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Arriving in Mindelo, as ARC+ set off

Arriving in Mindelo, as ARC+ set off

Arriving in Mindelo was quite interesting, as we arrived 30 minutes before the ARC+ set off to cross the Atlantic.

As we approached Mindelo, our chart was going crazy with the 100-200 boats that were setting off all appearing.

Thankfully we took our sails down with plenty of time to avoid needing to do this around all of the other boats.

We tried to avoid crossing the start line which was between the NE breakwater and a bouy in the middle of the bay, so we snuck around the north side and then motored around all of the boats that were either putting their sails up or already had them up.

Extress who arrived 20 minutes before us had already navigated all of the boats radioed us on VHF to let us know where they were, as they had found a nice spot to watch the start from with Danae.

It was quite an interesting little route, and we nearly strayed into a dredging area once, but we made it before the start, and we were right next to the SW start bouy.

It’s quite crazy seeing hundreds of boats, many of which are sailed by amateurs, holding back from a start line waiting to cross.

The race started! And it was already clear who might have a chance of winning! (See if you can spot them in the video below)

And indeed, they did cross the ARC+ finish line first after just 9 and a bit days.

So many boats disappearing over the horizon

Once the start line was clear, we headed into the marina with Danae and Extress. It was amazingly empty after the race started, but throughout the day it would progressively fill with the next wave of boats looking to make the crossing.

This was our first time mooring Mediterranean style, but all went smoothly. We decided to come in bow first next to a lovely German boat called Beagle, got our lines attached on the bow, pulled back, and sorted out the rest.

We ended up with quite a few lines on the front, all with anti-chafe and anti-chafe for the anti-chafe in various places as we found this marina to move around quite a lot.

And when we wondered around the marina, we saw that Maiden was also in the marina!

Maiden is a 58 foot aluminium ocean racing yacht built in 1979, designed by Bruce Farr and raced by Pierre Fehlmann, Bertie Reed and Tracy Edwards and John Bankart. Edwards bought the yacht in 1987 to compete in the 1989–90 Whitbread Round the World Race with an all-female crew.

Gran Canaria, Tenerife & La Gomera

Gran Canaria, Tenerife & La Gomera

After Lanzarote & Fuerteventura we headed on to 3 more Canary Islands.

Gran Canaria

We did a night sail across to Gran Canaria, arriving in the early morning, which lead to some lovely views around the busy port.

The anchorage here is attached to the marina, and thus you have to pay a small fee just to anchor. The small fee is only a couple of euros, and this is great in comparison to some anchorages in the UK such as Salcombe that require you to pay around £15 a night to anchor near the river mouth…

We didn’t have lots planned from Gran Canaria, but generally explored, relaxed and ate some tasty food.

On one of our trips to land, we spotted the boat Magic of Bermuda whom we had previously met in Gibraltar. We ended up spending most of the day aboard Magic chatting, drinking tea, and telling stories. On the dock, we also met a French couple looking for a lift to Tenerife, and we decided to pickup our first hitchhikers.

The ARC leaves from this marina in Gran Canaria, so the marina was extremely busy with ARC boats.

Another little tradition of the ARC is boats painting rocks on the breakwater before they leave.

We had a very peaceful night sail to Tenerife with our 2 new friends. They cooked, we sailed. One of them, unfortunately, got a little seasick, but a good sleep out on deck helped them out. They were planning on taking part in a residential art project starting the next week in Tenerife, where they sail across the Atlantic on a catamaran and create art (a project run by @circusspacepirates)


We stopped off in Tenerife, dropping off our 2 hitchhikers. Our next guest was also going to be arriving in while we were here. The plan was for them to join us down to Cape Verde and then across the Atlantic.

As soon as Gareth arrived we sent him straight up the mast!

On the whole, Tenerife was another short stop off, where we restocked on Gas, food and did some final maintenance before setting off on what would be our longest crossing yet in the next weeks.

La Gomera

The sail to La Gomera was once again a night sail, but this time with 3 crew, meaning we could try with just a single shift each on watch.

Here we met up with SV Blue Note who we had planned to sail from the Canaries to Cape Verde with us in a little race, and they had also joined another Dutch boat called Extress who would also leave on the same day.

The story that we have to tell for La Gomera is the afternoon we nearly stole another boat’s anchor!!!

But that’ll come in the next post!