Travels with S/Y Thetis


Thetis only

2005: Las Palmas to Capo Verde

This web page contains the logs of the third leg of a transatlantic sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis together with my friend Manos Castrinakis. The logs cover a period of 9 days of sailing from Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria of the Canaries to Mindelo on the island of São Vicente of the Cape Verde Archipelago. The logs are illustrated with photographs and maps. They also include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.

Map of E Atlantic with route
Route to Capo Verde

Monday January 24, 2005 Day 17

The Las Palmas Marina This was a very busy day. As soon as the pump opened we refueled, taking 60 L of Diesel fuel and refilling the gasoline canister for the genset. It took less than ¼ of a liter so it seems that the generator consumes about 1 liter for 4 hours of operation. While we were refueling an official from the Puerto (marina) came and took our particulars down. He spoke good English and showed us a berth on dock 18, the visitor’s dock, where we were to go, and asked us to bring the boat’s papers to the marina office later, at our convenience. We moved the boat to the indicated berth. Manos caught the mooring line and I backed Thetis to the dock. The British crew from the adjacent boat was already waiting to catch our stern lines. We were in the company of boats from France, Sweden, USA, Holland and the UK, all friendly and working happily on their boat’s needs.

A Task for Two
Courtesy of Manos Castrinakis

After we moored we concentrated on our boat repairs. First we removed the old alternator. A few years ago I had modified it, to minimize slippage, to use instead of 1 belt and pulley 2 belts and 2 pulleys. Now we tried removing the double pulley from the old alternator but we did not have the right tools. Then Manos hoisted me up the mast and I replaced the burned light bulb of the tricolor masthead navigational light. Before descending we tested it. Next we got dressed. Today was the first day since we boarded Thetis this year that it was warm enough for shorts and sandals. We packed in a duffle bag both the old and the new alternator, the burned bulb, the red navigation light that was broken in Porto Santo, the ship’s papers, soap, and towels and set off.

It was a long walk from dock 18 to the west quay where all the marina facilities are located. This is a large marina with about 900 berths. We found a chandlery store and inquired about a machinist. Yes, they do have a machinist who can pick up the alternators, swap their pulleys, and have them back by 4 PM. They also had a fender of the right size to replace the one that was lost in Porto Santo. In addition we found replacement bulbs, red and green navigational lights, and a Cape Verde courtesy flag. I also bought 6 pieces of 2-meter length rope to replace the frayed ropes of the fenders and a 5 L jerry can for the genset.

Thetis in the Las Palmas Marina While Manos completed these purchases I walked to the marina office with the ship’s papers. The English speaking official whom we had met earlier at the fueling dock was there but was busy attending to two ladies. I waited. When my turn came he typed all of Thetis’ particulars in his computer. Then the computer printed 3 different forms with all of the information already filled in. I had to sign them and I was given a copy. He took his time doing all this. But, since our next destination is Cape Verde we do not need to clear with any other authorities. Finally I paid slightly under €20 for two days berthing plus a €1 deposit for the bathroom key. He then produced a map of the city and harbor. He patiently marked on this map any conceivable place and service that we may need. Clearly this is a very well rehearsed routine. I asked him about renting a car. Yes, arrangements for that can be made at the Texaco fueling dock.

Back at the chandlery, we took all our purchases except for the fender, which needed to be inflated, and the jerry can. These we will pick up in the afternoon when we return for the alternators. It was then time for the delights of showers with plenty of hot water. The key that I was given at the marina office did work but we were in for a shock. The water was plentiful but it was not hot, it was in fact icy cold. The luxurious showers of our expectations did not take place; instead it was a quick and cold affair. Following this disappointment we sat at the attractive waterfront restaurant/bar for a late lunch. The food was bad.

Las Palmas
Las Palmas viewed from the Marina
Courtesy of Manos Castrinakis

On our return to the boat we met the crew of the Swedish sailboat just across from Thetis. It consisted of three Nordic beauties and a young man, the skipper, with painted bright red toe nails. While Manos sat at the computer and wrote a long e-mail to our families and friends, I hosed down and washed the dirty deck and cockpit.

Soon it was 4 PM, time to go back to the chandlery. The machinist was just leaving after bringing back the alternators. The pulleys had been swapped. His bill was a reasonable €20. We took the fender and the jerry can and walked to the filling station, a long distance at the other end of the marina. There we filled the can and inflated the fender. We talked to Don Pedro, the owner, and made arrangements for a small rental car to be brought tomorrow morning around 9 o’clock to dock 18. We then walked back to Thetis carting everything, including the alternators.

