Travel Across the Atlantic by Sailboat | 10 tips for a happy and safe ocean adventure

a woman is taking a picture of the ocean from the deck of a sailboat.

Travelling an Atlantic Crossing on someone else’s sailing boat is not a straightforward endeavour and an adventure to be taken lightly. Finding a boat is one thing; finding the right boat, crew, and captain match is what makes all the difference. There are some things to be mindful of.

Almost every day, we receive a message from someone who would like to sail across the Atlantic Ocean as a crew. We’ve created blogs, a booka coursea filmresources, local provision contacts, a story collection, and an active network you can tap into to make the Atlantic sailing dream real. Many of our members have done it and are looking to do so.

Last but not least, we teamed up with Twister again for voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, which you can join!

Here are some waypoints to get you across the Atlantic ocean, happy safe and meaningful. Above all, we like to make ocean adventure accessible, and memorable and impactful.

Find dozens more tips and stories from Ocean Nomads network members who sailed across and shared their lessons learned on the ocean nomads member network and in the Ocean Nomads Crew course. 


Ten tips for crew looking to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Have your WHY clear

Do you want to make the crossing to gain sailing experience? Learn as much as you can about seamanship? Travel from A to B and reach a certain destination by sail? Meet sailors living on sailboats to learn from? Just be away from all of it by crossing an ocean? Or simply chillax on a downwind sail and anchor in pretty bays? Search accordingly. There is a huge variety of sailing vessels and styles, sailing routes, of which only some will match what you’re looking for for your next great trip.

Share what you are looking for in the Ocean Nomads network and our community captains create personalized connections to people and resources that can help you further. 



Be confident you’re ready to set sail for an ocean passage.  You owe it to yourself, captain, and fellow crew. If you’re not sure about the full Atlantic Crossing, start with a trip near shore or a shorter offshore passage to figure out if an ocean passage is for you.

You can join Ocean Nomads on a short passage in Greece after summer and dip your toes into the possibility of sailing across the Atlantic. Or jump on board with one of our 70 vessel members.

The voyages we organize are the fastest way we can facilitate a new heading in your life. Literally ;). You get to meet, live, sail with fellow ambitious ocean lovers and be introduced to ocean travel hrough experiencing it yourself. And all the connections, learnings, and next opportunities that come with it, perhaps even a transatlantic crossing. Paula, Nadiem, Thomas, Pim, Sael, Anna, are a few of our example members we’re so proud of who joined us on a trip as one of their, if not their first sailing experiences, and then made their Atlantic Sailing dream happen.



To be ready to expect the unexpected, careful investigation and preparation is essential for a happy and safe ocean passage, especially when planning a transatlantic adventure. Learn about the Atlantic Ocean passage, seasons, distance, destinations, weather, costs, and crew tasks. This will help you find a relevant ride at the right time and place. Know when the tradewinds kick in and where the prevailing winds are, what’s the Atlantic circuit, how many nautical miles it is from east to west and west to east, the different north Atlantic routes, which safety equipment is essential on board and as a crew member, and so much more to be aware about.


Explore the ‘Sailing across the Atlantic as Crew Resource on our member hub for the basic bearings, ask your questions, atlantic ocean crew opportunities, and we do our best to pin point you in the right direction for a potential transatlantic crossing. 



Map of Atlantic Crossing Sailing Routes


Sailboats deal with seasons, routes, weather, breakage, and all sorts of variables. By thinking about scenarios in advance makes it easy to change course and comply with Captains’ calls peacefully.


Be happy and confident with whom you cross the Atlantic

We’ve met too many people who thought to ‘just’ hop on a boat and sail across the Atlantic. Unsurprisingly, many of them did not succeed in having a pleasant experience. And that’s a pity. Because it should be a beautiful voyage of a lifetime to never forget. On the Atlantic Ocean, you live, work, eat, and leisure together for weeks. Non-stop across the Atlantic. Life at sea is like camping in the wild with a bunch of strangers. Only you can’t walk away… Inform yourself, research and prepare for your transatlantic voyage dreams. It’s part of the fun! It is essential for feeling and being as safe as you can. A transatlantic sail is next level adventure sailing.

Research the boat, captain, and crew carefully. The people you share the crossing the Atlantic ocean adventure with either make or break the experience. Realise that anyone can buy a boat without experience or license. Exchange messages, ask questions, and talk to each other on the phone, preferably with video. Meet-up, fix things together and go for a test sail. Don’t let your eagerness to make a trip override your instinct and judgment. Be 100 percent sure and clear about expectations and intentions.

And network! Sailing the Atlantic is a big deal and a big dream for many skippers and boat owners. They would like to undertake this adventure with people they feel good with, people they know, or are referred to by others. We for example have one member, Wolfgang, who is now already selecting crew from the Ocean Nomads network for next year. Also we have a few Atlantic sailing crew opportunities for this year! And a partnership to sail the Atlantic on tallship Twister. It takes the time to get to know the potential crew before they set sail. Have a foot in the door early so your chances are increased to be welcome on board.

