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Old 09-01-2009, 11:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
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I'm planning a transat from Norfolk to Azores on a 27 ft. with some other folks and we were planning on leaving in the beginning of October. Is it suicide to leave that early? A few sailors have said they wouldn't for hurricanes, but about the same number say it doesn't matter. Could someone offer me some sound advice one direction or the other? Thanks in advance.


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Old 09-02-2009, 12:11 AM   #2
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Never done an october crossing but I did to a late August - September crossing last year, which was indeed nearly suicide. We ran smack into Hurricane Ike in it's formative stages.... offshore whoever even a hurricane is navigable if it's not full strength, 3 days under bare poles making 6+ knots... not fun at the time nor something I would like to do again but definitely an unforgetable experience...

The Azores high will probably be a bit large in October so my only recommendation is to not be in a hurry or to take plenty of fuel... otherwise, have a great trip.

The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going. (Epictetus 55 - 135 AD)

"To see new things, and live day to day, is better than wine or poppy, and fitter for a man." (Theseus)
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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I am currently in the Azores. I have been here for 3 months. I came from Langley AFB in Hampton. I also wanted to sail my boat over to the Azores. And looking back I wish I would have. I had a Catalina 30.

About your trip over here in Oct! so far the wave height is not big. But they are building. The other day we had about 8' waves hitting the rocks. That's not really bad yet but I am told that they build rather quickly during the fall and winter season.

Good luck!

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Old 09-16-2009, 04:22 PM   #4
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The problem with hurricane season is that you can't judge by hindsight. *In the six months of hurricane season there aren't usually that many hurricanes. *But if you're caught in one, it doesn't matter that for the 60 days before you went to sea there wasn't even one hurricane. *I've talked to sailors who were caught in a hurricane and are thankful they came away with their lives.

One fellow was in a hurry to sail down the East coast of the US. *There had been hurricane warnings, but the hurricane had stalled south of the US and the guy got tired of waiting for something to happen. *He figured he could make it to Florida before the weather happened. *He couldn't. *The hurricane sped up, he was offshore and didn't have adequate gear for receiving good weather reports while he was offshore, and he felt he was lucky to come out of it alive.

Hurricanes can meander along at 5 knots, or they can gain strength and start barrelling along at 15 to 20 knots, pushing large and uncomfortable seas in front of them. *Little sailboats cannot outrun them, and sometimes the bad seas make it extremely difficult to even make normal way.

Those tropical waves and tropical storms that don't make it to hurricane strength are still nasty wind and seas to be trying to sail into. *They are an even more tiresome part of hurricane season.

For this reason, people usually don't cross the Atlantic in hurricane season. **

"You pay your money and take your chances." *Or you wait until the season is over and then cope with northern gales. *At least the northers are a bit more predictable in their severity and duration.

Fair winds, whatever your decision.

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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atlantic, transatlantic

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