Save money on the transport by sailing her from Europe to the U.S. or vice versa? Why not, for sure the most adventurous option of all. I’ve recently had a very informative FaceTime call with Andraž Mihelin, owner of the Seascape Yard and professional Mini Transat Sailor, about the safety requirements and preparations for such a journey on a Seascape 27.
Andraž said that the boat is as seaworthy as any boat but sailor and boat require some special preparation, considering the size. He believes the ’27 is probably the most stable boat of the size currently on the market; rolling could be an issue however. By a general rule of thumb, a breaking wave twice the width of a boat could roll it over. That’s around 5 meter high waves for the Seascape 27. Depending on the route and time of year, waves of that size could be very unlikely though.
Good to know that the “frame to build on” is ok! What about equipment? According to Andraž a very good and comprehensive source for safety equipment is the class mini regulations that can be found online. The document “Official texts” covers everything from life rafts, signalling, navigation and fishing equipment to contents of first aid kits, sails and drinking water. It’s a very comprehensive document. I will create a page on this blog soon with an extract of stuff relevant for sailors outside class mini.
Additional spare parts for the keel, a spare rudder blade and maybe a Dyneema back-stay could come in handy during the passage.
I do not plan to make the crossing single handedly. I would need a second person to feel comfortable. 3 could work as well but it’s getting crowded.
Andraž also gave me some good ideas to get up to snuff:
- Attend couple of Mini races e.g. in France to get used to Ocean Sailing on small boats in tough conditions
- Attend ISAF safety at sea seminars
- Get some advanced medical training exceeding standard first-aid e.g. ask at the local ER for courses or mentoring
We also talked about the route. I’d prefer to bring her over on a larger ship – the comments of you guys on my posts Piggyback Ocean Passage and Yearning are very helpful – and sail her back to Europe when the time of leaving the U.S. has come. This would give me a lot of time to prepare myself and the boat. Logistically speaking that option also has a lot of advantages as boat and sailor would reside on the same continent during the preparations.
Andraž clearly recommended the trade wind route Lisbon, Canary Islands, Caribbean though (20-30 days). He says it’s very easy and very low risk; should actually be quite a lot of fun. Whereas West to East will be doable with the boat at a manageable risk but probably rather unpleasant on the sailors.
Further passage from the Caribbean could be done step wise or directly to Bermuda followed by New York. Either by myself or professionals sailing the boat for me.
All in all, crossing the Atlantic on a Seascape 27 is a viable option for me to explore. By no means have I made any decision yet but preparations wouldn’t be in vain. Knowing the equipment for ocean crossing and acquiring the skill to skipper it safely is something I plan to use at some point in my life anyhow; time and boat yet uncertain.