions. It also fosters team bonding and forges deep connections among those on board – no bad thing if you want to keep a well-loved crew for a long time.

She is evangelical about the experience, which afforded her self-reflection and personal growth. It could provide a valuable reset for busy owners before diving into a season in the Med or Caribbean. A superyacht offers plenty of experiences you can’t have anywhere else, and this, perhaps, is a lesser-known one. “I know people who have everything yet fail to connect with nature and themselves. It’s not about having; it’s about daring to take action and having a passion for life. Talking to interesting people and allowing their stories to inspire you to find new ways of living is what truly matters. Remember,  where there is a will, there is a way – excuses will disappear.”

It seems that while there may be spectacular cruising grounds on either side of the Atlantic, there’s plenty of good stuff in the middle too.

First published in the September 2023 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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Life-changing voyage: Sailing solo across the Atlantic in a 22ft sloop

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  • May 28, 2019

Max Campbell explains how his dream of sailing solo across the Atlantic almost became a nightmare


Flying Cloud is hardly the ideal yacht for sailing across the Atlantic

Having graduated from university, we had no commitments to work or education, and the freedom was overwhelming. And what better way to travel than a small sailing boat? We were transients, able to make a home wherever we dropped anchor – ever sure of a warm bed and a hot meal.

Our arrival in France was a novel occurrence, for both us and the people we met. With every stop, people were taken aback at the sight of two Cornish boys in a tiny wooden boat.


Max and Harry aboard Flying Cloud in northern Spain

We headed south down the Atlantic coast and by September, we were cruising west along the rugged, green and foggy northern coast of Spain. We were welcomed in the smallest fishing harbours, our long mooring lines fixed to the tall granite harbour walls. The friendly harbour authorities would come by and ask for nothing more than our names, then invite us to make use of the facilities and stop for a drink at the local Club Nautico.

In Portugal, the lush scenery was replaced with a flat, arid landscape. Brightly painted houses lay behind rocky cliffs and long sandy beaches. We poled out the jib and embraced the Portuguese tradewinds, goose-winging our way to Lisbon. Here we made friends not with the locals, but with a motley group of single-handed yachtsmen, who were all, like us, bound for the Caribbean for the winter. We were living the same dream – and we were doing it on a shoestring.

Then Harry jumped ship and joined up with a girl who had a van. In Lisbon he moved his possessions from Flying Cloud ’s modest saloon into his new lover’s comparatively spacious 1997 Vauxhall Arena. It was an emotional goodbye, and initially I felt lonely and slightly dispirited at the thought of no longer having my best friend around to share conversation and boost morale. Also, on a practical level, it meant I would be unable to leave the helm when underway. So Harry was replaced with a bungee attached to the tiller – the ultimate short-term self-steering system.

Article continues below…

sailing yacht atlantic

‘Did you sail that thing here?’ – solo across the Atlantic in a Folkboat

It’s a funny thing, the further I sailed away from northern Europe, the more attention my boat attracted in marinas…


Unfinished business: Sailing back across the Atlantic in a 22ft sloop

This is part two of Max Campbell’s account of sailing solo across the Atlantic – make sure to read part…

My inspiration to continue sailing came from Flying Cloud ’s library, which contained an array of works by influential adventurers: Chris Bonington, Tristan Jones, John Guzzwell, Shane Acton, Yossi Ghinsberg, Laurie Lee, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Bernard Moitessier. Dreams of adventure occupied my thoughts; I yearned for adventures of my own.

The imperfect vessel

Flying Cloud is a strong and capable little yacht. Her decks had been sheathed in epoxy, and she had a relatively modern aluminium rig and single cylinder Yanmar engine. But there were still three very important additions I needed to make before sailing across the Atlantic : self-steering; a sprayhood; and drainage in the cockpit.

I had always believed modern sprayhoods looked tacky on classic yachts and for a long time I rejected the idea of getting one. But every time solid water cascaded over the cabin top, which happened quite a lot, a hose-like stream shot down from under the sliding hatch and soaked the inside of the cabin. Keith Buchanan from Rat Island Sailboat Company, based on the Isles of Scilly, put together a canvas sprayhood, which fitted nicely over my sliding hatch.


