Planning a Passage | Sailing Blog - Technical Hints and Tips - Sailing Television

Planning a Passage

Where to Go?
Sounds like a funny question... where will we go. But a lot of the success of your cruise will be a result of figuring out a reasonable plan in the first place. First timer’s often come up with a plan that involves too many miles, optimistically planning the route without taking into account the realities of small-boat voyaging. After all a whole year must be enough time to travel around the world? :-) And while it might be possible to make a string of long passages - for most of us this will be more of an endurance test.
DS sailing WS

How long will it take?
When Sheryl & I are getting ready to make a passage we plan a few extra days to prepare for the passage (provisioning, boat projects etc) and a number of days to rest and enjoy the destination as well (and do those bat jobs that crop up afterwards).

This cruise from France to the Caribbean will involve three main legs...
  • South France to Gibraltar - The Med - I am making a rough estimation of 1 month to involve a number of stops along the Spanish coast
  • Gib to the Canaries - African Coast - 6 weeks hopefully visiting Madeira and Morocco as well as the eastern Canaries we haven’t seen before
  • Canaries to Caribbean - Crossing the Atlantic - 4 weeks including prep and a few days rest at the end
Now, is this plan feasible?

Cruising Routes
Our next step in planning a passage is to look it over in Jimmy Cornell’s "World Cruising Routes". We have just bought Jimmy’s latest book on passage planning for the world called "World Voyage Planner". If you are planning long-term sailing I would highly recommend you look at these guides. For us we have done this passage before so already did the research. But I will look over passage planning for the Gibraltar - Madeira leg.

Internet Weather
Weather resources on the internet have come a long way. You probably are using some of these resources already, but I would recommend you start assembling a folder of weather internet sites that specialize in the weather of where you are going. I do this in advance so I am watching the weather to try to learn the patterns for the places we will visit. Here are a few links... Excellent all-round page for overview of offshore weather Detailed local site forecasts - this one for the BVI Nice local weather animations for anywhere - Here’s our Caribbean Landfall Another I have been using in Europe for local forecasts

Cruiser Blogs
Of course you will have already found cruiser blogs on the internet as well - you found this one?! I usually check out sailors blogs on destinations I am going to for the first time. For example, our cruise through the French Canals I found these two sites - one a cruisers blog giving the flavour of the cruise, and the other an amazing site organized like a cruising guide - excellent! - Very nice blog on the French Canals - Amazing detail - we bought the downloadable guide since we could use it when out of internet range.

Planning a passage should be a lot of fun! Here is where you turn your cruising dreams into reality! Enjoy!

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