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Safe across the Atlantic with Garmin inReach ®

When sailing more than 7.000 km of water, crossing the Atlantic, planning, safety and weather service are of paramount importance. Søren Burø from Garmin talks about his experience and application of technology as he crossed the great ocean.

In an X-Yacht Xc 45, the long journey started from Lanzerote and went south to Cap Verde 800 NM, then across the Atlantic to Barbados, Saint Lucia and finally to Martinique.

The sailor, Søren Burø started working at Garmin in 2003 and is now Sales Manager for Garmin Denmark. The interest in water, boats and sailing started for Søren when he turned 15. And he has sailed and owned various boats ever since - from 14 to 48 feet. “I really like getting the boat ready for the new season and the fantastic summer evenings at anchor every year. From planning smaller trips for just one night with friends to the great planning it was to cross the Atlantic. Maybe it's about being able to cross the Atlantic in the same boat that you just take a little trip in outside your port", he says with a smile. When you are away so long and far away from mobile phone coverage and VHF contact, it is important to plan for safety and ensure that if dangerous situations arise, there is a clear communication channel for rescue, if necessary. “To increase safety on board, we used inReach.

I had an inReach Mini, which was connected to my phone and my fēnix watch. The unit itself was down in the cabin, and then I got info on my watch", Søren explains.

Small but very useful

Søren found inReach very useful in the challenge of crossing the Atlantic. “It’s fantastic! We planned the route and the navigation on it, and we used it every night for weather forecast. And then it was nice to connect with people back home.” The weather service is an important addition to the benefits of inReach, and according to Garmin research, this is one of the most widely used features, as well as an advantage which surprises many users: “We have noticed that people tend to buy inReach to have the SOS function, but the SMS service, the connection to the family, is also used frequently. The surprising bonus is the weather service, which the general user greatly appreciates”, says Magnus Mårlind, Product Manager for inReach at Garmin Nordic.

”Always take the weather with you”

In the early ’90s Crowded House sang about the importance of having the right weather with you. And even though they probably did not talk about the sailing weather, they still had a point. “During the trip across the Atlantic, the weather was fine and reliable, but as always, you can get some big surprises. When you cross the Atlantic in December, you are reasonably sure to have a solid and steady wind, and the current is with you, pushing you across the ocean. The waves were 2-5 meters high, but in the Atlantic it is very long waves, so you just glide over them. Not like we know them from the Nordics being smaller, but more aggressive with a steep angle. The only very bad weather was at night where we had showers that were hard at the boom due to the strong wind. But safe and stable weather is not always a guarantee, and it is important to have updated weather information to be able to plan, overcome and preferably avoid the bad weather situations. We had an evening where we had a very strong and powerful shower with 50 knots of wind, which wrecked the boom. Afterwards, it was nice to send a message on inReach that we were okay. We were actually 1.500 nautical miles from land at the time and had 4.000 meters of water under the keel down to the bottom of the sea, and that gives perspective, and you are glad that you have a good and solid way of communicating thanks to GPS", says Søren us.

The trip changed Søren’s life

A journey of this magnitude is seldom without leaving a trace, and a person who commits to such a challenge is not the same when he returns to his daily life. “It's been two years since I did it, and I have not had a day where I could not mirror anything from the trip. Having so much time makes you think about small and big things in life, and it made me think about enjoying life, and that certain things just take time and you can do nothing about it. Another thought is how I want to live my life and that time for myself is important”, Søren concludes.

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