Across The Pond

And then all of a sudden after a few days back in Mindelo, we were about to cross the Atlantic. 

Heres a bit of a day by day account of our crossing.

  • WEDNESDAY (DAY 1)

The morning after the rally’s farewell party, the somewhat seedy skipper and his still faithful crew set off on a 2000nm liver cleansing exercise across the Atlantic. The wind was fairly roaring down the channel as we clocked up 9s and 10s. Several boats got into difficulties in these few initial miles and we heard that Bill and Jade had to turn back with some rigging issues. They joined a few other boats in Mindelo who had a delayed start waiting for crew and/or parts.

15138327_10207073440707335_888838175496155257_o

We pressed on past the bottom of San Anteo and immediately ran out of wind. On came the motors as we tried to clear the wind shadow that the tall volcanic mountains of San Anteo created. It ended up taking 3-4 hours, during which we had a few false starts, at one stage putting up Hotlips, our parasailor only to find the wind dropping and completely changing direction. We had to get it down hurriedly before we took out Oysterbar who were still travelling in the somewhat more correct direction of Barbados.

We finally made it out of the wind shadow and got on a nice broad reach of 140 degrees on main and jib doing 6-7knots. We stayed like this all night throwing in the occasional gybe to keep on our course.

We had set our course to a waypoint half way across on the same latitude as Barbados according to Jimmy’s advice. He likes us to get down there half to two thirds of the way across so we can duck down further if any tropical depressions rear their ugly head.

Song of the Day: Sail Away by David Grey 

  • THURSDAY (DAY 2)

1859NM to go. 144NM closer than yesterday. 

Our broad reach was working well as the wind steadily increased towards the magic 20kts apparent, where we would have to reef. The swell was building past 2m and the sailing was exhilarating as we often cracked 12kts surfing down the waves.

This made fishing difficult and the one Dorado we hooked jumped off as we were going too fast.

Mid morning, we decided to put in the first reef and try to slow down the boat a bit. The apparent wind built to mid-twenties as we screamed down waves at 12kts sometimes. By mid-afternoon we put in the second reef as the true wind was topping 30kts and the swell was over 3m with a couple of monsters over 4m thrown in to make it interesting.

15137518_10207073439587307_4706300579837875033_o

We were sailing close to Stormbreaker and broke up the day chatting on VHF. They told us about Maggie Drum who were passed by a cruise liner, who somewhat mysteriously turned around and came back straight at them. Somewhat alarmed, Maggie Drum got on the VHF and asked if they where about to be run down. The Cruise Ship then told them that a passenger on deck thought Maggie Drum was in distress and tried to get them on the VHF. After no reply, he turned his cruise liner around so he could give assistance. With no-one in distress, all parties adjusted their course and went on their merry ways.

15179223_10207073439827313_1232484228643775785_n

That night Phil managed to surf down a set of three monsters and hit 15kts of boat speed. This was not what we signed up for but at least on a cat we were comfortable to the point we were able to BBQ on the back of La Mischief, albeit hanging on with one hand whilst flipping the meat with the other.

Well at least we thought we were comfortable until Phil went into his room and found a flood of salt water coming in. We thought it was the stanchion initially but we eventually worked out that the seam between the deck and the hulls was leaking.  And quite badly. Maybe it was from the pounding we had at Fogo, although we had three large fenders protecting that part of the boat – who knows. Whatever it was Lagoon will be getting a warranty call. Hulls aren’t supposed to leak.

Luckily we had a plumber on board. We had Sten hanging over the side in a big swell with a tube of sikaflex filling in the holes under the rub rail where the water was coming in. He did a great job keeping most of the water out and the next morning we got a mirror down there and filled in the remaining gaps.

Song of the Day: Six Months in a Leaky Boat by Split Enz

  • FRIDAY (DAY 3)

1694NM to go. 165NM closer than yesterday.

Friday saw the swell dropping a little bit but we were still barreling along at 8kts under 2 reefs. We set about drying out Phil’s room and washing all the salt out of his bedding. The sikiflex patch-up job seems to be working.

