When to cross the Atlantic ocean in a sailboat

Departing at the end of November, and in December could be the perfect time for an Atlantic crossing


July 20, 2022

Date Posted:

September 9, 2021

Categories: Sailing-

If you have a sailboat, you might have thought of crossing the Atlantic Ocean. An Atlantic crossing has often been seen as a year-long dream.

Making the crossing in late November or December seems to be the best timing. 

You can keep up to date with the hurricane season by checking the National Hurricane Center. The season runs from June to November and has a naming system just like a storm. They can happen before or after the season but are unlikely outside of it.

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The winter season now begins with two significant events starting in January. The RORC Transatlantic Race involves two yacht classes, the 50-foot Rangoni Isoform’s Crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, a single passage, and Ariel Investments’ Beagle Multi Fleet Classic event made up of seven races. The ARC regatta series will depart Lanzarote for St Lucia on January 4 and Gran Canaria for New York on January 14.

Which date should I book for my flight? Use reanalysis data and routing software to find out when your flight is going to be the cheapest. 

Surprisingly, the best time to travel is when strong trade winds are suddenly replaced with calm seas. 

Typically, according to the Metsimotlity blog, these winds start to blow around December 25th or 26th and last into January or February.

Buying the wrong sails can ruin your next trip. Here are some questions to ask and what you should know before buying sails downwind.

Only one adjective adequately describes ARC’s transatlantic crossing and the season we experienced last year: exhilarating.

The Canary Islands are often hit with high pressures, which provide a good range of beautiful, non-windy days. The predominant airflow is from the north through to east-north-east and provides 55-65% consistency for trade winds, blowing from the eastern side of the semi-permanent high pressure we know as the Azores high.

Stay warm with these winter hacks.

Similarly, 10% of December passages yield south or west winds, while 14% of January destinations will see the same. We can’t make firm predictions based on variability between destinations.

If you need a route for your flight, you may be wondering when is the best time to go. There are different statistics from different sources, but the older pilot charts and routing charts agree more with a higher incidence of trade winds. In contrast, winds created from newer satellite observations show more variability.

When you want to catch the best wind power, look at data from over 40 years of post-storm analysis. We see a clear telltale sign of climate change with disparities in weather patterns and an average year-to-year temperature increase that causes more significant variability in wind speeds.

Moreover, if the wind becomes southwesterly, an average strength tends to increase from November and December to February. This is an indication of deeper winter depressions passing closer.

When’s the best time to go? On the way across, there will remain a slight chance of southwesterly winds, which decreases the further south and west you get; mid-Atlantic adverse and light winds are generally linked to the tail of cold fronts splitting the Azores high or, more rarely, areas of low pressure.

You can see that November has better temperatures on average but is less predictable for variable winds. January is much colder with a nearly 10 degrees difference between high and low temps but is more reliable for choppy seas.

The early departures always gave the most comprehensive range of routes available. January dates were closer to direct routes and the south, reflecting their expected stronger winds (from historical data)

You can now cross the Atlantic 10 hours faster as of November! The surprising element is that the late November departures were, on average, 10 hours more quickly than those from January. Despite historical data and anecdotal evidence, which suggests the later crossings should have stronger winds, this still doesn’t make much sense.

Knowing when to go on a sailboat can be tricky if you’re not an experienced seaman—fortunately, it’s possible to understand future patterns by observing prominent meteorological events in the route. You can look at retrospective data to see how past weather patterns transition further into the journey and predict future forecasting based on the trajectory of storms*.

The canaries are significantly impacted by storms this time of year. However, the odds of navigating on calm seas increases in the latter part of January.

When it comes to special events or vacations, picking the right time is essential. Weather patterns are crucial when navigating the waters of the Atlantic, and this factor must be taken into account during all trips.

When’s the best time to travel to the southern hemisphere?

When is the best time to go? The usual advice is to go south as early as possible, but you’ll be safer leaving it until November or December. Once you pass the Bay of Biscay, it becomes more likely that there will be gales throughout September, and winds will become more westerly than they were in August.

Using pilot charts and projection, we found that this past September was a great time to go as there was no more than a 5% chance of gales at any one time, and the risk increases as we move closer to winter, so keep checking back on Copymatic as it gets closer to your perfect season!

As the weather changes from cold to warm in January, January could be a great time to explore Portugal. That’s because as colder waves abandon Portugal in the worst of winter, foreign humidity brings Portugal’s sunshine to life. In contrast, though, as March comes around, you’ll still enjoy window covets during these times, thanks to the trade winds.

Communication is a crucial factor when deciding when to depart from France. There can be a high attrition rate for racing before the yachts have even left Biscay. You want to choose a start time based on prudence rather than necessity.

After we sail south of Portugal, we should get into the trade winds’ start, but we still need to watch for lows further south than usual.

Your yacht never knows when the perfect timing is, but it is possible to take advantage of forecasting data that can help you anticipate ideal conditions for a swift and easy sail. Canaria Yachting has a forecasting tool that consulting yachts leaves around the world and can help you judge whether your passage is going to be a journey with lots of directional changes or sailing time – without taking possible foggy forecast as an impossibility.

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