We finally installed the new alternator, after some false starts and some minor alterations. We turned on the engine. Joy! It worked splendidly, producing better than 70 A. Now with the high output alternator, a spare one (albeit with lower output), the genset with 20 L of fuel, and the wind generator we have electricity to spare. We will have no lack of electricity during the transatlantic passage.

Very tired but pleased, I took a hot shower in the boat, not the marina. After putting on warm clothes, since it was getting chilly after the sunset, we set out to find a restaurant. It was another long walk towards the commercial harbor but we did eventually have a very nice meal with plenty of local wine in an upscale restaurant.

Tuesday January 25, 2005 Day 18

Map of Gran Canaria

Tafira This was a day dedicated to tourism on the island. True to Don Pedro’s word the rental car came at 9:30. We were both ready for it. Don Pedro gave us a map (small with tiny letters) of Gran Canaria and suggested a one-day tour of the island. We got in the car with Manos driving and me navigating. After some confusion we managed to drive out of Las Palmas and into the highway for Tafira Alta. Las Palmas is a large city, of over 300,000 residents, and it has very heavy traffic. Fortunately the road signs to the highway were well marked.

At Tafira we stopped and looked for a store with a better map. Armed with the new map we then drove up to the mountains. We proceeded to Santa Brigite and Vega where we got onto a secondary road to Pico los Nieves, the highest point of the island at 1949 m (6394 ft). The mountains here have stunningly deep ravines, lots of green vegetation, and fantastic rock formations.

View from the Mountains
View from the Mountains
Pico los Nieves

Pico los Nieves

Rock Formations

Windy Road After Pico los Nieves we went on to the SW side of the island over a very narrow winding road without any guardrails. It was rather scary as in many places two cars did not fit; yet people were driving rather fast. The SW part of the island is dry and desert-like. We ended up at Puerto Mogán, a marina/tourist resort. It is a less upscale replica of Sotogrande, with totally artificial architecture and thousands of pinkish Northern European tourists who were strolling in shorts and sandals, some coming from the nearby beach to occupy a seat at the busy restaurants lining up the small marina and offering all the delights these tourists seek or are obliged to content themselves with: pizzas, spaghetti, wurst, and beer. The only saving grace of the place was that it was full of blooming flowers with vibrant colors: red, blue, yellow, orange. As we were rather hungry we had an almost inedible pizza and an even worse cup of coffee in one of the tourist traps.

Manos in Mogán
Manos in Mogán

Terrible Developments From Puerto Mogán we went along the shore road back to Las Palmas, past Puerto Rico, Maspalomas, and Playa de Ingles. All these are horrid places with enormous buildings carved into the steep cliffs, often with 12 and 15 floors, sharing the small beach at the head of a small sandy cove. Golf courses, swimming pools, bars, tennis courses and all the amenities the modern tourist expects for his winter vacation break from the misty climates he comes from. A real Mecca of mass tourism. A lovely landscape totally and irreversibly despoiled. I sincerely hope that Greek tourist officials come here to see first hand what should be avoided.

In Las Palmas we wanted to do some provision shopping. The Atlantic Islands Cruising Guide advised that the shopping in Cape Verde will be expensive and limited; one should stock up here before a transatlantic crossing. At the marina office we were told about two supermarkets south of the marina and the fresh fruit market to the north. So, we first went looking for the fresh fruit market. We found it without too much trouble but it was closed. On our drive to the supermarkets Manos made a wrong turn and a policemen immediately flagged us down. No amount of Greek charm could extricate us from the situation and to Manos’ consternation we had to pay a €54 fine, after a first offender discount, on the spot. Eventually we got to the supermarket, where we bought all sorts of stuff, but not enough as it later turned out.

Back on the boat we stowed these new provisions and reorganized the front cabin, which we have been using as our storage space.

Later in the evening, taking advantage of the car, we drove south of the marina to the “old town” which was showing the island’s wealth of past and present with long pedestrian shopping streets, art nouveaux facades, a magnificent church, and many cafes bustling with young people. We walked around for a while. It looked very attractive but all of its stores were either shut or closing for the evening. We ended up in an outdoor café where we had a beer and a very tasty tuna pie, an island specialty, we were told. When we returned to Thetis we found the Swedes next to us had a party going with beautiful Scandinavian girls and candlelight. We went to bed and it wasn’t till 3 AM that things quieted down.

