Time for the longest crossing yet, the Canaries down to Cape Verde.
In theory, an easy crossing, as you should be able to follow the trade winds that run down the coast of Africa before they head across the Atlantic ocean. These are the same winds followed by Christopher Columbus and are well known.
And it was indeed fairly straightforward.
In terms of the sailing, we set off just before noon and an hour or so just motoring to get out of the lull to the south of the Island.
Blue Note left first, with us closely following behind. Extress needed to go to the harbor to fill up with water and they left roughly 1 hour after.
After that, we spent most of the first day on a broad reach while trying to stay in the shelter of La Gomera to avoid swell that was still hanging around in the Atlantic.
On the first evening, we switched to a run using our twin-head sail setup (1 Genoa & 1 Ghoster). We poled the ghoster out on our large spinnaker pole, while poling out the geno using the main boom.
We remained that way until the final day (day 6), when we switched back to a broad reach.
This was the first trip that we were sailing with other boats and tried to stay in VHF contact where possible. We all radioed each other on the first evening to compare positions, but at this stage we could all still see each other on AIS.
Both Blue Note and Extress had headed a little further west than us to start.
On the second day we could no longer see Blue note on AIS or reach them over the VHF. We managed to keep up daily communication with Extress reporting positions. The race was on!
Due to the position reports, we managed to roughly track where everyone was, and although we couldn’t talk to Blue Note or see them on AIS constantly, they seemed to pop up once a day so toward the start so we could also track their course.
In the map below, we are in green, Extress in orange and blue note in Blue.
(Yes we took this race very seriously)
During the last night, Extress crossed over our track and started to overtake us. We saw this coming, but didn’t want to change our sail plan in the middle of the night, so let it happen. This lead to Extress arriving 1 hour before us even though we were gaining on them at some points of the last day.
We arrived just after dark, but anchoring was made easy by a local guy called Jay who came over to us and directed us to a nice little spot on the far side of the anchorage.
Extress, who we had only spoken to over VHF, called us up to invite us over for drinks, so after a quick dinner, we headed over and met the 4 Extress crew as well as 2 from Danae, another dutch boat we had not yet met.
We had a few nice wildlife interactions on this crossing, with a bird coming and landing on deck for a little rest overnight. It found one of the only sheltered places on the foredeck, under the anchor windlass.
We also saw a group of whales chilling at the surface, possibly sleeping. They were only 10-20 meters away from us as we passed.
Once again, cool wildlife brings out the best squeaks from all of us.