How do you cross the ocean?

The Wylde Swan has just departed from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. How does that actually work, an ocean crossing?

 

Where?

 

To cross the ocean only by sail, the Wylde Swan needs the trade winds. Due to, among other things, the rotation of the earth there are northeastern trade winds between 10 and 20 degrees above the equator. If you sail too close to the equator, you will reach the windless doldrums. Sailing too much to the north you will have to deal with headwinds.

 

To get to the south, the Wylde Swan sails first of all to the Canary Islands. After that she sails a bit further south-west to the right latitude, picks up the trade winds, then she wears starboard.

 

When?

 

When it is summer in the Netherlands, the sun is right above the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees above the equator) and the water of the ocean warms up considerably.  The warmed up water causes hurricanes to arise. During August and September is the hurricane season . That is not a good time to cross the ocean.

 

When the sun moves towards the Tropic of Capricorn after 21 September, the ocean water cools down again and the hurricanes stop. From mid-November on  you do not have to expect hurricanes, but of course you always keep an eye on the site of the National Hurricane Center (https://www.nhc.noaa.gov ). Our winter is the best time to cross the ocean. When the sun passes the equator towards the northern tropic, the water will warm up again and you better not plan a crossing.

 

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