Hi mom, am coming back after just crossing the ocean!

CEYMS89For many people, crossing the Atlantic Ocean deserves an American “wow”. Well, not to be bragging, but this was my second Transatlantic voyage. The first one was with a 41-meter sailboat from Europe to the Caribbean. This second one was a return back home with a 52-meter sailboat from the Caribbean to Europe. In December we’ll sail to the Caribbean again and next year April back to Europe. A trans-oceanic to and fro… This is what we do.

Even though it’s a great big deal, you get used to it after a while. I even sent my mother this Whatsapp message before heading off: ‘What’s up mom? I took a crossing job; I’ll just cross the Atlantic and be back home in 2 weeks. Kisses xoxo.’

So let’s not fall for the above underestimation and present you some important points.

The first question to come: How long does the crossing take? Answer: 11-12 days non-stop!

CEYMS90It naturally depends a big deal on the boat and whether it can sail or not, but for us who are in the Superyacht sector, the size of the boat size is hardly less than 35-40 meters, and as our purpose is to cross as swiftly as we can while not spending time stopping to smell roses, we run the engines at full speed not setting sail to optimize the duration of crossing. Motor yachts totally focus on speed and not any delicacies. As for the sailboats, however large the boat is, we hoist the Geneva sail, watch the sunset on the deck, read our books and sun bathe. As for the motor yachts, the crew is not allowed to even go on deck for security. We’re also not allowed to stay on deck without life vests but we bend the rules a little as sailors.

CEYMS91We certainly have training and certificates on security, first aid, fire and stuff. What if there is a man overboard, what to do in a fire outbreak or what are the responsibilities if we have to abandon – we repeat all of this information with drills in the ocean.

What happens if we don’t?

So one morning, I ran to the deck at about 10:00 after hearing an emergency announcement on the radio! Whole crew was on board, looking at a 12-meter sailboat with a broken mainmast waiting silently in a terrifying way in the middle of the ocean. We were glad not be in an emergency situation ourselves, but we needed some time to understand the problem. And crazy voices in our heads…

Most importantly, was there anyone on the boat needing help?

Injured.. or even dead..

The methodology in these situations is firstly to blow the horn and let anyone inside know that we’re there. So we did just that. No reaction. Still, not a soul in sight.

CEYMS92If you think that the second thing to do is to go on the boat and see if there’s anyone inside, you’re totally wrong. You have to call MLC, Maritime Labour Convention, and declare you have found a boat and tell them the name, features and the location. Also get information from them whether they’re still searching for the boat, or not. If the answer is yes, then get permission to go on board and look around the boat. Because at sea, with all the criminals and pirates running wild, it’s endangering our safety to go on board without checking the boat’s credentials.

CEYMS93Fortunately, we figure out the crew on board has been rescued a month ago. But according to the law, the boats must be sunk after the crew is rescued. Yet this one was not! Can you imagine what if we came upon this boat in the middle of the night and banged without realizing? The ocean is bigger than you can imagine. Let alone a deserted driftng boat, it’s impossible to even bump into a boat or ship on its route. If the probability is one in a thousand and you still can come across a boat, it was quite probable to bang into it at night.

This episode of running into an abandoned boat cost us an hour. Add to that the negative psychology of waiting with no clue whether there’s anyone inside injured or dear.

Guess what happened the next day… Another abandoned boat!

CEYMS94When I heard the announcement on the radio, I thought someone was joking but as you know, there’s hardly any joking at sea! This time, the situation was even more interesting. We can’t really call this one a boat. A madman, embarking on an adventure to cross the ocean with a boat with no engine or sails but two oars, was obviously caught by a storm or whatever, and the boat just stood still on the water.

We executed the same procedure. First horns! Nothing… We kind of laughed it off to have bumped into abandoned boats two days in a row in the ocean, call it a funny coincidence or ill-luck, and started yelling “hey, wake up, it’s morning already” but… no sound. It also had no cabin, so it was obvious that the boat was empty. No way to tell if there is anyone inside, dead or alive. Another MLC call let us know that this one was also rescued near Canary Islands about a month ago. And we saw it right in the middle of the northern Atlantic. Tell me about that drifting…

So we kept on and decided to ignore the next abandoned boat… Just joking.

CEYMS95After 12 days, we made it to Gibraltar. And currently I’m at Palma de Mallorca. My preparations as chef to cross the ocean, how I keep everything fresh without stopping by a market for days, how I cook without tumbling down and slopping the food over in bad weather are for another article.

For now, let’s just enjoy being on the same continent. At least…