Plans for the self-steering system aboard Flying Cloud were drawn up by Max and his stepfather, Dave Cockwell, a master shipwright, in Portugal

I also covered the cockpit footwell with plywood and made two drain holes through the transom. It wasn’t totally self-draining, but it was a lot better than before.

Lastly, my stepfather, Dave Cockwell, who happens to be a master shipwright, and I created a series of drawings for a bespoke self-steering system. It was loosely based the design by Blondie Hasler, the man who founded the OSTAR in 1960, where the wind vane turns the trim tab, and the flow of water past the tab causes it to swing in the opposite direction, altering the course of the yacht.

Apart from the wooden vane and nylon bearings, everything was made from stainless steel. There were no wires or lines and no possibility of wear.


The wind vane self-steering and linkage

I sailed round to the Rio Guadiana, the turbid, meandering river that separates the south of Portugal from Spain, and finally finished building the self-steering moored among the community of British expats in between the Spanish village of San Lucar and the Portuguese village of Alcoutim.

I was making plans to leave, when a big low moved over the Algarve bringing three days of torrential rain. The water level quickly rose in the river and the current doubled in strength. One night, a southerly gale blew up in opposition to the river current and Flying Cloud swung around on her anchor chain like a wrecking ball. A big, saturated log, which must have rolled downstream along the river bed, managed to wrap itself three times around my anchor chain.

After a long struggle to free the boat, I motored back down river, weaving my way between extensive bamboo rafts, garden sheds, and bits of homemade pontoon, finally ghosting out from behind the breakwater and back into the comparatively clean and clear sea water of the Algarve.

In a westerly Force 3, I headed south-west and tried the self-steering, watching anxiously as my contraption took command. As Flying Cloud began to head up, the wind vane detected the change in direction and pushed on the trim-tab tiller, which shifted to starboard bringing her back on course. I was ready for the Atlantic.

  • 1. The imperfect vessel
  • 2. To the Atlantic islands

He crossed the Atlantic solo in a boat he built himself

On a foggy morning in November 2023, five boats left Portugal and began racing across the Atlantic. Jack Johnson from Cypress, Calif., is on the left. (Courtesy of Sailing Fair Isle)

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He was 1,300 miles from land, and another storm was barreling in.

Wind at 30 knots and climbing.

Chop, steep and shallow.

Sheets of rain erased the sky.

A view of a white sailboat at sea, with a U.S. flag on a sail and red-and-black stripes at the stern, illuminated at night

Three weeks earlier, he had left the Canary Islands for Antigua, and now in the middle of the Atlantic, he was alone and scared and ready to give up. He had been fighting a series of squalls throughout the night.

Waves slammed into his small sailboat as it rose and fell over steep swells. The wind howled, and spray pelted him.

He tugged on a tether fastening him to a safety line to keep him from falling overboard and scrambled onto the deck to take down the sails.

And to think: Not so long ago, Jack Johnson and his wife, Deby, were racing their dinghy in Alamitos Bay, white sails coloring a blue sky. Orange County was their home, and they loved summertime regattas, late afternoons on the water after work, dinner with friends on the patio of their yacht club.

Now tossed about like a dog’s toy, he was off course and barely holding on.

Jack never imagined racing alone across the Atlantic, much less in a boat he built himself.

Yet sitting at his computer in October 2020, he typed his credit card number and agreed to a nonrefundable deposit toward a $10,000 kit of precut plywood that with enough screws, epoxy and fiberglass would one day become a 19½-foot sailboat.

The idea had seemed preposterous. COVID-19 was spreading, and everyone was in lockdown.

Jack was 47 at the time and married for only two years. He and Deby were building their future, and they had family to consider. Her mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. How could he step away from all of that?

A man in a red long-sleeved shirt and gray pants, left, and another in dark blue polo shirt and jeans, walk on a dock

Yet she had encouraged him, because that is what they did for each other: support the best version of themselves.