Find an extensive safety and happiness assessment checklist & tips what to look out for in the Ocean Nomads Crew Course

Ocean Nomads Crew

We learned that, in the end, it’s all about the people you share the experience with. That’s a big reason we started Ocean Nomads: to connect more adventurous and conscious-minded ocean explorers to each other. We have had more and more boat owners particularly reach out to Ocean Nomads because of the amount of ‘noise’ and unmatching crew requests via the many Facebook groups and crew websites. Ocean Nomads members are seen as serious and well-informed crew members, especially those who took our crew course. We want you to spend the least amount of time online ‘(re)searching and the most time adventuring out there!

Throughout our expeditions, we walk the extra mile to bring together a unique mix of inspirational individuals, talents, and knowledge on board. We release the power from the individual talents and knowledge into the group, for maximum learning experience. We select participants based on motivation, drive, mindset, and readiness to navigate a transatlantic route. For legs of longer than 10 days we additionally interview on the phone to make sure expectations, mindset, and values are aligned.

Sail with us in Greece october 2024 for the next meet-up and mingle opportunity and experience the beauty of sailing, and learn everything you need to know for a transatlantic. Many sailing nomads will join and are happy to share their lessons learned.

“Expedition ON gave me everything I was looking for. It has opened up so many possibilities to meet new people with similar vibes, including connection, companionship, purpose and being one with nature.” – Cay Chandler Netherlands – Canary Islands ‘21


Feel and Be Safe

The ocean deserves our greatest respect. Sailing remotely is an endeavour not to be taken lightly. Especially when joining a smaller sailing vessel, when assessing the options and figuring out if a boat is a good match, talk to the captain, learn about the vessel, the miles sailed on the vessel, and other crew joining. Don’t let your eagerness to make the trip override your investigative spirit, instinct and judgement. Discover the strengths, weaknesses and interests of the captain, crew and boat. Put your critical hat on and do your homework. It’s not ‘just’ a ride.


In doubt about a boat to join or not? Share it in our community and get in touch with fellow sailors. We’re happy to help assess and figure it out. 


Be clear on intentions, expectations, and agreements.

Know what the captain or organization is expecting from you. What are you expecting from the captain and the Atlantic crossing? It makes it easier for you to prepare, anticipate, and avoid misunderstandings.

 Team Bread Making on Expedition ON


Ocean Nomads expeditions are hands-on active expeditions, with next level participation in the offshore legs. We have a professional captain and crew who’ll be showing us the ropes. Everyone on board is expected to take part in the running of the ship, including helming, watchkeeping, cooking etc. It’s part of the fun, experience, development and epiphany moment creation. That said, we’ll be many hands on board so there’ll also plenty of room to chill, relax and simply BE.


Pack Light and Thoughtful

You don’t need much at sea. As a general rule, if you can live without it during a yachting trip, leave it at home. Storage space is worth gold on board. If you have already committed to a boat (and are sure about it!) before leaving your home base, ask what’s already on board, so you don’t have to bring it. Less is more; less is more; less is more!

Find an extensive ocean sailing packing checklist and considerations on the Ocean Nomads network.


Provision Consciously for offshore sailing

Captains usually have their hands full preparing the boat, so it’s likely that as crew you will be part of the provisioning team. A well-fed crew is a happy crew, so properly organise, plan and execute provisions for the boat. Your health and happiness for the next few weeks depends on it. A big part of your contribution (or destruction!) to a healthy ocean starts with the packing and provisioning preparation. Find a resource on Happy and healthy provisioning is key for a successful voyage, whether it be a short trip or a transatlantic crossing., and ocean friendly vegetarian and vegan recipes on the Member Hub.



 Provisioning on Expedition ON. As local and organic as we can find.[/caption]


Give back to the ocean. Sail with positive impact. Make it Meaningful.

The ocean is the heart of the planet. Water covers more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. Ocean plants produce most of the oxygen we breathe, and the deep waters are home to wildlife and some of the biggest creatures on earth. It provides us with food, jobs, life, play, yachting, and sailing! It gives us everything; without it, we cannot survive. By experiencing the ocean first hand on a boat, you will be amazed by its beauty, gain a deep respect for its power, and also see its decline. Here’s a blog on why the ocean is so important.

 Our trips are always vegetarian (mostly vegan), making them suitable for any yachting adventure. Don’t worry, we provision more than carrots 😉 But for sure lots of carrots![/caption]

As ocean users, it’s our responsibility to become part of the solution, not the problem. Many solutions are in the hands of governments, policymakers, and corporations, but we don’t have time to wait for politicians to prioritise the ocean in their agenda. We can travel oceans, do good, save money, and have fun. When we plan, prepare and make conscious decisions, we can minimise our negative footprint and maximise the benefits for the place we visit and for the planet as a whole. We are responsible for the life depleting in the ocean, whether on a transatlantic journey or a local cruise. All together, we can also bring it back! Collectively, our impact can be major. It’s our responsibility to become part of the solution, not the problem. Governments and businesses respond to the choices of the public. By making conscious decisions as a consumer, you can influence what will be on the market tomorrow.