We talked to Stormbreaker on the VHF as they were close by and found out that they had a much worse night than us, getting constantly soaked and having gybed twice as a giant wave spun the back of their boat, breaking their gooseneck and two preventers. Ouch. So now they get to sail across the Atlantic without a mainsail, relying instead on their Pacific Booster. Hopefully they will be okay.

We were also a little concerned about Lady Rebel who had broken a traveller and had a rumbling noise coming from their welded in dagger board. It was good to hear later that all was good.

Song of the Day:  Riders on the Storm by The Doors

dsc_0858

  • SATURDAY (DAY 4)

1548NM to go. 146NM closer than yesterday.

Saturday began with the wind and swell dropping off enough to pull the two reefs out and run with a full main until everyone got up and had breakfast, before we put up Hotlips. You can tell we are not racing as sleep, breakfast and coffee came first.

With the parasailor up, the boat sat a lot better and the autopilots workload decreased significantly. What a great sail Hotlips is. We were doing 8-9-10s in 10-15 apparent and loving it. With Hotlips up and flying we went on chaffing patrol and covered up anything that could chaff a line.

It did make fishing a bit more difficult at that speed. Luckily we managed to snare a small-medium trevally type fish of the genus “got no idea”. Nothing like it seen in Australian waters but it tasted good and we are all still alive after it fed all five of us.

Another day, another boat problem. This time with the Raymarine chart plotters. Suddenly the chart plotter at the helm couldn’t talk to the chart plotter at the nav station. To get around this problem we made both chart plotters their own master. This seemed to work for a while until the Radar got confused and refused to power up. Bummer, the radar is sort of very handy when we have the parasailor up at night and there are squalls about.

Late in the day we passed by Xada and suspected we might not see another B50 boat on AIS for quite a while. Its a big ocean out here.

Besides the radar problem, the night sail was quite magical. We left the parasailor up under the moon light and cruised along at 6s and 7s. The radar made a couple of brief appearances but generally it was in the naughty corner.

Song of the Day: Radar Love by Golden Earring

dsc_0851

  • SUNDAY (DAY 5)

1384NM to go. 164NM closer than yesterday.

The wind continued to drop out and we were doing 6s and 7s in 6-10kts of apparent. We were passing our days reading, fixing things and organising the boat. Sten’s cooking prowess was on display making all sorts of culinary creations. Dee spent the day going through all the various manuals filing them away in order.

We looked forward to downloading the boat positions to see where everyone was. We also downloaded weather a couple of times a day and the forecasts are starting to look good – touch wood.

We’ve discovered a leak behind the water maker and also have freshwater leaking into the starboard bilge from somewhere unknown. Our resident plumber was onto both jobs today. We were still trying to get the radar to go – we found some corrosion in a SeaTalk box whose cover was left off by some workman in Croatia, letting some water come in when the front windows were left open as the main sail went up after a storm from Brava.

Phil meanwhile was trying everything (short of throwing the bananas overboard) to catch a fish for dinner. Lines were lengthened, lures were interchanged, teasers were deployed – all to no avail.

Song of the Day: Blowin’ In the Wind by Bob Dylan

  • MONDAY (DAY 6)

1225NM to go. 159NM closer than yesterday. 

Our second beautiful night of parasailing as we head down towards the latitude of Barbados. The Radar is making the odd appearance staying on for up to an hour before disappearing once again. The moon is going to be the closest to Earth since 1948 tonight (next one will be in 2034) so we will have good visibility from the supermoon and should be able to spot any potential squalls by just looking.

The wind dropped off for most of the day and our speed was down to 5s and 6s. The sun came out and it was a very pleasant day cruising along with just the Parasailor up.

Our lackadaisical day was broken mid afternoon when not one but three fish jumps on our lines all at once. The Mahi mahi that took our middle line with the teaser on it managed to jump off, but we managed to get the other two on board – one on each hull. The back deck of La Mischief resembled a fish factory as Phil went to town filleting both fish. He was a happy camper after a couple of days of inactivity in the fishing department.

