News , Odyssey Logs

Barbados 50: Cruising the Cape Verdes

Luc Callebaut from Cornell Sailing Events, who is sailing with the fleet, reports on the cruise so far.

(Due to the smaller size of some of the harbours and anchorages, the fleet was divided into two from Santa Cruz de Tenerife onwards. For the Atlantic start on 9th November the fleet will be united again).

Fleet 1 had a easy and fun passage to Santo Antão a few days ago.

The following day, after a good night in view of a nice long black sand beach, we started getting active! Swimming around the boat, walking on the black sand beach and even having a small village visit with a delicious lobster lunch (chicken for the kids).

Stéphane (Sir Henri 4) organized that expedition, getting a local fishing boat to take us ashore as it was a little rolly and not so easy to land our dinghies. In the afternoon, three more fleet 1 boats joined us there.

Sanding a finished boat on Santo Antão

The vanguard of the fleet then sailed the 120nm passage to Brava. The first 15nm was a little boisterous and windy but wind and seas settled quickly to a comfortable 12-15 knots with seas more behind than on the beam (at first). Some fish were even caught! The fastest arrived this morning in Brava and the latter got here well before sunset.

Cape Verdes cruise route

The bay here is very stunning with nicely painted houses along the coast and villages way up in the mountains. Blue water around the boats make it easy to look at your anchor. A gentle rocking will put us soon all to sleep after a nice dinner and tomorrow will be a day to explore the land … hikers will be happy and great photo opportunities are waiting for us!

Fleet 1 enjoyed their visit to Brava. Yesterday was sunny and while most played in the water around the boats, some went ashore to explore.

You can either hike on the good but windy road going up the mountain to the main village about 6km or you can take a local mini-bus to get there in 20 minutes instead of 3 hours. Today alas, we had a rainy but nice day anyway! Some hiked to the airport, some took a mini-bus tour on the island with some provisioning in town.

We all had a nice fish/chicken dinner at three tiny restaurants right on the seafront. The bay has been rolly since we have been there but most still had good night’s sleep.

The hardest part is probably getting ashore without getting wet. The swell wraps around the headland and washes ashore constantly so caution was advised to get ashore.

Here is what we did and it worked well: in the north corner of the bay is a small area where local fishermen pulling up their fishing canoes there is an area devoid of rock in front of it that makes it the best landing area in the bay …the trick was to get organized.

We were ready for a wet landing so we put anything that should stay dry in a drybag. The best way was to approach the beach keeping the outboard in deep water away from the beach, jumping in the water from the front of the dinghy and pushing the dinghy towards the sea. We had 2 to 4 strong men to hold the dinghy perpendicular to the beach … we were watching the swell pattern to pick when time when waves are weak. The trick was to lift the outboard out if dinghy went in too shallow water … get in or out quickly. We all did it without a scratch or equipment problems. GREAT JOB EVERYONE!

Brava is not an easy place to get ashore but we had a great time and everyone ashore said they never saw that many yachts all together!

Following this the fleet made their way to Fogo, enjoying a trip to the summit of the volcano there.

In the port of Fogo

Barbados 50 is sponsored by Barbados Tourism Marketing and Tenerife Port Authority.

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