Crossing the Atlantic on a NEEL 43? Child’s play!

Last July, the SAIL AND SURF WITH THE PLANET family had just taken delivery of their NEEL 43 in La Rochelle. Audrey, Christophe and their 4 children had taken the time to welcome us on board their trimaran decorated with pink flowers, to present us their project: a family trip around the world to “discover other cultures, get closer to nature and learn to live better with less”. It was then time to prepare for the big departure.

Just arrived in the West Indies, after a few months of sailing off the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, the SAIL AND SURF family was pleased to tell us about their transatlantic journey and to give us an overview of their first six months of sailing.

Only a few months after the delivery of your NEEL 43, you have already sailed dozens of days and above all a transatlantic crossing to your credit! You told us last July that your first impressions, especially on the speed and performance of your NEEL 43, were very good. What about today with more hindsight ?

This transatlantic has only confirmed these first impressions. We didn’t cross the Atlantic in a racing spirit and for good reason, we were 8 on board, with 4 children. Moreover, we had not chosen a weather window with a lot of wind.

We had only used the spinnaker a few times before the transatlantic crossing, twice to be exact. When we sent it into the trade winds, we were surprised to see how easy it was to use and how well the boat performed at that speed! Most of the time we only had about 10 knots of real wind, yet our NEEL 43 was making 6 knots. We even averaged over 9 knots during our last 24 hours under spinnaker! Thanks to the good performance of the NEEL 43, we were able to complete the transatlantic race in 15 days, without forcing ourselves and having drifted for a day and a half without wind.”

Traverser l’Atlantique sur un NEEL 43 ? Un jeu d’enfants ! - Témoignage de la famille SAIL AND SURF


How was life on board during these two weeks ? Did the layout and functionality of the NEEL 43 help you to live together ?

We were numerous on board for a boat of this size: eight to be precise, because we had two crew members we met last summer. It’s true that with four young children (10, 8, 6 and 4 years old, editor’s note) during a whole transatlantic race, it was the maximum (laughs) but we never had the impression of stepping on each other. Especially since our two older daughters have installed their bedrooms in the forepeaks fitted out at anchor, which now allows everyone to have their own cabin and living space.”

Traverser l’Atlantique sur un NEEL 43 ? Un jeu d’enfants ! - Témoignage de la famille SAIL AND SURF 1


Even if you arrived in the West Indies only a few weeks ago, would you be ready to set sail for another transatlantic crossing aboard your NEEL 43? And if so, what would you do differently?

“We had prepared our boat well. And we really enjoyed the sailing. The only thing that broke during the crossing was the reel of my fishing rod (laughs).

So if we had to do it again tomorrow, we would do it strictly the same from a boat and equipment point of view. I would just choose a bigger diameter fishing line!”

What are your best memories of this transatlantic race?

“Collectively, I would say without hesitation that our most beautiful memory is swimming in the middle of the Atlantic. Indeed, during our 36 hours without wind, we could not resist the urge to jump into the water. And what an experience! The water was so deep blue; it was really incredible.

The departure was also a very emotional moment, as was the arrival where we were greeted by dolphins for several miles… it’s also a magical memory that deserves to be experienced!

With your experience, what advice would you give to a family wishing to buy a NEEL trimaran and live on board ?

Simply follow your desires.

It’s a great adventure to live with your family. As for us, after a year of training and despite our very little sailing experience (apart from a few weeks of charter on a monohull, Audrey and Christophe had never sailed before embarking on their project to buy a NEEL trimaran), we went for it and we really don’t regret it.


The choice of boat is also important because since we have been in the West Indies, we have seen families sailing on boats of other brands abandon their round the world project because they were afraid and their boat moved a lot during their transatlantic crossing.

From a more technical point of view, I realized that we pay a lot more attention to the weather when we are sailing as a family. We had chosen to have a router on land who followed us and with whom we exchanged throughout our transatlantic race. It’s very reassuring and I would recommend it to all families who would like to live a similar adventure. Beyond the advice on routing, having a professional who knows exactly where you are and who can, if necessary, be part of the rescue chain with the CROSS, allows you to sail with more serenity.”

Traverser l’Atlantique sur un NEEL 43 ? Un jeu d’enfants ! - Témoignage de la famille SAIL AND SURF 3


And finally, what is the program for the SAIL AND SURF FAMILY?

“We had our family coming to vacation aboard our NEEL 43 after we arrived in the Caribbean. We then went to the Grenadines and Martinique, and now we are going to sail up the Caribbean arc to the Bahamas.”

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