Other than the traffic ticket this has been a very good and relaxing day.

Wednesday January 26, 2005 Day 19

First thing in the morning I connected the iBook to the Internet via the GPRS and checked the weather forecasts for the next 7 days, the time it would take us to travel the almost 900 miles to Cape Verde. All the forecasts looked promising, predicting force 3-4 N to NE favorable winds and 1-2 m swell. Armed with this encouraging information we started preparing for departure. While Manos cleaned the cabins I went for another icy cold shower in the marina facilities. I then returned the bathroom key and got back the €1 deposit. In the meantime Don Pedro had sent a man to reclaim the rented car. Before leaving we sent a last set of e-mails to our families informing them of our imminent departure.

We cast off at 1025. The wind was 5-8 knots from the NE, which was good, but there was also, near the island, some irregular and uncomfortable swell. Expecting strong gusts from the high southern slopes, we did not raise the sails but motored for a while. We saw a large school of bottle-nosed dolphins—over 7 of them. These were the first dolphins we had seen in the Atlantic. They followed Thetis for some time playing in her bow wave.

Later the wind increased to 12 knots and as we were already a sufficient distance from the island we opened all of the genoa, turned off the engine, and held the sail open with the spinnaker pole. With this we were doing about 4 knots. But after a couple of hours the wind went down to 7 knots, at which time we again turned on the engine. By 4 PM the wind had died and we took in the pole and rolled in the headsail. We continued motoring.

Manos briefly saw a large fish, a tuna, he believed, jumping out of the water. Right away we let out a trolling fishing line. Who knows —we may eventually catch something. I saw a large turtle but by the time Manos came out of the cabin it had already dived. This passage seems to have had a nice and eventful beginning.

Around 1830 the wind backed to 8-10 WNW. We raised the mainsail and stopped the motor. Later in the evening the wind strength increased to 12 knots WNW and we opened the headsail also. Now we were doing almost 6.5 knots. If only this continues…

Manos made a béchamel sauce, which he mixed with tuna and mushrooms while I boiled some spaghetti. These Manos placed in a Pyrex dish and covered them with the sauce. He then put the dish in the oven and baked it for a while. When it was ready we ate the au gratin along with a nice dry Greek white wine. It was delicious. I took the first watch. It was a perfect night. The moon, one day past full, was a large red disc rising over the horizon. But no fish yet.

Thursday January 27, 2005 Day 20

During the night the wind increased and I had to reduce the headsail. On my early morning watch I saw a strong light some distance from our stern. I turned on the radar and found the target. It was 4 nM away and moving N, not a problem. While listening to music I was startled by a loud noise. Usually I lash the spinnaker pole on deck but yesterday after we removed it we tried a new trick. We left it attached to the mast and just hoisted it up with the topping lift line and secured it on the mast with a bungee cord. What happened was that the topping lift came untied and the pole was now banging on the mast, held loosely by the bungee cord. The noise also woke up Manos. It took both of us to remove the pole and lash it once again securely on the deck. But one end of the topping line had disappeared inside the mast. To recover it one has to climb the mast, drop a fishing line, hook it from the entry hole of the line near the base of the mast, and use the fishing line to re-route the topping line. This is not an operation that can be done easily on a boat swinging in the ocean waves. It will have to wait until we are in a harbor. Fortunately we do have a spare halyard that can be used as a topping line if we need it.

Later we saw another school of dolphins. During the first 24 hours since our departure we traveled 140 nM not bad! Earlier we took in a reef and reduced the headsail to 20% yet we were moving close to 7 knots with a wind of 18-22 knots NNW. In the early afternoon the wind veered N and decreased to 12-15 knots but we kept on sailing.

As prearranged at 5 PM, UTC (same as our time zone) we turned on the Iridium and sent our position to Corinna and Nikos and received a weather report from Corinna. No change. We also ran the genset for 1 hour to recharge the batteries.

In the evening I cooked a chicken that we had bought in Las Palmas with potatoes and lemon juice. After eating I felt tired and Manos took the first watch, 8 to 11.

Friday January 28, 2005 Day 21

In the early morning the wind lessened to 8-12 knots and veered further to the NE, just as the forecast had predicted. We continued sailing, downwind now, with the mainsail and a preventer line from the boom. This line prevents the boom from swinging in case of an unexpected gybe. A gybe happens when the wind shifts in direction relative to the motion; that is if the wind is at 170° and then it shifts to 190° the boom will swing from the right to the left, and unless this is controlled the swing will be violent and can cause damage or injury. To prevent this, in addition to the preventer line, we changed course by 30°. This kept the sail happy (it is not when sailing dead downwind) but even so our speed had dropped to less than 2.5 knots and our “velocity made good” towards our destination was under 1.7 knots. At this rate we would never get to Cape Verde. I started the engine.

