Annabelle’s first Atlantic crossing

After returning from a week sailing in October in Friesland, the Netherlands, I first heard about Laura Dekkers (youngest girl ever, who made a solo cirumnavigation) new plan. While sailing around the world, she learned so much and now she wants to pass these life lessons on. I was immediately interested. Soon she answered my mail and I got accepted to sail with her from the Netherlands to the Caribbean. A few days later my school agreed and we organized the last things to leave from Harlingen on November 15th.

We dive into one wave after another on our way past Den Helder to leave the islands behind us. On my the lower side of the boat are sevreal other teens puking over the rail. Though I am wearing winter sailing gloves I can’t feel my fingers anymore. There is no way to make a specila dinner so boiled eggs and sausages it is. A few hours later we finally make our way into the harbour of Ijmuiden. Before going to bed we share a bag of chips drinking tea to warm a bit. because of the bad weather we spent the whole day and night outside being soaked by several waves. It didn’t really matter because inside was no heating either so we all stayed outside sufforing together.

The first two weeks were filled with getting used to the sea, rough weather, wet clothes and very creative food. One day was so bad I could only get an apple in. From now it could only get better.

While sailing along Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, we felt how it was getting warmer day by day as we were sailing more and more South.
We celebrate the first day without our sailing gear on in the cockpit with good music and cookies.
We see plenty of dolphins and the sun rising and setting at the horizon every day.

On December 5th we arrive late in the evening at Lanzarote. After some days discovering the island and its water, we continue sailing to Gran Canaria where we visit Las Palmas and enjoy the sun at an anchorage in the southern part of Gran Canaria.

Next stop is La Gomera where we watch the start of the Talisker Whysky Atlantic Challenge. Before we head to the Cap Verde Islands we have to do a Corona-test, so we were able to clear in at our next waypoint: Sal. There a local guide shows us the most beautiful spots of the island.
Christmas we celebrated at Sao Nicolau, where we got another island tour.

Now the Atlantic ocean is waiting for us.
After a calm morning we leave the anchorage.
We had a fantastic crossing with nice weather and a lot of time to process what we’ve experienced the past weeks.

In the late hours of January 11th, after 17 days at sea, we dropped our anchor in front of Bridgetown, Barbados. Here we have to do another Corona-test.
Till we get the results, we have time to set up and try out Lauras minicat (a small catamaran).
It was amazing, a big difference after being on the big Guppy for so long. Because we got our results on Friday, I could take a flight home the next day.
After we going snorkeling in the morning and eating pancakes for lunch, I finally have to leave. I left a lot of tears behind at the beach of Bridgetown, but all of them with a big smile on my face while looking back at the fantastic past two months.

Back at home nothing had changed. Well, besides me of course :). it took some time getting used to life at home again. especially because I didn’t want to leave at all.
This experience was very important for me. It made my dad and me decide to do the complete Atlantic roundtrip with our own boat after my graduation in 2023. This meant, we had to start preparations as soon as possible. During lockdown we spend about three evenings each week listening to other sailors about different topics which come up while cruising.
Also I started taking lessons for my own boat license, meaning for me another evening in front of my computer.

Your Garfield crew

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