The Transatlantic Crossing

Follow along on the eventful Atlantic crossing of Bérangère, Laurent and their two children aboard their sailboat, Zanzibar, a SunShine 36.


Departure on the Transatlantic Crossing!

   On Monday, the 1st of February, we left Mindelo, Cape Verde, headed for the Antilles…

Two couples who we had met several days earlier, on neighbouring boats, came to help us cast off and wish us good luck.  “See you on the other side!

The next 16 days were not exactly a pleasure.  We were batted in every direction by heavy cross seas with sustained winds of between 20 and 35 knots.  We spent entire days under a grey drizzle, without seeing the sun, and endured our first squalls by the 3rd day.   The first lull did not occur until the 10th day, and it lasted only one day.

Here was an actual lived experience, quite different from the stories we had read or had heard told by some.  So, perhaps it is just a myth, this famous, long Atlantic swell!

All throughout this crossing, we were alone, in the middle of the ocean.  No one around, not a living soul in this desert of sea foam.  Not a trail from a plane in the sky, nor a bird, and the only living things that we saw in 15 days were the flying fish that had landed on the deck of our sailboat in an unfortunate miscalculated manoeuvre as they attempted a water landing.  We spent hours, and entire days, staring blankly at the horizon while allowing our minds to wonder.

When it came to our emotions, they were all more intense while under way, and just like children, we could easily go from joy to melancholy.

However, upon our arrival, all that was finished.  No more nausea, moodiness or fatigue.  After a good night of sleep, a good meal, and the discovery of this promised land, all of the tests that we had endured were already almost forgotten.  We were proud of ourselves.  We succeeded!  We did it!

We had covered 2,230 nautical miles (4,130 km), at an average speed of 5.9 knots, or around 11 km/hour.

In spite of it all, we were happy to have had this experience, which was, at least, very enriching, and to have arrived in the Antilles.

Anchored in the marina of Port Louis in Grenada, our wayfaring sailboat looked a bit out of place amidst all the luxury yachts and large catamarans for charter.  We planned to take a well-earned rest before heading out to discover the multiple paradisiacal islands of the Grenadines.

We only have a few photos of this crossing, and make no mistake, those photos above deck were taken on the only day of calm…