“That sounds right up your alley,” she said when he told her about a solo race with a DIY ethos and an ocean to cross.

At first, he had thought the race, called the Globe 5.80 Transat, a little crazy, which was why he shared a link with his friend Michael Moyer.

They had known each other since their days on the Newport Harbor High School sailing team. Moyer was always doing wild things. He and his wife, Anita, had sailed the world, true vagabonds of the sea.

Moyer liked the idea and signed up. Jack agreed to help him build the boat but soon realized he too wanted to join the race.

He had once thought the script of his life was written — go to school, get a job, settle in. Chained to routine. Unmarried and uninvolved, he saw himself dying alone. That was 10 years ago.

Deby had proved him wrong. Her love opened up possibilities he never imagined. He now had a partner, four stepdaughters and a Persian cat named Punkin.

If his world could change like that, then maybe sailing alone across the Atlantic in a boat the size of an F-150 pickup wasn’t impossible.

Even if it sounded crazy.

Johnson named his boat Right Now, after the Van Halen song. He liked the lyrics: “Don’t wanna wait ‘til tomorrow / Why put it off another day?” (Robert Edmonds / nrg-digital.co.uk)

A sailboat on the water, with clouds in a blue sky as the backdrop

Four wooden crates arrived from North Carolina, containing 700 pieces of marine-grade plywood cut, shaped and numbered for convenient assembly. The two men, who had leased a small industrial unit in a Santa Ana business park, spread the jigsaw puzzle out on the floor — “like one big Ikea project,” said Jack — and got busy.

Working on their individual boats, they laid out the ribs and bulkheads, then the stringers and planks. They fastened the pieces, and as construction progressed, the shop took on the smells of mahogany and fir, polyurethane paint and fiberglass.

Moyer took the day shift, and Jack, who kept his engineering job in Fullerton, came in at night, sleeping on his workbench, a box for a pillow. Mornings he raced home to make Deby a cup of coffee, a ritual from their dating days.

Once the hulls were covered with fiberglass, the two men began smoothing the surfaces for speed. Dressed in jumpsuits with hoodies, face masks and ear muffs, they burned through sheets of sandpaper. They felt as if they were living inside a snow globe.

When ordering and registering their electronics — GPS, collision avoidance systems — they had to name their boats. Moyer chose Sunbear, the smallest species of bear, fitting for the smallest species of ocean-class sailboat.

Jack picked Right Now, for his favorite Van Halen song .

Don’t wanna wait ’til tomorrow

Why put it off another day?

Shipping delays — masts from France, sails from Sri Lanka — delayed their start for nearly two years. In October 2023, Jack and Moyer packed their boats in a shipping container and flew to Lagos, in southern Portugal.

Deby soon joined them, and she and Jack began each morning with pasteis de nata at a bakery before he left for the boatyard to finish rigging.

The fleet leaves Lanzarote, the easternmost of the Canary Islands, as the boats race to Antigua in the eastern Caribbean. (Robert Edmonds / nrg-digital.co.uk)

On race day — Nov. 11 — he rose at 4 a.m., left her sleeping and quietly began taking supplies down to the boat.

Ahead of him lay the first leg of a race that would take him and four other boats to the Canary Islands, a relatively safe qualifier of 650 miles before they undertook the 3,200-mile crossing of the Atlantic for Antigua in the eastern Caribbean.

The race was initially conceived in 1977 as a “poor man’s Transatlantic.” At the time, offshore sailboat racing was dominated by wealthy sailors and million-dollar yachts. To buck the trend, organizers designed a safe, uniform and inexpensive boat that competitors could build by themselves.

Although there was no prize, Jack was looking forward to seeing what he was capable of and to prove wrong those who said he was foolhardy or nuts.

Yet when he was done loading the boat, he came back to bed as if trying to hold off the inevitable. All that he had worked for was now happening, and as hardened as he was to the prospect of being alone, he realized how un-alone he actually was.

For the last three years, Deby, his stepdaughters and the members at the club had come together to help him achieve this goal. When the time came to say goodbye to her, he cried “like a 6-year-old with a skinned knee.”

