Would an S 2 be OK for Atlantic offshore? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-22-2009
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Would an S 2 be OK for Atlantic offshore?

My question regarding S 2 monohull 36' sloop. I don't own one and don't know much about them.

But I'm considering crewing on one from Caribbean across much of the Atlantic and down the Brazil coast. It seems the prevailing winds may preclude sailing SE along the Guyana-Amazon stretch of coast, and we may have to go almost to Cape Verde Islands before heading back to SW.

I know the skipper and have confidence in him. I bought a 34' yacht from him a few years back. But I don't know much about the capabilities of that boat for serious offshore work, and I don't know much about that route.

So, hopeful for any feedback on either the boat or the route. Did I read somewhere that Jimmy Cornell suggested best way from Caribbean to southern South America was by way of the Canal and the Pacific, or am I remembering that wrongly?
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Old 06-24-2009
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The last time I sailed on an S2 (in the 80s) I wasn't impressed with it's performance to weather. It seemed fine for a family charter in the VI, but I nearly had a muitiny when we tried to take the boat the 35 miles to St. Croix.

Given that the Cape Verde Islands are 2000 + miles to windard from the Caribbean islands, I wouldn't recommend them as a waypoint on the way to South America.

The problem with heading directly to SoAm from the Caribbean is that the ITCZ (Doldrums) usually sits between 6-12 deg N lat. Below that you'll have SE trades and the wind will be on the nose until you round the eastern-most point in Brazil well south of the Amazon delta. I'd recommend you get a pilot chart and have a look at the prevailing winds along this route. It would be a long ride in any boat, but in a boat with a relatively short waterline, and questionable performance to weather, it would be a long trip.

Find a copy of Cornell's "World Crusing Routes" and see what he has to say about where you should cross the equator, but my guess is you'll have to go a long way north /north east from the Caribbean before you could begin the loop to the SE and then S and then SW to Brazil.

Re the Pacific, Cornell is right to a degree, but the trip from Panama down the Pacific coast of SoAm is no picnic either. Boats headed for Patagonia normally go well off shore (Galapagos - Easter Island) to avoid contrary winds and currents along the coast. I have a friend that recently did Panama to Lima and he said it wasn't much fun. Again, check pilot charts and Cornell's book for a more comprehensive analysis of the challenges of the route.
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Old 06-25-2009
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From Caribbean to Cape Verde Is., I think the plan is to first head a long way NE, probably to Bermuda. It seems that the trip will be a long clockwise sweep around quite a bit of the Atlantic. I only hope this doesnít involve too much upwind sailing.

I gather that itís not that easy to sail from Caribbean to Uruguay/Argentina whichever way one goes. I did go from Punta Arenas to Tenerife some years back but that was in a much larger ship, much less concerned with winds, and now I donít really recall what they were like.
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Old 06-25-2009
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I can’t answer your question about the suitability of the S2, but I can offer a few comments about your intended trip south. You are right in saying that the trip from the Caribbean to the hump of Brazil is against the prevailing winds and current. It’s all uphill. The option of going out into the Atlantic and cutting back to Brazil makes sense. James Baldwin’s article talks about just this trip:

Atom Voyages | Back to Brazil - Part One by James Baldwin

It’s also possible to do it by following the coast, although it’s not easy. Obviously local boats go up and down the coast all the time in spite of the wind and current. They go southeast along this part of the coast (against the wind and current) by staying close to shore where the current is weaker (or where one can find a counter-current) and make use of the ‘terral’, the wind that blows from land out to sea at night. Some of the tricky aspects of this route are the pretty big tidal differences, shallow water with sand bars and unreliable charts (due to moving sand bars). If you speak Portuguese you could always hire locals to take you through some of the more difficult stretches. Another problem is the lack of cruising guides published in English to help you in this area. The only one I know of is MarÁal Ceccon’s ‘Cruising the Coast of Brazil’. It is certainly off the beaten track and a trip (adventure) worth taking!
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Old 06-25-2009
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See recent S2 comments at the end of the bluewater boat list sticky thread.
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Old 06-27-2009
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Copa

Thanks for comments, particularly that a trip along the NE Brazil coast is an adventure worth taking.

That route now seems to be the current plan.

The skipper is Uruguayan, native spanish speaker but good english. I think little if any Portugese, but is spanish sufficiently similar to? He's spent some time around (I think) the SE Brazil coast but not the NE.

But, 2000+nm along the NE South American coast largely to windward a boat that may not be too good at upwind performance and may not be that good at offshore anyway?? I'll have to research and consider that one further. But "adventures worth taking" are in my view usually worth taking.
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Old 06-29-2009
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Rugila,

I think you'll be able to make yourselves understood in Brazil with Spanish and a little creative hand waving. Brazilians are very gracious and kind with visitors. If you decide to take the onshore route let me know and I'll see what I can do to help. Once you get south of the hump of Brazil the sailing is easy. If your final destination is Uruguay then you'll want to be moving south in the summer months to avoid the cold fronts moving north, or be prepared to wait for weather windows between the fronts). This is really only a concern when you get below Rio, for the most part. I'm sure the Uruguayan captain will be familiar with these conditions in southern Brazil and Uruguay. All the best and let us know how the adventure pans out!
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