Capt. Jeremy and Capt. Erica are crossing the Atlantic Ocean in August 2022. Follow their progress!
We made it! S/V Sparrow and Capts Jeremy and Erica arrived safely in Dingle, Ireland on August 29th, 2022! We enjoyed Dingle Marina for a week while a low pressure system passed and then moved on to Inishmore. Engine trouble (starter failure) and a host of other issues stopped our trip short in Galway where Sparrow was hauled for her winter storage. We will return in the spring and Sparrow will continue her European tour!
Track Our Progress
We will take the northern route across the Atlantic, following the great circle route from Friendship, Maine to Crookhaven, Ireland. Total mileage is 2,580nm. The first 800nm or so will be near Canada as we take our time avoiding the Grand Banks fishing grounds and then make the turn to start heading East-Northeast. From there it is Tradewinds (hopefully!) sailing and maybe a little boost from Gulf Stream. Sparrow is a slow girl. She averages about 100 miles a day, so we expect the total trip to take us 26-30 days.
Finding S/V Sparrow
In many ways Jeremy has always been shopping for his cruising boat, one that could cross oceans. This boat had to be rugged, compact, and simple but also comfortable. From Contessas to Flickas, Jeremy shopped them all, until he met me. The first time he ever visited Maine, where I am from, we shopped for boats. New England is home to some of the most classic and world-renowned blue water cruisers. The Cape Dory 28, built in East Taunton, Massachusetts quickly rose to the top of the list. We found one to look at in South Portland, Maine, and for me it was love at first sight. We saw a few other boats that day, but Jeremy and I both new we’d found the one. S/V Sparrow became a member of the Reef Runner fleet and our boat to cross oceans.
Why a 28’ boat?
One of the most common questions we get asked is “what size boat are you taking?” When we answer with 28’, we get a few surprised looks. But it’s not all about size in length when choosing the best boat to do blue water passages. For us, size of keel and simplicity of the design were some of the top features we were looking for in our cruising boat. S/V Sparrow is a 9,000lbs displacement vessel with 3,500lbs ballast in her beautiful full keel. That means almost half her weight is below the water – exactly what you want in a blue water boat. Her simple keel-hung rudder and tiller make her an easy boat to fix if steering becomes an issue. She’s small, but mighty with an overly thick fiberglass hull. Her capsize rating is 1.71, which according to Sailboat Data anything below a 2.0 is considered blue water capable. The lower the number the better suited she is for ocean passages. Down below in the cabin, she provides just enough room for the two of us and we were still able to find a home for all the gear we brought on board – including six 6 gallon water jugs and 4 diesel jerry cans, without having to stow them on deck.
Equipment & Safety Gear Added
We’ve spent the last year outfitting Sparrow for her passage across the Atlantic. In addition to her already sound build, we add the following upgrades and equipment for our voyage:
New standing rigging (Spring 2022)
Solent stay (dyneema) for storm sail
Storm sail (new 2021)
Drifter (new 2021)
Radar (new 2021)
Pelagic Tiller Pilot
South Atlantic Wind Vane steering (new 2021)
AIS Receiver (we actually never got this working!)
In addition to upgrades, we’ve also added the following safety equipment:
Superior Life-Saving Life Raft – Coast Surge, Offshore Stream (4 person)
EPIRB (new 2021)
2 Immersion Suits (used)
Ditch Bag (outfitted with more gear than we hope we ever need)
Emergency Medical Kit – put together with guidance from an emergency medical doctor
How can we get in touch?
Our friends and family who are close to us, helping us with our voyage, watching weather and much more have our satellite number and we’ll be in constant contact with a few of them. Please email Jeremy or Erica and we’ll get it when we get to Ireland!
If you’d like to follow along with our journey, please track us!
How can we help?
Our trip would not be possible without the help of our family and friends who lent their time and talents to see us off. In particular, my parents spent many long hours ensuring we had what we needed and were well provided for. Mom made us new sail covers and tiller covers, including one to protect our brand new (and very expensive) Pelagic tiller pilot. Dad built new wind paddles for our wind vein, among many other projects, and he is one of our primary weather routers. My sister, Maria, sat with me as I attempted to figure out where all our stuff would go. She also opened packages, all while laying on our settee with a very pregnant baby bump. Her and her husband, Kris, let us take over their house for a few days where we canned 48 jars of meat. This trip wouldn’t be possible without their help.
We are also grateful for all who are keeping us in their prayers as we cross. If you’d like to help, keep an eye on our tracker and please keep us in your prayers. I take great comfort knowing the army of prayer that follows us across the Atlantic. If you’ve ever traveled the west coast of Ireland, and in particular sailed there, we also welcome suggestions, "must sees,” and tips for sailing in Europe. Please send us your suggestions!
Thank you all!
- Captain Erica
“His eye is on the Sparrow…”