We had a great feed of fish – identity unknown – nice red meat. We left the Mahi Mahi for later.

Song of the Day: Hooked on a Feeling 

  • TUESDAY (DAY 7)

1077NM to go.. 148NM closer than yesterday. 

We got a bit of wind in the morning and cranked her up to 7+ knots. We were 20 miles north of Barbados latitude so we decided to change course directly to Barbados whilst ensuring that we gradually slipped South the 20nm required to bring us in line with Barbados.

But by the afternoon the wind had dropped out and we were only doing 5s and the occasional 6. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were all looking forward to crossing the half way point later that night.

The speed seemed to be good for fishing as we got multiple hits on all the lines as we went through a couple of schools of Bonitos. Dee and Phil weren’t keen on Bonitos so back they went to live another day.

Night time came and we got back our radar. Seems to be working now we turned off and unplugged the Raymarine wireless Smartcontroller. Heres hoping as we got a little bit of rain but the radar showed no squalls and Hotlips stayed up for the third night in a row.  The wind picked up a bit and we managed to get into the 7s as we head directly to Barbados.

Song of the Day: Ride Like the Wind by Christopher Cross

  • WEDNESDAY (DAY 8)

935NM to go. 142NM closer than yesterday. Now well over half way there. 

The wind continued to drop out and we were down to 5s and 6s. But the weather was nice and the seas slight and we were enjoying the journey, not worrying too much about the destination.

We celebrated going past our half way point by BBQing up some Calamari and downing it with a glass of Spanish Cava each. First and last drink on our crossing.

Mid afternoon seems to be the time to catch fish and this time it was Wahoo Wednesday. Phil was very excited (as we all were) to finally catch one. With jacket potatoes and broccoli we are well that night.

dsc_0844

After 4 days and 3 nights we decided to take down the parasailor as there were ominous looking clouds about. Good thing to as we had to avoid a few squalls that night. As they passed we got a bit of wind to sail with before it dropped out again and we motor sailed most of the night.

Song of the Day: Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel

  • THURSDAY (DAY 9)

811NM to go. 124NM closer than yesterday.

Where has the wind gone?

We got the parasailor up again and spent the day dodging squalls. Our radar was working again (for the moment) so we were able to see them come up behind us and usually cross from North to South. First the wind was light then as a squall approached it picked up and gave us a kick, but usually had us tracking south. We weren’t making much VMG and we were now south of Barbados’ latitude.

Meanwhile we were sailing through lots of sargasso weed and the water was a horrible green colour. Not much good for fishing either with all the weed about.

With a couple of hours of daylight to go, the last of the squalls passed us and we kept our speed up as the angle straightened and our VMG improved. We had tried a barber haul with Hotlines and this allowed us to sail at 140 degrees to the wind, an extra 15 degrees, so we were pleased with this.

We pulled the parasailor down at dusk and managed to go along at 7 knots using the white sails. With the wind with some north in it we had a beautiful reach through the night and made up some of the ground we lost during the day.

Song of the Day: Sailing Nights by Bob Seger

  • FRIDAY (DAY 10)

671NM to go. 140NM closer than yesterday.

Another good day with the parasailor up all day and all night.

Another two fish added to the ever filling freezer – a small Trivially and a medium sized Mahi Mahi. It was proving a little difficult to get the bigger fish on board when doing 7kts under spinnaker. Phil would disappear down the back steps in his lifejacket and harness and gaff them on board. As well as the two we landed , we hooked a monster but after about 5 minutes he throw the line.

As Andrea and Ian noted in their book “Letters from the Caribbean” , we are also one Sydney to Hobart away from the finish.

dsc_0842

With the wind from the North East we needed to deploy the barber haul to go due west. At one stage Sten had La Mischief sailing along with a wind angle of 127 – not bad for a parasailor. Generally we kept it at 140 as its really quite comfortable there.

Song of the Day: “SAIL” by AWOLNATION

  • SATURDAY (DAY 11)

530NM to go. 141NM closer than yesterday.