Sailing Wing to Wing By 0800 we had a good NE wind again, but squarely at our stern. While still motoring I ran the water-maker and filled our tanks. By that time Manos was up and we rigged the pole, opened the headsail, turned off the engine, and started sailing wing to wing (one sail to the left and the other to the right) with the mainsail, still on its 1st reef, kept to our port with the preventer and the headsail, fully open, held by the pole to our starboard. It was nice to be without the engine noise and we were doing close to 6 knots and occasionally even more.

Unfortunately this state of affairs did not last more than one hour. The wind increased, reaching 30 knots, and so did the waves, throwing us off course. Yiakoumis, our valiant autopilot, had trouble keeping a course where both sails were full. When thrown off course either the mainsail or the headsail would be backed by the wind, which would not only make a horrific noise but also slowed us down considerably. We decided to change the sails and bring the mainsail to our starboard and the headsail to port. With the pole out this was not so easy. First we had to loosen the preventer and pull the sheet to bring the mainsail to the center. Then we had to let go of the headsail sheets and roll the sail in. Now came the hard part: while Thetis was wallowing in the large waves, over 3 m, we both had to go to the bow, disengage the pole from the mast, unclip the sheet from the front side of the pole, move the pole inboard to clear the head stays, then push it outboard again but on the port side, clip the port sheet, and engage the pole again to the mast. We then opened the headsail and adjusted all the lines. After that we moved the preventer to the starboard and let go of the main sheet. All this resulted in a much more stable sail situation. Thetis was now flying at 7.5 knots.

I checked on our fishing line. It was very twisted but felt kind off slack. I pulled it in. Our little plastic fish lure was missing. Unless we find a replacement in Cape Verde this is the end of our fishing career.

For lunch we made an omelet with left over spaghetti and mushrooms. I finished reading my current book, Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons a cliffhanger by the author of the famous DaVinci Code. Like DaVinci it is a good story, rich in Vatican lore but it is badly written. If only he used better English and stronger character development it would be a really good book. I started Scott Huler’s de-fin-ing the wind the story of the Beaufort scale.

Speaking of the Beaufort scale, by 1300 the wind had reached force 6, with gusts over 35 knots. We were definitely over-canvassed. Once again we rolled in the headsail and removed the pole. We also removed the reef from the mainsail. Now with just the mainsail both Thetis and Yakoumis (the autopilot) were much more comfortable but our speed was reduced to 6 knots — slower, but still acceptable. We passed the 300 nM mark of distance from Las Palmas. We now had only 560 nM to go. The sky cleared from the morning clouds and we were under glorious sunshine. The temperature inside the cabin was 22°C (72°F). The humidity had dropped to 52%, much lower than it had been for the past weeks, and the barometer was up to 1013 mB.

One cannot help but be fascinated by the vastness of the ocean. The nearest land to us was the African coast some 300 nM to the east. The waves, now over 3 m high, moved us up and down. Yet we were sailing, making good progress.

Later I spoke to Alice on the Iridium phone. It was good to hear her voice. Another miracle of modern technology this, talking clearly to your wife in the US while sailing so far from land. Corinna sent us a new forecast: no gale, force 4-5 NE winds for the next 24 hours.

For dinner we had leftover au gratin, a salad, and fruits. I took the first watch and saw the moon rise at 2200.

Saturday January 29, 2005 Day 22

During the early hours the wind increased to 28 knots ENE. We reduced the headsail to 20% to lessen the heeling angle and reduce the strain on the autopilot. The morning was cloudy. We ran the genset for 1½ hours which reduced the total Ah consumed from 89 to 59. The wind generator is doing a decent job in reducing our net electricity consumption.

By 1030, 3 days since we left Las Palmas, we had made over 400 nM and were 460 nM from Cape Verde. The sun finally emerged from behind the clouds and warmed us. Earlier we passed 23° N, the Tropic of Capricorn. So now we are officially in the tropics. But it is still not hot, our maximum is just 23°C (73°F) during the day and 19°C (66°F) in the night.

