Trans-Atlantic 2008     Home      Sailing home page

We  spent much of the summer sailing from Rockland, Maine in USA to Scotland, and also a few weeks cruising around the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. At the time of writing, 23rd December 2008, we are back home enjoying the snow, having sailed from Rockport, Maine, to Bermuda (stayed a week) the Azores (stayed 5 weeks) then to Ireland, on to Scotland and left Milvina in Ardrossan in the Clyde for the winter.
We started our cruise by eating lobster, including this giant, while working on Milvina in Rockland, Maine, where we had left her for the winter.  All went well till we launched, when we found that the motor overheated seriously within about 2 minutes of opening the throttle.  After 3 days, with Volvo mechanic help, we were becoming desperate.  Then Andre Poirier, back home in Quebec, found the solution on a web site.  Problem was some poor Volvo engineering that let a plastic orifice in a copper pipe loose the first time we stored the boat in cold weather. We fixed it in 5 minutes, once diagnosed. 

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We chose to sail via Bermuda and the Azores because the islands  are beautiful, it is warmer that way, with much lower frequency of gales.

The whole crossing is about 4,200 nautical miles (7600 km) Details on each sector are at:
Bermuda                  Crossing to Azores
Flores                       Faial (Horta)
Pico                          Terceira 

Sao Jorge                 San Miguel 
Passage to Ireland    Scotland

At sea we spoke with Herb Hilgenberg every day  He is an experienced sailor and self-taught meteorologist who has provided weather routing to small boat sailors all across the North Atlantic for about 15 years.  His work is entirely voluntary, and much appreciated by many sailors.

The shortest way to Scotland from Maine would pass Nova Scotia and Newfoundland very closely, thece about 1900 miles to Ireland.  However, this runs through icebergs, cold weather, lots of rain, and fog.

To miss the ice, it is recommended to pass South of 40 deg N, 40 deg W, which is nearly half way from Rockland to Bermuda.

This first photo after setting sail was on a cold night, but after a couple of days things warmed up as we reached the Gulf Stream.

Unfortunately the Gulf Stream was its usual unfriendly self, and was quite rough for 30 hours or so.  We ended up being close-hauled for 5 of the 6 days to Bermuda, some of which was pretty bouncy.

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