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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a bucket list cruise one day. How would you schedule the voyage to allow sufficient time to enjoy where we are, but not trip on visa limitations (such as Shengan).

I will get it started. I think we would leave New England in late May to early June to head toward Ireland/England. So there I am for the summer and the clock starts ticking.

Eventually, we would want to work down the coast ("until the butter melts") and turn right toward the Caribbean. Of course, we want to stop along the way and enjoy ourselves. If we arrive in the British Isles in early summer, Altantic hurricane season is coming up. We could visit till it passes, but I think Visa limits come into play. Also, one would want to get south before it gets too cold. Then, once in the Caribbean, need to get back north. At one point, the dream included entering the Med, but I don't think that needs to be included.

So, how would you do it in general terms? It seems like one year would be rushed, we want to visit ashore. However, longer would be hard to manage visas and weather.
 

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other concerns are bay of Biscay and west coast of Portugal can be difficult from the little I know. One might think of leaving NE as soon as possible. Go to Halifax to wait for your window knowing after 5d its meaningless. Head to Ireland. Personally would like a detour to Baltic but need to be out of there before fall. Lay over in Rotterdam and tour Europe by train or go home. Other choice is go straight to southern Portugal and lay over there. LIsbos is gorgeous, friendly and not to dear. Jump to Pico/Azores. Then eastern Caribbean but out of there before june first. Was an article in Sail about doing it in one year sometime last year- I see if I can find it when I get a chance. It's on my bucket list as well. Brother of friend did it on his boat but decided to do Ireland/Shetlands/ Scotland/ North England then home. Left from NE - did not go into tropics/sub tropics but had good wind.

Wife and I have thought about doing this in about 3y from now. Haven't done the research so real interested in this thread. Maybe we can buddy boat ( grin)
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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If we are going to do it, decide in the next year or so, I think I would start in New England and go as quickly as possible to the SW corner of Newfoundland and spend at least a month there (or the whole summer and get hauled for the winter). Then St John's to Ireland which is something less than 1900 miles with favourable current and generally winds. Spend the summer in Ireland and Scotland and winter over on the boat in London. Next summer possibly head to the Baltic but with a view to crossing to the Caribbean in November/December. You could make the circuit in a year but far too much to see along the way. Or, if following the crowds does not appeal, be a rugged individualist, and do the same circuit counter-clockwise. Probably get to do an article for Sail or the Journal of Erratic Behaviour.
 
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Sailboat Reboot
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Having done the North Atlantic Loop - from Florida to Portugal via Bermuda and the Azores and then back via the Canaries I would strongly recommend taking a couple of years. The transits alone take two to two and one half months... That does not leave much time to enjoy Europe.
 

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Holy crap... 2 months? :confused:
What have you done that with? A bathtub?
Atlantic crossings are 3-4 weeks for a moderate cruiser, most of the times only less than 3...
If you stop for 2 weeks in bermuda you still have the best part of a month to spend in the azores before you exceed your timeframe...
 

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This is a bucket list cruise one day. How would you schedule the voyage to allow sufficient time to enjoy where we are, but not trip on visa limitations (such as Shengan).

I will get it started. I think we would leave New England in late May to early June to head toward Ireland/England. So there I am for the summer and the clock starts ticking.

Eventually, we would want to work down the coast ("until the butter melts") and turn right toward the Caribbean. Of course, we want to stop along the way and enjoy ourselves. If we arrive in the British Isles in early summer, Altantic hurricane season is coming up. We could visit till it passes, but I think Visa limits come into play. Also, one would want to get south before it gets too cold. Then, once in the Caribbean, need to get back north. At one point, the dream included entering the Med, but I don't think that needs to be included.

So, how would you do it in general terms? It seems like one year would be rushed, we want to visit ashore. However, longer would be hard to manage visas and weather.
First off, if you arrive in the UK, why would the Schengen clock "begin ticking"? They're not in the Schengen zone, no?

I've not done it, but there seems to be almost universal agreement among those who've sailed direct to the British Isles early enough in the season to maximize the amount of cruising, that it turns out to be a much colder and wetter trip than anticipated... Sure, it can be fast sailing, but somewhat stressful due to the amount of fog, etc...

As others suggest, it's virtually impossible to see much more than Ireland and Scotland, maybe a bit of Normandy/Brittany, and then perhaps some ports in Spain and Portugal, in a single year's Atlantic Circle featuring the British Isles... Killarney Sailor's is the more reasonable plan, spend the first summer in Ireland and Great Britain, winter over at the St Katherine's docks in the heart of London, then head for the Baltic the following summer... Still, you'll really have to keep on the move, as you generally want to be heading across the Bay of Biscay by early October or so, at the latest. There certainly is good reason why not many Americans are cruising N Europe, the season is pretty damn compressed, and the distances not insignificant...