In the afternoon we passed the halfway point. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

For dinner I warmed the leftover chicken and made some rice to go with it. Manos went to sleep and I took the 8-11 watch. By 2200 we were less than 400 nM from São Vicente, our destination in the Cape Verde Archipelago. The wind was down but we were still doing better than 5 knots of ground speed as measured by the GPS. One of the cabin fluorescent lights stopped working. Unfortunately it was its electronic system and not the tube. I did have spare tubes but not a spare fixture. When the electric consumption reached 105 Ah I started the engine to re-charge. The new alternator is fantastic. It produced, right away, 80 A and in less than an hour brought the battery level down to -65Ah. Before waking up Manos I moved the ship’s clock to UTC-1 to reflect our new longitude position. This is the Cape Verde time zone.

Sunday January 30, 2005 Day 23

The wind decreased further but the swell was still irregular and large, over 3 m. By 0900 the wind was 12-16 knots NNE and we started the engine. Taking advantage of this we ran the water-maker and re-filled the tanks. Then we removed the reef from the mainsail and turned off the engine.

Dolphins Playing While I am writing this we are watching the most incredible show by a school of 10-15 bottle-nosed dolphins. They have been with us for ¾ of an hour. They are jumping in groups of 4-5 at a time and are scraping their backs on the bow. We are completely surrounded by them. Manos has been busy video taping the scene. I lay flat at the bow, extending my arm to the water. Soon a small dolphin jumped up and rubbed her back on my hand. Touching a wild creature in the middle of the ocean, more than 200 nM from any land, was an unforgettable thrill. I am not sure if Manos managed to capture this on tape.

Today is the warmest day we have had so far. The sky is completely clear and we are bathed in glorious sunshine. Before noon we rigged the spinnaker pole and since then we have been zipping wing-to-wing for several hours now at over 6 knots with tail winds of 17-22 knots. The dolphins have been an extra to a most enjoyable day at sea. All together they kept us company for over 2 hours.

I had a shower. The sun had warmed the water in the Sunshower to lukewarm. Still it was more pleasant than the shower in the Las Palmas marina. It felt very good to be clean. I saluted the setting sun with a glass of ouzo.

Manos prepared lentils for dinner. After eating he went to bed and I took the first watch. The night was very dark and crystal clear. I watched the stars: Orion almost overhead and the Gemini slightly to the east.

Whenever we have such a good day the gods, it seems, get jealous of us mortals. Or maybe we forgot to make a sacrifice to angry Poseidon. At any rate, around 2300 we were sailing almost dead downwind. The mainsail was set way out on our port side, secured with a preventer line. One end of this line was tied at the boom and the other was routed outside the lifelines and through a block secured to the tow-rail and tied to a cleat. Then a strong gust combined with a large wave threw Thetis off her course and back-filled the sail. The boom started swinging to the starboard side and the preventer was caught on the lifelines. The motion of the boom was so fast and violent that the lifelines were strained and one of the stanchions (a small column) holding them was ripped off the deck. All this is just an inference. Both Manos and I were inside the cabin at the time discussing the change of the watch. We heard a horrible bang and by the time we both jumped outside to the cockpit the damage was already done.

I immediately changed our course so that we sailed at least 25° from dead downwind. This new course was not direct but when our cross-tack error (the distance that we were off course) exceeded 1 nM we gybed to 25° in the opposite direction; thus we moved in a zig-zig course around the optimum course. This of course causes us to travel extra miles but it is safer. We should have done this as soon as the wind shifted to our stern. My mistake.

Monday January 31, 2005 Day 24

When I woke up at 0100 Manos had everything under control. During my 0100 to 0400 watch I prepared dough for bread and put it inside the cold oven to rise. After I got up again at 0700 I baked it. This was a first onboard Thetis, that daugh from flour and yiest not from a mix. The result was a passable loaf of bread. We ran the genset for 2 hours and recharged the batteries. It was, however, too rough to run the water-maker. The motion exposed its seawater intake. The waves were quite large and while the wind was around 20 knots there were occasional gust over 30. I secured the ripped off stanchion with cords acting as guys. This temporary fix will have to do until we reach Cape Verde. So far our losses are:

  1. A ripped stanchion
  2. A halyard lost inside the mast
  3. A burned fluorescence light fixture
  4. Damaged (in Gibraltar) wind generator blades

The temperature inside the cabin reached 25°C (77°F) today, the highest yet, with 48% relative humidity and a barometer reading of 1013 mB. Still the day feels colder than yesterday because it is windy and we have broken clouds instead of sunshine.

