Top Ten Transatlantic Sailing Gear Review
Crossing the Atlantic ocean is a real test of both crew and gear. This year we have done two Atlantic crossings and tested the gear quite a lot!! Here is a round-up of the gear aboard Distant Shores II that contributed the most to our passages… comfort, safety, performance etc…
1 - Downwind poleOur Selden downwind pole was great. It's made of carbon fibre so its light and easy to set. We used it for almost the whole passage. Having a strategy for going dead downwind is essential for a successful trade wind passage. (Blog Here)
2 - Raymarine Plotter with Lighthouse softwareI've written before about the ability to upgrade the Raymarine Plotters. In this upgrade the AIS display is much improved with icons showing the type of vessel (note the ship's boxy icon below). Nice! This is our custom display set up for the helmsman. Course-up plotter with radar overlay on the left, and nice big wind display on the right showing both true and apparent wind.
3 - Autopilot steering with "relative wind" headingWe hand steered for less than 1 day total of the 11 days on this crossing. "Auto" steered perfectly for the rest. We used the Raymarine "Wind" relative setting and it was excellent. When steering nearly dead downwind, even a wind shift of 20 degrees could mean you might jibe. The relative wind setting on the autopilot means the system will keep adjusting the heading so that isn't a danger. It worked very well! Note we are sailing nearly dead downwind!
4 - Solar PanelsOur new solar arch provided a lot of the power for the crossing. We still ran the generator 1-3 hours per day, but we were not trying to conserve power either. We ran radar whenever we wanted to check on squalls, everyone ran their devices etc. The solar power was also a reassuring backup in case we had a problem with our generator.
5 - Pressure CookerSheryl cooked up some quite amazing meals and made a fair bit of use of the pressure cooker. Quick and easy. Our model is a very tough stainless unit we bought in France while travelling the canals. Great for one-pot meals! With its locking lid it's safe to use in rough conditions. It reduces cooking time and reduces heat in the boat.
6 - Headlight
Actually my headlight is terrible - but our crew Anthony had this Navisafe headlamp and it was by far the best I've seen - powerful, waterproof with both a spot and wide beam.
7 - IridiumGO
Communications were the best we have ever had for a passage. Email, weather, texts, phone calls, weather routing etc… Predictwind review to follow! Check out our IridiumGO review here.