If I were to attempt to do an Atlantic Circle in a single year, I'd cut out Europe completely, and simply do a circuit of the Atlantic Islands... Head for the Azores (everyone loves the Azores, and all seem to wish they'd spent more time there), then Madeira, then the Canaries, and finally the Cape Verdes before heading back to the Caribbean (with maybe a side trip to Morocco thrown in, if you really ever wanted to set foot on a continent :)) Such a trip would be a more relaxed pace to pull off in a single year, I think it would be a fantastic cruise...

You could make the circuit in a year but far too much to see along the way. Or, if following the crowds does not appeal, be a rugged individualist, and do the same circuit counter-clockwise. Probably get to do an article for Sail or the Journal of Erratic Behaviour.
That may not actually be as far-fetched as it sounds, coming back home via the extreme northern route can be an interesting and practical way to go... It's really the only way one can "island hop" across the Atlantic, with no single passage longer than 6-700 miles, or so, jumping to the Shetlands or Faroes, then Iceland, Greenland, Labrador...

I think you really want to have a look at Jimmy Cornell's WORLD VOYAGE PLANNER, he really lays out all the possible circular voyages in every ocean, with departures from every continent... Coupled with Don Street's ATLANTIC CROSSING GUIDE, you'll have a wealth of planning information at your fingertips...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Two years makes most sense to me as well. I particularly like the idea of visiting the Azors and/or Canaries too. Even the idea of going up on the hard and coming home for a spell would be fine. Maybe get home to spend holidays with family, see dentists/doctors, etc, for a month or two, however, the thought of staying out of the cold weather would be welcomed in the plan.

I guess getting to the UK, given their 6 month visitor Visa, is a good layover, but still pretty far north. If we layup there over the first winter and head south in the Spring, the following hurricane season is again upon us. I don't think I have the cadence quite right yet.

I feel like leaving New England in Spring to spend a month in Ireland, followed by a month or two in England gets me to Sept, then France, Portugal, Canaries to avoid hurricane season and cross to Caribbean in Nov? Island hop all winter and head north again in the late Spring? Seems sort of doable, but rushed. At some point, I can see just not wanting to leave, but hurricane season, cold weather and visas could apply pressure. If I layup in Europe for the winter, hurricane season becomes an issue again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jon,

We posted at the same time. You're right, I confused the UK with Shengan. The thought of an island only cruise is very interesting.

The attraction to Ireland/UK is family, but we can see them on a flight sometime. :)
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Atlantic crossings are 3-4 weeks for a moderate cruiser, most of the times only less than 3...
If you stop for 2 weeks in bermuda you still have the best part of a month to spend in the azores before you exceed your timeframe...
That seems pretty fast to me.

Falmouth to Azores to Bermuda to Norfolk is about 3500 miles. 125 (four weeks) to 165 mile days (three weeks), day after day, might be achievable if the wind is perfect the whole way across. My experience is that 75 mile days made good is pretty decent. I'm happy making 150 mile days and try to keep boat speed up, but even on a fast close reach with current and leeway the distance made good isn't nearly that high.

VPP using pilot chart information predicts 48 days for a 40' medium weight cruiser in June West to East. That lines up with my experience.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Two years makes most sense to me as well. I particularly like the idea of visiting the Azors and/or Canaries too. Even the idea of going up on the hard and coming home for a spell would be fine. Maybe get home to spend holidays with family, see dentists/doctors, etc, for a month or two, however, the thought of staying out of the cold weather would be welcomed in the plan.

I guess getting to the UK, given their 6 month visitor Visa, is a good layover, but still pretty far north. If we layup there over the first winter and head south in the Spring, the following hurricane season is again upon us. I don't think I have the cadence quite right yet.

I feel like leaving New England in Spring to spend a month in Ireland, followed by a month or two in England gets me to Sept, then France, Portugal, Canaries to avoid hurricane season and cross to Caribbean in Nov? Island hop all winter and head north again in the late Spring? Seems sort of doable, but rushed. At some point, I can see just not wanting to leave, but hurricane season, cold weather and visas could apply pressure. If I layup in Europe for the winter, hurricane season becomes an issue again.
Couple of thoughts, the UK is pretty far north, but really quite mild because of the North Atlantic Drift. It may not be all that warm but not what you expect for latitudes >50N, although this winter was incredibly nasty. Also, getting to spend the winter on the boat in London is particularly attractive since it is such an expensive place to visit and stay in hotels. There is even a marina in downtown Paris, but I have not investigated the details there.