Each boat was equipped with a special tracking device that relied on a GPS satellite network. In this video, Jack Johnson’s boat is colored bright green; Michael Moyer’s boat is blue. The gray boat indicates the winning boat in the 2021 race. Rather than heading west from the Canary Islands, the sailors followed the coast of Africa south in search of the trade winds that eventually sent them on their westerly course. (Courtesy of YB Tracking)

He hugged and kissed Deby at the dock one last time. She’d be flying back to California in a couple of days. Wiping away his tears, he started powering Right Now to the starting line. A low fog blanketed the mouth of the harbor.

Ahead of him was Sunbear with its bright yellow hull. He and Moyer had competed against each other in high school, and Moyer had always won.

Today they were up against three other boats. Their finish line for the first leg was Lanzarote, the easternmost of the Canary Islands.

With the wind at their backs, the fleet made good progress despite choppy seas off Gibraltar. They had heard about orcas sinking boats in this region of the Atlantic, and Moyer even brought window cleaner, figuring the ammonia would drive them away.

Jack fell in sync with the rhythm of the days at sea.

Catnapping through the night, he rose at first light. Breakfast was leftovers from dinner. He studied charts and weather and got to work trying to coax as much speed from his boat as possible.

While he had sailed long distances before, never had he done it alone or in a boat that he built himself. He hoped experience would see him through, but he also knew, as the adage goes: Life tests you first, then provides the lessons.

Photographs and compass keychain are pinned to a map

1. On the wall of their townhome in Cypress, Deby Johnson hung a map of the world pinned with mementos of husband Jack’s voyage. 2. Jack Johnson had once thought the script of his life was written — until he met his wife, Deby, who made it possible for him to pursue his dream of racing across the Atlantic. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

To break the monotony, he’d listen to podcasts. He’d munch on a tortilla smeared with peanut butter and honey, and at the end of the day, treat himself to a glass of rum and keep a promise he’d made to Deby.

She asked him to take a picture of every sunset, and his phone filled with colors of the western sky, laced with clouds and distant storms.

After less than a week, the fleet arrived at the aptly named Marina Rubicon, a popular launching point for Atlantic sailors. Jack was first, and Moyer, who finished second to last, knew he had underestimated the competition.

After a 10-day layover, the boats left for the Caribbean. One sailor had dropped out, leaving just four boats plowing down the coast of Africa — Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania — in search of the trade winds.

Three days out, Jack celebrated his 51st birthday by opening Deby’s present that he had stowed on board: a pack of Nutter Butter cookies and a flash drive of photos and a video she had made.

“I am so amazed at all that you have accomplished!” she wrote in her card.

The days were bright and sun-soaked. Nights were as dark as the inside of a glove. Squalls blew in from the Sahara; the rainwater, brown with desert dust, served for showering and washing clothes.

After a week — 70 miles north of the Cape Verde Islands — the sailors hit the trade winds and began charting west.

On Dec. 11 — halfway to Antigua and in first place by almost 100 miles — Jack celebrated, opening Deby’s second gift: a small bottle of Hendrick’s gin and the requisite accompaniment of tonic.

“You are my sunshine and my rock,” she wrote in this card. “You make me smile and keep me sane.”

Longing to hear her voice, he picked up the satellite phone. It would be morning in California, and she’d be home getting ready for work.

“Hello,” she said, shocked to hear his voice. Was everything OK?

He reassured her.

Was calling breaking the rules?

A pair of hands holding a white notecard with a handwritten message

They’d be all right, he said, so long as they didn’t talk about the race or the weather.

She relaxed, and they took a moment to catch up. The girls were doing well, and Deby had been making the long drive to Lake Havasu alone to visit and check in on her parents. He asked whether she got the card that he had buried in the second drawer of her dresser. It was his halfway gift. She did.

“Hurrying to see you,” he had written.

Like the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic is governed by the jet stream, which, ever shifting, had altered its course, pushing the trade winds closer to the equator. That dynamic — along with the overheated water of the Atlantic — created for the sailors a patch of ocean riven by errant low-pressure fronts and violent storms like the one Jack was fighting three days later.

