“How I crossed the Atlantic alone on a 1987 10 m. Amidst a thousand problems.”

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Elijah Favaro -2
Elia Favaro aboard his Van De Stadt 34 (10.25 x 3.30 m) Coconut

“I crossed the Atlantic Ocean solo, on a 10-meter sailboat ’87!!! I did it!”

Elia Favaro, the 30-year-old who, aboard Coconut, a 1987 steel Van De Stadt 34 (10.25 m) put together with his own hands, completed his solo Atlantic crossing from Mindelo (Cape Verde) to Bridgetown (Barbados). It took 24 days and 10 hours to travel the 2,300 miles amidst many vicissitudes: broken autopilot, power failures on board, all sorts of breakdowns, broken shrouds…. But this crossing was his dream, and Elijah solved all the problems like a true sailor. Then again, as he told us himself,“If everything goes well you start to relax too much, and if something happens it can be a problem….”

Coconut, the Van de Stadt 34 purchased by Elijah and his family.

While Elijah struggled in the Atlantic with problems and breakdowns, the most important the one to the autopilot that forced him to helm 17 hours a day, his parents had told us his story and his passion for the sea. A passion that Andrea and Lidia Favaro have always supported and encouraged. And they have always believed in him, even we darkest moments: such as when, in November 2022, he was reported missing on the Cadiz-Madeira route.

The crossing of Elia Favaro

Once in Barbados, Elijah wrote to us. If the sailing, in itself, was not too challenging (maximum 30 knots of wind), the big difficulties were those, as anticipated, related to technical problems.

“I didn’t find a lot of lumps, and the ones I did find were at a maximum of 30 knots,” he began, “but the problems were many: first the batteries, a few hours of daylight, and the solar panels didn’t charge enough to support all the instrumentation and the refrigerator at night.

So I turned on the engine at night but there was a leak from the impeller and I found water in the bilge… then the autopilot, which first gave me “off course” and wouldn’t hold course for more than a minute and then “no Compass” so the pilot compass died completely… and as icing on the cake the forestay that came completely loose and led to the low starboard rigging breaking.

Elijah sailing at Christmas. It left Cape Verde on December 23 and arrived in Barbados on January 17, after 24 days and 10 hours at sea

But all this helped me to keep my concentration high… if everything goes well you start to relax too much and if something happens it can be a problem.. There were also a lot of good moments … beautiful sunsets and some nice catches…”

“I’ll give you some numbers of my crossing:

Miles traveled: 2303.9
Time taken: about 24 days and 10 hours
Average speed: 3.93 knots
Maximum speed: 12.4 knots
Maximum wind speed: 29.7 knots
Maximum wave height: 4/5 meters
Days without autopilot: 17 days
Average hours at the bar per day: 15 hours
Average hours of sleep per day: 6 hours”

An adventure that began in 2021

In fact, Elijah Favaro’s adventure had begun long before that.

In June 2021, he departed with Coconut from Caorle and sailed along the coasts of Italy and the Mediterranean, landing first in Murcia, Spain, and then stopping in the Balearic Islands. From there Gibraltar, then Cape Verde and arrival in the vicinity of Murcia, Spain. He had stopped in the Balearic Islands with his boat. Then Cadiz, Madeira, Canary Islands.

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