Expedition to Antarctica 2019-2020

Friends, today we have a short digression into the strategic backstage of captain’s affairs. I’ll tell you how we plan cruise yacht routes, what we pay attention to and what we simply cannot do without so that the team gets the most out of yachting. The text is light, will come in for general development and will be useful for assessing routes in upcoming sailing trips. Well, if you are thinking about the captain’s field, then definitely do not pass by!

What is a cruise yacht route?

To answer this question, first let’s think about what routes can be? The first thing that comes to mind is expeditionary. Distant islands, mysteries, exploration, icebergs, giant waves, storms, ordeals. But this is not always the case, especially if the route was planned and done correctly …
What else can be routes? Probably racing, training, transport, patrol, hauls, etc. Most of them are united by single meaning: to overcome the distance from point A to point B along the most optimal trajectory, i.e. cross the sea to land on land. And everything else that happens and happens in the process of this action is “marine romance”.

With bated breath, standing at the helm, watching the horizon. Feeling the freshness of the wind and the roll of the yacht – to show out the fantasies about the seas and oceans, which everyone probably managed to deposit in their distant childhood. Meet the dawn of the sun with a glow flooding the foreseeable horizon. Feel the charm of anchorages in remote, completely uninhabited bays. Rejoicing in every day full of adventures, feeling tired and traditionally watching the starry sky – falling asleep under the light lapping of the waves, as if in a cradle. And this is not all that yachting gives.

The cornerstone of cruising yachting routes

The cruise yacht route is planned in advance, and what is very important, even on the shore.
Many factors are taken into account, such as: the prevailing winds in the region, the terrain, the presence of marinas and closed bays, key attractions, hiking trails on the coast, the level of training of the team and the captain, flora and fauna, the mentality of the local population, the availability of mobile communications, intertidal zone, currents, water and air temperature, this list can be continued, but for now we will stop. And answer the question why do we need it?
It’s not a secret for anyone that any business, whether it’s building a house, flying into space or the constitution of a state, has a foundation from which everything is built, so to speak, a cornerstone.
So, in building routes, such a cornerstone has three sides that are equally important for balance: safety, richness and comfort< /strong>. And the factors mentioned above fill these sides. Now in order.


For example, if you want to go yachting in the Caribbean, where, it would seem, the temperature of water and air favors a cool holiday all year round, you should take into account the period when, with the highest probability, a storm can inflate from the Atlantic, which gradually develops into a hurricane and This is not the end of the matter, but only the beginning. But if this does not stop you, then you should think about the area where the likelihood of a storm turning into a hurricane is minimal. And in the nearest distance from the route there is a safe, protected marina.

Or say yachting in tidal waters off the coast of Ireland and the UK. Navigation here is considered the most difficult in the world. The speed of the current due to water changes can sometimes overtake the cruising speed of the yacht. If there is an error in the calculations, the boat can simply be carried away by the current to the reefs. Transitions here are planned taking into account tidal cycles, and time is calculated by the hour. After all, if you do not have time to cross the barrier threshold of the marina before the water starts to leave with the tide, you can become a direct participant in these centuries-old natural traditions, and at the same time run the boat aground.

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There are similar features in the Seychelles, which have managed to fall in love with many. Here twice a year the direction of the prevailing winds changes. Accordingly, the same parking lots in different seasons cannot be used. At one time they will be well protected from the winds, resembling a carefree piece of paradise, and at another time there is nothing to do there, look for an alternative.

By the way, about the alternative. No matter how clearly the route was planned, no matter how everything was verified, checked and matched.
You should always have a plan B.
Backup plan, in case the main one doesn’t work. The weather worsened or they could not leave the marina in time. Along the route, you should always keep in mind spare parking lots, where you can shelter the boat and wait out the bad weather or spend the night.
As a reference book for route safety planning, we use the location charts of the region and Navionics charts. From these two sources, you can get the most useful information related to the peculiarities of yachting in the region. Seasonal winds, terrain features, tides, parking, etc.


