Day 6 – Thursday 14 January 2016
Current position 20Deg 55min N 021Deg 35min W, about 560 miles SE of Tenerife and 330 miles NE of Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands, moving in a generally SE direction 250 miles from the coast of Africa.
We are having a ball. The winds have been inconsistent from our start last Saturday in Tenerife which has meant us having to motor sail almost as much as sail. A tropical storm is bearing down on us which encourages us to get a move on to get clear of it so it will pass to the north of us, but it will suck the air out of the Trade Winds in the process.
We had rough seas on our second night and sleep was all but impossible so early in the journey, but we’ve caught up with it now.
Yesterday, nature came to play with us: in the early hours, a little tern arrived in the cockpit and sheltered for a while. He returned later, and perched on Simon’s hand for a minute or two before flying off.
Then yesterday morning for an hour we were joined by a pod of about 20 fin whales who cruised majestically past, occasionally raising a head to have a better look at Fenicia. We watched spellbound as these beautiful creatures swam alongside and dived under the boat and finally continued on their way to the south.
Last night we were entertained by a stunning lightning display. Not great to see huge forks of lightning discharge at sea, when you have a tall metal mast,but thankfully the thunderclouds passed by uneventfully.
Life on board is good and in a day or so we might be able to start heading westwards towards Martinique.
Still heading towards Cape Verde
We had a few small squalls with just light sprinkles during our night watches last night. For one brief time the wind went crazy changing it’s mind about what direction to head which kept the crew busy making sail changes. But then the wind died and we have done a lot of motoring today.
Right now however we have great wind from the Southeast and are sailing along at 7.0 knots cruising our way to Cape Verde. Some of the boats a bit west of us had some bigger squalls last night with much higher winds. We are happy to be where we are and not complaining about the lack of wind!
We expect to arrive at Mindelo on Cape Verde on Saturday, but if it looks like it will be after dark we may try to slow down and arrive early morning Sunday. But right now, we are enjoying the sailing. All systems working well and and all’s well on board.
Our produce is holding out fairly well; heard from one boat this morning that they had to toss much of theirs overboard as it had already spoiled, but they will stock up in Cape Verde..
From Libertad’s blog
Day 5 – Wednesday 13 January 2016
Planning a stop at Cape Verde
Yesterday we got several weather reports about a big low west of us and discussing it on the rally radio net, most of us decided we would stay east of about 20 W longitude to allow it to pass to our starboard.
Then we got a weather report that talked about a second low over the Cape Verdes with cyclonic wind (one step down from gale) that was heading northeast, so that made us want to stay a bit more west.
But the good news is that both of these passed us by – one on each side – as we sailed along the 20W line. They sucked up all the wind so we had quite a few spots of no wind where we drifted along at about 3 knots and then finally turned on the engine. The latest weather report predicts that the trade winds will have filled in right at Mindelo, Cape Verdes and be nice and steady by Monday.
So now the discussion among the fleet is whether to stop to fuel up or just turn west. Since we will arrive there on Saturday most likely, we plan to stop, fuel up, and leave with the trade winds on Monday.
After our friend Bill on Bebe described the advantages of making a stop at the Verdes from his perspective (a nice pit stop where you can see friends, have a beer and maybe find a pizza) a few more may have decided to make that stop.
Dennis was worried we had a battery problem and decided it would be best for us to make the stop to also check that out and perhaps purchase new batteries. But today when we were in one of the no-wind zones he got down into the engine compartment to take a look. Our crew helped him empty out all the items we store on the top of our battery box and Steve, an electrical engineer, helped Dennis assess the situation. Dennis thinks he found and fixed the problem.
So far so good. But we are still planning to stop at Cape Verdes…..that pizza and beer with friends is just too tempting!
All’s well aboard.
From Libertad’s blog