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Atlantic departure to the Azores (we think)

Atlantic departure to the Azores (we think)

It’s currently the 8th, and we are indeed leaving the BVIs today ⛵⛵⛵.

As we are writing this post we have already been sailing for an hour, and are currently still within internet range and the protection of the islands.

Come 10pm (6hour time) we should be out in the open ocean for the first time in quite a while.

Our day in Road Town was a success, and our marina time was well worth it.

We went out for a final on land dinner last night, that we also didn’t need to cook (lots of cooking coming up during the crossing), and got an early night.

The hunger had really set in, so we failed to get any picture of our main courses. But you can see the pizza that we also ordered, in preparation for having leftovers to take with us.

During the morning of the 8th we did 3 washing machines full of laundry in the marina, bought an additional 200USD of food including fresh veggies, stowed the dinghy, generally cleaned the boat up and put things away, filled out water tanks for the last time and downloaded as much entertainment as we could from the internet!

As 2pm approached we had a little dip in the marina pool, had our first and last on land showers for quite a while, paid up the marina fees and got the Hannah on the move!!!

Good bye to the BVIs, and helllow open ocean.

We will be blogging on the way with help from Ollie (who joined us in Antigua), so keep an eye out for posts in the coming weeks.

Remember, you can follow us using the various tracking links / maps at the top of this site (Predict wind and Garmin will be the best while crossing), and you can even send us messages there.


Pre-Atlantic boat jobs, Cape Verde

Pre-Atlantic boat jobs, Cape Verde

On the whole, we were already fairly prepared for the Atlantic crossing and could have set off right away. But we had been saving up boat jobs as ever and made a few impulse purchases to make the crossing a little nicer, so there was work to be done!

Generally, our starting list looked something like this:

  • Standing & running rigging check
  • Re-caulk more of the deck
  • Try to fix wind instruments
  • Fit new driver for UV lamp & 12v regulator
  • Change water filters
  • Clean & patch the mainsail
  • Make our preventer better
  • Clean & service the engine
  • Fit a new filter for the engine seawater inlet
  • Fit bilge alarms on the 2 bilge pumps
  • Fit the “auto” mode of 1 bilge pump
  • Investigate wind turbine charging issues
  • Re provision, water, gas & fuel

Lots of these boat jobs are boring, and there are not pictures, but some of the more interesting jobs are detailed below 🙂

A new solar panel

This wasn’t on our todo list, but during the crossing from the Canaries to Cape verde we realized that we couldn’t sail for extended periods of time while on certain points of sail due to not generating enough power from the sun and wind.

Currently, we have 1 Marlec wind turbine up the mizen mast, 1x ~100W flexible solar panel on the cockpit roof, and 1x ~120W flexible solar panel that we generally attach to the rear side rails.

When running downwind the wind turbine doesn’t do much, and the solar panel on the roof ends up in shadow quite a lot of the time, meaning the only thing charging us would be a single ~120W panel.

This would not be enough for the Atlantic crossing, and would likely lead to us needing to run the engine for 1 hour a day during sunny days, and likely more during cloudy days, which is something we wanted to avoid. We did some very rough maths on fuel consumption and costs, considered how much nicer it would be to just have more power all of the time and decided to buy another solar panel.

We didn’t have much time and didn’t want to spend much money, so ended up buying some pipe to lash together on the aft port side to mount the solar panel on.

As well as somewhere to mount the solar panel, we also had to get cables from the mount to the battery area, and fit a new charge controller.

Before fitting the new panel we had 2 charge controllers, and now we have 3! All different, doing different things in different ways, and probably fighting with each other over when to charge the battery and when not to…

The new charge controller fitted nicely next to our oldest charge controller, the solar panel was mounted after multiple trips to the DIY shop, and we are happy to report charging is easier now!

This gives us an extra ~200W charging capacity, and it’s also easily tiltable currently using some lines attached to the mizen mast. We saw lots of nicer clamp solutions while walking around the marina, but will have to save a fancy solution like this for the future.

Deck caulking

We last did some deck caulking back in Figueira da Foz, but had stocks of caulking to do much more, we had just been putting it off until such a time that we were in one place for multiple days, and that opportunity appeared in Mindelo.

Rather than trying to do a complete line of caulking in one go all the way around the boat, we instead picked a couple of strips that had lots of breaks in them due to other things being fitted to the deck that we were not going to take out.

We dug out the old caulking mainly using screw drivers, sanded down the insides, masked off the teak, and filled them with caulking. Sounds easy in a single sentence but this process took us multiple days.

We now have 2 strips down the starboard side that are freshly caulked. Alongside this, we caulked a large area of the aft deck 🙂

Wind instruments

Ever since Hannah was purchased, there has been an issue with the wind instruments.

Speed works just fine, but half of the direction doesn’t.

We had previously investigated various things that could be wrong, cables in the mast, issues with the screen etc, but hadn’t come to a concrete conclusion on what the issue was.

The guys at BoatCV came aboard and tested some things that we had already tested, we also continued to test other things and think of ideas that could be wrong. At one stage the BoatCV guys took the head unit to the workshop with the idea that there might be something wrong with the magnet inside that detects direction (we had already changed everything else, mast cable, screen, and circuit board). This didn’t make any sense to me, and before they took it off to the workshop I came to the conclusion that the issue must be in the cables in the head unit!

The next day, they came back to confirm that was indeed the issue, so we had to replace only 1 small section of cables in the head unit itself.

We managed to buy a secondhand and newer screen for the wind instruments back in the UK, so we started fitting this which required a bunch of adapters to convert between the old SeaTalk ad SeaTalk NG for the new screen.

Conveniently this was all fairly easy as the wiring is easy to access under the box that holds the various displays, and all connected with easy connectors.

Once all fitted connected and working the new screen worked flawlessly, and also correctly indicated wind direction all the way around.

This would mean while crossing the Atlantic we could finally use wind vane steering, and also use the instrument display to see where the wind was coming from instead of lookup up at the mast!


We had plenty of tinned food to last us all the way across the Atlantic and then some. But we needed to stock up on fresh produce and little treats. During our weeks in Mindelo we scouted out most supermarkets to see what was available where, and in the final 2 days before departing we re visited them all to stock up on the best bits.

Our pre-departure provisioning also included filling up on water, fuel, and gas.

We were over the moon to find out they could fill up both our Camping Gaz bottles and our UK Calor gas bottles at the nearby gas company buildings. So we were to set off on our crossing with 5 full bottles of gas, which should last 4-6 months.

Gibraltar and the Monkeys

Gibraltar and the Monkeys

The marina we chose was the last resort after trying the other marinas first who said they were full for our chosen days, to our surprise though it was the best marina we’ve ever been to! And what really did make it awesome was the bathrooms, it’s funny how you take something so mundane for granted when you live in a house. Well, this marina had home-from-home private bathrooms with his and hers double sinks, waterfall showers and two even had huge bathtubs, which we obviously made the most of! We didn’t get a perfect picture of the baths, but you can see a screenshot from a video to the right.

The staff were great, and the marina was all being fully renovated with new pontoons installed in 2020, so it was all very shmancy but also surprisingly cheap.

You can read our full review on Navily.

We had a bit of confusion booking, we both emailed but got no reply (our email went to spam) and called, but got not email confirmation after. Upon arriving we had 2 bookings! Luckily we only paid for 1 😉

On approach to the marina be carefull not to stray into the runway approach as the port channel markers are not currently in the water. The satalite view on maps show this as Mediterranean moorings, however we were alongside a pontoon, and other around us had fingers. We were right outside reception.

The marina is well located, a middle sized supermarket selling Tesco products open every day, and a 15 minuite walk away a giant Morrisons. Water and electricity is included in the mooring fee, and for a 11.5m monohull we paid £28 a night for 5 nights. There is construction work going on around but we didn’t find it annoying. Lots of restaurants and places to have a drink. Shepard’s chandelry is awesome, we went there at least 5 times while doing various boat jobs. The staff are very helpful. There are laundry facilities in the building next to reception. £4.50 for washing, £1.50 for drying. Also a vending machine with some cold drinks.