One comment about winter stays in marinas - they can be most cost-effective. We lived onboard in New York harbour (may do that again for winter 2015-6) for 18 months. Winter six months were $2000 (plus utilities), while summer was $8000 and summer was full and you could get space easily in winter.

About planning, Cornell is hugely useful and good fun to read on a winter night. Also, at times I have found it helpful to plan from the end of cruise working backward or from both ends toward the middle. Generally it works out pretty logically. If it does not it likely means the basic premise of the trip is wrong - likely there just is not enough time to do the things you want to do.
 

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SVA - you are talking about a round trip here?
That will then be 6-7 weeks as you calculated, but i was only talking about one way... ;)
No matter if in the south from the canaries or in the north via the azores, which the OP is not planning but intending to go directly to ireland...
In the last edition of the ARC a dufour 40 made the southern route from the canaries to st. Lucia in 13 days and 23 hours, a bavaria 42 cruiser finished just an hour ahead...
So my figures for a one way crossing are not out of the world... ;)
The northern route might take a little longer, but it is only about 2600 nm from new england to lizard point and on a 40 footer i usually calculate a 100 nm per day... That is less than 5 kts average, so 3-4 weeks is absolutely doable...
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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I have done this trip. If I had one piece of advice its don't turn around. I have sailed Florida to Newfoundland, Florida to Guatemala, and Florida to Portugal -Spain - Canaries - Caribbean. In each case I came back to the U.S. Looking back on these experiences if I had one regret it is that I turned around. Now in the U.S. if I want to go anywhere I have to retrace my steps. In each case - North, South, East that is a lot of hard sailing.

Specific to your plan: If you are going to cross the Atlantic stay there until you have done all you want to do. Don't do a "loop" to do a "loop." Crossing the Atlantic in Spring is hard. If you take the northern route you will most likely be fighting cold and gales most of the way. By the time the sailing gets better (late June) you start to eat up your time "looping." When I crossed with the help of Herb of Southbound II doing the weather routing I was far south most of the time. I left Bermuda and went south to avoid weather. The normal approach to the Azores is from the north and then drop down. I came up from the south. Leaving the Azores the weather to Ireland was so bad that I ended up in Portugal. It turns out that was a good thing, the British Isles had miserable weather that entire summer. The boats that were on the "traditional" 40 to 45 degree route had terrible sailing.

When I was in the Azores I spoke to a lot of cruisers. If there was one theme it was that the crossing had taken longer than expected. Also you may find that the Azores are not as welcoming as you might expect. I spent time there, eventually I was the inside boat on a three boat raft. When the wind came up even with 7 fenders I was being crushed against the breakwall by the other boats. Not pleasant.

Remember also that the Azores and the Canaries are volcanic. The primary places to dock are at the developed marinas. Wind speeds of 30 to 35 knots are common when coming around the sides of the islands. The channels between the islands have a venturi effect. This can make sailing in the direction you want to go difficult or impossible. This is similar to what you may have experienced in the Caribbean.

Wintering over: If you have not spent a winter on your boat consider that the inside is going to be the same temperature as the water. I have spent the last little bit in North Carolina. The water temperature dropped to 33 degrees. All of my heaters could barely keep up with keeping one stateroom warm.

Weather windows: Although there is not a lot you can do about the weather when crossing once you get to Europe you do have a lot of options with weather windows. Its nice to plan a speed of advance of, say, 100 NM per day. Unless you are a glutton for punishment you are not going to decide to cross the Bay of Biscay in a gale just because it is in your "loop" plan.

Costs: Yes, you can stay in the big city marinas - staying in downtown London is a treat for many cruisers. It is also on the more expensive side of cruising. There are lots of places where you can hang cheaply. When I was in the Bay of Cadiz there were a lot of boats that simply anchored out to avoid paying marina fees.

Schengen: Remember it is you, not the boat that is subject to Schengen. There are places to drop out for the necessary 90 days. Another alternative is to plan a trip home to the US after you get the boat there - then apply for a one year visa. Or you might get lucky and get someone to grant you one before you depart. There are spots that are outside of the Schengen area - Google it and make sure you know the difference between the EU and the Schengen area.

I think a second theme is overcoming adversity. Not in the normal sense of dealing with the weather and the boat. But in the sense of making sure that the trade-offs you are making are the right ones. I was so concerned about money and leaving my boat that I passed on a lot of opportunities. With 20 20 hindsight I should have spent the money (for example to get the visa problems fixed) and pressed on. Yes, it was outside my comfort zone but to cruise long distances there are just experiences you need to accept - like dealing with a boatyard where no one speaks your language. Or to leave you boat in a foreign country when you just met the marina manager last week.

