Five more tips for those doing an Atlantic crossing:
6. Take an astronomy book. The night sky out in the open ocean is stunningly beautiful - stars bright and sharp and shooting stars that make you go wow. In November in the latitudes of the ARC you'll see Orion (above) bright, leading the way as you sail west. Unforgettable.
7. Take the sextant out of its box and use it to take a couple of fixes to estimate your position. After a couple of goes you'll get quite close to GPS: its not just a helpful just in case you get a complete electrical failure, but also rewarding. And you'll appreciate the technical challenges the early sailors had to overcome.
8. Ocean sailings dirty little secret: rubbish. Ok time to come clean, with no marina's rubbish tips what are you going to do with the empty tins and potato peelings? If it sinks (like a tin) or is bio-degradable (like the peelings) we just tipped it over the side. Only remember to do it on the leeward not windward side. And if you do it on the windward side make sure there isn't an open porthole. And if there is open porthole make sure it isn't by the skippers bunk and she is having an afternoon nap in it. She will not be happy.
9. Fishing: by the end you'll be gagging for fresh food so if you're in the cruising division take a rod and try for some doradas. Don't do this if you one of those I'm-doing-20-knots-get-out-of-my-way racers: you'll never be able to land it. And don't let out the line 5 minutes after the start when you're surrounded by 200+ other yachts as you'll only get tangled up in another's spinning generator and it will be embarrasing when you bump into them in St. Lucia. But do take a photograph otherwise no one will believe your it-was-this-big story.
10. Swimming: go for a swim mid way when its 1,000 nautical miles to any bit of land and there is 4km of water underneath you as the experience is amazing. Only don't do it skinny dipping style as there are jelly fish out there and its bad enough to get you're arm stung so protect those more delicate bits.