05/Dec/2009, 440 Miles West of Cabo Verde
1,589 Miles to Barbados! Radio chat with the Mad-Lantic Net this morning at 0830UTC. An informal English speaking session where a whole bunch of yachts crossing the Atlantic can keep in touch with each other. Most have now left the Canaries and some 20 vessels checked in to Diane aboard US yacht, "Argonaut". The furthest on, "Clementine", Aussie friends from la Gomera, are now only 800 miles from the Caribbean. The furthest back will be leaving Gran Canaria tomorrow. The mass migration continues. Our own informal net set up in Cabo Verde has now located all three Danish vessels: "Avante", "Dania" and "Ing"... we were able to assist Ing with some translation of their water-maker manual over the SSB radio today, with 7 people aboard they must be consuming lots of water- who on earth writes these unintelligible manuals:-0 These radio nets are great for weather general info and advice, and, of course, just providing welcome contact with people sharing a common experience.
The seas are quite choppy - usual story, the waves from one direction and the swell coming rolling down here from the weather you are all enjoying in the North Atlantic:-) The two wave trains cross and sizeable pyramids of water dollop across the deck - so far Sue has been wetted twice and Andy not yet. A great distance covered over the 24 hours to noon: 142 Miles, a welcome improvement on yesterday's 120 Miles.
Baking bread this afternoon. It is quite hot in the cabin so to do but the smell is gorgeous and the taste will be a wonderful treat, our Cape Verde bread is getting past its best. We'll just have to be disciplined enough to ration ourselves - half the dough into the oven and the other half into the fridge for yet more bread fresh-baked tomorrow ... Yum! Yum!
|News & Updates||
04/Dec/2009, 260 Miles West of Cabo Verde
1,746 Miles to Barbados!
What a surprise, 5 Miles away, momentarily appearing above the waves, we saw a ship go sailing by... heading towards Cape Verde Islands from across the ocean. The first vessel seen since yesterday morning when we parted company with "Susie Too" as we both left the South end of the Sao Vincente channel, they headed for Brazil, with the Ralleye Iles de Soileil, and "Spruce" for the Caribbean.
A larger flying fish on deck but still found too late to safely eat, we will eventually see one landing, we hope, and into the pan:-)
The headsail rig and steadying sail are working fine, wind has got up to about 25 knots from the North East after being lighter through the night. Odd gusts of 30 knots provide a lively sail as Spruce bursts up to 8-knots surfing down the waves. Sometimes the prolonged nature of the gusts causes us to reef down (reduce sail area), usually just to let more sail back out after 10 minutes. If it stays gusty we'll keep her reefed-down through the night. Sacrificing speed for comfort is important if we are to stay fresh for another 2-weeks on passage.
We are towing our water powered generator to keep the batteries topped up. The main consumption is now from the SSB HF radio, the fridge has moved to runner-up. Sue has kept our various radio schedules today so Andy could stay sleeping. Sue had a catch-up chat with Bert and Marlene aboard "Heimkehr" (500 miles ahead of us), they are sorting out a problem with their headsail halyards and want a bit less swell, but are otherwise fine. Leif, Lola and Kime aboard "Avante" from Denmark are doing well and left Mindelo the day before us. We have yet to meet them but we are sure we will find each other in Barbados. We will try to raise "Rapau" later at 1800UTC (some 900 Miles ahead of Spruce) another yacht from Portchester, our home town, . They left directly from the Canaries on about the 18th November.
As we keep saying a busy ocean at this time of year:-)
|News & Updates||
03/Dec/2009, 160 Miles West of Cabo Verde
1,838 Miles to Barbados!
