Trini sails solo across the Atlantic

On Friday 2nd February 2017, the motor yacht Passagemaker, crewed only by Peter Quentrall-Thomas, arrived in Chaguaramas after crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Trinidad - a distance of nearly 3,000 miles, traversed non-stop in 19 days.

Passagemaker is 55 years old, constructed of 35 tons of Burmese teak.

Powered by a 30-year-old Ford diesel engine, she did not falter. The sails were not used once. At one point no ship was seen for 10 days.

Quentrall-Thomas, 71, says it was a personal challenge to make the crossing totally on his own.

He paid tribute to all the firms and individuals that made the trip possible.

Passagemaker is currently being tenderly looked after by the staff at PowerBoats Marina in Chaguaramas.

Asked if there weren’t any worrying moments, Quentrall-Thomas said that the sound of your engine dying is not a happy one. It turned out the fuel pump on the side of the boat engine had broken.

Luckily there were spares on board. Even so, working on a hot engine is always tricky. “I couldn’t afford to wait for it to cool off, otherwise a big wave might have caught the boat on its beam and tipped Passagemaker over.

”One hour later she was on her way again.“

This was one occasion when being a mechanic was handier than being a brain surgeon,” he said with a laugh.

Asked why he made the crossing at his age, he replied, “It is important to retire once you pass 60 to make room for the next generation. Technological advances renders one obsolete. If one is not up to speed with such changes, one cannot suggest the best solutions. For example, Cameron was only 43 when he became Prime Minister of the UK. And Obama was 48 when he became President of the US.”

Wasn’t he worried about giant tankers and container ships running into him?

“Luckily I have various electronics on board which issue a loud alarm when a large ship comes within 20 miles of my boat.”

He believes it is important to retire once you pass 60 to make room for the next generation, because technological advances renders one obsolete. 

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