Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Across the Pond

Thursday 7th December 2006

So far the trip across “The Pond” hasn’t been too eventful, thank god!

Last night Pete went off watch at around 8pm the conditions were easy light winds and not too much of a sea running, but as usual, 1 hour after he’d gone, the wind started to pick up and the seas started to get bigger. We had Charlie the autopilot on and as usual Charlie gets in a tizzy and starts frantically pushing the tiller hard over from side to side. Given that there was quite a swell running and cross waves it made it a very unpleasant ride. The conditions weren’t nasty just uncomfortable.

I really hate waking Pete up but with the winds increasing, Charlie behaving like he’s on acid and the boom getting a dunking as we roll over I really had no other choice.

Pete got up completely confused as he had been in such a deep sleep and kept rambling on about being close to land anyway once he got his brain into gear we reefed the gib changed Charlie for Aries and pulled the boom in for a more comfortable night. Off he went to bed again. Feeling guilty I decided to extend his off watch period to 1am giving him 5 hours rest. How he manages to sleep so soundly amazes me.

I saw a ship last night but I didn’t see him until he was very close, this was due to the swell being so high. He went in front of us and all was well. It was a massive container ship, which according to the pilot chart, we were going through a shipping lane, he was probably on his way to New York from South Africa.

The ocean swell is the most amazing thing I have seen but also quite intimidating. It looks like the ocean sucks the water in, takes a deep breath and blows it back out again. The swell is huge and must be the size of a tower block but Nadezhda just gently rises up and over the wave. I really wouldn’t want to be here when it’s really windy.

I’ve just stood in the companion way and watched a wall of water coming up behind us as we reached the apex I turned around and watched us surf down, you really are on top of the world!.

Free-flying the tri-sail

So far I’ve enjoyed the day times but the night watches unnerve me a bit as you can’t see what’s coming. I’ve learnt to count to 10 and take deep breaths, as everything seems worse in the dark. The bit I don’t like is when a cross wave hits the side of Nadezhda and we roll violently. I’m so grateful that we have Aries as it takes the waves in it’s stride and soon get the boat back under control even though we do slalom a bit. Aries for some reason we can’t work out realises that there’s a big wave coming and puts the stern into it. Pete is calmer, more sensible and male and is loving every minute of it.

We’re doing so well and averaging 160 miles per day, this is with 3 reefs in the main and the gib. At this rate we should make our half way mark in day and a half. There’s 1344 miles to our waypoint, which is South Point around 6 miles from Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown.

The plan is to stay in Barbados a couple of days to have a few cheeky cocktails on the beach and then make our way to Grenada for Christmas. 1st stop in Grenada will be Prickly Bay and then on to St Georges, apparently there’s a yacht club in a lagoon so we might treat ourselves and stay in the marina.

Pete is asleep at the moment (it’s 3:45pm) he was very good to me last night and left me to sleep a full 7 hours, bliss….

Apart from the cross swell we are happy to say that we had had near perfect conditions and the grib files suggest that it will remain the same of the next 3 days, fingers crossed!

The flying fish do get everywhere we have just found one laying on the cooker, shame we didn’t have a frying pan ready! How they manage to get in I don’t know.


As usual, the ride has been a rockin’ and a rollin’. The other night I must have been quite tired because I couldn’t get my head around how the wind here just seems so much stronger than back in the UK. My thoughts were that the expanse of ocean, the associated swell and the dark made everything seem all that more severe. The GRIB file showed 20 knots of wind and yet it felt like we had more than 20 knots over the deck even though we were running downwind. The day after, the wind eased to what I would normally expect of 20 knot winds….I reckon we had had a good force 7 the night before and did not even realise it! Thank god we don’t have an anemometer - ignorance is bliss!

Since then, the wind has been fairly constant and seems to agree with the forecasts.

We still have 3 reefs in the mainsail but this simply helps to keep the boat in balance and, to be honest, we don’t need any more sail out. The ocean swell almost pushes along without any wind and we manage surfs of over 8 knots at times with not too much wind over the deck or strain on Nadezhda. If conditions persist, then we will have had a very good crossing.

