It is 3:30am in the morning of our third night on this Atlantic Crossing from East to West. We left Mindelo a day later than planned mainly due to the late arrival of Susan’s luggage and influence by the slogan of the Cabo Verdeans: No Stress! As a matter of fact, it does not matter and the extra day took some time pressure out of the To-Do-List and made it a pretty relaxed departure. After a yummy pizza at our favourite restaurant Colombinho and with a thourough farewell from Petra, Jan and Tobi with the exchange of a few last minutes gifts, we did throw the lines at 9:30am. SY Sutje left 24h after us and are now on our toes, approx. 150nm astern.
A last minute comment on the blog came in from Jani, which I managed to put online before leaving but did not find the time for a reply. Really appreciated the farewell wishes from a next generation fellow sailor. Thank you! We hope you keep enjoying following our adventure and find the time yourself to make it out onto the ocean.
Since then we have sailed 407nm in pretty pleasant conditions apart from three hours motoring through the dead wind zone south of Santo Antao. 1680nm to go before we reach our waypoint set at the southern tip of Martinique. In other words, approximately 20% completion rate.
It was one more time the crew and not the lady, who had to cope with the conditions at start of the passage. We managed to keep the boat moving before and after taking rest. Apetite was low and we forced ourselves to drink enough to stay hydrated. Susan had a cold – 90% over now – I had my usual headache caused by some back tension for 16 hours and since yesterday, the world with its ocean is shiny again – for me. Susan needs another 24 hours but later today, it will be fine. The fun part shall start. 2100nm to sail is a distance which puts things into perspective, which contributed to our longer run-in period, which is normally 24 to 36h at maximum. Finally it is also a very emontional journey and I wonder how we look at it once we have reached the mountains top and the downhill part of the passage starts.
I have not done any weather checks as the trade winds are the trade winds and the window for 10 days look ahead showed perfect and stable trade winds for our course at the time we departed. 15 to 25kn from NE slightly increasing towards the end of the 10 days. During my daily evening calls on the Marine Band Radio with Chief Jan from SY Sutje, I scrounged the latest updates, which confirmed the forecast.
Today, we shall get a bit less wind and from tomorrow onwards it should be in the 20+kn range. In fact we are down to 10 to 13kn only now and I am focused keeping the boat moving at 4kn reducing the banging to a bare minimum. Susan needs good sleep!
Seaweed in the SailGen and the Hydrovane kept us busy for an hour yesterday and broke our good old boathook, both pieces rescued. It is known, that on the latitudes we are sailing some extended fields of seawead are common. We did not face an extended field but enought to clog our two systems. It was easy to remove the grass from the SailGen propeller but the Hydrovane made it a bit more challenging as the rudder goes very deep into the water. Lying down on the after deck, while trying to strive it off with the boathook, I bruised the rips a bit. Nothing serious but will need some embrocating with DOC Morris for a while. Glad I got some of the stuff left from Erika. A broken boathook was the donation for this learning. It got stuck between the leading edge of the rudder the the hull mounting while trying to strive the grass off the rudder. Did not work. Hook consumed. Next. Furl in the sails to get the speed out of the boat. Disengage the windpilot and run under electric autopilot. Give a hard turn on the windpilot rudder into both directions to get maximum twist and the stuff came off. It will happen again but now we are better prepared and need a new boathook.
Two smaller birds accompanied us for a while yesterday. It happend before but new was, that they came as a couple and landed on the water. What a similes.