Atlantic Crossing

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean was a major milestone for us as cruisers. In this section you’ll find the trip broken down into several pages with write-ups and photos of each leg and the stops along the way.


 There was a lot to do to get ready. See Passage Preps for what we did in preparation for the big voyage

The five day trip from Beaufort to Bermuda was the first leg in the three-leg passage. See some great photos and read about it here.

Check out Bermuda to the Azores to read about the 1900 mile leg that made the first leg seem short.

We had a great visit in the Azores, getting to several of the islands.

The third and final leg of the voyage was quite different from the first two. Read about it in From the Azores to Lisbon.

Atlantic crossing

Ty and Grant ensure the anchor is free to run in preparation for making landfall in the Azores.

Throughout the voyage Suzanne kept a detailed journal of her thoughts and impressions. To get a feel for one woman’s view of what it’s like to cross an ocean, read “Atlantic Crossing Journal.”

A Summary of the Voyage

Atlantic Chart

Here’s how we THOUGHT the trip would go:

  • Beaufort, NC to Bermuda: Depart June 1st. Estimated duration: 4-6 days
  • Spend 2-4 days in Bermuda (weather will be the determining factor)
  • Bermuda to Azores: 13-16 days
  • Spend one week exploring the Azores
  • Azores to Gibraltar: 8-9 days
  • Arrival at destination:  July 8th

Here’s how it ACTUALLY went:

  • Beaufort to Bermuda: Departed June 4th due to weather delay. Duration: 5 days/nights
  • Spent 5 days in Bermuda waiting for winds to shift
  • Bermuda to Azores: 16 days/nights
  • Spent 15 days exploring the Azores
  • Liked the Portuguese feel of the Azores so much, decided to complete the voyage in Portugal instead of Gibraltar
  • Azores to Lisbon: 6 days/nights
  • Arrival at destination: July 22nd

Distance of each leg:

  • Beaufort to Bermuda: 675 nautical miles
  • Bermuda to Flores, Azores: 1920
  • Flores to Horta to Terceira within the Azores: 200
  • Terceira, Azores to Cascais, Portugal (a suburb of Lisbon): 835

Total Distance covered: 3630 nm

Total days and nights at sea: 27

Average wave height: 4 to 6 feet

Highest waves encountered: 9 feet

Average winds: 12, but ranged from 0 to 23

Average boat speed: 5.6 knots (Note that during very light airs we motored because we had 130 gallons of fuel, but at $4 a gallon in Bermuda and the Azores, speed came at a cost)

Highest winds: 23 knots on three occasions -- yep, that’s all! This is thanks to planning our departure date based on weather patterns, having the patience to await good weather windows, and just plain good LUCK!

Mechanical or other problems requiring repairs/replacement during passage:

  • Broken shackle on jib upper roller furler swivel
  • 4 grommets torn from foot of mainsail during downwind leg
  • Hole in mainsail from chafing on spreader tip
  • Spinnaker halyard 90% chafed through against nose tang on mast
  • Generator alternator bracket cracked (recurring problem)
  • Watermaker high pressure pump seal leak (recurrent problem)
  • Outboard engine carburetor problem (Not necessarily related to the crossing)
  • Twelve inch tear in Bimini
  • Unused through-hull in engine room developed a leak
  • Engine exhaust hose developed a leak
  • Steaming light burned out
  • Anchor light shorted out
  • Turning block for roller furling line pulled loose from stanchion (screws gave out while reefing)
  • Stainless steel boom bail attachment for mainsheet shackle sheered off from metal fatigue

Number of days trailing fishing lines: Approximately 20

Number of fish caught: 2 mahi mahi and one seagull. We ate the fish and the seagull flew away.

Number of meals served from those 2 fish for five people: 6

Most valued equipment:

  • New W-H autopilot - worked like a champ for 27 straight days with only 1 minor burble. (We turned it off for a couple of hours to give it a break, then it worked fine again)
  • Perkins 4-236 diesel for times when there was no wind or wind was on the nose. It just kept on tickin’!
  • New whisker pole for downwind sailing
  • Asymmetrical spinnaker for light wind sailing
  • Raytheon 24-mile radar - absolutely reliable
  • Our “communications package”: ICOM 710 SSB radio, laptop, Weather Fax 2000 software, PACTOR III modem with sailmail allowed daily emails to family and friends and accurate weather information
  • Water maker allowed hot showers every other day with no worries about ever running out
  • Relief Bands (for the two crew members who experienced mild, but frequent, nausea)
  • Boom gallows -- kept the boom from destroying our bimini frame when the mainsheet bail broke

Most valued asset: An outstanding crew that got along incredibly well, worked great together, provided much laughter and fun memories, and afforded Ty and Suzanne greatly appreciated extra hands and extra sleep.

Number of crew

  • Beaufort to Bermuda: 5 (Doug Morris, Grant Webber, Travis Roe, Ty and Suzanne)
  • Bermuda to Azores: 4 (Grant, Travis, Ty and Suzanne)
  • Azores to Lisbon: 3 (Travis, Ty and Suzanne)
    • Note that all 3 extra crew would have loved to have made the entire passage, but that nasty “W” word (w-w-w-work) got in the way