How to find a boat to cross the Atlantic ?

 - 26 October 2018 - Travel Diary

The transatlantic crossing is one of Edouard’s many dreams. About 3 years ago, he heard about captains looking for crew members to sail across the Atlantic. So when I came up with the idea of a trip to South America, he said, “Okay, but we’re going by boat”.

Of course, at first, it seemed completely crazy to me! But after spending time on articles and watching dozens of videos, I was the one who started looking for a crew… What better way to go on an adventure!

Why do captains need us?

Every year nearly 4500 sailboats cross from Europe to the Caribbean! Some captains go alone or with a reduced crew. They therefore need crew members to help them in navigation operations, to share shifts and daily tasks, to participate in the boardcash, but also to keep them company!

What is the best season?

The crossing from Europe to the Caribbean takes place from November to January to take advantage of the Trade Winds (winds from East to West at speeds of up to 30 km/h). And it is not recommended to leave before November to avoid the hurricane season.

Crossing from the Caribbean to Europe are generally held in May and June.

Which way do we go?

From Europe, the goal is to reach the Canaries and/or Cape Verde via the southern Azores High, before heading towards the Caribbean.

From the Caribbean, it is generally advisable to reach the Azores or Bermuda via the north of the Azores High and then take advantage of the “Gulf Stream” to sail towards the French coast.

How long does it last?

The duration can vary from 1 to 3 months. It depends on the departure and arrival destinations, the stops, the size of the boat, the strength of the wind…

As an example we will leave Porto at the beginning of November, we should arrive in Madeira 5 to 7 days later, we will stay there 5 to 7 days, then sail again 5 to 7 days to go to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. After 1 week of stopovers we will sail for Saint Lucia, the crossing can last between 2 and 4 weeks.

As you will have understood, a transatlantic takes time and it is impossible to know the arrival date in advance!

How much does it cost?

Most captains suggest a contribution to the boardcash ranging from 10 to 20 euros per day. This covers food and drinks on board, nights in marinas, fuel costs and possible expenses caused by the loss or breakage of small equipment.

Our captain estimates the expenses at around 10 euros per day and per person. Thus depending on the arrival date, our transat should thus cost us between 400 and 600 euros per person.

Why did we organize it in advance?

The number of crew members looking for a boat to cross the Atlantic is increasing, especially at this time of year. On that one, we therefore preferred to play it safe to avoid waiting too long at the starting port.

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