AN Bermuda to Northern Europe

Best time:

May to July

Tropical storms:

June to November


BA: 4011 US: 120, 121


BA: 27, 40. US: 140. 147,191

Cruising guides:

Shell Pilot to the English Channel, Vols. 1 & 2.





Landfall Destination

Distance (M)

AN1230 Bermuda


32'22'N, 64'38'W

39r00'N, 55'00'W


AN1233 Lizard


39'00'N, 50'00'W

49°55'N, 5'10'W

The nonstop route to Northern Europe is far less popular than AN125, as most sailors prefer to stop in the Azores, conveniently placed about halfway between Bermuda and Europe. However, the direct route has the advantage over route AN125 that once the prevailing westerly winds have been found they can usually be held for most of the crossing. On leaving Bermuda, from WP AN1230 it is recommended to sail a NNE course to WP AN1231 before altering course for WP AN1232. Having reached that point, the great circle route to the English Channel can be joined. It must be stressed that both are highly hypothetical points, as the main objective of the exercise is to reach as quickly as possible the area of prevailing westerly winds. To avoid the southern limit of ice, in early summer it is recommended that the latitude of WP AN1232 is not passed. If one has access to either weather or ice information, and knows what to expect in the immediate future, or if favourable SW winds are found right from the start, the great circle route can be joined directly. Occasionally it may be necessary to go to 40 8N or even further north to reach the area of prevailing westerlies.

While the frequency of gales is lower to the south of the recommended route, the temptation to turn east too soon should be resisted because of the danger of losing the westerlies as one enters the Azores high which extends further north in summer. The Gulf Stream runs along most of this route and a favourable rate of at least 1/2 knot can be expected. Boats that have tried to follow the great circle route all the way from Bermuda to the English Channel have experienced prolonged calms as the route crosses the area of high pressure, hence the two recommended waypoints. In the absence of reliable weather information it is therefore recommended to make the crossing in higher, rather than lower, latitudes. Hurricanes rarely affect this route outside the immediate vicinity of Bermuda, but late summer passages are nevertheless discouraged because of the violent storms that occasionally occur in the Eastern Atlantic after the middle of August.

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