Team BUTTERS is in a pursuit of the west world hemisphere on a Seawind 1260 - 12m (42ft) sailing catamaran.
View our realtime GPS position along with messages we regularly send through a satelite phone.

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Day 17 - Last day on the sea!

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean
Paper chart as primary source of truth offshore

There's less than 180nm to go and we should arrive in Guadeloupe tomorrow (Thursday) around 17:00 local time. The feelings are here. Not sure if it's even getting to us that this journey is going to finish tomorrow, and that this is our last night at sea.

The last night of being awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night, watching stars, hiding from rain and squalls, observing radar, reefing sails, reading books... Speaking of books, we chewed through them. Isabel finished 12 whole books, Squale was somewhere right there, Borna and Marin each did a few.

We'll post a final photo from the ocean tomorrow, then get back to our not-so-regular posting schedule. Hope you enjoyed following this journey as much as we did. We'll be able to answer any comments or messages starting tomorrow when the service is back up and running.

Day 16 - Timezones, Croatian ship

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean
Vessel identification view from our nav station

It's now 4PM local time, and 9PM in the Mediterranean - where we left from. It's crazy to think that we've changed 5 timezones by sailing on a boat, using wind as the primary propulsion. There's absolutely no jet lag - so if you want to travel without jet lag, all you need is a sailboat.

Story of the day: we sailed almost 2 weeks into the blue, without any boats on AIS around us. Finally, 5AM this morning there was a cargo ship on a collision course with us. The boat's name was Peristil. The name sounds familiar,... double clicked on their AIS info, and the ship is Croatian flagged! We passed really close to each other and had a nice quick chat over VHF. Turns out all the crew onboard is Croatian. They're going to Praia Mole, Brazil. Never would've thought that after 2 weeks across the ocean, the first language we speak over radio would be Croatian.

Day 15 - Dolphins <3

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean
Dolphins welcoming us into Caribbean

This morning we were greeted by a pod of striped dolphins, and they swam with us for good 45 min. Toni was crying at them because he wanted to jump in and play. Perhaps not the greatest idea of the day.

We're making good progress but the winds are very variable - constantly changing from 15kt to 26kt which means white sails only, and maintaining the right reef in the main. We rigged main & jib preventers and diverted jib sheets so we can sail to 150TWA with mainsail + jib, without flogging sails and putting stress on the rig.

Still on track to hit Guadeloupe sometimes late Thursday.

Day 14 - Dare we say... almost there?

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean
Electronic side of BUTTERS nav. Caribbean in sight!

650nm or 3.5 more days and we should be arriving in Guadeloupe! The detour added around 200nm to our original route, and we're looking at around 2900nm (5400km) and 17days for the total trip.

The past couple of days went milder than we expected, with winds in mid 20s and squalls gusting up to 35kt occasionally. No squalls dumped rain yet and the boat is full of salt.

Yesterday at 2AM one wave made it's way all the way to Squale's cabin, making everything wet: from pillows, duvet, walls, mattress, shoes. Squale has been camping for a day and finally has his bedroom back up and running, after 24h of drying in the wind. Apparently it helps if you fully close the hatch above the bed.

Day 13 - Latitude 14

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

The time has finally come, it's time to jibe and turn more West. We have reached Latitude 14, far more south than originally planned. We sailed for 5 days on the same tack non stop, doing 180 miles per day avg, and dodged the thunderstorms that are now in front of us.

Distance to Guadelopue left: 850 miles

Day 12 - Less than 1000nm left

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean
Latitude 16N, passing behind squall clouds

Today was great. We caught 2 mahi mahis, and celebrated the milestone with a fresh mahi ceviche and a poke bowl for dinner. And a Lindt almond chocolate for dessert. We have less than 10 chocolates left onboard and the situation might be getting tight.

Weather wise, we're still running just behind the TROF and it looks like we might be in 30 knots for the next few days all until arrival. The downside is that we'll have 3 meter seas until we drop the anchor, but that has been our everyday life for the past 2 weeks and we're used to it by now. The upside is that we should be going faster and might benefit from the North Equatorial current flowing in our direction.

Everything else is OK and we're waiting for an update from Chris, our shore navigator, to see when it's going to be optimal to jibe (gybe?) towards Guadeloupe.

Day 11 - Squale (sk·ua·le)

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

Turns out every time Goran takes the night shift, it always ends up being the most brutal one; both in the amount of squalls, sea state and wind. So we gave him a nickname: Squale.

This is Squale gassing at 10kt boat speed chased by a 3+ meter wave. The last 3 days kept us on our toes. We dodged a system that's carrying lots of clustered squalls & thunderstorms, and caught a good wind to take us SW at 180nm per day.

