AN Azores to English Channel

Best time:


Tropical storms:



BA: 22, 27, 67

US: 140, 143, 191

Cruising guides:

Cruising Association Handbook, Shell Pilot to the English Channel Vol. 1.

Waypoints: Departure



Destination Distance (M)

AN1320 Horta 38'32'N, 28'37'W

AN1321 Delgada 37'44'N, 25°40'W

AN1321 Delgada

AN1322 Graciosa AN1325

AN1323 Arnel 37'50'N, 25,05'W AN1325 AN1326

AN1324 Ferraría 37!52'N, 25'52'W AN1325 AN 1326

AN1327 Lizard 49'55'N. 5!10'W

AN 1327 Lizard

AN1327 Lizard

Falmouth 1227




The prevailing winds of summer are NE and therefore all passages from the Azores to Northern Europe are usually close hauled. A direct course for the English Channel is rarely possible, nor is it advisable, as the westerly winds and east-setting current that prevail in higher latitudes will set the boat into the Bay of Biscay. The usual tactic for this route is to sail due north until steady westerly winds are encountered, but not to join the great circle route to the English Channel before latitude 45°N has been reached.

In the area immediately to the north of the Azores calms are frequent, their extent depending on the position of the Azores high and the ridge of high pressure that normally extends from it towards Europe during summer. If such calm spots are encountered one should be prepared to motor through them and make the desired northing. Even if there is no wind, the weather will be fine and sunny before it gives way to westerly winds, overcast skies, and generally wet and cold weather. Summer weather for the English Channel is difficult to predict and the winds can come from any direction and at any strength. Visibility can become poor in the approaches to the Channel and both this fact and the presence of strong tidal currents, as well as the large amount of shipping, must all be borne in mind when making a landfall on the English coast.

Boats leaving from Horta should pass close to the western extremity of Sao Jorge and on to WP AN1322 one mile SE of Uheu de Baixo, an islet off Graciosa's SE point. From there, a northerly course is set to reach the area of prevailing westerly winds at which point the course can be altered for WP AN1327.

If leaving from Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel's south coast should be followed as far as Ponta do Arnel, its easternmost headland, to WP AN1323. In strong NE winds, it is better to sail west on leaving Ponta Delgada and take one's leave from the Azores at WP AN1324 off Ponta da Ferraria, Sao Miguel's NW extremity. A course should then be set for WPs AN1325 and AN1326 on the rhumb line to the English Channel, where landfall will be made at WP AN1327 10 miles south of Lizard Point. A convenient place to clear into the United Kingdom is the port of Falmouth (50°09'N, 5°04'W).

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment