Monday, 28 January 2013

Crossing the Atlantic

We’re leaving for Barbados, 2010M to the west.   We’d be happy to do it in 20 days, but we’re expecting some light winds later in the week so it won’t be a record passage.
It’s nice to know we’ll have some company: Amorosa (tracking site on the links to the right!) and Tari Tari are leaving on Tuesday (and should do about the same speed) and Lochmarin is heading across a day or two later (but will overtake us quickly, being more than twice the size!). We’re hoping to keep in touch via VHF where we can.

We'll put a few updates on our tracker site as we go across:

We’re really excited to be doing this, and looking forward to a rum in three weeks or so!

Washing fruit and veg before stowing them away

Cabo Verde

We’ve had a fantastic time in the Cape Verdes.  We were nearly put off coming to Mindelo after hearing various horror stories of muggings and theft, but It’s all been very hassle-free.  If you’re anchored off, as we are, you can pay a few euros a day to leave a dinghy in the marina, so there are no worries about it disappearing, and we’ve had no qualms about coming back to the boat after dark.  The people seem universally friendly, and used to visitors in the best possible way: you’re not ignored, but neither do you feel out of place.  The only downside has been the extremely windy and sometimes rolly anchorage.  The channel between Sao Vicente and Santo Antao form an acceleration zone which, combined with katabatic winds from the hills above Mindelo, has sent regular gusts of 40 knots or even more across the anchorage.   Combined with some swell coming in, it hasn’t made for quiet nights.  Fortunately the holding for the anchor seems to be very good, but we’ve got pretty wet going ashore in the inflatable!

Limbo anchored off Mindelo

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Passage to Cabo Verde

We're in Mindelo! It felt disconcerting leaving Gran Tarajal after so long in the harbour, and it was a windy day, so it was good to have a few hours in the lee of Fuerteventura to get used to things in slightly gentler conditions.  The passage plan to Mindelo was about the simplest possible: leave the harbour, steer 224 degrees for about 890 Miles, then turn left for Mindelo breakwater!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

At sea

We're leaving for Mindelo later today.  You can follow our progress below, and see what sort of weather we have at!

Here's hoping for a nice sail..

Monday, 7 January 2013

Going Tropical...

We had a great Christmas here in Gran Tarajal.  I think the picture below sums up the atmosphere!

Christmas tortilla!
It’s taken a while to decide on our next step.  The bad weather we experienced on the way to Madeira had caused some trepidation about undertaking still longer passages, so we were seriously considering cruising the Canaries until spring before heading to the Azores and homewards.  But I can all too easily imagine looking back and regretting not going further.  In terms of conditions, we should have done the hardest part now.  If we continue along the established Atlantic route, now we’re so far south, there’s every chance that we’ll have downwind passages with much steadier winds and seas. That’s the theory, anyway!

The Canaries - interesting as they are - don’t really provide great cruising.  There aren’t many good anchorages, meaning lots of time in marinas.  It’s warm, but not properly hot - the temperature is pleasant but it still gets quite chilly in the evenings (a state of affairs which is clearly unacceptable).  Even more critically, the Canaries just don’t feel exotic.  Limbo, I think, yearns for flying fish, white-sand beaches, tropical rain (in moderation), reggae and coconut trees. Perhaps even some limbo.

So, we’ve decided to continue to the Cape Verdes and – all being well – on across the Atlantic.  This has meant several days of relatively hectic preparation to get the boat ready.  My main job was installing a new water tank to give us enough capacity for the transatlantic.  Natalie’s been making a companionway flap to keep heavy rain out without needing the washboards and sewing a Cape Verdes courtesy flag!   We’ve also got some new blocks and sheets to set up a proper downwind rig.  And we've done huge amounts of grocery shopping, not counting on being able to get much except fruit and vegetables in Mindelo.

Sewing a rain flap for the companionway
Chaos below as we stock up..stowage for long passages is not easy on a 26 footer!
The passage to the Cape Verdes is around 900 miles, which we’d hope to do in 8 or 9 days.  As time is getting on we’re only planning to spend a few days in Mindelo (depending, as always, on how we feel. After all, we thought we were going to stay in Gran Tarajal for about 4 days and we’ve been here 3 weeks!).  Hopefully we’ll be off in a couple of days - watch this space!