Fuel was cheap at £1.19 /L for Diesel from Gib oil a few meters from the marina reception. We got some as we left the marina. As everyone else said the bathrooms are great, make use of the baths!!! (In Alpha and Beta). 10/10, would head there again

The grand tin reorganization

While in Gibraltar we took some time restocking our dry goods and tin collection from the nearby Morrisons, this included some home comforts from the UK 🙂

At the same time, we took an inventory of all food aboard, ready for some longer crossings and to avoid needing to dig around to find things in the various storage compartments.

So many tins! We think we could probably live quite happily for a few months with this stockpile and also not get scurvy.

On top of this, we have a few KGs of pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, quinoa, noodles etc.

We spent a little time doing boat jobs.

On our last voyage into Gibraltar the bolts that hold our wind turbine in place had once again come undone despite having sent Andrew up the mast a few weeks back to do them up very tight. Our bolts went overboard this time, so we needed to locate some new bolts, and locking washers to try to keep the wind turbine attached to its mount.

We spent some time going along the steering shaft oiling and greasing all of the appropriate parts. This shaft runs from the wheel in the cockpit, down the port side of the boat through various compartments, bearings and angeled joints to the rudder stock.

Here you can see part of the shaft closest to the wheel with the autopilot in view, and the chain that allows it to steer the boat. (Perhaps we should do an autopilot tour soon)

Of course, a marina trip wouldn’t be complete without some land exploration and good food.

We ate out a few nights of our overall 5-night stay having some tasty Italian, fajitas, cocktails, fish and chips, meat skewers, burgers etc.

This included a hop back into Spain where we caught a bus all the way to Marbella which is slightly further east into the Mediterranean, to make use of a voucher at a restaurant that Adam had acquired.

We also headed up “the rock” to take in some amazing views and to watch the monkeys at sunset.

Day 42: A needed marina trip

Day 42: A needed marina trip

After Adam doused the bed in the saloon in salt water, we needed to do some laundry. We also didn’t have much water left on board (7.5 inches left of 25) so rather than use up the last of on water it’s time for a marina!

A short marina call & journey

We could actually see the marina from the anchorage. We also looked up the Marina in the Navily app. it’s says they have somewhere to do laundry, hooray! So the main next steps are 1) make sure they have space and 2) head over there…

Only 500m so no map this time

As Captain, Kathryn had the task of calling the marina, but not before preparing some phases incase there was no English speaker.

  • Do you speak English?
    • habla usted Inglés?
  • Can you speak slowly, my Spanish is poor.
    • Puedes hablar despacio, mi español es pobre.
  • Do you have space available today?
    • Tienes espacio disponible hoy?
  • eleven point five meters
    • once punto cinco metros
  • three point two meters
    • tres punto dos metros
  • the draft is one point six meters
    • el calado es de uno punto seis metros

The phone call went well, and we were all set for arrival at 11am, which was 25 minuites later! So anchor up, and on our way.

We switched roles for this little journey with Kathryn running around on deck doing anchors, fenders and lines while Adam took the helm getting us away from the anchorage, through the harbour entrance and into the slip.

You can see our old anchorage in the background of our new slip.

Hannah moored up in the slip

Paper work down, passports scanned, insurance emailed over and €32 paid we were all set.

Wash everything

Task 1, wash all of the things. It turned out that there was no laundry room at the marina, so we had to do this onboard, but with plenty of fresh water.

A sheet being washed in the sink

We also used the fresh water to wash the salt off the hull from yesterday morning, along with a quick deck scrub and also rinsing all of our water gear.

Everything was hung out around the boat. At 34 degrees it was would be dry in no time.

Hannah covered in things drying

Plan Q & Supermarket run

We are preparing for guests. The plan has changed slightly. We will no longer be aiming for Porto for the 2nd August, instead aiming for Vigo. So not Portugal, but Spain instead, and just a little way south of where we currently are.

This is primarily because anchoring in Portugal seems like a bit of a pain, and we think our guests will have more fun if we spend the first week on the west coast of Galicia, Spain. Lots of fun anchorages etc.

This is probably plan Q, we have lost count.

We will be eating 2.5x the ammount of food when we have 5 people aboard, so time to stock up a bit.

Some of the supermarket haul