In the morning, the water colour is back to a wonderful blue colour after a couple of days of weedy green.  It doesn’t last and by the afternoon its back to a weedy green colour.

dsc_0841

Its Saturday night so we decide to leave the parasailor up for a second night. We are making some miles in good time now and we start to think about getting to Barbados on Tuesday rather than our previous guesstimate of Wednesday.

Song of the Day:  Another Saturday Night by Cat Stevens

  • SUNDAY (DAY 11)

367NM to go. 163NM closer than yesterday.

dsc_0860

I’m up early as I feel the boat accelerate. Looking out the back we see a rain squall approaching. We let the parasailor fly higher and we accelerate to 12kts in 19kt of apparent wind. With Hotlips up on top, La Mischief seems to like it a lot.

We end up having a pretty good 24hours when the position report comes in on email at 1200GMT. We are running forth in the fleet, ahead of a 50 foot Catana and some other multihulls. We are behind a larger Outremer, a 45 foot Neel Tri and a 53 foot Halberg  Rasy that has been motoring for 4 of the days. But its not a race! Of course! Thats pretty good considering that we’ve been in light winds -10-15kts – for a lot of the time.

Dee really wanted to get in with enough time to prepare for thanksgiving and it looked like we should be able to do it if we maintained our current pace. We had one reef in the main so squalls shouldn’t worry us and we could even get a lift from them.

Song of the Day: Rainy Day Woman by Bob Dylan

  • MONDAY (DAY 12)

217NM to go. 150NM closer than yesterday.

After a night where Sten had fun dodging Squalls on the Radar using all the skills from his teenage years playing Space Invaders, we managed to speed up  in the morning going Wing on wing with the full main up now up. We went through a couple of squalls but the apparent wind never made it over 16kts. 

dsc_0850

In the afternoon the wind died off but we made the mistake of not putting up the parasailor. We were still going okay though and we thought we could make Barbados the next afternoon. Then as we crept up behind a squall line the wind completely dropped out and we turned on the motors to do the 6.5kts we needed to accomplish our finishing time. We were still doing okay at 8pm but by midnight we had dropped well below our required pace and the maths no longer added up. So off went the motors and we went wing on wing doing 4s and 5s for the rest of the night. 

Song of the Day: On a Slow Boat to China by Jimmy Buffett

  • TUESDAY (DAY 13)

80NM to go. 137NM closer than yesterday. A couple of hours behind schedule. 

As day came we put up the parasailor and off we went at 5s and 6s. We weren’t going to make it in daylight so we contacted Rally Control to see what our options were for coming in at night – something that Jimmy had counselled against. They told us customs went home at 8pm so on went the motors. This was a touch disappointing as I really wanted to sail into Barbados. Before last night we had only done 15 hours of motoring and now we would be motoring   for most of the day  when we could be pleasantly sailing along at 6kts. Them’s the breaks I suppose. 

For a while we had the parasailor up and with the motor on we were doing 7s and 8s. The squalls gave us 20kts of wind and plenty of rain and we loved the fact that it pushed our speed up to 9s and 10s. 

Then the squalls went and the wind died to nothing. Down came Hotlips for the last time this crossing and on came the motors. We burnt off a bit of carbon as we motored at 8kts to get in around 6.30pm. 

About 2,45pm we spotted a fishing boat and off to the right LAND. We were nearly there – 20nm off the coast.  

Four hours later we were parked outside the harbour in the dark waiting for 2 cruise boats to leave. We made it to the shallow draught harbour just after 7 and there were Jimmy and Pascal waiting to greet us and help us with the formalities with Customs and Immigration.

WE MADE IT!

Song of the Day:  “Barbados” by The Models 

Cruising the Verdes

Something different….this blog entry is a magazine article I’m putting together about sailing around the Cape Verde islands. Killing two birds with one stone!

14691367_10206832077233399_3227768656360508356_o

CRUISING THE VERDES

The 780nm trip down from the Canaries to Mindelo in the Cape Verde islands was both frustrating and exhilarating. Frustrating because of the amount of motoring, with an exhilarating sail at the end once we hit the trades with the parasailor up for 2 days and one night straight.

