Caribbean to the Azores via Bermuda
From the windswept dusty anchorages of Cape Verde to nights spent amongst flamingos in mangrove-lined rivers of Brazil to the turquoise waters and coral sand beaches in the Caribbean, it felt as if the best bits – all that we had come to see – were past. There had been very long passages, and plenty of adventure, but these passed in a blur after nine months of touring the tropics. Nearly 5000 miles lay between us, in Antigua, and the prospect of starting a life on land at home. Somehow the finality of the passage magnified the distance, so it felt very significant when we hauled up the anchor in Jolly harbour bay. Our toughest challenge lay ahead.
Reading up on routing advice and studying the pilot charts, we elected to take the traditional route. We would refrain from turning East for the Azores until making 35 degrees North, the latitude of Bermuda. After the crossing, chatting at dockside parties in Horta, I got the impression that the field was split; many sailors followed the shorter, direct route from the Caribbean. However, the windless Horse latitudes haven't changed since ancient times. You need to be prepared to make progress in very light airs, either with specialised sails or by carrying enough diesel. We were rafted with a heavy French steel yacht that had neither. Due to their desire to take a short cut en route to Europe, they were stuck for 35 days, static in the Sargasso sea.