On 20 December 2023, Holly, Stéphane and their Outremer 52, Awen, left the Canaries to set off on their transatlantic journey, bound for Miami and the Miami International Boat Show! After a 16-day crossing, they landed in Martinique in the Caribbean, successfully completing their Atlantic crossing. Even though they both have real sailing experience, they benefited from lessons at the Outremer Academy before their departure. By taking part in Outremer Week and individual coaching sessions, they were able to find out what it’s like to sail on an Outremer and build up their confidence before the big departure, with their first challenge being to cross the Atlantic!
Here’s a look back at the experience that marked the end of their year.
Departure and first days of the atlantic crossing
The meticulous preparations were a mixture of excitement and a touch of apprehension about the challenge that awaited them: tackling the immensity of the Atlantic. From the very first days at sea, they had to adapt. The fickle seas offered them both challenges and learning opportunities. The wind, which was stronger than expected, with gusts of up to 25 knots and large short waves, put their sailing skills to the test.
On the Atlantic, we need to adapt
The route to the Caribbean was written in a series of weather challenges. A capricious anticyclone to the north turned their voyage into a delicate dance with the weather systems. Every day, they had to make decisions: when to hoist, when to lower, and how to adjust the trajectory to maintain optimum speed. The frequent sail changes and tactical adjustments meant that the crew worked more closely together.
The expertise of Nikki Henderson, their skipper and instructor, proved invaluable. Under her guidance, Holly and Stéphane learned to read the wind and understand the sea conditions. The learning sessions, often theoretical ashore, took on a deeply concrete and immediate meaning here, having a direct impact on their safety and progress. It was a real school at sea!
Also read : Safe Sailing, by Nikki Henderson
Crossing the Atlantic on a sailboat: unforgettable moments
Despite the challenges, the crossing offered them moments of striking beauty: sparkling sunrises, starry nights and breathtaking nature, reminding them of man’s modest place in the immensity of the universe. Experiencing Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the high seas proved to be an extraordinary experience. Far from land-based traditions, these festivities took on a new, more intimate form, even though the crew was surrounded by many species: dolphins, mischievous companions dancing on the waves at Awen’s bows, whales in the distance, majestic and imposing, as well as seabirds, faithful travelling companions, enriched this crossing.
After 16 days at sea, Holly and Stéphane arrived in Martinique, marking the end of their Atlantic crossing by sailboat, but not the end of their journey. Next stop on their journey: Miami! This experience has been much more than just getting from point A to point B. It turned out to be a learning journey, a personal discovery and a discovery of their Outremer 52.
Awen, whose name evokes “the gentle breeze that inspires”, proved to be a faithful and efficient companion. He excelled in his ability to sail in a variety of conditions, combining speed and comfort. For Holly and Stéphane, the trip reinforced their confidence in their maritime skills. They’ll be able to tell you all about this experience at the Blue Water Cruising Seminar in Miami on 17 February, before continuing their voyage with Awen!