Ready for the Caribbean.
Whit the arrival of the autumn, the Mediterranean charter season has almost arrived to its end. This is just here, as the ending of the Mediterranean season means the beginning of the one in the Caribbean. For all the yachts that are crossing the Atlantic to afford another charter season, is now time to get ready for the Caribbean.
The crossing is always a challenge for the crew as it is not an easy experience. It can be one of the biggest sailing adventures of their lives, a unique opportunity to change their environment and experience new sensations, a different routine, in a fantastic natural environment.
There are lots of things to prepare and get in mind before starting the trip. Here are some tips to make it easier and safer.
When to cross the Atlantic?
From Europe, the best season is from the end of November to March. If the reason of the crossing is the winter summer season in the Caribbean you will probably do it at the beginning of that period, avoiding the Hurricane season that starts in May and ends in the end of November. In early November and December, the trade winds can be elusive.
Which is the best route?
The most followed course is sailing from Europe to the Canaries Islands, usually from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. Some yachts choose to leave from Cape Verde, a little bit southern, or from Madeira, which is a little bit Norther than the Canary Islands. The trip can take you 2 or 3 weeks but if something is important is not to fix an estimated arrival date. The weather varies quite a bit, so if you are fixated on a certain arrival day, you’ll be set up for disappointment even before leaving.
Make sure all your safety gear is in good condition. Check that everything is in date and serviceable. Safety amongst the crew should be a priority. Each one on board should be aware of where to find all the safety equipment and should be trained to use it in case necessary.
You should also prepare the first aid kit, medicines and drugs. Do you or your crew have known allergies or medical conditions?
Also a visit to the dentist before departing is a good idea to avoid problems.
Get some extra crew and training is a good invest
Extra crew makes life much easier and add to the stimulation, even it is also important to check the compatibility with all the crew first in a trial cruise. Don't underestimate how tiring ocean sailing can be. Fixing things and managing problems on board, engine maintenance, sea survival, first aid and medical training and courses run by manufacturers on servicing and maintaining their equipment are all invaluable preparation.
Provisioning for the trip
To keep the crew well fed is one of the most important things for crew morale during the trip. First of all you should find out about peoples tastes especially in case particular dietary requirements or allergies.
It is also very important to carry enough provisioning to last the journey, it is always a good idea to increase this 20% more to have in case of potential delays, which is quite common due to the weather and trade winds. Dried pasta, rice, cereals, vegetable tins, biscuits, snacks...can be a good idea. In case of fruit and vegetables there are some of them that last longer, oranges apples, pears, carrot, pumpkins, potatoes, ...will work for the crossing. For the meat a butcher vacuum-seal will help preserve it before freezing and also will be easier to storage in the freezer. Cured meat is also fantastic.
Keep connected with the ones on shore
Logistics support from home makes life during the crossing easier. Keeping a crew at sea in touch with the real world is as important as keeping those at home informed about life on board.
Consider the costs
These will be probably higher than you think as the yacht will need a refit after you return to Europe. Moncada Hispania Boutique is aware of the cost and wants to help you with this with the autumn promotion. If you are crossing to the Caribbean for the winter season you can get your toiletries in Europe and bring them with you, getting and extra 10% discount in your orders. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Of course there are certainly many more things to consider before starting the crossing, these are just a few highlighted things. We can make the list longer with your help. What is the most important thing to consider for you?