A fantastic moonlit night with an intensely bright full moon above the horizon for the whole night. No need for torches or flood lights to see around the rig and deck - quite a change from the trip to Cabo Verde when the moon was new and the nights long and dark. Sue did the watch until 01:30 in T-shirt and shorts, Andy needed a fleece, hat and long trousers by 04:00 when it cooled down a bit. It is not all sunshine and perspiration down here in the tropics, you know:-)
The twin headsails, true to tradition, gave a thoroughly uncomfortable and rolly night. The steadying staysail couldn't be rigged due to pole-uphaul ropes, haliards (for pulling the staysail up) and the inner-forestay (wire to which the sail is clipped) were all tangled and, notwithstanding the moonlight, was a job best left for daylight. Well they looked neat and tidy until we rigged poles and sails:-0
The steading staysail was rigged this morning. The rolling, while not completely stopped, is less and a much slower motion. Altogether more comfortable. Sailing downwind is less about the sailing and more about living in a state of perpetual motion. Imagine everyday events... cooking, washing, getting dressed, undressed .. and now imagine the room is rolling from side to side, moving up and down and jerking back and forth while you do daily jobs and chores. We are settling in well, some Danish friends, with seven people, aboard a boat some 30 miles to the North East had an awful night with the whole crew seasick. With some language challenges we gave them the tip about the steadying staysail... we'll find out on tomorrow's radio schedule at noon whether it has helped their comfort factor move off the bottom of the scale.
|News & Updates||
02/Dec/2009, South West of Ilha Santo Antao
Anchor up and Spruce was away at 0845UTC. A brisk breeze and a bit of work to get the twin booming out poles and the twin headsails set and we were off... surfing south westwards between Santo Antao and Sao Vincente with a respectable 6.5 knot average speed. After a few hours we worked our way westwards enough to be in the lee of Santo Antao ... so a couple of hours motor sailing to get into clear winds to be able to sail more comfortably and back to a reasonable speed. We want to settle in to a regular motion, albeit rockin and rolling before nightfall.
The cunning new fishing technique works! Sue bagged herself a decent sized Dorade ... we will be frying tonight and thoroughly enjoy what the bountiful sea has provided:-) Only 1,964 Miles to to to Barbados:-) The Danish and French yachts that should have left Mindelo later today, both have a few children on board. You can just picture the conversation by tea time... "Are we there yet?":-))
|News & Updates||
01/Dec/2009, Mindelo - Cabo Verde.
Morning chores successfully completed. Water tanks are full to the brim, food lockers and fridge also bursting with calories and protein.
Clearance has been granted at the immigration and Maritime Policia offices so we are green for go tomorrow.
Fuel to take on this afternoon before heading out into the anchorage. ... and Sue's chance to use up the remaining internet data allowance on posting more photos before cutting the ties with the shore ie move out of Wi-Fi range.
|News & Updates||
01/Dec/2009, Mindelo - Sao Vincente - Cabo Verdes
Well that's almost all the food on board and stowed. Fruit and veggies (including the onions of course - Liz:-)) washed down with mild bleach solution to keep those nasty creepy crawlies at bay... Food for 3-4 months in all but still a bit more fresh and frozen stuff to get this morning .. Sue's chores. Andy is off to the Maritime Policia and the Immigration chaps at the main harbour offices to get the all impoirtant Saida stamps in the passports - and our clearance to leave the Cabo Verde for pastures new across the Atlantic Ocean.
We aim to update the blog periodically as we travel (by sending emails over the HF radio) to report any highlights apart from lots of Blue! Blue! Blue! Not sure how many pictures we'll upload as we need to keep our "Connection MInutes" allowance for pulling down weather information.
We have sent an email, this morning, to Herb Hilgenberg ... he is a Canadian HAM radio expert who is also a weather forecaster, his hobby is to do a daily radio schedule at 2000UTC with yachts crossing the Atlantic and for them to provide him with actual weather reports and he provides individual forecasts for your area of sea. The daily cycle of life at sea will revolve around our watch keeping cycles, obtaining weather info, talking with other yachts via the SSB radio, fishing (hopefully more successfully - we have had some cunning new tips) and lots of time for reading the stack of novels sitting on the bookshelf.
Off to continue the day's chores. We move to the fuelling berth after lunch then anchor at in the bay to enjoy the swell for the evening and night to start the re-acclimatisation process for going to sea for two and a half weeks.
We have just uploaded a short (6min) video of our trip to Santo Antao to give an idea of what that wonderful island was like. The link should be below.
Bye for now - The Sprucettes heading West.
|News & Updates||