Bavaria Cruiser 40 Kiriacoulis

Do you want to make an Atlantic crossing on a sailing boat? here are things to know

Table of Contents

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean is a dream for many sailors. The idea of watching the sunset on the open sea, experiencing the thrill of big waves, and visiting exotic destinations along the way is seductive. But before you embark on an Atlantic crossing on a sailing boat, there are a few things you should know. In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips to help you plan your own Atlantic crossing.

What is an Atlantic crossing on a yacht?

Atlantic crossing on a sailing boat

An Atlantic crossing on a yacht is an epic journey from one side of the Atlantic to the other, typically lasting several weeks or even months. It is an adventure that requires careful planning, preparation, and the right equipment and sailing skills.

The Atlantic Ocean presents unique challenges to sailors, including strong tradewinds, unpredictable weather patterns, and potential storms. Due to the ocean’s vast size, it’s crucial for sailors to bring enough food, water, and fuel to last the entire trip, and to have proper navigation equipment, such as GPS and radar, to help them stay on course.

  1. The journey usually begins in Europe, starting anywhere from the coasts of Spain, Portugal, or France. The exact starting point depends on the sailor’s preference and the access to marinas and other resources. Sailors then navigate their way across the Atlantic towards the Caribbean, the East Coast of the United States, or South America. The route varies depending on the sailor’s destination and timing, as well as the weather patterns during the particular season of the crossing.
  2. The experience of an Atlantic crossing on a yacht can be a life-changing event, providing the sailor with ample opportunities to learn about themselves and the world around them. It is also an incredible way to explore some of the most remote and less-traveled areas of the planet, far from the noise and crowds of civilization.
  3. One of the most rewarding aspects of an Atlantic crossing is the opportunity for sailors to form close bonds with their crewmates. The journey can be both physically and mentally challenging, and the shared experience of completing such a long and arduous voyage creates a powerful sense of camaraderie and teamwork.

However, crossing the Atlantic also carries some risks, and sailors must be aware of the potential threats and take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. One of the most significant risks is encountering bad weather, with strong waves and high winds that can damage the boat or pose a significant threat to the crew. Atlantic crossings require sailors to be well-prepared and knowledgeable about safe sailing practices.

The Route

The most popular route for crossing the Atlantic on a sailing boat is from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. This route is known as the trade wind route, and it takes advantage of the constant easterly trade winds to sail across the expanse of the ocean. The journey can take anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on weather conditions and the speed of your boat.


Atlantic crossing on a sailing boat

Preparing for an Atlantic crossing takes careful planning. You need to ensure that your boat is in good condition and has all the necessary safety equipment on board. You should also make sure that you have enough food and water for the entire journey, as well as spare parts and tools in case of any mechanical problems. Additionally, you should check weather conditions along the route and plan your journey accordingly.


An Atlantic crossing on a sailing boat is an intense experience that requires a well-prepared and organized crew. Ideally, you should have at least four people on board, with each crew member taking on a specific role. This includes a captain, a navigator, a mechanic, and a cook. Each crew member should have sailing experience and be familiar with the boat and equipment.


Communication is key when sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on a sailing boat, which means you should have reliable communication equipment on board. This includes a VHF radio, satellite phone, and an emergency beacon. You should also make sure that you have a clear communication plan in place in case of an emergency.


One of the major advantages of crossing the Atlantic on a sailing boat is that you can visit a number of exotic destinations along the way. This includes the Cape Verde Islands, the Azores, and the Caribbean Islands. Each stop provides an opportunity to rest, resupply, and explore the local culture and cuisine.

An Atlantic crossing on a sailing boat is an unforgettable experience, but it requires preparation and planning.

How Long Does it Take to Cross the Atlantic by a Sailboat?

Amalfi Coast and Partenopean islands
Crossing the Atlantic by a sailboat is a dream for many adventurous sailors around the world. The question of how long it takes to complete this voyage largely depends on several factors, including the route taken, the weather conditions, the type of sailboat, and the sailing experience of the crew members. In this article, we will discuss these factors in detail and provide you with an accurate estimate of how long it takes to cross the Atlantic by a sailboat.

The Route

The route taken significantly affects the time it takes to cross the Atlantic by a sailboat. The most common route is from Europe to the Caribbean, which typically takes between 18 and 24 days. The North/South route, which goes from North America to South America or vice versa, can take approximately 20-30 days. While the exact time may vary, it is generally safe to plan for a journey of several weeks.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions play a significant role in the time it takes to cross the Atlantic by a sailboat. The wind direction and speed, along with ocean currents, can greatly affect the speed at which a sailboat travels. Additionally, storms and rough sea conditions can slow a boat’s progress considerably. For example, headwinds or calm conditions can significantly increase the journey time, while favorable winds and currents can expedite the voyage.

Type of Sailboat

The type of sailboat you choose also impacts the time it takes to cross the Atlantic. Some sailboats are faster than others, and the configuration of sails can also affect the speed. Catamarans and trimarans, for example, are usually faster than traditional monohulls and can complete the voyage in less time. Similarly, sailboat models optimized for bluewater sailing may be better suited for long-distance trips, typically taking less time than traditional coastal cruisers.

Crew Experience

Another factor that can influence how long it takes to cross the Atlantic by a sailboat is the sailing experience of the crew members. Having an experienced and efficient crew can make all the difference in the voyage’s duration, as they will be able to manage the boat’s crew and equipment better. Conversely, an inexperienced crew may face challenges in navigating through rough weather conditions, slowing the journey’s progress.

Also read: Choose a sailing vacation, live the experience of sailing like a real sailor

Follow us on Social Media
Do you need any information?

We will get back to you within 12h

Fancy reading more about sailing?
Stay tuned and discover more about sailing