Originally Posted by Kringle
I am considering sailing my 34 feet sailboat home from the US to Europe in lieu of having it transported. As time is not of the essense and as I may be sailing shorthanded, the crossing will be planned to follow winds and currents rather than to reflect the shortest distance. I hope that the forum may offer some thoughts on route and time of year for such voyage
Best Regards Jan, S/Y Kringle
best time to start is April/May from the US-Coast, depending on how far north you start.
When shorthanded, it might be a good idea to do the crossing with two stops on the way: Bermuda and Azores.
In June, July and August it als also possible, but it might be better to skip the stop on the Bermudas as it is as far south as possibly old hurricanes could affect that region in July and later.
Many years ago friends did a direct crossing (on the great circle route) on a rather small boat from New York to Falmouth/GBR and they found it to be rather strenuous.
And before setting out from the Azores you should think about where in Europe you have your final destination: When planning to sail to Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar or the Med, it is fine to make a landfall anywhere between A Coruna/Spain or Gibraltar. Nice sailing most of the time.
But when choosing to sail on to Northern Europe (Great Britain, France Scandinavia) it might be a better idea to leave the Azores on a northeasterly course and plan the landfall in Cornwall (GBR) or in the Bretagne/FRA (or even in Southern Ireland, as we did some years ago). The reason is that when you end up in Northern Spain (or even further south) with a final destination in Northern Europe, you have northerly winds prevailing on the portugese and spanish coast and even on the southern part of the Biscay. The reason for that is a stable high pressure area that sits over the Azores most of the summer, creating westerly winds to its north, that are somtimes affected by frontal systems with its SW-ly to NW-winds. But the further south you are (Biscay and spanish portugese coast), the winds are from the Northwest to North...
And when the final destination is somewhere in Northern Europe, it might be a good idea to reach it around mid-September, as daytime gets shorter, nights get chillier and as especially in Scandinavia the sailing ends and everything is closing down...