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 pole

Our 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)
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2 - Raymarine Plotter with Lighthouse software

I'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" heading

We 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!
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4 - Solar Panels

Our 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.
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5 - Pressure Cooker

Sheryl 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.
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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.
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8 - Life-raft

Thankfully not used but it is the peace-of-mind knowing you have the best safety gear, especially when going so far offshore. Check them out on Ocean
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9 - Lifeproof case for my iPhone

While everyone else worried about their phones on the crossing, I didn't since my new case is waterproof! Works great!! Waterproof to 6 feet/2 meters but we didn't test this :-) Here it is on Amazon

10 - Cabin fans

Our Caframo fans have been great - especially on a passage when we don't want to open hatches. Its hot sailing the trade wind route and the fans helped us keep cool…
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