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Amo Yachts - What sailboat do I need to cross the Atlantic?

What sailboat do I need to cross the Atlantic?

Do you want to cross the Atlantic with your sailboat? In this post we explain which is the perfect boat to embark on this transoceanic adventure.

Boats to cross the ocean

There is no perfect prototype boat to cross the Atlantic, although most of the sailboats designed for this adventure usually exceed 40 feet. It is true that it is possible to make this dream come true with almost any boat, although it is best to select a ship with about 50 feet, in the case of monohulls, and about 40 feet, for multihulls.

Velero navegando con el Caribe de fondo

Special boats?

Formerly it was necessary to adapt the design of the boat to cross the ocean. At present, there is no specific type of boat and all you need is to prepare it to prepare for the adventure without any problem, so it is important to know how your sailboat works.

The best thing to do is to use a boat that you’ve been sailing with for years, but you’ll need to do a complete overhaul, so you’ll need to know what all the parts are. The ideal is to introduce a new sail, check the engine and equip the space to make it habitable during this period of time.

How to find a sailboat?

Most of the sailboats that cross the Atlantic are traditional boats equipped with the necessary materials to carry out this crossing. The most important thing to find the ideal sailboat is its previous preparation; therefore, it is necessary to know all the technical aspects of the ship.

In order for your sailboat to cross the Atlantic, it is necessary to equip it correctly and test it beforehand. Normally, skippers close to the Mediterranean who want to do this adventure usually try out their sailing boats in the waters of Ibiza and Formentera.

What is your length?

Normally, the weather conditions you will encounter during your outbound voyage are different from those you will suffer on your return. The best preparation you can make is to have watertight plastic boxes with the necessary spare parts and food so that all passengers on board can enjoy the journey.

Most sailboats crossing the Atlantic have an average length of 46”. Therefore, the ideal is to choose a sailboat between 45 and 50” whose capacity is perfect to face a storm and make the trip with comfort.

If you are going to do this adventure with 3 or 5 more people, it is best to choose a boat of this size; a smaller one offers less comfort and a larger one has thicker sheets and rigging is important.

Standard or classic boat?

Sailboats such as Jeanneau, Beneteau or Dufour, among others, are lighter and are ideal for calm waters, but not for adverse weather conditions, such as those you may encounter on your way back through the Azores.

A good option is to choose a more classic boat, with a more robust construction and designed to develop this adventure. Still, the most used boats to cross the ocean are modern sailboats.

Velero navegando en el océano

4 ways to get a boat to cross the Atlantic

There are four different ways to get a boat across the Atlantic:

  • Charter. In many occasions, you can take advantage of the cabins that do not have passengers to reduce the costs of the trip.
  • Expenses. The most common thing is that the captain assumes the expenses of the necessary material and, the crew and he share the expenses of drink, food or gasoline, among others.
  • Free of charge. It is possible that if you want to embark on this adventure but you don’t have a ship, you can find a ready-made ship that needs a crew member.
  • Hired. In occasions it is necessary to have qualified personnel for the navigation, although this is usually solved before time.

Previous considerations

Before starting to cross the Atlantic with your sailboat it is necessary to check the communications that are going to be used and the satellite phones, among other aspects.


One of the prior considerations you should always know is the safety of the boat. You must check that everything is correct and that everyone knows the crossing.

It is also important to know the weather forecast to avoid storms. In addition, you have to try to avoid the man overboard; for this, it is best that all people are careful when walking on the deck and do not go outside at night.

Radars and guards are another important aspect of security; they avoid collisions with cargo ships and other ships. In addition, it is advisable to prepare a watertight bag that you can use at all times, even in case of sinking, in it you must carry:

  • Flares. 3 large and 2 small.
  • Radio loaded.
  • GPS charged, with spare batteries.
  • Sleeping bag.
  • One neoprene per person.
  • Personal medicines.
  • Small first-aid kit.
  • American tape.
  • Flashlight with batteries.
  • Knife or razor.
  • Dry food.
  • Water.
  • Capes.
  • Fire blanket.
  • Sun cream.

Velero cruzando el Atlántico

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s normal for you to have many doubts before crossing the Atlantic; that’s why we answer the most frequently asked questions.

What is the best time to sail the Atlantic?

The best season to cross the Atlantic is autumn, so you can enjoy the winter in the Caribbean and when you return to Spain, it will be spring. In addition, you will avoid the cyclone season.

From which ports do you depart to cross the Atlantic?

The most normal is that the ports that are usually used to start crossing the Atlantic are those located in the south of Portugal and Spain, as they are the closest land and have the best climate. The Canary Islands, Madeira or Cape Verde are usually the most used.

Of all these, the ports of the Canary Islands stand out. Their trade winds benefit the boats and push the ships to the Caribbean coasts.

What itinerary do Atlantic crossings departing from Europe follow?

The most commonly used route is the one from southern Europe to the Caribbean. In many cases, this route starts in the Canary Islands, stops in Cape Verde and, from there, leaves for the Caribbean.

What are the main dangers of crossing the Atlantic?

Hurricanes and tropical storms are the main dangers you may face when crossing the Atlantic, so it’s best to start sailing in the autumn, when this season is over.

The route from Europe to the Caribbean, which we have mentioned before, is usually the most recommended because, being close to Ecuador, the risk of suffering these atmospheric phenomena is lower and the temperature is much more pleasant.