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Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, a retrospective πŸŒ™

·1452 words·7 mins
ARC+ 2023
Nuvem MΓ‘gica
Table of Contents
ARC+ 2023 - This article is part of a series.
Part 13: This Article

Embarking on an Atlantic crossing by sail is no small feat. It is an adventure filled with challenges, but also camaraderie and personal growth.

We have written extensively about how we prepared for this journey and how the several legs went… but, looking back, what is our main sentiment? What thoughts come to mind?

πŸ’– The ARC+ community

πŸ™Œ Friendships that will last a lifetime

Sharing almost 2 months of your life with brilliant, caring and adventurous people will make you live the equivalent of 10 years or more. When we saw the fleet disband after arriving in Grenada, we instantly felt a huge sense of nostalgia. Something special was gone.

One thing we’ve repeated often when talking with friends and family is that, once you become part of the “Ocean Cruising Club”, you are given access to a set of brilliant, accomplished, brave and thoughtful individuals with amazing life stories. The people that partake in ocean crossings are there because they seek to explore new worlds while pushing past their comfort zone. Cruisers tend to have a positive attitude and to say “yes”: they see opportunities where others see constraints.

Another aspect we loved was how everyone was ready to help anyone else. Folks would jump in with knowledge, tools, time and a pair of hands for any kind of work.

We are so lucky to have met such a great community. We realize, now more than ever, that these are exactly our kind of people ❀️ ⛡️

πŸ›œ Shared Experience

As discussed in a previous post, this year’s crossing was marked by Starlink. With boats having a generous access to the internet, many were able to chat with friends, family, and fellow sailors. We could share stories, updates, and laughter. This sense of connection made the vast ocean feel a little smaller and brought a comforting reminder that we are, really, all in this together.

We have heard many strong opinions about the added connectivity. The middle of the ocean used to be one of the only places you could truly be off the grid, out in the wilderness, disconnected from civilization and in touch with Nature 🌊. Many a salty sailor will be keen to point out what a loss it is to not have this anymore.

While we agree that an ocean should not be crossed with the autopilot on and the crew wasting their days on Netflix or Instagram, we do feel strongly about the added safety benefits. This year’s ARC+ featured an incredible story who proves this point.

πŸ’› Yellow shirts, support, sailing community

The yellow shirts became more than just a uniform; they symbolized the incredible support and sense of community that surrounded us during our voyage. Whether it was sharing tips, lending a helping hand, or simply offering words of encouragement, the ARC+ team always, always had our back. We are forever grateful to the team for the superb event organization, as well to all the friends we made along the way. All of you made the adventure so much more special ❀️

Would we join the ARC+ again? Absolutely!

πŸ—ΊοΈ The crossing

⛡️ Defining success early on: it’s a rally, not a race

One of the most significant realizations during our Atlantic crossing was the importance of understanding that this was, in fact (as many in the ARC+ team put it): a rally, not a race.

It was easy to get caught up in a competitive mindset and start pushing to be the fastest or the first to reach the finish line. This feeling was exacerbated by the public leaderboard, which was open to everyone on the internet. We received several well-intended messages from friends, encouraging us to maintain our position and go fast(er) β›΅οΈπŸ’¨… and had to gently push back the urge.

After Leg 1, however, we were mostly immune to this feeling or snapped out of it pretty quickly. This crossing taught us the value of pacing ourselves and appreciating the journey rather than solely focusing on the destination. Plus, the more you break, the more you repair, a process which costs plenty and takes away time from enjoying the cruising grounds 🏝️

πŸ‘©β€β€οΈβ€πŸ‘¨ Co-skippering

We are very enthusiastic about the co-skippering model. We strongly believe that both of us need to be equally competent, capable and able to manage and maintain the ship and all its systems. We have our preferences, fortes and weak points, but consistently pushing towards this objective has made us, we believe, a stronger duo. We are able to swap roles depending on the situation (tiredness, sea sickness or stress levels can always affect us), as was the case in leg 1.

We believe this approach fosters more teamwork, mutual respect, and a shared sense of accomplishment ❀️

In the end, we were proud of what we and the whole Nuvem MΓ‘gica team had achieved!

πŸ“– Catching up on some reading

During our Atlantic crossing, we all took the time to read aplenty. InΓͺs indulged in a lot of technical reading (she finished her diesel engine book, delve into Brion Toss’s publications and started reading about celestial navigation). David, on his end, started “The Long Way” by Bernard Moitessier. Moitessier’s reflections on solitude, connection with nature, and the essence of sailing instilled many thoughts, and offered a philosophical perspective that enriched our current and future offshore journeys.

πŸ’­ The mindset

⛑️ Safety culture

Based on what we discussed in a previous post, we aimed to foster a true safety culture and one of open communication. We are happy to report that our friends and crew did not hesitate to speak up when they felt something could be done in a safer manner.

In addition, our regular inspections paid off: we replaced a crushed gooseneck pin before any symptoms arose. Even in Leg 1, our crew told us that, despite the intimidating conditions, they felt respect for the situation, but also understood it and felt we had some level of control. No one panicked.

🧘 Mindfulness, the tough way

We had several challenges along the way. Leg 1 was of course marked by the wrapped spinnaker, but we faced other challenges: being surrounded by squalls, the danger of an eminent thunderstorm, jammers failing, the gooseneck cotton pin being crushed.

What was again reinforced to us was that, in sailing, and especially when facing adversity, you need to be in the moment. Undertaking this journey and facing obstacles forces you to put your ego aside and to work together towards a common solution. Put differently, you need to be focused in the present moment and situation, and let those other thoughts and feelings come and go. Does this ring a bell? 🧘

πŸ€ When preparation meets opportunity

Some folks are quick to blame their misfortune on bad luck. While unfortunate events can hit you, the reality is that, more often than not, good luck is just what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

In all honesty, the oceans really don’t care about us and our sailboats: we are but mere guests on the water, who tentatively borrow some energy from the wind πŸ’¨ and sun β˜€οΈ to move forward.

Life is lived more positively if you are ready to face what is thrown at you, and sailing makes this very, very obvious.

🌌 Perspective

Another amazing aspect of sailing is the perspective that it gifts you. It quickly becomes blatantly obvious how tiny and short-lived we human beings are. How fragile and how exposed, compared to the fascinating and powerful winds and waves, let alone the stars and systems whose structure dictates the delicate conditions which make Earth habitable.

It’s not about us. The Sun, the stars, the Moon, waves, wind… we just happen to be lucky enough to be in the middle of it.

You only get one shot at life, which is scary, but it also sets you free.

We are so lucky to have been granted this life and the possibility to explore… and what better way to explore than sailing across an ocean ⛡️?

πŸ™ Thank you

If you have been following this ARC+ series, we would like to also thank you for taking the time to read our blog posts. We hope at least one was or will prove useful in your own endeavours.

If you have any thoughts you would like to share with us, do not hesitate to get in touch πŸ’¬

Happy venturing!

Your Nuvem MÑgica 🌀️

πŸ“š Resources

ARC+ 2023 - This article is part of a series.
Part 13: This Article