Thursday 21st November – Canaries to Cape Verdes Islands
We set off from Tenerife bound for Cape Verdes bright and early on Saturday morning. Full of enthusiasm (and breakfast), we cast off around 8:30am into a light northerly breeze. We’d been expecting a light patch until we get clear of the island and it’s enormous volcano, so we motored out until we found the breeze. 25 knots from the North East kicked in fairly quickly, and we reefed down the main, and settled in for the next few days.
The forecasts had all suggested that we’d have 20 – 25 knot NE wind all the way, and we were not disappointed – for 5 days and 5 hours, we had steady breeze from behind us, and we were pointing almost directly for Mindelo, in Sao Vincente.
As seems to be the norm for us, we started the passage with huge rolly swell, which made the first couple of days quite challenging. For the first day I didn’t feel too bad, and hoped that I might have got away without my usual 48 hours of seasickness, but sadly not, and on the second day, I felt truely miserable. However, the most seasick crew member award definitely goes to Dad, who spent the first 48 hours either clinging to the rail, or in bed – there was no in-between! Fortunately, as is usually the way, we all settled in to the rhythm of boat life after the first couple of days, the seasickness faded away, and we could get on with the trip. Having learnt from my previous legs, this time around I had food for at least three days cooked and prepared in advance, which meant this time around, a quick heat up on the stove would produce hot meals in a few minutes, without the need to hanging out downstairs for too long!
It was a bit of a lonely trip – the only other boat(s) we saw were a large tug towing a container ship very very slowly towards Gibraltar – by our calculations at their speed of 1.3 knots, they’d be on their way for another month! Other than that, we were on our own. Even the wildlife seemed to have deserted us, and we had a disappointing lack of dolphins on this passage. Dad and Marty did spot a pod of large white whales heading north, and we found a couple of turtles drifting along. That said, we seemed to attract a considerable amount of flying fish, and we spent the last two nights dodging them as they launched themselves into the boat. Marty was convinced that one had managed to get into the aft cabin, and came in rooting around for it at 4 am. We never found that one, but in the morning the deck was covered with it’s friends, along with a tiny baby squid.
On the third day, some ominous cracking and creaking noises started coming from what sounded like the rudder. We spent a nervous couple of hours trying to identify the cause of the noise, and pulled the aft cabin apart to get a better look at everything. The culprit turned out to be some of the plastic combing was rubbing and compressing against some fibreglass on the bulkhead, and nothing to do with the rudder. Much relieved, we shook out a reef, and continued careering downwind at 9 knots towards Cape Verdes.
Other trip highlights include a new speed record for Èalù of 17.3 knots which Marty put in down one particularly large wave, and some roast potatoes on Tuesday evening!
As we’d managed to sail down slightly quicker than we’d planned, the Arc Plus boats were getting ready to depart Mindelo for their Atlantic crossing as we approached, and we watched them as they disappeared over the horizon. It was a very sunny day, and a perfect day to start the long leg to the Carribbean! Fingers crossed for more of the same for us when we depart again today. We’re off to do a quick re-stock for the fridge, fill up the tanks and get ready to cast off again this afternoon – next stop Barbados!
With regard to our tracker, so far we have learnt that it checks in once a day, usually sometime between 10am and midday, and updates our position, so we will continue to try and do that for the next leg.
Until next time….