Squale is also great with geometrics, and he's been walking the dividers over our previous path on the chart N times per day. He estimates we'll arrive in Guadeloupe in 7 days. We're likely going to sail as south as 14N before jibing West in order to minimize sailing in >35kt conditions caused by the gradient winds.

Day 10 - Tropics

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

Celebrating small goals - passing the 1/2 mark and entering the Tropics We had a "Tropical" beer and Rafaello ice cream! Ice cream. In the middle of the ocean. What a treat.

Today we sailed in 4-5 meter seas almost the entire day. The ocean hasn't been easy on us since we left Canaries, and today was no exception. Nights are sometimes as bad as having 10+ squalls, each requiring attention and potential reefing or taking down the mainsail. The worst one was 2 days ago with 41kt of wind, but it was short and everything settled quickly after.

Tonight we're hoping we dodged the TROF to the W of us, and are moving SW towards Latitude 17. We should reach it around midnight tomorrow, then we'll decide how close to the systems we'll sail to Guadeloupe. Might need to drop a couple more degrees of latitude for comfort & peace of mind.

Day 9 - Detour!

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean
Marin tightening the forestay screws

We're on a new route going further South, in order to dodge some squall clusters and have a safer ride. We need to sail South to 17N (degrees North) and then turn West. Luckily, the wind shifted more East and we've been making good way SW. This will extend our trip time by 1 or 2 days, and we have enough food & endless supply of water.

Day 8 - Latitude 22

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

1200 nautical miles covered, around 1500 left. The weather feels warmer again. We're still wearing offshore jackets and bibs overnight, but during daytime we are in t-shirts and shorts.

Winds are lighter after sunrise, in high teens during the day, and in high 20s during nights. There's been lots of squalls during the past few days and tonight looks no different. The boat is doing consistent 8+ knots with white sails, usually on reef 1 or 2 and that puts us to an average of 170 miles/day for the past 7 days. We're not pushing it too hard, but we're trying to make good progress.

The weather long term looks good on our path: we shouldn't run into a major system or lose wind for the next 10 days.

Day 7 - Trade winds

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

After sailing the Mediterranean for a few years, experiencing trade winds feels like magic. Consistent good wind, blowing from the perfect direction and not changing much in force or direction.
Squalls are more frequent but less violent - the wind increases by a few knots and drops back down as soon as the squall passes over. Compared to Mediterranean summer storms (often accompanied by thunder and/or watersprouts), we don't mind encountering these at all.

The sea has been glowing every night as the boat glides through water. Isabel admitted she's been talking to the plankton. She's been talking to the squall clouds too. Everyone is chewing through books, as our bodies have adapted to the constant motion and rotating watch schedule. Carbonara is on the menu today, as we don't feel like eating flying fish. Not sure what's up with all the flying fish committing suicide on our vessel, but every morning we find a few onboard. Yesterday we even found a squid on the bow. Is this the sea version of mosquitoes in the windshields?

Day 6 - Roughly 1/3 of the way there

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

Today was the first day we were able to fly the spinnaker, and we're all wearing t-shirts again! The unstable weather north made us fly white sails only for 5 days straight. We're slowly entering the area with stable trade winds, which will take us all the way to the Caribbean.

We've been at sea for 5 days straight as of 1700 (5PM) today and covered almost 800 nautical miles thru water. Everyone onboard is doing well, Toni probably the best.

Day 5 - Highway

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

Yesterday we broke our distance record: 200 nautical miles in a day, with peak speed of 19kt and a few hourly averages over 10kt. The weather sharpened up right after we sent yesterday's update and we've seen as much as 37kt gusts overnight. The boat handled it well without any problems, but the crew was pretty exhausted in the morning. We sailed with small jib + reef 2 during the day, put in reef 3 for the night, and ended up taking the mainsail down in the middle of the night.

Today we're taking our time for reading and sleeping in order to recharge for tomorrow. We also made extra bechamel to go into tonight's bolognese pasta, just in case. Winds are calmer, swell up to 4-5m on occasion, but a somewhat comfortable period.

After we pass 23°N 30°W we'll take a more direct rhumb line route towards Guadeloupe. The trade winds have established and are a bit stronger than usual. We're still on track for a crossing time of 16 days.

Day 4 - Proper ocean sailing

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean

We prepared for the night by taking down the screecher, cleaning everything that could fly from the cockpit, and put in a reef 2 in the main. The forecast was calling for 30-32kt gusts and higher seas. The night was a bit rough, but then we woke up to a proper ocean, long 3 meter waves that we can take smoothly. With the double reefed main we can relax and not worry about reefing for a good while.

