Crossing the Atlantic along the lines of nature

The Golf Stream has since the age of the sailships been well known among the seafarers

Crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat can be both tedious and hard. It can also be a trip filled with good winds and ocean currents going your way.

Being small and vulnerable it is important to play along with the forces of nature. This ensures a fast passage, reduce the risk of bad weather and enhances safety.

Leaving the East Coast of Greenland we will first meet the East Greenland coastal current. It carries cold water from the polar sea, through the Fram Strait Southward, along the coast. We will try to cross this current as quickly as possible because of the high iceberg concentration in these polar waters.

As we get 100-200 nautical miles from the coast the water temperature usually increases, and we have reached the Irminger current. This is one of the arms of warm water stretching Northward from Atlantic Conveyor, also known as the Gulf Stream.

Low pressures develop and often deepen in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland. Many of today’s meteorological models are having a hard time in predicting the development of low pressures. This combined with few real time observations result in unreliable weather forecasts. As we progress further South and East the water temperature will continue to rise.

The main low pressure path go between the Southern tip of Greenland, Cape Farewell, and the Southern tip of Iceland. When crossing this path we can expect some variable weather with winds both from the North and the South

At this point in time we will still keep a course of East South East to get down to the “North Atlantic Highway». The «North Atlantic Highway» is the area where the warm Golf Stream water slowly flows Eastwards, and since we at this point is south of the low pressures we will have Westerly winds (the wind always travels counter clockwise around the low pressures) blowing us right across the North Atlantic Ocean, to our warm beds and families in Norway.

This is the theoretical approach to the crossing of the North Atlantic, but will it fit with our observations? We are soon to find out.

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