We departed St Helena on Saturday the 14th of December with a light SE wind which eventually picked up and we sailed comfortably under only the code0 at 2/3 of apparent wind.
I could not recall what sailors are supposed do the first time they cross the equator, hanging off the back of the boat and letting it pull me across seemed like a good idea at the time, in retrospect not one of my brighter plans, I now know exactly why that never caught on ;P
The wind lasted almost all the way to a latitude of 10ºN. Then the wind turned N to NE and put an end to us free-loading with the code0. The first 800NM or so of beating into the wind was a little bumpy, but we had manageable winds and seas. Other than the auto pilot crashing every so often we made good progress.
The last stretch to Praia in Cape Verde is where the adventure began in earnest. The sea became very confused, with large swells of 4-5 meters coming from what seemed like all directions, cross currents with winds sustained up in the 30kn+ range and peaking at one stage at around 48knots.
Although the boat performed very well and sustained no structural damage, going through conditions like that is something I would be glad not to have to go through again anytime soon.
Even our vastly experienced and usually unperturbed captain becomes rather animated and explitive when recalling that particular stretch of water.
During the episode the dingy broke the davits and we were eventually forced to drop all sails and had to motor on both engines for a meager 2knots headway into the current.
After about 2 days of that we thankfully made it to Praia at around 02:00am on the 31st and were very happy to be out of the washing machine and on anchor.
Praia although part of the EU under Portugal is dead poor and decidedly dodgy, though the people are mostly friendly. We spent New Years at a resturant in town, where more fuss was being made about the local musician's guitar sessions than than there was about bringing in the new year.
We decided to move out the next day and head up to a more northerly island called Sao Vincente, apparently there is a marina which has become the focal point for foreign yachts wanting to avoid the higher costs in the Canaries before picking up the trade winds over to Brazil and the Carribean.
We have just arrived at the island after a day and a half's sail through some more unfriendly weather, but luckily nothing compared to before. With a bit of luck there will be facilities for getting the autopilot and navigation systems sorted out. There is talk of a storm system coming through in the next couple of days, we should be safely tucked in the marina for that.
The Back End of St Helena
Sign of Things to Come?
Abandoned Island in Praia Harbor
Pria Harbor Town
Light House - Sao Vincente
Mandelo Harbor - Sao Vincente