We reached Mindelo after 5 days and checked into Cape Verde’s only Marina. We were on Jimmy Cornell’s Barbados 50 rally, joining 35 other boats that  were spread out along a couple of piers. It was here that our two friends Sten and Rita joined us, having flown into Mindelo from Canada via Lisbon. They were joining Dee, Phil and I on what was to be the first ever organised cruising rally around the Cape Verde islands; before coming with us across the Atlantic to Barbados.14705888_10206837810696732_8403680671727435027_nWe instantly fell in love with Mindelo, with its vibrant music scene, its colourful buildings from colonial days past and its happy and friendly people. A highlight was the welcome party put on by the Marina where a drumming band met us on the piers and marched us down to a marquee complete with dancing girls, food, beer, wine and the local rum. We could have sworn we were already in the Caribbean.

14650567_10206837440767484_6625049943283641334_n

We spent a delightful week there doing a fascinating tour of the island organised by the Rally, swimming at the beautiful white town beach and checking out quite a few of the excellent restaurants, each with live music playing. Some of us had repairs to do and we noted that the town has good mechanics and Raymarine specialists. Towards the end of our first stay at the marina we visited the local fruit and vegetable markets, as well as the two or three supermarkets where you could get enough to get by. We were however thankful that we had done most of our provisioning in the big supermarkets in the Canaries before we got here.

14721478_10206834207246648_8142028250752781491_n

Lutz, who is a co-owner of the Marina had been working hard with Cornell Sailing to put together our cruise of the Cape Verdes. Because some of the anchorages and ports were too small for 35 boats, we split into two fleets. Lutz’s local sailing knowledge was invaluable, and the night before Fleet 1 left he gave us a great skippers briefing on what we were about to see and experience.

Our first stop was Tarafal on the island of St Antao, 23 nm away. We left the marina at about 11am and had a great reach doing 7kts until we got to the lee of Santo Antao, where the wind dropped to nothing. We motored around to the SW corner where we dropped anchor in 15m of water. The anchorage was small but spectacular with huge cliffs dropping down to a large black sand beach. Tarafal is a short dingy ride away, albeit with an interesting surf landing which took us a while to perfect.

dsc_0505-1

The next day we relaxed swimming off the back of the boat, exploring the town and its surrounds and socialising with the other rally yachts. We’d arranged a lobster dinner at the local restaurant and it didn’t disappoint, with 3 huge lobster halves each, accompanied by plenty of local vegetables, all washed down with the local beer.  Scrumptious!  And we managed to launch off the beach at night without getting wet. Bonus.

Next morning it was up early and off to Brava, 120nm away. We were looking forward to a downhill parasailor run but the best we could do was to pull out the genneker for a few hours. With thunderstorms around we put it away at dark and had a wonderful sail right up to midnight, when the squalls hit and the wind turned southerly. The rest of the night was slow going as we bashed into the wind and waves, using the radar to pick our way through the lightening storms.

It was certainly worth the effort as the anchorage at  Faja d’Agua turned out to be one of our favourites. We finally arrived at 11am, being greeted by a huge pod of a hundred or so dolphins as we dropped sails and motored into the bay. We anchored at the northern end of the very protected bay, where there was nice sand with good holding in 10-15m of water. Some of the other yachts anchored in the southern part of the bay and had to contend with large boulders on the seabed.

14890597_10206886020421945_8350250168250874857_o

We spent 3 lovely days there in Brava. There’s only a tiny beach to land the dingy amongst all the fishing boats, and we were in and out each day exploring the island on foot and by car.

15025520_10206956875913288_3523079731089181795_o

Luc from Cornell Sailing was brilliant at organising activities for us, and the first full day we were on Brava saw us put on our hiking shoes and follow a guide on a wonderful walk up the valley. 3 hours later, after snapping many spectacular photos down the valley to the boats, we made it to a small village, where we  hopped on a bus to take us to the largest town on the island to do some shopping, before returning by bus along a very interesting road cut into the cliffs. By now we were all very hungry and we sat down for a wonderful 8 euro late lunch at Anna’s restaurant on the waterfront. Everyone agreed that it was a great day.