With the sails down, waves slamming against the hull, he scrambled onto the deck to set a sea anchor, a small device tossed overboard that would help keep the boat from rolling and swamping. But the knot he tied slipped, and the anchor was lost.

Cursing himself, he climbed back in the cockpit and stayed on the tiller, doing his best to maneuver through the storm with its 40-mph winds. The storms the night before — and now this — had taken their toll.

“… chaos, absolute chaos … tired and wet and sick of being here and sick of sailing and just not having a great time...,” he recorded in a voice-to-text log.

Eventually, the sky began to lighten. He had gotten through the worst of it. The winds were tapering.

Jack raised his sails, turned on the autopilot and tried to sleep. He had a story to tell Deby, for sure, but he’d downplay it so as to not worry her, and he’d get back on track with those sunset shots.

The next day, he laid his gear in the sun to dry, opened up the cabin and surveyed the boat for damage. A weld in the rigging had cracked but was manageable.

A boat with red-and-black sails on the water

He was pleased with how the boat had held up. In offshore racing, boats sink. Sailors fall overboard. Masts snap, and equipment breaks, and in this part of the Atlantic, rescue can take days.

Most of all, Jack was frustrated and worried that he was no longer competitive with the other sailors and well behind Moyer.

Then the ocean became as still as glass. The windless days were hot, and nights brought rain. For all his preparations, Jack never anticipated being bored. Nothing plus nothing equaled nothing. He slept more than ever.

“… I’m not thinking straight and I’m not sailing fast and I can’t bring myself to care … I’m sick of it. I just want to get home and kiss Deby and love her and not leave her for a while,” he recorded.

Three days before Christmas, he encountered a whale almost as big as his boat. Relieved it wasn’t an orca, he climbed up on the deck to take a picture. The lugubrious creature surfaced next to the boat, cut across the bow, dived, then reemerged.

“… hasn’t shown any real aggression but I imagine they don’t until they do,” Jack observed.

Whenever he went below or got lost in a task, he’d look up and there it still was. He thought about jumping in. What would it be like to swim beside a whale? After five hours, it was gone.

The next night, more rain fell. As he was putting on his foul-weather gear, a wave hit the boat, and he fell headfirst into a grab bar mounted in the ceiling.

Soon, the world was spinning around him. Dizzy and fatigued after 28 days at sea, he made a special point of making sure he was clipped securely onto the safety line whenever he went on deck.

With no wind, he drifted along, until almost a week later, his sails gently filled, and he started to fly. The sea was flat, and as night fell, the wind didn’t let up. Antigua lay over the horizon.

At dawn, Jack crossed the finish line in first place. He had sailed 3,186 miles in 33 days, 21 hours, 2 minutes.

He called Deby, and then the clubhouse on Alamitos Bay where his friends had gathered. The building echoed with their cheers.

A person in dark clothing stands on a dock facing a man on a boat popping open a bottle of champagne

When Moyer arrived 24 hours later in second place, Jack greeted him at the dock with handshake, a hug and a rum and Coke.

The final celebration in Antigua was anticlimactic, dinner at a tapas restaurant before the sailors left for home. Jack has been told there is a trophy but hasn’t seen it.

The wind is typically light in Alamitos Bay, where every Thursday evening, Jack and Deby race their small dinghy. He still rises early each morning to brew her coffee before work and has been joining her on the long drive to Lake Havasu to visit her parents.

For nearly four years, he had been focused on crossing the Atlantic in the boat built with his own hands, and he’s now wondering if it’s time to push himself in a new direction, away from sailing perhaps, like into a dance class. The idea intrigues and terrifies him. He admits to being a poor dancer, but with Deby’s help, he might have a chance.

“So much is easy for so many of us,” he said. “If we want something, we can go out and get it. We are not challenged in our daily life to do things that are difficult, and as a result, the smallest things knock us off balance.”

