Written by Jon:
We try to sail without any fixed plans. We let wind and whim drive us from place to place and on the whole try not to tie ourselves to any fixed schedule. However, certain things need to be booked in advance and crossing the Atlantic as a part of an organised Rally is one of those things.
Why bother to join a rally at all? Well, there are a few benefits: sense of community, feeling of security and a sense of commitment to actually GO. But, for us one of the most important drivers was to try to find more kids boats, which is why we chose the Atlantic Odyssey which seems to focus on families, kids and ego/race free cruising.
Once we’d decided to ‘go for it’ and booked our place we started the process of finding more crew. Many couples cross the atlantic alone, even with kids, finding a sleeping pattern that allows them to survive for 20+ days and they do well. However, I felt we needed backup. If everything went according to plan then I’m confident that Mia, Teo and I could handle the Atlantic crossing alone, however we do not plan for ‘everything going to plan’ – certainly not when the passage is more than a reliable weather forecast in length. So, we started looking for two crew to bring us unto four adults and Teo: one experienced sailor and one keen competent crew were my minimum requirements.
With a little help (and reference) from John Neil who helped me find Itchy Foot we found our first crew member, Kevin. A lovely Canadian chap, retired, father of three, experienced sailor and generally a very handy many to have onboard. We got to meet Kevin for a drink at Newcastle train station as he was returning from a vacation in Scotland and immediately got on well with him.
Our second crew member is Tina, a 26 year old woman from Norway with an obvious passion for life and adventure. She has already sailed across the pacific, albeit when we was 5 with her mum and dad. She has strong sea legs with many miles of crew with her dad as a skipper. But more importantly she and Teo seemed to bond immediately when we had a lovely Skype chat with her. We’re hoping that she can even spend a little time talking to Teo in Norwegian to stop it from getting too rusty!
Together we should, weather permitting, be leaving from Tenerife on November 19th. Around 20 days later we should arrive in Barbados: tired, happy and with a great sense of achievement.
Tomorrow morning, all being well, we’ll cast off our lines from Minorca and start our long journey westwards.