Next morning, we squeezed in a short island tour with Carlos, who drove us around showing us some spectacular scenery as well as life on the island. It was really good just to hang out with Carlos who seemed to know every one of the 5000 inhabitants on the island, many of which spoke with US East Coast ascents, as a lot of people from Brava had gone off to work in Rhode Island; and had returned to either visit on holiday or permanently return to their beloved island.

Back on the boat, it was up with the sails and off to Fogo. There was a bit of tacking involved in getting around the top of Brava but once clear of the island we had a wonderfully fast sail across to Fogo.

15032698_10206956920434401_1807305555953824242_n

Fogo is the island of Fire, sporting a single classic volcanic cone, the top of which is 2830m, making it the second tallest volcano in the Atlantic after El Teide on the island of Tenerife. And its still very active, the last eruption being in 1995.

Our rally had organised for us to tie up against the two harbour walls as we’d timed our arrival and departure to ensure no ships or ferries would be there. With 16 boats it was necessary to raft up two deep and it was not the greatest berth we’ve experienced. The harbour wall with its large rubber bollards sticking out, was designed to accomodate ships, not yachts and we spent two uncomfortable nights there, resulting in lots of chafing and wrecked fenders. A couple of our fleet left the wall on the second night and either kept going or anchored off in the limited anchorage.

14915676_10206956949395125_2223254762847778787_n

Still it was worth the hassle and sleepless nights as the island of Fogo is fantastic. We all went on a full day island tour, the highlight of which was a visit to the crater at the top of the volcano. We had lunch at the winery inside the crater and sampled the famous Fogo wine and coffee, the highest place on the planet where these two crops grow. After lunch we visited one of the places where the caldera inhabitants where evacuated to after the last eruption and donated many bags of clothing, towels and toiletries to the children of the village – something we had organised with the Rally back in the Canaries.

14939542_10206956967115568_525589695566268475_o

Next morning we were up early to get away before a ship arrived. We were off to the island of Santiago, heading for yet another Terafal on the West Coast of the island. This time the wind gods were not on our side and the 55nm leg took us all day, arriving just after nightfall. Rob from BnG guided us into the anchorage and we dropped in 15m. After reversing on the anchor it seemed to be holding well so we were able to enjoy a couple of drinks before BBQing dinner on the back of La Mischief.

Another island, another island tour. Of course! We spent the day walking through the National Park, eating lunch at a beautiful beach side restaurant and checking out Praia, the capital.

dsc_0773

Our next leg was a night sail, so we spent the next day at Tarafal swimming off the back of La Mischief as well as the lovely beach. We stocked up on a few items at the local supermarket and the excellent produce market and may have even frequently a local beach bar. We were a little bit put off by the guy on the beach who demanded 10 euro to look after our dingy on the beach. We ended up settling on a couple of Euros for a couple of hours and everyone was happy.

dsc_0789

We were really looking forward to our next anchorage on the island of Sao Nicolau, 86nm away to the North. We left at 5pm and made good time on a tight reach, so much so that we deliberately slowed the boat down to make sure we reached our anchorage in daylight. Rounding the bottom of Sao Nicolau, we were delighted to see pods of pilot whales all around us.

dsc_0801

Pta das Rochas is the nicest anchorage in Sao Nicolau, some say the nicest in the whole of the Cape Verdes. And who am I to argue. Its 3nm south of yet another town called Tarafal and is a far nicer anchorage than Tarafal. It has a beautiful sandy bottom with great holding where you can clearly see your anchor in 5-8m of water, a lovely protected beach and great snorkelling.  There was an interesting walk along the coast to Tarafal, which quite a few of us did and we also enjoyed several sundowners on the beach at our anchorage.

