Nothing can really prepare you for an ocean yacht voyage, especially one across the Atlantic! Amanda Walters, international globe-trotter and sailor, takes time to give us unique insights into her 18 day adventure across the Atlantic with an all female crew.
Amanda tell us about your latest adventure.
I wanted to remember my mum in a unique way after she passed away in 2012, so I decided I would sail the Atlantic on the spur of the moment for her! We set off from Grand Canaria along with 200 boats last November, just 9 woman in our little 40.7ft Beneatu yacht. She is a cruiser / racer which meant there was not a huge amount of space on the boat which meant that 3 people had to ‘hot bed’ (2 in the bunk and one on watch).We realised very early on that the crew needed to work together as a very tight team. Our survival depended on it!
The weather for the first 8 days was challenging as we sailed upwind. Soon the trade winds arrived soon we were sailing downwind, which was much more comfortable. We experienced some mid Atlantic squalls which were scary. It’s like a huge mushroom shape cloud that can lift the wind in seconds and then we are hit with a huge downpour of water. These times were extremely testing sailing conditions! We soon realised we needed to keep our lifejackets on and ensure we were strapped to the yacht at night, not knowing what we could face at any moment.
Everyday had its own highlights and challenges. It’s very isolating being on the ocean and at the most we were 1350 nautical miles from nowhere at 9 days out. At this distance if something goes wrong you really are at risk of evacuating into a life raft and going into survival mode.
What was a typical day like?
Each day we would do a 4 hour shift and 3 hours at night. For the rest of the time we would keep the boat in ‘ship shape’ in-between sleeping shifts. It sounds easy enough, but imagine doing all this when you’re beating up wind and the boat is tipped at around 30 degrees!
What were the highlights of your trip?
Having gone through so much together in those 18 days, we walked away afterwards as lifelong friends. I love the starry starry nights, with no light pollution in the mid Atlantic. I experienced so many shooting stars and comets! Another highlight was sending a card to the ocean half way across the Atlantic to tell my mum how much she was loved.
18 days after we started, we got to Rodney Bay in St Lucia and it was so so green. The comradie amongst the other boats that had arrived was exhilarating, this complimented with lots of rum punch, was another highlight. Being the only all female crew we were overwhelmingly appreciated by the other crews…knowing what we had achieved was no mean feat.
I would do it again in a shot! What a humbling experience and the ultimate sense of adventure. My dream is to sail down to Antarctica and across to Cape Town!
What do you love most about travelling and where are you going next?
I love travelling so much! I have visited 57 countries and have adapted my life to travel for 6 months of the year as I freelance. I am currently in the Canaries for 2 more weeks of sailing and to complete my yacht master. I then fly straight to the Caribbean for 3 months to visit Dominica, to compete in Yacht race in the British Virgin Islands, St Barths and Antigua. After this I am planning to end in Granada joining in a Leatherback Turtle Conservation Project for 3 weeks.
Bon voyage Amanda! We love living through your adventures.
The Lekker Adventures Team