Still he’s trying to decide whether to continue with the race when the fleet leaves Antigua for Panama, then Tahiti and around the world next year. He wouldn’t have Moyer — who recently sold Sunbear — joining him, and as a measure of his own ambivalence, he’s put Right Now up for sale or charter.

He doubts anyone will be interested though, and that would be just fine.

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Thomas Curwen is staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, specializing in long-form narratives, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2008 for feature writing.

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Frugal Traveler

Affordable Island-Hopping in Croatia? What Could Go Wrong?

A 30-percent-off Black Friday sale on a cruise aboard a yacht meant off-season sailing and being prepared for the unexpected.

A view from a hill of a red-roofed town surrounding a harbor. In the foreground, the ruins of an ancient fortification wall follow the downward slope of a steep hill. And in the distance, beyond the harbor with its numerous small boats, is a string of small green islands.

By Elaine Glusac

Elaine Glusac is the Frugal Traveler columnist, focusing on budget-friendly tips and journeys.

As Croatians tell the story , the Greek hero Odysseus was shipwrecked and held captive on the Croatian island of Mljet. Visiting in May, I and six other sailors embraced the myth when the motor on our 54-foot yacht failed.

“Remember, Odysseus spent seven years on Mljet,” said Ivan Ljubovic, our captain. “We can do two nights.”

In the scheme of things, the clogged fuel filter that impeded our progress on a seven-night, island-hopping cruise from Split to Dubrovnik on a yacht — which the passengers helped sail — was minor. Though an engine, even on a sailboat, is vital for docking and sticking to schedules on becalmed days, most of my shipmates agreed that getting waylaid in a village with Roman ruins on a turquoise bay was an acceptable fate.

I had been resigned to what were, in my mind, worse inconveniences when I had signed up for the trip last November. Then, the tour operator G Adventures had put several trips on sale over the Black Friday weekend. Its best deals were in the off-season, which meant potentially chilly weather and closed restaurants and attractions. But leaving in late April for seven nights of island hopping at roughly $1,300 — after a 30 percent discount — was too tempting to pass up.

My cousin Kim agreed and we made plans to pack rain gear and meet in Split to test the budget waters.

‘Everything between is an adventure’

Little about the itinerary was published pre-departure and none of it was firm.

“Split and Dubrovnik are fixed,” said the captain, who would pilot the ship solo and double as our guide, on our first day. “Everything between is an adventure.”

It started with the Sauturnes, a handsome Kufner yacht with four snug guest cabins, four economical bathrooms where the retractable faucet doubled as a shower spigot, and a spacious galley. Our “crew,” a mix of Australians and Americans ranging from 18 to 75 — all of whom had also jumped on the promotional pricing — spent most of the time atop the boat, where foam mattresses invited sunbathing and a cockpit awning provided shade.

The weather, which turned out to be sunny and comfortably cool, was not our greatest concern. The G Adventures website had mentioned well-known islands, including beachy Brac and Vis , which played a convincing Greek idyll in the movie “Mamma Mia 2.” But since many places would be closed in the shoulder season, we would proceed, according to the captain, based on the dictates of the weather and conditions on shore.

Meals were not included, which meant finding open restaurants was critical. For shipboard breakfasts and lunches, we each chipped in 50 euros (about $54) for communal groceries, which we shopped for at local markets. At night, we would dine at restaurants; G Adventures advised budgeting $250 to $325 for the week, which was accurate, though we often splurged on Croatian wine (a carafe of house red averaged $15).

Small ports

After the frenzy of grocery shopping and moving into the bunk-bedded cabin Kim and I shared, we experienced the Zen of sailing as the ship set off on a sunny morning for 43-mile-long Hvar , the longest and purportedly sunniest island in Croatia.

Neighboring islands drifted past as the wind patterned the sea in shifting ripples and ruffles. A flock of shearwaters soared by at eye level.

Within a few hours, the ridgelines of steep Hvar appeared, revealing terraced lavender fields and olive orchards. Motoring down a long, narrow inlet, we arrived in Stari Grad , a village of stone homes with terra cotta roof tiles, as travelers had since 384 B.C., when Greek sailors from the island of Paros settled here.