At 1300 we set a reef on the mainsail. We have not opened the headsail since yesterday. The wind was 22 knots gusting up to mid 30s. It kept increasing and by 1830 it was a steady 30 knots with higher gusts. We took in a second reef.

For dinner we strained the juice of the leftover chicken. With this broth we made a very tasty risotto into which we mixed the chicken meat and plenty of freshly ground Parmezan. The waves in the meantime were over 4 m (13 ft) tall and threw Thetis into a wild circular motion. Doing any work in the galley, either cooking or washing the dishes, required good acrobatic skills, despite the strap. I am very glad that we installed the strap in Gibraltar because without it any work in the galley would have been impossible. Any movement around the cabin has to be done gingerly and with ballet timing. Despite this we enjoyed our meal. We just had to hold on to our plates and glasses. The new anti-skid placemats that I had brought helped a lot.

Manos took the first watch, as I felt very tired. But I had trouble falling asleep. The motion and the noise of the occasional wave that broke on the side of Thetis, right next to my cabin, kept me awake. It is impossible to imagine the various sounds of water passing on the boat side, creaks of the boat, waves banging against the hull, and whirling wind against the shrouds. It is really a very thin layer of plastic that separates us from the angry Oceanos.

When I got up for my watch we were making better than 6 knots despite the two reefs. The wind strength was anywhere from 18 to 40 knots and the seas were large.

Tuesday February 1, 2005 Day 25

The strong wind and the large seas continued through the night and early morning. At 0800 I measured gusts reaching 48 knots (force 9). We had a wild ride even with the reduced sail. At our present speed we should be arriving in Mindelo, the harbor of São Vicente, at around midnight. Manos and I had a long debate whether to continue as we were or to reduce the sail even more to arrive tomorrow morning. I am always uncomfortable with night arrivals but I was particularly concerned about the Santo Antão - São Vicente channel where the winds can accelerate and the seas can build with waves reaching 6-7 m, especially with an opposing tide. High tide tonight is at 0300 so midnight is a good time to arrive and early morning is not. Furthermore in Mindelo we need not dock but we can anchor offshore, which is not too hard to do at night. It is the approach that scared me. On the other hand if we were to slow down enough to delay arrival by several hours we would be rather uncomfortable in these large seas. We finally agreed that it would be best to just continue.

The wind increased even further with a sustained speed of 35-45 knots and gusts into the 50s. We took in another reef. Now we were on the 3rd reef. We took a large breaking wave to our side. It drenched the deck and the cockpit. At least a bucketful of water entered the cabin from the open companionway despite the sprayhood. We frantically cleaned the mess, spreading out wet books, charts, etc. to dry, while drying all the electronic gear with towels.

Approaching Ilha de Santo Antão , Cape Verde By sunset we could just see Ilha de Santo Antão some 30 nM away. Thankfully by that time the wind was gusting only to the upper 30s while our boat speed, with the mainsail in its 3rd reef, went down to just 4 knots. But because we anticipated strong wind acceleration in the channel and possibly larger seas as described in Atlantic Islands Cruising Guide we took advantage of the remaining daylight and lowered the sail. We proceeded with the motor.

In the meantime, Manos had prepared a tray of baked potatoes with lots of garlic, lemon juice, and oregano. These we ate with great gusto as we were approaching the dreaded channel in the dark.

The night was dark but fortunately the glare from Mindelo provided enough illumination for us to see the outline of the islands. The approach to the channel was not difficult, especially after we confirmed on the radar that the distances and positions on our electronic C-Map chart were quite accurate and not off by 2 nM as warned by the Atlantic Islands Cruising Guide. While we could not see the lighthouse of Punta da Tumba on the NE of Santo Antão we could see the light of Ilhéu dos Passaros on the rock guarding the entrance of the Mindelo Bay. We went between the rock and São Vicente, a rather scary thing with the large waves and the wind blowing around 30 knots. To complicate matters a ship was moving very slowly less than ½ nM from our starboard.

We slowly entered the bay, looking for the anchorage. It was 0115. By 0200 we were anchored off Mindelo [16° 53.2' N 24° 59.5' W] in 4.5 m depth surrounded by other sailboats. We were tired but pleased. We had come 868.8 nM from Las Palmas. Unfortunately neither Manos’ GSM phone nor mine worked. They received a signal but no service. I had to use the Iridium to send two brief messages to Alice and Nikos advising them of our safe landfall. I had a celebratory glass of Samos Moschato wine and went to bed.