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!


  1. hope the trip to Cape Verdes is a warm gentle tradewind sail. Following your trip with great interest, I have a 26ft Gaff cutter, so far i have reached Faro from Maldon UK and hope one day to follow yr track.
    Good Luck,
    the passage to porto santo sounded horrible but still now you know that you all 3 of you can weather that one......keep up the posts, Nick