Friday 8th December 2006


Our high-speed progress has been a bit slowed today since the wind/waves were conspiring against us. The waves were getting a little too confused and the wind was picking-up. Going at 7+knots simply meant that Naz was starting to slew around so we took a few turns in the headsail. Whilst this worked for a while, we eventually had to take the mainsail down to slow-down and ease the ear-to-ear rocking and the steerage problem. Muggings here clipped the main halyard to the usual guardrail and then went back to the mast and pulled it tight..........I had missed the guardrail and clipped it to fresh air!

So, the halyard went on a frantic tour of the rigging with me chasing it with a boathook. As it wrapped itself into ever increasing knots, so it climbed the mast until it got itself inexorably knotted just above the lower spreaders. There was only one thing for it and so up I went.

Having retrieved it and unknotted it, I found that it had actually found its way between the triangle made by the lower shrouds and the cap shrouds and so I had to go bacxk up again. Just as I got half-way up the mast, the biggest swell hit and it was awesome watching Nadezhda surge and slide down the waves. I really should have taken a camera as the view was truly amazing. However, having got down without incident, I was a little reticent about going back up just for the photoshot and decided to leave that for another day.

We have recorded a max speed on the crossing of 8.89 knots. This had not been reached before this morning and we believe that it must have occurred during the massive surge whilst I was up the mast!!

Having put the halyard where it belongs, we are making slower but easier progress at 5.5 to 7 knots under full jib. The GRIB file suggests that the wind will die down over the coming days (although we take GRIB forecasts with a pinch of salt). This will not be good as we will be left helpless without power in a left-over sea. Lets hope we can retain enough forward momentum to keep steerage and keep going.


Earlier in the morning I spotted a shape in the water to the port side of the boat and whilst I watched it swam underneath us, I called Pete to come have a look and it turned out to be a shark. It couldn't have been a dolphin as it never came up for air and the body shape was very sleek with a pointy face. Pete reckond he could see the outline of it's mouth & teeth. It swam around the boat & must have stayed a discreet distance from us for about 10 minutes. Great to see it!

Saturday 10th December 2006

Lat: 14 24.7 N Long: 41 56.2


Good news! we went past the half way point at 12pm today, very bizarre as its exactly 7 days from the time we left Praia. We toasted Neptune with a very small Margarita.

Proof of half-way

Light winds today but we are still doing 5-6 knots. In 34 miles we will be under a thousand miles to go but it looks like we won't be able to maintain this speed as the weather forecast says that the wind is going to die on Monday afternoon for a few days. A real shame as we have made excellant progress so far, lets hope their wrong.

Sunday 11th December 2006

We had a easy night apart from Pete & I experiencing (at differant times) a slight wind increase and a bigger wave which picked up the stern of Nadezhda and surged us forward. this caused us to surge from side to side over over 8 knots. Scary at the time but Charlie handled the moment very well. We wern't over canvassed it was just the 7th wave scenario. Also we think that the main sail is the culprit as the wind gets behind the main and swings the back end around. We can't reef the main anymore as we will lose steerage (winds were light last night).

Pete had an exciting watch as he saw another yacht and a supertanker a mile away on his starboard side.

Quite exciting now as we a seriously counting down the days and all being equal we should arrive on Sunday. The forecast is that the winds are dying tomorrow until Thursday afternoon so worse case scenario we'll motor for a few days which isn't such a bad thing as it'll mean we can both catch up on our sleep plus we can do a bit of fishing (hopefully not catch anything).

Pete says "Damn waves & we're being cursed by light winds".

At the moment we have the criusing chute up and a reefed main and we're doing just under 6 knots. This morning it looked like a sqall was heading towards us but it didn't bring wind just rain.

We've been listening to Herb and we know we have another yacht just 60 miles north of us, maybe we'll sail tweak as we get close to land.

