Atlantic Ocean Crossing Days 1&2

The first two days are over and we are still waiting for wind. There was some wind around the Cape Verde Islands, and later occasionally every here and there. We reached 7 knots of boat speed during last night. This is generally not overwhelming but still counts for progress if otherwise the engine is consuming limited diesel.

Diesel was really cheap in the Cape Verdes, costing something like 0.90 Euros per liter. We stocked 415 liters. That would keep us going for another 4.5 days in same conditions. But hey, we are here for sailing. Usually there should be plenty of trade winds in our latitude this time of the year, but a big storm system which passed far north of us has stopped every wind where we are. Yes, this might also be part of the climate change which very experienced sailors such as Jimmy Cornell have noticed during the last decade already. Luckily, our Hallberg-Rassy came with two big tanks and so we can carry more fuel than many others in our fleet.

Our fleet is 23 boats and most of the have left Mindelo on Thursday within two hours. The field stretched quite rapidly. Some went for the shortest way towards Barbados hoping that winds would pick up after two days. Others intended to go two hundred miles South first to get into stable trades. After doing our own weather considerations we opted for the Swiss way which is to choose a strategy which was finally in between the ‘extreme’ positions.

By doing so, we saw the lights of ten other yachts in the beginning of the first night, with three lights remaining at the end of same night. Now when being two days into the crossing, we have also lost the last boat which was so far displayed on our electronic plotter screen.

Unfortunately we deviated from our routing strategy already on the first evening. We were then convinced that the extra miles for going Southwest would not be worth the diesel we consume. 24 hours later and with the newest weather data available we re-adjusted our course from 270 to 240 degrees, since wind seems not to pick up here for the next three days.

Anyway, the distance to destination was 2030 nm when we started. Since then, we have seen 2000, 1900, 1800 nautical miles going by. Guess what? The common feeling is that these miles go down too quickly. Let’s see what we will say next week.

The crew works very well together and we have had two lovely days. The calm weather even allowed to stop the boat once for one hour to go swimming and cooling down around the boat, followed by much appreciated shower. Air temperature is 30.4 degrees as water is 28.1 degrees.

Even fish get lazy with the calm and warm sea. Fishing success so far is limited to three small Mahi-Mahi’s, approximately 40 cm long. We made photos of each one to be documented for the fishing contest amongst the fleet, but let the fish go because each one was were not really big enough to give a good meal. So we started to create our own lures which look now bigger than the original ones, hoping that bigger fish would bite.

Jeanette and Joachim furled our genoa out again minutes ago. The 3.8 knots of true wind would give us another 0.5 knot of boat speed, now being back to 5 knots boat speed over ground. With this configuration we will continue motoring and look forward for finally reaching the trades on Sunday afternoon.

Nautical miles during the crossing:
Day 2: 125nm
Day 1: 115nm

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