The pursuit of a healthy ocean and lifestyle are one and the same. Connect to nature, prioritize play, say no to plastic, fix, create, simplify, use what you got, and only what you need, buy little and buy local, explore more, team-up, walk your talk, stay curious, stay wild, stay pure, eat plants, spread kindness, be aware of your privileges and act accordingly, use your superpowers, and have breakfast from the pan now and then. You’ll save some dishes. And water, which is essential for any yachting adventure. And time. If we all try some of this, a little, every day, a healthier ocean and you is the way.

Explore more and meet-up and team-up with fellow ocean nomads to contribute to a healthier ocean on our member network. Together we can!

“Our actions over the next ten years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years.” – Sylvia Earle

 Dolphins on the bow during Expedition ON[/caption]



An Atlantic Crossing goes hardly as planned. Avoid stressing the captain because you have a plane to catch. Above all, chances are you’ll be hooked and you want to keep going. Don’t book a return ticket, chances are you want to keep going. If you sail from East to West to the Caribbean, you have a paradise cruising ground ahead of you where many sailors are happy to take you on board on sailing voyages. We’re here to help you continue and accelerate your ride towards a more sustainable ocean nomads lifestyle.

At the end sailing across the Atlantic as Crew is common sense, following your instinct and one big adventure! But being well-informed and prepared is key for a happy, safe, and meaningful experience. That’s why we set up Ocean Nomads and now also partner up for sailing adventures across the Atlantic ocean that you can join!  To connect more of you to the ocean, happy, safe and meaningfully! And to each other!


Enjoy & Ahoy!

This content has partly been originally published in YachtingWorld.


Are you planning on Sailing across the Atlantic as crew? What questions do you have? Would you like us to help you decide if it’s a good match or not? Join the conversation in the Atlantic Ocean space on the Member hub! As a community we are here to support each other and make the Atlantic Ocean crossings dreams real.

We’ve created blogs, a booka coursea filmresources, local provision contacts, a story collection, and an active network you can tap into to make your ambition to sail across the Atlantic ocean a reality. Become part of the crew!


Make it happen! Soon, Safe & Sustainable.




ocean nomads alternative lifestyle sea community


“Last summer I had my first sailing experience on an Ocean Nomad Sailing Trip in Spain. I initially signed up for one week, but ended up staying 1,5 months, and sailed as part of the crew from Northern Spain to the Canaries Islands. On this trip, I met a lot of like-minded people with similar goals and dreams. I also realized that it is possible to learn sailing in a low-key, affordable way. After this trip, I got so inspired that I bought my sailboat. After some research, I decided to buy a previous sailboat of an Ocean Nomad friend that I just met, and together we sailed the boat from Ireland to Spain. Without Ocean Nomads this would not have been possible. So if you are slightly interested in sailing, the ocean, meeting like-minded people and perhaps want to join a sailing trip in the future, have a look into Ocean Nomads!” – Nadiem

Q: What is a transatlantic sailing adventure?

A: A transatlantic sailing adventure is a journey across the Atlantic Ocean, typically from Europe to the Caribbean, covering a vast expanse of water and often involving trade winds, ocean currents, and challenging weather conditions.

Q: How long does a transatlantic sailing voyage take?

A: The duration of a transatlantic sailing voyage can vary depending on the route taken, weather conditions, and the type of vessel used. On average, it can take around 2-3 weeks to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Q: What safety equipment is needed for a transatlantic sail?

A: Essential safety equipment for a transatlantic sail includes life jackets, a life raft, flares, a VHF radio, EPIRB, and a well-equipped first aid kit. Having all necessary safety gear aboard is important to ensure a safe journey.

Q: What are the sailing conditions like on a transatlantic voyage?

A: Sailing conditions on a transatlantic voyage can vary widely, from calm seas and favourable winds to rough waters and strong currents. During the journey, sailors must be prepared for different weather patterns and sea states.

Q: What is the best time of year to sail across the Atlantic Ocean?

A: The best time to sail across the Atlantic Ocean is typically in late November or early December when the trade winds are favorable for an east-to-west crossing. It is important to pick a time when weather and sea conditions are most suitable for the voyage.

Q: What is the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC)?

A: The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is an annual transatlantic sailing event from Europe to the Caribbean, attracting participants from around the world. It offers a unique opportunity for sailors to experience a challenging yet rewarding voyage across the Atlantic.

Q: What types of vessels are used for a transatlantic sail?

A: Various types of vessels can be used for a transatlantic sail, including yachts, traditional tall ships, and exclusive sailing cruise ships. Each type of vessel offers a different experience and level of comfort for sailors undertaking the journey.

Q: Can solo travellers participate in a transatlantic sailing adventure?

A: Yes, solo travellers can participate in a transatlantic sailing adventure either by joining a crewed vessel or by sailing solo. Solo sailors must have the necessary skills, experience, and equipment to undertake such a challenging voyage.



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