Lat 14 09.6 N Long 45 39.6 W Distance travelled: 1401.1 Miles to go: 758

Wednesday 13 th December 2006


The last couple of days (and nights) have been hard graft just keeping Nadezhda ticking along. We have tried the oversized cruising chute (an asymetrical spinnaker) but the waves roll the top of the mast too much and causes it to luff into the wind when swinging one way and then fill with a bang that is felt through the chafed buttocks as the hull bends upwards with the force. Having said that, we did have some success with it yesterday for a few hours. Ouir alternative strategy is to rig the jib on a pole on the opposite side to the boom. This is great for a while until the wind chages and we have to dismantle the arrangement and pole out the other side. Playing these games becomes a little tedious after a while and a return to 15-20 knots of constant wind would be appreciated.

Last night we eventually got down to 2 knots speed and decided to resort to the engine. We rolled the jib in with boom attached so that it could be deployed by one person and I went to bed. Fliss had an uneventful watch and we swapped the warm sweaty couch as I had my watch. Fifteen minutes later, the wind picked-up a little from the starboard beam and so I unfurled the jib. However, I could not sheet it in tight enough with the pole attached and so had to re-furl and put the boom away. Out came the jib and we were cruising nicely at over 6 knots.

Of course, this could not last for long, and soon the wind backed around to the stern and the jib started flapping again. Damned if I was going back to put the pole up again, anyway, it was pitch black outside and the wind was picking-up more so we ran on under the reefed mainsail only.

The wind continued to shift until it was threatening to gybe us and, with a line strapped to the boom so that it would not 'flog', this would not be a pleasurable thing to happen. It was at this point that I realised that we had some 'local conditions'. The sky was a complete starless black maw and so I went below, checked all hatches were closed, put away cockpit cushoins, got the companionway boards and my wetties and prepared for the squall to come.

It LASHED down with rain. Absolute stair-rods that turned the surface of the sea white. Luckily, the wind was not too strong and gusty and we only had a double-reefed mainsail up. Fliss poked her head out of the hatch and very quickly closed it again and disappeared! She returned to the tiny window at the back and asked if all was ok. A grateful cup of coffee was soon produced.

The rain subsided somewhat and I decided to get the boom-lashing off and gybe back on track (we were by that time heading due North to run away from the wind). Five minutes later, we were back in the midst of it all again. It was so dark, I couldn't see where the centre of the sqall was so I jumped below and turned the radar on so we could see the dense clouds of rain that give a very clear image of what's going on. We ran South and eventually escaped by 5:00 (GMT) in the morning.

I personally give all credit to Fliss since she had the cunning idea of chucking my crusty cardboard salt-laden trousers out into the cockpit for a rinse. All of a sudden, the rain stopped!

The rest of the night was uneventful. Today looks like light airs and I suppose we will motor. The forecast is for more wind tomorrow - here's hoping. By the way, we passed mid-way point on Saturday at 12:00 GMT - exactly one week since our departure from Praia. We are still hoping to make Barbados by the 17th (Sunday) but these light airs are against us at the moment.

Squall on Radar

We'd listened to "Herb" earlier on in the evening and he had suggested that their was potential of squalls but you wouldn't be able to see them as it would be dark. So I spent my watch staring at every cloud accessing if they were squalls, not that I would know a squall cloud from a bog standard cloud.

Just before Pete got up (around 00:45) a couple of big black clouds started appearing behind us but they just went passed us and caused no problems... these clouds had all the traits of a squall cloud as they were tall and dark.

1st thing I knew about the squall was the sound of the rain pounding on the deck. There was no way I could go outside as when I opened the hatch the rain just poured inside. As Pete mentioned all communication was brief and through the small window in the rear cabin. I asked if he needed help and he said "no point us both getting wet".

To be honest I would have preferred being outside as being locked inside the boat with all the noise going on outside I felt like I was inside a tomb I also felt bad about leaving Pete on his own.
I feel a little sorry for a boat we met in Boavista as they had e-mailed us to say that they were leaving last weekend. Listening to "Herb" they have had 25-30 knots of wind with squalls and crossed seas for a couple of days and now they are running into light winds with squalls. Chances are that the seas will be confused and quite mucky. I wonder if the saying "are we having fun yet" is being said onboard Yacht Yyvonne.