Fast forward onto tonight, the wind has picked up again and we've seen 36.6kt gusts and a few squalls. Seas should start calming down in a few hours and tomorrow should be getting nicer!

Day 3 - Fish!

Sailing Butters Atlantic Ocean
Mahi mahi for lunch today!

Last night was very calm - so calm that we had to turn on one engine at 4AM and kept motor-sailing until the late morning. Isabel thawed out a butternut squash soup for lunch, and a pesto-like pasta sauce for dinner. She made both of these before we left across the ocean, as well as a bunch of curry. Each crew member contributed their own speciality, so we have some bolognese, manestra (Croatian version of chili con carne), teriyaki chicken, and even the 3 Carbonara ingredients at the ready. Cooking on the way from scratch can be challenging, so we've made 18 days worth of meals and froze them.

Then a sudden chaos on the water behind the boat appeared. We got a fish on the handline! We pulled in a mahi-mahi, our favorite pelagic fish. An hour later we're feasting on some mahi tacos with fresh made wasabi aioli and quickly pickled onions on top.

Tonight we're expecting a wind increase and tomorrow we'll be sailing in 20 to 30kt winds and bigger seas again. This should calm down on Friday and we should be cruising in nice trade winds in a few days. This was definitely a morale booster and the crew is fed and rested.

Day 2 - Goodbye land!

Sailing Butters La Palma

The first night underway went well. Winds were between 20 and 30kt, seas 3 meters and calming down through the night. We were flying the jib with a reef2 in the mainsail, and the boat was doing anything from 8 to 10, occasional 12 knots on gusts. We covered 160NM in the last 24 hours.

At 5AM, Borna noticed the water glowing around us, and soon realized it was either a pod of dolphins or tuna swimming around the boat and going wild. It was pitch dark outside and we couldn't tell what they were. We quickly threw a couple of handlines in the sea in case they were tuna, and got exactly 0 fish. In fact, we haven't caught a proper fish in over a 1000 miles. The number of Goran's jokes on Marin's bill has piled up quite significantly.

Today we rounded the N corner of La Palma, island with the active volcano you've probably seen in the news. Some crew secretly hoped to see some volcano action, but the storm clouds covered the upper half of the island and made it impossible to see anything. Leaving La Palma marks the last piece of land we'll see until arriving in Caribbean next month.

Day 1 - We’re off!

Sailing Butters Canary Islands

Last selfie before lifting the anchor and leaving for good. We left Canary Islands at 17:00 on Nov 29th 2021. We scraped the barnacles off the hulls in order to squeeze every last bit of “free performance”, and waited on anchor until the wind dies off a little. Winds are blowing at 20kt gusting 25kt just behind our beam.

The seas are a bit rough at around 3 meters and we’re sailing on broad reach towards La Palma. We plan to pass La Palma around 6AM on the North side and avoid the volcano ashes as much as possible. After that we’ll keep monitoring weather and sail to W-NW until eventually turning south.

Day 0: Ready to cross the Atlantic

Sailing Butters exiting the Strait of Gibraltar
Photo credit: SV Salty Fish

The weather window is finally here! We are ready for our final and longest leg of the Atlantic crossing: Tenerife to Guadeloupe, Caribbean. We expect the crossing to take between 2 and 3 weeks, ideally around 16 days. We'll be posting a daily photo and a blog entry during the crossing, in order to bring the adventure of crossing an ocean rigt to your couch.

But first a story: in the photo above, you can see BUTTERS gliding along at 8 knots through the Strait of Gibraltar as smoothly as it gets. We started the day at 6AM, had a cup of tea, lifted the anchor, which was so muddy that it was impossible to wash it off with a hose. We submerged it back a couple meters in order to get cleaned by the moving water.

As soon as we were ready to depart, the radar started failing. As the day was coming up in the next hour we decided to navigate by buoys and charts, and address the problem underway. In the worst case if we don't fix the problem by noon, we can return back or land somewhere on African west coast. Fast forward 3 hours, while writing the hourly positiong in the ship's log Marin asked... did we ever got that anchor back up?

The Crew

Borna, Goran, Toni, Isabel & Marin
Borna, Goran, Toni, Isabel & Marin

Float plan

1st leg
Gibraltar, Spain -> La Graciosa, Lanzarote, Canary islands
Departure : Nov. 6th 2021, 0600
Arrival : Nov. 10th 2021, 2300 (Completed)

2nd leg
Lanzarote -> Las Palmas, Gran Canaria -> Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Crusing in between Canary islands
Departure : Nov. 10th 2021
Arrival : Nov. 20th 2021 (Completed)

3rd leg
Tenerife -> Guadeloupe (Caribbean)
Departure: Monday Nov. 29th 2021