How Much Does It Cost To Sail Across The Atlantic?

How Much Does It Cost To Sail Across The Atlantic? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

August 30, 2022

There is hardly anything dreamier than crossing the Atlantic in your own boat. You must have wondered how much it costs to sail across the Atlantic.

Sailing across the Atlantic is as overbearing as it sounds. It takes a boat an average of three to four weeks to get across. If you attempt to do this in a sailboat, you could be offshore for over a month.

The cost of sailing across the Atlantic depends on the boat you are using. Fuel costs can run from $50 to $500 per day. Rental fees can cost between $300 and $1000 per day. Food and other services can cost around $20 to $50 per day per person.

If you use a large boat, the costs can go up considerably. But using a small boat will compromise your safety, and you will be risking your life if you get stuck in rough waters or a storm.

Experienced sailors recommend that it is better to have a larger boat if you plan to head into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This ocean has some of the roughest waters in the world, which can topple or capsize small boats. It is essential to have access to weather updates and avoid sailing when the weather is rough.


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Do I Need a Big Boat to Cross the Atlantic?

Irrespective of whether you choose to sail or motor across the Atlantic, the boat you need has to be 30 feet or longer. Most experts recommend that 40 feet is the minimum safe size and ensures a comfortable sail.

This is not to say that it is impossible to head across the Atlantic in a smaller boat. But the reason for selecting a bigger boat is to ensure maximum safety. There are three significant factors that you have to consider when choosing a boat size:

Ability To Handle Rough Waters

The open waters of the Atlantic are prone to severe weather conditions. When Mother Nature turns gruesome, she can kick up the waves significantly. The last place you want to be in rough waters is in a small, feebly boat. Small boats are not designed to handle rough waters or severe storms and are at a high risk of sinking.

The Atlantic Ocean is susceptible to severe, unpredictable storms. The weather can turn awry in the open waters without any prior notice. It is important to remember that even 30 and 40 feet are not invincible to storms, but they are much safer than smaller boats, and it is the recommended size for the open ocean waters.

Storage Space

Crossing the Atlantic is not a few hours or a few days' job. Sailing from one shore to the other can take a few weeks to over a month. You will need to carry on the food, water, and other supplies to last you for the entire voyage.

You must remember that crossings can take much longer than you expect. It is best to be prepared than stranded at sea without food and water. A bigger boat will be able to hold more supplies.

If you plan to make the crossing using motor power, you will also need space for fuel, an extra motor, and other motor supplies.

It is important to remember that it starts to go deeper into the water as you add weight to the boat. This can make the boat more susceptible to the forces of rough waters. Keep your boat as light as you can without omitting the necessary supplies.

Room for Crew

Even if it is two or three of you on board, you will need a place to sleep and a personal space that you can use to stretch your legs and rest. The sea can be pretty monotonous at some times and very tiring at others. With a 30 or 40 ft boat, you can have room for everyone to sleep and rest when they need to.

Sailing Across the Atlantic in a Sailboat

The sun is shining bright, with a cool breeze blowing across. You are in your sailboat, with just the right wind in your sails. It's nothing but you, the blue waters of the Atlantic, and your precious little boat in the vast ocean. There is hardly anything dreamier than this for solitude lovers.

However, crossing the Atlantic is not always a serene and peaceful cruise. There are several risks, and with a sailboat, you are highly dependent on the wind and weather conditions.

If the wind were to stop, you could be stranded in open waters for much longer than you initially expected. Expert sailors recommend having a standby motor or even two in your sailboat, even if you never plan on using it. It will help you a great deal if the conditions take a turn for the worse.

Yes, the motor will weigh down your boat, but the peace of mind that you get with a motor on board far outweighs the cons of the added weight.

Your boat is mechanical equipment and can break down. You must have the right tools and spares to repair your boat while you are at sea. This means you should have tools for the motor, the sails, and the hull. The motor can break down, the sails can rip down during storms, and a damaged hull is the last thing you want.

Cost To Sail Across The Atlantic

The cost to sail across the Atlantic Ocean depends on a few factors, including the size and type of vessel you're using, the route you're taking, and how long you plan to stay at sea. A typical transatlantic crossing on a small sailboat can cost anywhere from $500 to $5000 to rent, while a larger yacht or commercial vessel can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Of course, the cost of your voyage will also depend on how you plan to cross the Atlantic. The most popular routes are from the east coast of North America to Europe or from Europe to the Caribbean. Some transatlantic race events take place each year, which can be a great way to save money on your crossing.

If you're looking to sail across the Atlantic on a budget, you can do a few things to keep costs down. First, consider chartering a vessel instead of buying your own - this can be a great way to save money on both the cost of the boat and the cost of insurance.

Second, take advantage of stopovers along the way - many ports offer discounts for transatlantic sailors, so you can save on fuel and docking fees by spending a few days in each port. Finally, plan your crossing during the off-season - rates for both vessels and services are typically much lower during the winter months.

Fuel Costs

One of the most significant expenses when sailing across the Atlantic will be fuel. A small sailboat can burn through several hundred dollars worth of fuel in a single crossing, while a larger yacht can easily consume thousands of dollars. To save on fuel costs, consider using wind power as much as possible - this will save you money, and it's also better for the environment. The fuel costs can run between $50 to $500 per day, depending on how much motor power you are using and the size of the boat and the motors.

Docking Fees

Another significant expense when sailing across the Atlantic is docking fees. These can vary widely depending on where you're docking and how long you plan to stay, but they can add up quickly if you're not careful. Look for discount programs or package deals that include multiple nights at different docks to save on docking fees. Docking fees can range from $60 to $1500 per month, depending again on the size of the boat.

Food and Water Costs

You will also need to factor in the cost of food and water for your crew. It's essential to stock up on non-perishable items before setting sail, as you'll likely be unable to make stops for supplies once you're out at sea. You should also budget for additional costs like fishing gear if you plan on supplementing your diet with fresh seafood.


Finally, don't forget to factor in the cost of services when budgeting for your transatlantic crossing. These can include weather forecasting, navigation assistance, and even medical care if you're sailing on a long voyage. Be sure to research the cost of these services in advance to plan accordingly.

Several hidden costs include boat insurance, health insurance, toiletries, etc. All these can add up the costs depending on the size of your boat and the duration of your voyage. For instance, boat insurance can cost anywhere between $400 and $6000 per year. At the same time, health insurance can range from $1000 to $5000 per year.

Sailing across the Atlantic is a thrilling adventure with several costs - but it doesn't have to break the bank. By careful planning and doing some research, you can find ways to save money on your crossing and make it more affordable than you might think.

How Much Does It Cost To Sail Across The Atlantic?
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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