Our mooring provided a front-row view of fishing boats and cafes animating the waterfront. Stari Grad’s attractions, including the Greek ruins of Faros and a 17th-century Venetian cathedral, had yet to open for the season, but we relished exploring the old quarter’s narrow lanes and deserted plazas.

From the waterfront, an aerobic 20-minute hike up a steep hill crowned by a giant white cross offered views over Stari Grad and the plains beyond, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of fourth-century agricultural fields, with stone walls circumscribing grapevines and olive orchards.

That evening, we visited them to reach Konoba Kokot , a farm restaurant that specializes in “peka,” a kind of barbecue in which meat cooks under an iron lid piled with hot coals. The family that runs it opened in the preseason, welcoming us with bracing shots of rakija, a local herbal liquor. At a long table under an arbor, we gorged on homemade goat cheese, wild boar pate and, from the hearth, roast lamb, veal and octopus with limitless jugs of red and white wine for 35 euros a person.

Starry nights

Small ships are unmatched at getting into small ports, but a yacht trip is also a little like camping, starting most mornings with D.I.Y. instant coffee. Marinas offered free bathhouses with showers.

Cool temperatures apparently deterred the celebrity-filled mega yachts, which are known to anchor in the town of Hvar on the south shore of Hvar island. Our captain declared it the “Mykonos of Croatia” as we motored by the port bustling with visitors carrying shopping bags and cones of gelato.

With clear weather in the forecast, we moored in an undeveloped cove east of town. The mooring belonged to the owners of Moli Onte restaurant, who ferried us to land on a motorized dingy, allowing us enough time before dinner to visit the fortress above Hvar and have an Ozujsko beer on St. Stephens Square, the largest in the region of Dalmatia.

Back on board, with no artificial light to wash out the night sky, we hit the upper deck for stargazing. As my shipmates peeled off to bed, I grabbed a blanket and beanie and bedded down under the stars for the evolving show, periodically waking to catch the drama of the moon rising, reflected in the still water.

Little Dubrovnik

Fingers of gray rock reached down to meet sloping vineyards along Hvar’s south coast as we departed for its neighbor, Korcula. On our longest day of sailing, five hours, I welcomed the chance to play first mate, manning the lines on the jib sail.

To break up the trip, Captain Ljubovic navigated to a quiet cove off the Peljesac Peninsula where the Caribbean-blue waters, cloudless sky and sandy bottom convinced us to jump in despite numbing sea temperatures.

Fifteenth-century walls ring the historic center of Korcula, earning it the nickname “Little Dubrovnik.” Past the stone gates carved with a winged lion representing the empire of Venice, which controlled much of the Adriatic after the 13th century, narrow alleys led to ornate churches and mansions. There was no better history trip than getting lost in the web of pedestrian lanes. Or so we told ourselves as we passed the purported home of Marco Polo, still closed preseason.

Along the seafront walls, restaurants served pizza and seafood under lights strung in the pines and we caught sunset from a former turret, now converted into Massimo Cocktail Bar , which requires patrons to climb a ladder to the rooftop, a caution against second rounds.

The most romantic port of the trip was also the rowdiest, at least in the marina, which was hosting a Polish sailing regatta. When I headed for the showers at 6 a.m. the next morning, I found a group still cheerfully dancing atop a yacht littered in empty booze bottles and crushed potato chips.

Marooned on Mljet

We left Korcula on strong 20-knot “jugo” or south winds and Captain Ljubovic unleashed the sails, saying “You paid for a sailing vacation, not a motorboat.”

As we tacked back and forth toward Mljet , the boat heeled at a queasy angle and we took face shots of ocean spray.

On Mljet, where the western end of the island is home to Mljet National Park , we rented bikes (10 euros) to ride a lung-busting route over the park’s mountain spine. On the other side, we cycled around a pair of inland lakes and took a boat trip to a 12th-century monastery built on an island in one of them (park admission, 15 euros).

