AT South Africa to Lesser Antilles

As an alternative to AT25, this route has the advantage that it can leave South Africa earlier so as to arrive in the Caribbean after the middle of winds. This would mean that the NE trades would be entered at a better angle north of the Cape Verdes. Such an alternative route could also include a detour to West Africa.

The route inside of the Cape Verdes is not recommended in winter when the islands should be passed as closely as possible on their west side. To be able to do this, sufficient easting must be made while still in the SE trades. Otherwise the easting will have to be made with the help of the engine before the NE trade winds are met in the vicinity of 5°N. A route which passes close to the Cape Verdes, or is even interrupted there, is essential as it increases the chances of reaching the Azores on one tack. Official ports of entry in the Cape Verdes are Mindelo (16'53'N, 25WW), Praia (14°54*N, 23°31'W)/ and Sal (16'45'N, 23 WW). Directions for the continuation of the route to the Azores are given in AN61 (page 81).

November and the start of the safe cruising season there. As the route passes close to St Helena, most boats make a brief call there before continuing

Best time: Tropical storms: Charts:


Cruising guides:

Waypoints: Departure

November to March June to November BA:4022,4400

The Lesser Antilles, Sailor's Guide to the Windward Islands, Cruising Guide to Trinidad and Tobago.




Distance (M)

AT240 Table N 33:55'S, 18'23'E

AT241 Helena 15°55'S, 5J43'W AT242 Ascension 7'56'S, 14°25'W AT243 Equator 0'00\ 32"30'W

AT244 Tobago



ir08'N( 60'40'W

11'11'N, 60'44'W

AT245 Barbados



13'00'N, 59'37'W

13'05'N, 59'38'W

AT246 St Lucia

Rodney Bay


14'03'N, 60'50'W

14°04.5'N, 60C58.5'W

AT247 Martinique

Fort de France


14'22'N. 60'51'W

14°36'N, 61'05'W

AT248 Antigua SE

English Harbour




towards the equator. Another favoured stop en route to the Caribbean is the island of Fernando de Noronha, off the coast of Brazil. Directions for the above routes are given in ASll and AS13 (pages 183 and 185).

The direct route from South Africa to the Caribbean crosses the equator in about longitude 32°30' (WP AT243), where the doldrums are very narrow at the recommended time of year (December to February). The SE trades are normally lost soon after the equator has been crossed and the NE trades are picked up 100 to 150 miles further on. The route continues parallel to the coast of Brazil, where a very strong current setting NW at rates of 11 / 2 to 2 knots gives an excellent boost. Route AT21 describes some of the possible stops along the northern coast of South America.

As the NE trade winds are normally found in about latitude 5°N and their initial direction is sometimes NNE, boats that are bound for the Leeward or Virgin Islands are advised not to cross the equator too far west so as to have a better slant through the trades. In such a case, the recommended longitude for crossing the equator is between 30 TV and 32 °W.

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