Atlantic crossing by the numbers

23 02 2011

Last year, I crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times, most recently delivering an 18-year-old superyacht to Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua in time for the owner’s Christmas vacation.

Here are some stats from that trip:

(One nautical mile = 1.85 kilometres = 1.15 miles.)

Note: this article also appeared recently on Matador Travel. Thanks to David Miller for his help.

Distance travelled from Palma de Mallorca – Gibraltar – Gran Canaria – Cape Verdes -Antigua: 4266 nautical miles.

 Time taken: 20 days sailing plus 5 days of stopovers for fuel and provisions.

Cups of tea consumed: 200-250 cups.

Total days ‘proper’ sailing with engine off: 9.

Fuel consumed: 6500L of diesel. Fuel saved per hour when engine is off: 23L.

Fuel consumed per hour by a motor yacht of same size averaging 10 knots: 300-400L.

Fastest speed attained under sail in our 97 ton yacht: 14.2 knots (26kph).

Mainsail volume: 225 square metres.

Strongest wind gust: 42 knots.

Electrical fires on board: 2.

Crew response time to fires: Very, very fast. And improving.

Fish hooked: 14.

Fish kept: 4 (Viewing The End of the Line has led to new, extreme criteria for ‘keepers’.)

Meals from a good size mahi mahi: 4 meals for 7 people plus various raw appetisers.

Lures lost to unseen monsters: 4.

Best meal: Char-grilled mahi mahi with gremolata, chilli-infused poisson cru, and coleslaw with fresh-baked beer bread.

Most popular snack: The chef’s secret custom-trail mix and/or Mie Goreng noodles.

Number of times leaky deck hatches poured water down upon me: 3.

Total different sleeping locations to avoid leaky hatches: 4.

Number of flying fish which flew in through open hatches: 3.

Number of flying fish which landed in bed beside me: 1.

Proportion of books and magazines making up my luggage: Approximately 60%.

Titles read by me en route: 5 (Lush Life by Richard Price, South by Ernest Shackleton, Genghis Khan: Lords of the Bow and Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden and Underworld of the East by James Lee).

Books I read on the same yacht three years ago which are still on board: More than 15.

Watch system: 3 hours on and 6 hours off, in teams of 2.

Major world problems theoretically solved by crew during late-night watch: 3-4 nightly.

Major world problems actually solved by crew during late-night watch: Less than zero.

Most popular late-night musical choices: Into The Wild soundtrack – Eddie Vedder, Blue Sky Mining – Midnight Oil, Rated R – QOTSA, Music Monks – Seeed, Home – Spearhead and American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash.

 Vagabond sailing yachts involved in near-misses due to their refusal to display lights at night: 2

Approximate depth at the location we took a swim: 4900 metres.

Speed at which it was possible to keep pace with the yacht while swimming: 1 knot or less.

Crew who thought it might be fun to jump from the first spreader up the mast: 1.

Positions/nationalities of crew: Captain (South African), Chef (British), Mate (Irish), Engineer (New Zealander), Stewardess (New Zealander), Delivery-monkey/consultant (Australian – me) and Captain’s mother/baker-extraordinaire (South African)

Total Atlantic crossings between all crew: 26.

Languages spoken between crew: 5 (English, Afrikaans, Spanish, Gaelic and Kiwi)

Personal Atlantic crossings this year: 3.

Miles sailed this year across giant oceans: 11,500nm.