Western Europe and Northern Atlantic

If the Mediterranean is the cradle of sailing, then Western Europe and the islands in the Atlantic Ocean are the connection of this cradle with the rest of the World. For centuries, Western European Islands served sailors from Britain, Spain, Portugal and other big seafaring nations as stopover destinations on their way mostly to India, North America or the Caribbean.

Gibraltar, meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean ansd the MediterraneanThis explains why most of the North Atlantic Islands are still under European legislative or at least culturally strongly influenced by their former mother nations. This applies in some cases, such as the Canary Islands, even if the area is geographically a lot closer to Africa. As a sailing destination, the region is dominated by European sailors.

France, Great Britain and Spain have huge communities themselves and the Northern Atlantic is their closest possible destination. However, Atlantic circumnavigations become increasingly popular with American sailors. If you plan to sail the Atlantic Ocean, you need to keep an eye on the Azores high that strongly influences the weather in the area.

Seasonal commuters between Bermuda and Madeira

Seasonal peaks very a lot over the course of the year. The best route for cruising from Western Europe is “clockwise”: going Southwest to Madeira and then the Canary Islands, further on to the Caribbean; back northwards, to the Bermuda Island and then Eastwards via the Azores back to Europe.

The Coast of Ireland is diverse and thus attractive for SailorsAs many European sailors go to the Caribbean during the winter months, you should expect a lot of traffic and higher prices in Madeira and the Canary Islands in late summer and fall. Respectively, traffic and fares go up on Bermuda and the Azores during early summer. Half way on both routes you will find excellent repair and supply facilities: Bermuda and Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands will provide you with superb services.

There is hardly a way to get around the peak season if you want to join the trail to the Caribbean, but the area provides plenty of opportunities for sailors with other plans. Many of the islands are great destinations during the summer months. The high standards of facilities in France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal invite sailors to stay – and canals allow a great deal of inland sailing. It is really up to you if you want to make the Atlantic Ocean a fare-through thing or a destination of its own rights.

Destination Guide by Country

Arctic Ocean - Bermuda - Great Britain - Canary Islands and Spain - Cape Verde Islands - Faeroes Islands - France - Greenland - Iceland - Ireland - Jersey and the Channel Islands - Portugal, Madeira and the Azores

Further Reading

Back to "vacations"

Wikipedia on the Atlantic Ocean

National Geographic on how to sail the Atlantic

The Open Directory Project on Sailing in the Atlantic Ocean

Other Regions

Mediterranean and Black Sea Region - North America: From Maine to California - Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico - South and Central America - Southeast Asia and East Asia - Australia and Pacific Ocean Islands - Western Europe and North Atlantic - Northern Europe: Of Fjords and Jaghds - West Africa, Antarctica, South Atlantic - Indian Ocean and Red Sea