We hate to break it to you, but if you’re in the yachting industry its inevitable that you’re going to have to do the famous “Atlantic Crossing” at some point in your yachting career. This inevitable factor will typically come into play when yachts follow the Mediterranean summer season, ending out the year with a trip back to the Caribbean for the warm winter months. This is why crossing months typically happen in the mid-spring and the mid-fall. Lucky for you, this is a fantastic voyage and one that you should not fear. For many yachties, “the crossing” has been a time for getting in shape, relaxing, crew bonding or if the crew isn’t needed for the physical crossing itself, a time to travel and meet the boat on the other side! Some crew have experienced this journey more than once, while others maybe a tad nervous as to what to expect on their first trek. Here are a few things to consider when getting ready for the long days ahead out at sea – Your First Ocean Crossing as a Crew Member.
Practice Yacht Drills Prior to Departure
While we do suggest you should do this on a regular basis regardless of where you travel too, there is no better time to being in sync with your crew and your on board safety knowledge then when you’re about to embark on a week and half mission across the ocean, or longer for that matter. Brush up on your knowledge of where all the safety gear is, if it’s maintained and ready to go in an emergency situation. Practice your abandon ship drills, man over board, fire safety drills etc. Everything and anything helps. And while this may sound silly, you could even go one step further to remind crew of common sense practices, such as why not to urinate overboard, as no one has ever fallen overboard while using a dayhead!
Take it Steady on Your First Ocean Crossing
While this could seem furthest from your mind, it is important to maintain an achievable level of work ethic, mixed with good spirits for a trip this length. Stamina is key, so don’t go all out in the first three days, and then realize your pace isn’t going to work for the rest of the journey. We mean this in every aspect, work, eating patterns, sleep patterns, activities planned for the crossing. If you are working during the crossing, have your higher authority create a job schedule and lay them all out on the table at the start, so you can pick and choose tasks for the day that suits for the weather, your mood etc. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
Maintain a Positive Attitude
This is an important one. Maintaining a positive attitude while being trapped inside a yacht with the same crew, working, living and eating can be a challenge, even when there is land to escape too. However, when the furthest space you can put between yourself and the crew is from the bow to the stern, metaphorically speaking, this poses a bit of a challenge. Make your life easier and keep your mood positive, and if you have extra positive vibes one day, why not help out your fellow grumpy crew members who can’t get out of a slump, make them a tea, or let them choose the movie – a simple gesture goes miles.
Join in Yachting Traditions
Doing a crossing is a great time to take part in silly and serious traditions. Several yacht crews find this a good time to partake in a little friendly competition, such as seeing how many pushups each crew member can do for the duration of the crossing, how many minutes they can do on the rowing machine etc. There is also a strong sense of getting healthy while on a crossing, such as doing a detox, not drinking, going paleo or just plain eating healthy. There are also some humorous traditions for Atlantic crossing “virgins” such as shaving heads or making them do an embarrassing task to initiate their journey. All of these things can make up for boring times when the internet cuts out on board – so plan ahead!
Arrival Dates are not Set in Stone
While many yachts will set a schedule and pick a course before departure that they think will be the fastest or easier route (weather depending) it is important to not set your sights on a specific arrival date. There are several factors that play into arriving safely on the other side; weather such as winds or swells, cruising speeds, where you depart from and where your final destination is. As we know, weather is constantly changing, and as you sail further into the middle of the Ocean, you may have to change course thus meaning you may be delayed a day or two. Keep this in the back of your mind so you don’t get too disappointed when you have to go an extra couple days without seeing land on the horizon.