We've decided that if there is a strong risk of squalls we'lll put the radar on, set it to watchman (this means that it only switches on every 15 minutes) and keep a close watch. Not that last night was a problem but it could mean you have the chance to run away.

So all in all an interesting evening! but the good news is that we have a lovely clean and salt free boat.

Friday 15th December 2006

Strange night last night as when Pete went off watch (9pm) the ocean had an ominious feeling about it. Later on during my watch I noticed a flash of light behind a cloud which looked like a flare going off so I switched on the VHF to see if the was anyone in distress but there was no one. The flashes of light happend at least 3 more times and each time I switched on the VHF. Next thing was huge burning meteorite that lasted a good 7 seconds on our port hand side, the meteorite was so very low and not much higher than the sea.

I also felt a bump which wasn't a wave and wondered if we had touched a sleeping whale.

As it had been a windless day we half suspected that we may have squalls in the evening but after listening to Herb who said that he could see no serious convection activity we hoped that he was right... Herb (previously known as Mr Acious Border) has now been renamed Michael Fish as he couldn't have been more wrong.

A number of dark clouds passed by us with no issue but around 12am the stars disappeard and behind us the sky was totally black. I switched on the radar and there was this huge black mass creeping up on us. Skipper alerted, full battle dress doned (I wasn't going to miss out on the action) and we waited for the onslaught, which wasn't an onslaught really just some rain.

This wasn't the last of it as we were surronded all night by the damn things, I went to bed around 2am and awoke at 4am after being rolled from the couch.... I served coffee and kept Jobbo company for a good couple of hours. I'm sure he could have done without me waffling on.

The good news is that we have wind (not literally) and are romping along at well over 6 knots and Sunday is becoming possible infact "inshallah" we may have to slow down if we carry on like this...

At the moment we have 287 miles to go and its wonderful seeing the lower numbers! it will be even better when we only have half a day to go! The really exciting thing is that we will have a better idea tomorrow lunchtime as to whether or not we will make landfall the next day.

Fingers crossed that we keep this wind as landfall is a wonderful thought. It doesn't feel like two weeks maybe as one day just merges into the next but we are looking forward to sleeping in a proper bed and not having to go to bed at silly times.

Talking of Michael Fish we love to hear the boats that are close to landfall or have arrived as you can hear the excitement in their voices as they say "Great to have you onboard Herbbb" or "Thanks for being onboard Herbbb" makes us laugh everytime as it's only the Americans that say it! the Brits are more reserved. Pete & I make up characters like the old man with his wife that are down to their 3rd reef and no gib and are recording 5 knots of wind and are asking Herbb in a tremoulous voice if the conditions are likely to ease as they are travelling at well over 1 knot and are concerned that they might broach. Passes the time!!!!! .


Hmmmm. Funny how I always seem to get the watch with the soaking downpours, the sudden windshifts through 90 degrees and the variable strength winds. At one point we were idling along at about 1 knot and two minutes later we were gunning at 7 knots frantically reefing the headsail. We had decided to take-in the mainsail after the first squall and run on poled-out headsail alone. This is much easier to reef and certainly less catastrophic if the drastically changing wind got the wrong side of it.

So it was concentration all the way. Fliss was good to me when she got up by keeping me going with coffee passed through a narrow slit of open hatch.

Dawn saw the squalls disappear as the sun warmed the clouds and a constant breeze replaced the fickle night. We hoisted the mainsail in about 15-20 knots of wind and barrelled-off downhill in an attempt to make up some of the lost time of the last couple of days. We are hoping the winds will last us until Barbados but, in any case, from now-on we will make the most of every breath.

Saturday 16th December 2006

Typical only 131 miles to go and the wind is no more, are we becalmed you my ask?, well yes & no! We have no wind but the swell is having the usual affect of rolling us violently from side to side.

