Let me tell you, crossing the Atlantic was an epic adventure of a lifetime! The excitement was contagious as we left the Mediterranean, sailed down to the Canary Islands, and geared up for the big Atlantic crossing with our trusty boat, Ambra. We were all so stoked and spent hours and hours prepping for the journey – safety checks, communication setups, weather forecasts, you name it!
But you know what made the whole experience even better? The legendary ARC parties every night! Oh boy, we danced, laughed, and made friends for life. It was like one big sailing festival on the high seas!
After we docked in St. Lucia, the partying didn’t stop. We had a whole week of celebration with all the other ARC participants. Picture this: a bunch of sailors planning the best spots for Christmas and New Year’s Eve Party – we were living the dream!
Now, the big question was, what’s next for us salty souls? Some crew members decided one ocean crossing was enough for them. Fair enough, it’s not for everyone! But there were those adventure junkies who couldn’t get enough and were ready to take on the Pacific like true sailing warriors.
But wait, here’s the fun part – most sailors planned the crossing, but the post-Atlantic steps? Not so much. It was like, „Our plan is to have no plan“ – until the hurricane season came knocking. Not a great idea, trust me!
Planning the next steps is crucial, and in this blog post, we will explore some options and considerations for sailors after completing the Atlantic crossing.
After our arrival in St. Lucia we had the next party time for one week with all the ARC participants. You meet all the fellow sailors, prepare for the holiday season and location for Christmas and New Years.
So fare so good, but what next? Most crews completed the first ocean crossing, some of them decided it was not something they would like to do again. Others enjoyed it so much and plan to pass the Panama Canal and continue into the Pacific. However, we discovered that most of the sailors planed the crossing but did not plan the next steps. „Our plan is to have no plan“ will only work until the hurricane season arrives.
You need to decide where do you want to leave your boat over the hurricane season!
Do you want to stay onboard or use the time to travel home and visit family and friends? The decision will have an impact on your route visiting all the islands in the Caribbean Sea.
Post-Atlantic Crossing Options:
1. Stay in the Caribbean and Monitor Weather:
One option is to remain in the Caribbean, enjoying the beautiful islands while keeping a close eye on the weather. In case of any approaching tropical storms or hurricanes, you can sail to a safer location. However, it’s important to note that staying onboard during the hurricane season carries risks, and insurance coverage may not be available.
2. Sail North to the United States (> 1000sm):
Sailing north towards the US coast and spending the summer there or leaving the boat in Chesapeake Bay is another choice. However, for this option, you’ll need a B1/B2 US visa, which should be obtained before leaving Europe or by visiting the US embassy in Nassau. Returning south the following season might require sailing against the Gulf Stream, which can be challenging.
3. Sail South to ABC Islands or Trinidad and Tobago (> 400sm):
Opting to sail south to the ABC Islands or Trinidad and Tobago is a popular choice. No visa is required, and the trip is relatively shorter, making it convenient. Moreover, these areas are outside the hurricane belt, providing a safer place to leave your boat during the season.
4. Sail Back to Europe:
For those who wish to return to Europe, planning the trip back should be well thought out. Leaving in April/May and crossing over to the Azores (with an optional stop in Bermuda) is a common route. However, undertaking two crossings in a year may limit the time available to explore all the Caribbean Islands and Bahamas/Exumas.
5. Cargo Transport Ship Option:
For sailors who prefer to avoid another long voyage, loading the sailing vessel onto a cargo transport ship and having it delivered to Europe is an alternative. Though more expensive, it saves time and effort. Cost is over EUR 40k plus the insurance cover and paperwork.
We decided to leave Ambra on the ABC islands in Aruba – why? Here is our assessment:
Aruba is the safest place to store your boat in the Caribbean! Varadero Aruba Marina & Boatyard is a very safe place.
Our Decision – Leaving Ambra in Aruba and spend another season in the Caribbean:
For us, the safest place to store our boat in the Caribbean was Aruba. The Varadero Aruba Marina & Boatyard provided a secure and reliable long-term dry storage option. The best part was that there were no import duties to be paid, regardless of the length of stay. Plus, they have all the services we needed, and the marina team is simply the best – they treated our boat like a superstar! The team is responsive and committed. And let’s not forget – being close to an international airport with flights to the US and Europe made it all super convenient. Plan ahead and make your reservation early! For more information: www.varaderoaruba.com/
Aruba: Hauling out
After completing the Atlantic crossing, deciding what to do next is a critical step in a sailor’s journey. Assessing the options and considering factors such as safety, visa requirements, and personal preferences will help make the best choice for each sailor. Whatever the decision may be, the memories of the Atlantic crossing and the time spent exploring the Caribbean will undoubtedly be cherished for a lifetime.
So, what was our crazy crew’s decision? We were all in for the Caribbean vibe! We wanted to soak in the sun, explore the leeward and windward islands, and dance to some sweet reggae beats. It was a no-brainer – two seasons in the Caribbean, here we come!
So there you have it, sailors – our wild Atlantic crossing and the epic post- crossing decisions. Life on the water is a never-ending rollercoaster of fun, and we’re buckled up for the ride!
Fair winds and smooth sailing, my salty comrades! See you out there on the high seas!
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