Photo: Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

Atlantic Crossing by the Numbers*

Narrative
Photo: Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock
Ben Keys
Feb 14, 2011

*and occasional qualitative answers.

In 2010, Ben Keys crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times, most recently delivering an 18-year-old superyacht to Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua in time for the owner’s Christmas vacation. Here are some stats from that trip:


Distance traveled from Palma de Mallorca – Gibraltar – Gran Canaria – Cape Verdes -Antigua:
4266 nautical miles. (Note: One nautical mile = 1.85 kilometers = 1.15 miles.)

Time taken: 20 days sailing plus 5 days of stopovers for fuel and provisions

Cups of tea consumed: 200-250

Total days ‘proper’ sailing with engine off
: 9.

Fuel consumed: 6500L of diesel

Fuel saved per hour when engine is off: 23L

Fuel consumed per hour by a motor yacht of same size averaging 10 knots: 300-400L

Fastest speed attained under sail in our 97 ton yacht: 14.2 knots (26kph)

Mainsail volume: 225 square meters

Strongest wind gust: 42 knots

Electrical fires on board
: 2

Crew response time to fires: Very, very fast. And improving.

Fish hooked: 14

Fish kept: 4 (Viewing The End of the Line has led to new, extreme criteria for ‘keepers’.)

Meals from a good size mahi mahi:
4 meals for 7 people plus various raw appetizers.

Lures lost to unseen monsters
: 4

Best meal: Char-grilled mahi mahi with gremolata, chilli-infused poisson cru, and coleslaw with fresh-baked beer bread.

Most popular snack: The chef’s secret custom-trail mix and/or Mie Goreng noodles.

Number of times leaky deck hatches poured water down upon me:
3

Total different sleeping locations to avoid leaky hatches
: 4

Number of flying fish which flew in through open hatches:
3

Number of flying fish which landed in bed beside me: 1

Proportion of books and magazines making up my luggage: Approximately 60%

Titles read by me en route: 5 (Lush Life by Richard Price, South by Ernest Shackleton, Genghis Khan: Lords of the Bow and Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden and Underworld of the East by James Lee).

Books I read on the same yacht three years ago which are still on board:
More than 15

Watch system: 3 hours on and 6 hours off, in teams of 2.

Major world problems theoretically solved by crew during late-night watch
: 3-4 nightly

Major world problems actually solved by crew during late-night watch:
0

Crew who thought it might be fun to jump from the first spreader up the mast: 1

Most popular late-night musical choices: Into The Wild soundtrack – Eddie Vedder, Blue Sky Mining – Midnight Oil, Rated R – QOTSA, Music Monks – Seeed, Home – Spearhead and American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash.

Vagabond sailing yachts involved in near-misses due to their refusal to display lights at night: 2

Approximate depth at the location we took a swim:
4900 meters

Speed at which it was possible to keep pace with the yacht while swimming: 1 knot or less

Positions/nationalities of crew:
Captain (South African), Chef (British), Mate (Irish), Engineer (New Zealander), Stewardess (New Zealander), Delivery-monkey/consultant (Australian – me) and Captain’s mother/baker-extraordinaire (South African)

Total Atlantic crossings between all crew: 26

Languages spoken between crew: 5 (English, Afrikaans, Spanish, Gaelic and Kiwi)

Personal Atlantic crossings this year: 3

Miles sailed this year across giant oceans: 11,500nm

Temperature on flying out of St John’s, Antigua: 34C

Temperature upon arrival in Bristol, UK:
Negative 2C

Community

Matador has published a solid guide for all those interested in how to become a boat captain.

What did you think of this story?
Meh
Good
Awesome
Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners. For more information read our privacy policy.