Preparing to cross the Atlantic

Wednesday, 29th April 2020

Adventures

We always encourage the Oyster Family to explore and achieve new sailing experiences. And completing an Atlantic crossing is the dream of many a sailor. But the sea can be a formidable mistress so it pays to prepare well, making sure everything is ship shape before a longer ocean passage, right down to the last sail tie.

Oyster Crew member Leandra Sewell details how she and her crewmates prepare for an Atlantic crossing aboard their Oyster Yacht.

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Provisioning

I don’t need to explain why taking the right foods for a longer sailing trip is so important, but here is a quick guide to the provisions we take:

- The number one rule is to take foods that will keep for a long time. Dry store goods – tinned foods, pasta sauce, cup-a-soups, crackers, tea, coffee, cereals, bread flour, long-life milk and water; not forgetting easy to grab snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, cereal bars, chocolates, biscuits, crisps. Baking ingredients let you cook on the move, and who doesn’t love finishing a night watch to the smell of freshly baked bread?

- Fresh fruit and vegetables that keep well and can be kept out the fridge for a long period are important. Apples, oranges, pears, grapefruit, unripened avocados, unripened bananas, pineapple, mango, watermelon, carrots, corn, potatoes, onions, pumpkin, celery and peppers all fall into this list. When planning meals, it’s important to work around when this produce will start to go off so nothing is wasted.

- Frozen foods are great too, so fresh produce is available throughout the passage. We take frozen vegetables, frozen berries and other fruit that can be thrown in a smoothie. Meat and ready-made pizzas are good and bread can also be frozen and toasted easily.

- Don’t forget – anti-seasickness provisions like ginger biscuits, ginger and peppermint teas, and mints are essential, although hopefully not necessary!

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Food Preparation

Our chef will prepare three meals a day for seven people for +/- 16 days, which is the average time it takes us to sail across the Atlantic. Below are some handy hints from how our chef does this: 

- Fruit and vegetables are cut up, portioned and frozen for future use.

- Some dishes are made in advance and frozen – these include lasagne, pies, stews, curries, chilli and soups.

- Wrap fresh herbs and leaves in damp paper towels to make them last longer.

- Home-made dips like hummus are preprepared and we continue to prepare foods like this as we sail.

 

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Safety Drills

It is important everyone knows their responsibilities in case of an emergency. So we run through all our safety checks and drills to pick up anything that might be amiss before we leave.

- Life jackets must be checked for wear and tear.

- Locations of safety equipment are identified and we remove all the covers and run through how everything works. 

- We test the alarms and emergency exits.

- We do a full run through of fire, man overboard and abandon ship drills.

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Mechanical Checks

- We test all the alarms including fire and bilge alarms.

- Start up the generators and engine to make sure they run smoothly.

- Winches and hydraulics are all tested.

- Service intervals on machinery are checked.

- The bow and stern thrusters are tested to ensure a smooth take off once we slip the lines.

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Deck Checks

Not only do we have the fishing rods ready to supplement our diet with fresh and sustainably caught fish, but we also needed to check the following: 

- the jack-stays have been set up and tested to ensure they are tight.

- winches have been set up with the correct lines.

-  the stainless steel is polished to protect it from the salt water and do a final wash down.

- all hatches are stowed and locked close, ready to go to sea!

Want to get a feel for the Atlantic Crossing experience?

Read the Atlantic Crossing blog >