For example, let’s move to Greece. From Athens to Santorini 170 nautical miles. It is possible to overcome such a distance on a yacht in 1.5-2 days non-stop. And the same back. See Santorini, sunsets and sunrises in the sea, dolphins, catch fish, swim a couple of times and that’s about it. I will add that the team must be experienced – they have to carry night watches.
Is it possible to go this way in a week without night shifts? Weather permitting, yes. But the saturation of such a path will decrease many times over. We expect to leave at dawn, and come to the parking lot at sunset. In a week we will return to Athens – dispelled from the affairs of ordinary city, but tired of the affairs of ordinary sea. After such a vacation, it would be nice to go to a hotel for a week on vacation 🙂
Conclusion: if there is only a week, but you want to get to Santorini and do it with pleasure, richly, seeing beautiful interesting islands along the way, then the route should be built, one way One Way. By the way, pay attention to the possibility of returning the yacht in a different place than the start. This option is also available to most charter shipowners.

Total length of the route – the distance that is planned to be covered from the moment of the first exit to the sea until the end of the voyage. It does not matter if the route is circular with one start and finish, or it will be One Way. By the way, among sailors this is called the general distance, but it includes a little more nuances in the definition.
So, for a week of sailing, it is optimal to lay a distance of 140-180 nautical miles. This figure was obtained by our experience, the method of observation and feedback from the guys. We add that it does not matter whether this is the first trip on a yacht or there is no other way to go to the sea.

Consider a cruise on a sailing yacht with navigation during daylight hours, i.e. no night shifts. This means that we have an average of 12 hours of daylight per day for everything about everything. Divide 180 miles by 7 days and you get 25 miles per day. At a speed of 5-7 knots, taking into account the not always “convenient” direction of the wind and current, such a distance is overcome in 4-6 hours. This is not all the time we spend on the water, swimming or practicing sailing. This is the time scheduled only to cover the distance to the new overnight stop. Add here a couple more hours for lunch, swimming during the transition and – voila – 6-8 hours, a little more than half of the daylight hours. In this mode, it would be possible to leave comfortably all week, but in practice it looks different. In fact, you definitely want to spend one day in a more measured mode on the shore, and fill the other more with the sea.
For example, when planning a long sea passage, it will be an absolute delight to diversify it with an early departure, which will make it possible to arrive early and show the team night navigation in the early twilight. Meet the epic dawn at sea with a cup of aromatic coffee. Slightly increase the total distance by trolling above the fish banks and catch tuna. Lay a route along beautiful centuries-old rocks and forests, where you can drift for a while at some grotto you like to swim. And then fill the sails with the wind rushing into the sea from the cold peaks and practice maneuvers and rigging with the crew.


Let’s take Turkey for example. This is perhaps the most client-oriented region, where not only people have provided for the possibility of covering all basic needs, but nature has also tried. The Turkish coast is indented with incredibly beautiful and sheltered bays. I will say even more. In Turkey, in the 2021 season, the Migros shop ship cruised daily, where everyone could moor on the dinghy and replenish supplies. At the same time, I did not find any extra charge for sea service.
I can’t get past the Turkish MAK-Yachto. On one of our routes there is a parking lot where absolutely touching grandma and grandpa will cook you a delicious honey-banani – this is a thin pita with honey-banana filling, shaped like pancakes with stuffing. They cruise on their blue longboat with all the necessary equipment and ingredients to cook you an incredibly tasty snack while you swim and enjoy the moment! And let me tell you, they have a choice.
Service to catch and clean freshly caught fish outside your boat, how do you like that? Kaif – well done!
And in Croatia, there are magnificent oysters straight from the farm to the yacht – a city dweller’s dream.

Therefore, striking a balance between safety, saturation and comfort when building a route is the right way to have a great vacation and a grateful team!
And what should be taken as a standard, how to find this balance?
Perhaps the answer to this question is different for each captain. This formula comes with experience and is largely dependent on the life position of the captain himself and knowledge of the region. One thing is maps and sites, and another thing is when you explore the area yourself. You see which bay is illuminated more interesting in the sunset light, where it is cool to anchor on a hot and windless afternoon. You watch the locals, they always know where it is more interesting. And while talking, a sailor who knows the region can get a lot of useful information. So the route is improved and perfected, after each next trip.

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