Docked in the still sleepy town of Polace, we heard tales of high season, when up to 100 yachts anchor in the bay and members of the band U2 were once seen biking in the park. After a brief shower, the town glimmered at sunset and the restaurant Stella Maris welcomed us with grilled sea bass (25 euros) and prawns (20 euros).

“I’m so glad I chose this time, because I don’t do crowds,” said my shipmate Nova Hey, 46, of Sydney, who was traveling with her 18-year-old daughter.

In the morning, I had the trail to the peak of Montokuc to myself. The roughly three-mile round-trip hike reached one of the highest points on the island, a rocky knob with stunning panoramas shared by a family of feral goats.

Not long thereafter, the Sauternes’ engine refused to turn over, stranding us in a national park on a remote island with no mechanics.

Teeming Dubrovnik

The next morning, Captain Ljubovic jimmied a fix but it didn’t last long and the engine died again, this time just opposite a cave on Mljet that we joked had to be the refuge of Odysseus.

After a morning of light sailing, a mechanic from the mainland arrived by speedboat and within an hour we were motoring toward the Franjo Tudman Bridge that spans the inlet to the Dubrovnik marina where hot showers awaited.

“Dubrovnik is the most expensive city in Croatia,” said Captain Ljubovic as we spent the last of our pooled money, 70 euros, hiring a taxi van to get us to and from the walled heart of the ancient city about 15 minutes away.

With two large cruise ships in port, Dubrovnik was teeming with visitors and the price to climb the stone walls that encircle the city was a sticker-shocking 35 euros. (In the ensuing two days Kim and I would spend post-cruise in the city, we bought the more comprehensive Dubrovnik Pass for 35 euros that included admission to the walls as well as several museums and public bus transportation.)

On our final evening, we measured the lack of crowds versus closed museums; perfect hiking weather versus swim-inviting water; ample dock space versus more restaurant choices — and felt we’d come out ahead sailing in the bargain season.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

London:  A writer used Camille Pissarro’s paintings of suburban London and a “lost” railway as a lens for exploring the city’s history  — and settling an arcane mystery.

Dublin,:  While the Irish capital has become a more international hub, locals have made efforts to ensure what makes the city unique — its spirited personality and famed hospitality  — doesn’t get entirely swallowed up.

Norway:  Can A.I. devise a bucket-list vacation to the Scandinavian nation that checks all the boxes: culture, nature, hotels and transportation? We put three virtual assistants to the test .

The Berkshires:  A writer shares his favorite ways to experience the often-overlooked  Housatonic River in western Massachusetts.


  1. Official Site

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  1. Official Site

    Welcome aboard the sailing yacht Atlantic. All about one of the most awesome classic yachts of all time, the three mast schooner Atlantic. Long time holder of the world record for the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean under sail, this one hundred and eighty-five foot schooner originally designed by William Gardner in 1903 has been relaunched and is sailing once more.

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    2010. Guests. 12 in 6 cabins. Price. POA. The largest three-masted classic racing schooner ever created, ATLANTIC is one of the finest examples of a classic reproduction yacht on the water today. A painstaking recreation of the William Gardner-designed winner of the 1905 Kaiser's Cup, she has been brought up to modern performance sailing ...

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  5. ATLANTIC Yacht Charter Price

    The 69.24m/227'2" classic yacht 'Atlantic' by the Dutch shipyard Van der Graaf offers flexible accommodation for up to 12 guests in 6 cabins and features interior styling by Kastelein. Charge across the waves under sail aboard the spectacular classic yacht Atlantic, promising high adventure coupled with sublime luxury living for the ultimate sailing vacation.

  6. The best route for an Atlantic crossing

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  8. ATLANTIC Yacht Charter Details, Van Der Graaf BV

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    Atlantic is a modern incarnation with more than enough speed to beat Charlie Barr’s original 1905 transatlantic record. 50 metre masts tower above a raven-black steel hull and uncluttered teak decks â€" the perfect setting for sunbathing, entertaining and dining. Throughout the entire yacht, the level of craftsmanship and detailing can only be described as a labour of love.<br/><br ...

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