The past two years have been very strenuous for me: Workload exploded and thus no real big or long distance sailing trips have been possible. Not that I don´t like the one- or two-week sailing trips in the Baltic Sea, but I still very often think about my first Atlantic Ocean experience back in 2017 – a greenhorn, boarding a 46-footer and sailing to Lanzarote. This 1.000 miles trip had everything: Great sailing lessons, majestic and breathtaking Atlantic waves, islands to be visted and a mutiny … well, after I had to cancel my big VIP-regatta this year and I don´t even own a boat now, I though that 2023 would become the worst of my personal sailing years. But as it turns out, it might have gotten much better now.

Sailing adventure upcoming!

I confirmed my participation in a 3-week sailing trip starting late October from Mallorca to the Canary Island of Tenerife. That´s a 1.200 miles (ideal course) sailing trip and I must say I am exhilarated! I received this offer a week ago and – lucky me – my boss approved of the vacation time. Three weeks off (and in my case this means being really offline) is a long time in my business, so I am really thankful. But it´s not just the much awaited and wished for Atlantic sailing that makes me thrilled by pleasant anticipation – it´s the people I will be sailing with.

A great crew

The phone call offering me a cabin came from my old friend Wilfried “Skippy”. A circle is closing: Skippy was the Captain on MOJITO, the fateful boat we delivered from Lisbon via Madeira to the Canary Islands right at the start of my career in the boating industry. Later on I would keep contact with Skippy (whereas I never ever heard a word from MOJITO´s crew) and two years ago, in the midst of the Covid-19-craze, I helped Skippy to bring back his own boat, FREE WILLY, sailing the Bay of Biscay.

Skippy, united again!

Re-uniting now on our “old” route down south to the wonderful Canary Islands is absolutely great and I look so much forward to spending three weeks with him aboard our boat: Engaging in lighthearted as well as deeply philosophical conversations, cracking jokes and of course learning from an old salt who is sailing the seven seas since over 35 years now. Another crew mate will be Andi, a great guy who I know since our FREE WILLY-trip. Maybe there will be a fourth member of our crew, which is a decision Skippy as Captain has to take. Our boat would have another cabin available …

Our boat: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440

Speaking of the yacht. That´s a 2019 French built Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440, 4 cabins. The boat is owned by the Four Seasons Yachting charter company which rents it out from the Balearic Islands during summer season. For wintertime the boat is rented out from Tenerife. The delivery trips are made by acquaintances and friends of the company, being trusted and skillful sailors – just as skippy.

Our boat: Sun Odyssey 440

Our boat is a classic charter-equipped yacht: Four cabins, two bathrooms. We will have all amenities a modern production cruiser can offer, like inmast-furling and such. I am very excited to finally get to really sail a Jeanneau, our “sister brand”, designed by Philippe Briand and Jean-Marc Piaton. Of course, I´d had preferred an Oceanis 46.1 but Jeanneau, being the more volume-oriented brand of both, is much stronger in the charter business than Beneteau. Anyways, it´s about the people and the route, I´d say.

Sailing in late October …

Which brings us to the weather and sailing conditions. I remember quite vividly sailing out from Lisbon onto the Atlantic Ocean, being completely knocked out by seasickness for the first 3 or 4 days. The large swell had me. This time it´s a bit more complicated than just waves. As we will start our journey from Mallorca, the first 450 to 500 miles will be sailing East towards the Gibraltar straight (to which I look extremely forward!). Dominated by Westerly winds and corresponding waves, this could mean we´d either be waiting some time to catch a calmer weather window or (as it is the case just right now early June) an Easterly wind would blow us right through. Also, afterwards, any wind and swell is welcome, except for a South-Westerly.

Weather routing will be crucial

Having the weather against us would mean to tack into Gibraltar, prolonging distance to 700, 900 or even 1.000 miles, which would ultimately prolong the trip or, worse, cut time to spend for visiting interesting places. So, hopefully, when we cast off and drop our lines in Mallorca end of October, Poseidon is gracious and makes a present to us. I am sure we will have some tasty Spanish beer as our offering to him.

Are we going to Africa?

Cutting time from visiting interesting places. Here the fun part starts. I know that passage planning is a gamble since the weather will dictate where the boat goes. But playing around with some ideas is exciting. I´ve already talked with Andi and we both agree that we don´t want to see any Spanish ports before Gibraltar. Not that we don´t like Almeria or Malaga, we´d even skip beautiful Madeira as we´d rather go for the more uncommon or extraordinary places. So what about Africa?

Marina Bouregreg in Rabat – let´s sail there!

I would love to see Morocco, like Marina Bouregreg. Eat the food, feel the Moroccan vibes. Spend two or three days there, maybe rent a car. I´d really love to do that. But apart from the fact that this is a Captain´s decision, we would have to be sure that for example ship´s insurance includes Africa, that approaching the treacherous and difficult coast is safe and our boat as well as we are too. So, lots to research and lots to be talking about. For now, I am so happy to being able to look forward to this wonderful trip upcoming – and be sure, I will write a hell lot of articles about this trip as well.


You may also like to read these associated articles:

My first Atlantic Ocean experience to Lisbon-Lanzarote

Another sailing trip with Skippy: Gulf of Biscay crossing

Postponed, not cancelled: Atlantic Loop