dsc_0793

It was the rally’s last stop before returning to Mindelo so a lot of the rally yachts opted to spent a bit more time here on anchor rather than in the marina at Mindelo.  However we were really enjoying cruising all the islands and we wanted to do one more. We picked out Santa Luzia, which was half way back to Mindelo and headed for there.  We anchored in Praia do Palmo a Tostado off a lovely long white sandy beach in 7m of water, along with a couple of other rally boats. We found our later that the island is now a nature reserve and anchoring is prohibited, something our cruising guide failed to point out. So no going there in the future unless you want to risk a substantial fine.

dsc_0810

In no time at all, we were back in the marina at Mindelo, preparing for our trip across the Atlantic , 2020NM to Barbados in time for their 50th anniversary celebrations.

dsc_0802

10 REASONS TO CRUISE THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS

  1. Its on the way – most yachts on their way to the Caribbean sail south until the butter melts, meaning that they get within 100nm of Cape Verdes. Why not go a touch further and call into these wonderful islands?
  2. Being in Cape Verdes is like being in the Caribbean. They are full of colour and music with beautiful clear water and a distinctive Portuguese flavour from its colonial past.
  3. Once in the Cape Verdes you are already in the trade winds. Leaving for the Caribbean is simply a matter of getting away from the islands and you will be immediately into the trades that will blow you all the way to the Caribbean.
  4. Its the shortest route to the Caribbean – 2020nm to Barbados. After restocking with food and diesel in Mindelo, you only need a couple of weeks at sea and you are there.
  5. The scenery is stunning. The islands are all volcanic, coming straight out of the ocean. The hiking trails are world class, with some spectacular views. Special mention goes to Fogo with its active volcano and high altitude winery, which is so different to anywhere else.
  6. Its relatively tourist free if you stay away from Ilha do Sal, with its growing tourist developments. There’s relatively few yachts cruising the islands so the anchorages are likely to be uncrowded, often with no other boats around.
  7. Great sailing in the reliable trade winds belt. 80% of time the winds are 3-5 Bft from the NE. Most of the islands are within a day sail of each other making it easy to hop around between the islands.
  8. There’s a good marina in Mindelo and great anchorages in the islands.
  9. The people are friendly and welcoming. Interestingly  in places its like a mini Rhode Island as many of the locals have either grown up on the East Coast of the USA or are returning on holiday to see their relatives.
  10. Cape Verdes is a great place to experience a little piece of Africa without the hassles that often come with visiting the mainland.

dsc_0772

CAPE VERDES – INTERESTING AND USEFUL STUFF

  • Cape Verdes is 780NM south of the Canaries, 325NM off the African Coast.
  • It consists of 10 larger and 4 smaller islands, all volcanic.
  • They were colonised by Portuguese in the mid-fifteenth century and gained their independence from Portugal in 1975.
  • The local currency is the Escudo (CVE). 1 Euro = 110 Escudos. ATMS are reasonably easy to find.
  • The locals speak a form of Creole as well as Portuguese. We easily got by speaking just English and Spanish.
  • The Cape Verdes are one hour behind Universal Time throughout the year.
  • Shops are generally open between 8am and noon and then again from 2.30pm to 6pm  Monday to Friday and from 8am to 12 noon on Saturday.
  • Cape Verdes use European 220V 50Hz plugs.
  • The only marina is located in Mindelo. It has electricity and water and 24×7 security with a nice floating bar and restaurant.
  • It is best to drink bottled water. The water on the islands is okay for washing etc. but not necessarily for drinking.
  • Diesel is cheap and good quality diesel is available VAT free from the fuel dock at Mindelo marina.
  • Internet is cheap and reasonable. Buy a local SIM for 8 euros which will give you 8GB of Internet.
  • We used the RCC Atlantic Islands cruising guide. This also covers the Canaries, Azores and Madeira.

Biography

Steve Tull and Dee Trigg have been floating around the Mediterranean on La Mischief,  their Lagoon 421 Catamaran, after sailing down from Sables D’Olonne in March 2013. Steve previously sailed across the top of Australia in 2012 from Perth to Sydney on Camelot, his previous Seawind catamaran. Steve and Dee  have just completed Jimmy Cornell’s Barbados 50 Rally and are currently in the Caribbean.