Sailing to the Cape Verde Islands

Our departure to the Cape Verdes was a bit sudden. We had planned to sail from Tenerife to the neighbouring island of La Gomera but when we woke up at 6am on Friday 4th November to check the weather we realised we should probably head straight off if we didn’t want to be stuck between too little wind and too much!

Mattie’s friend Jan joined us for the trip – it was great to have another experienced person onboard and made night watches only 3hrs each – total bliss! We had a very mixed sail – beating into big seas off the coast of Tenerife, we experienced our slowest speeds yet, followed by thunderstorms and squalls but we also had wonderful clear starry nights and lovely sunny days. We loved having the newly installed hydrovane to take the pressure off hand steering the whole way but did end up steering most of the last 24 hours due to big swell and high winds. We had our fastest 24 hrs and we arrived in Sal in the middle of the night – not ideal when reportably only 40% of navigation lights in the Cape Verdes are functioning correctly. But with P at the wheel, Jan on google earth, Mattie on deck with a spotlight and me on the radar we managed our dark landfall and celebrated with a few too many middle of the night G&Ts!!

There has been a lot of fishing discussion in the Canaries and quite a bit of friendly competition with fellow sailors so I’m happy to say we had our most successful and varied catch too date – we feasted on tuna and wahoo (Jan’s fresh sushi a definite highlight!), we also caught and released a shark and a squid and even had to rescue a shearwater from our hooks. We were visited by dolphins, saw whales, countless flying fish and even had a turtle greet us on our first morning on anchor in Sal.

It’s fabulous to be in the Verdes – it’s definitely Africa and I love it!

Captain P’s Cape Verde Crossing Statistics:

Distance: 850 nm
Total time run: 134.5 hours (5.5 days!)
Average speed: 6.3 knots
Best 24 hours: 185 nm – average of 7.7 knots!!
Top Speed: 10.7 kts
Total Food consumed: We ate brilliantly – fresh sushi, ceviche, Bambi’s delicious bran muffins (thank you!), curry, omelettes, paella, wraps…

Seems we may have found our sealegs – only one casualty this trip – poor Fin!

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