blue… Nothing but blue ahead of us. A fantastic feeling!
But there is hardly any wind. We have to motor and follow the advice of our weather routing in a southerly direction, along the African coast. But there is a lot of ship traffic and also nets from fishermen. At night even a small boat approaches us, a spotlight shines and tries to stop us. It first comes towards us, then drives right next to us, calls something hardly understandable and then suddenly disappears again. I’m still not sure what they wanted from us. Maybe just sell fish?
On the 2nd day we still drive along the African coast. At least we get some wind in the afternoon. With it we can already sail a little. On the 3rd day we decide to go a little further away from the African coast in order to avoid the traffic and to sail more directly. At first it looks like a good idea. But we will notice later that we probably drove deeper into a windless area (and had to use engines again). Because on the 4th day sailing is hardly possible again. In weak winds the sails flap with every wave. This is not good for the material. The mounting of a batten of our mainsail, for example, is worn through.
Finally (on the 5th day) the wind comes again (but not yet the trade wind). Despite Iridium, Grib-Files and weather routing the search for the trade wind feels a bit like “Columbus”. When will the wind finally start? The regular visits of dolphins, many shooting stars and bright water provided entertainment during the trip. And we ask ourselves whether Columbus had so much pleasure with it on his travels?
Since that night we also had a companion. There was a sailboat with the same course near us. We will meet the three Argentinians from this boat (Mandragore) later in the Marina Mindelo. They also want to cross the Atlantic and they will leave Cape Verde again on the same day as we do. Only at the end of the trip there are more or less stable winds. Even if not as you would expect from the trade wind. We sail a upwind course and make good and comfortable progress. But we have to adjust the wind vane frequently, because the wind direction is not stable.
We had then also made use of another telephone trip consultation with the meteorologist. The wind should now remain stable and will even increase in two days (to approx. 20 knots with gusts up to 25 knots). For the Atlantic there is “green light”. Nevertheless, we want to make a short stay on the Cape Verde Islands – when do you get here?
On the last sailing day there were again/ still rather light winds. A good opportunity to test our asymmetrical spinnaker (=a big red/white light wind sail). The competitive aspect – after all, there is still the other boat in our vicinity – perhaps also plays a role in our ambition to use the sail.
At night we come close to the Cape Verdean island São Vicente. Between the islands São Vicente and Santo Antao) there is a “jet effect” and the wind increases significantly. Since we don’t want to enter the unknown harbour at night, we have taken away the sail area except for a “towel-sized” piece of genoa. Nevertheless we are still so fast on the way that we must turn before the port still another small round, in order to arrive then punctually with the dawn.
Altogether we covered about 900 nautical miles in 7 1/2 days.