One last thought - some people's paradise is another person's poison. Take everything you read here (and elsewhere on the Internet) with a grain of salt (actually, the entire shaker.) I have been places where I was very uncomfortable that had rave reviews from other cruisers. Also, things can change and frequently do. I was anchored in the "witch's tit" in St. Marten. I loved it. This winter there have been a serious of thefts and other incidents exactly where I was anchored. I loved the Rio Dulce. This year a cruiser was murdered there. (Its not clear if it had anything to do with his being a cruiser or he just got into bad stuff.) So what do you do? Soldier on and try and make the best decisions.

Fair winds and following seas.
 

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SVA - you are talking about a round trip here?
That will then be 6-7 weeks as you calculated, but i was only talking about one way... ;)
No matter if in the south from the canaries or in the north via the azores, which the OP is not planning but intending to go directly to ireland...
In the last edition of the ARC a dufour 40 made the southern route from the canaries to st. Lucia in 13 days and 23 hours, a bavaria 42 cruiser finished just an hour ahead...
So my figures for a one way crossing are not out of the world... ;)
The northern route might take a little longer, but it is only about 2600 nm from new england to lizard point and on a 40 footer i usually calculate a 100 nm per day... That is less than 5 kts average, so 3-4 weeks is absolutely doable...
Tenerife to St Lucia does usually have great winds all the way. Not so much in the other direction and of course staging for departure and getting to your real destination take yet more time.

Narragansett Bay to Ireland is a bit over 2600 miles if you properly miss Nova Scotia and Newfoundlound. Walking through the pilot charts for June with a predicted average boat speed of 6.9 kt (pretty fast but that is what VPP predicts for a boat with the polars of Auspicious - better have a crew that pays attention) leads to a passage time of 45.7 days.

I use VPP regularly and find that I can usually beat their predicted time. I do use Jimmy Cornells new World Atlas on top of the classic pilot charts and often adjust my passage plan based on Jimmy's information. Ivan Cornell, Jimmy's son, is working on a passage planner using the World Atlas data that I look forward to eagerly.

It's easy to make a lot of miles per day. The challenge is to make a lot of miles toward your destination.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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SVA. I'm a little confused. Is the 6.9 kts supposed to be VMG? If so, 2600 miles would be done in 16 days? Even a bit of beating, jibing or sitting still wouldn't likely triple it?
STW. That was my point. VMG and STW are very different things.
 

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The only time i ever heard of an atlantic crossing taking 45+ days was when an elderly couple hove to every night to find sleep... ;)
The winds in that high latitude are also there, only not that stable in direction like it is in the south, but lacking wind is in that part of the world also not an issue...
 

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a bunch of sailors from my sailing club was doing an atlantic crossing from tortola via bermudas and azores to malaga in spain on a bavaria 50 which was not in a good shape (some hundred liters of water in the bilge all the time, deck hull joint coming loose and other minor problems)...
total miles sailed: 3127 to the azores and 1184 to malaga - altogether 4311 nm and it took them - even with the stops of 2-3 days respectively in the bermudas and the azores - 43 days from 18th april leaving tortola to 31st mai arriving in malaga...
that are 100 nm per day, ignoring the stops now... ;)
http://www.sfv-strongbow.com/fileadmin/SMG/S6.pdf (jump down to module 10, 11)
your VPP and the 45+ days for the 2600 nm trip is absolutely out of scale and very over conservative...
 

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Got it, so how do you get to a 2.4kt VMG from a 6.9kt STW? Seems very very conservative.
Perhaps he's allowing for a couple of weeks hanging out in St Pierre, gorging on wine, cheese, and baguettes? :)

Andy Schell and his wife Mia left from St Pierre or St John's on their 35' 1966 Allied Seabreeze, arrived in Ireland 23 days later after sailing conservatively, a rhumbline distance of roughly 1800 NM...
 

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if i would consider something like Minnewaska, i would start early in april with the crossing from maine, nova scotia or newfoundland...
that should bring me to ireland and UK end of april, beginning of may...
stay there for as long as i can and start hopping down the european coast via france, protugal and spain to the canaries...
ETA at the canaries around end of november, beginning of december with enough days on the visa left as to not be forced to leave in unfavorable conditions...
cross to the caribbean from there and make my climb up the coast to where ever the final destination may be...
arrival in the caribbean should be then by end of december and having still about 4 months left on the full year...
that is quite doable. ;)
 
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