Engine on and we hope to have enough to make it to Barbados if the winds don't pick up later. Pete being a smart cookie has a spare tank for landfall.

Late yesterday afternoon the squalls where already starting to build up and in desperation we decided to put the engine on for a few hours just to make sure Pete got some rest before all hell broke lose. We ran straight down the middle of them with no adverse effects. Amazing as they were less than a mile of the side of us. Some were massive and took up half the screen (the radius was on 12 miles)... Pete got up at midnight and he was stunned at how big the squall was & that we hadn't felt any effects.

Today has been a long slow sail but we were treated to seeing a Minky whale. Minky was so close that Pete sitting in the cockpit saw it dive under the keel. It must have been well over 30 foot with a massive tail. Stunning to see as it played with the boat by diving upside down and then surfed down the large gentle waves. Minky was with us for a good 15 minutes. Amazing & graceful.

Eventually, we made Barbados at about 01:00 GMT on the 18th. Since local time was 09:00 on the 17, we can say that we made our target date for completing the crossing!

Wednesday 20th December 2006

We've just left Barbados for Grenada which is around 130 miles so we hope to be in early tomorrow morning.

We loved Barbados the people are smiley and there's no hassle at all.

We had a wonderful time as we met a couple of other boats who loved to party! so its now time to give our livers a rest.

Pete & I always thought we were hardened drinkers but we were mere amateurs in the presence of Patty, Kev & Barbara & Chris... we were totally outclassed!!!!

Really great company and we don't really want to leave but we'd always planned on being in Grenada for Christmas.

Interesting thing happened yesterday, we moored our dinghy and a really lovely old man took the line and tied it off for us... when we came back we couldn't see the dinghy, Pete went one way & I went the other eventually I spotted it further down the river.. anyway to cut a long story short back on board Nadezhda a jet ski came over and a local said that he had spotted the dinghy floating down the river and he had dived in the water to rescue it he then asked for commission for rescuing the dinghy.... I think it was a scam but what can you do, you can't call him in liar so we gave him some money.

Lovely last night as 7 of us went out to a local restaurant and listened to a steel band... Pete & I are suffering a bit as we didn't go to bed until the wee hours.

Anyway Barbados has been fab and a lovely introduction to the Caribbean....

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!

The Cape Verde Islands

Friday 17th November 2006


We left Mindello yesterday around 10ish bound for Santo Antao it was only a short hop of around 25 miles.

To say that we were happy to leave was an understatement. The night before, a luxury catamaran decided to stage a party and the music was so loud that it woke me up at 3am, I stuck my head out of the cockpit and someone was also letting of air horns. Our neighbour who we called the “Hoff” (the reason for that was he was that he thought he was dead cool and the Hoff is after David Hasslehoff). The “Hoff” decided that he had had enough and woke his “boat boy” who was sleeping on the boom inside the sail cover, they both jumped in the dinghy to get reinforcements from the beach, 2 locals and the “Hoff” went over to the party boat. No raised voices but the music stopped immediately, I don’t know what was said but it was convincing enough to send every one to bed.

Great sail over with just the headsail and we romped along at over 6 knots, again there are acceleration zones and, as we went past the headland, the wind just died.

During the passage Charlie the auto-pilot played up. We changed Charlie for the wind vane and Pete sat on the cockpit floor fixing it, not having in brain in gear he left the Stanley knife on the cockpit seat and as the boat rolled the Stanley knife rolled point 1st and stabbed Pete in the hand, thankfully not a serious injury but painful to use his thumb we think he may have nicked the tendon.

Were now at a lovely anchorage at Tarrafal and this looks more like I imaged the Cape Verde islands to be.

A small but heavy looking fishing boat was rowing over to all the yachts in the anchorage (there are 2 French boats plus us) and 4 young men were rowing the local policeman. The local policeman came on board and wanted to see the ships papers and asked if he could go inside, we think he was checking for stow-aways. Pete was concerned as all he was interested in was the Nav station as he pointed to the VHF and said “channel 16”. I think that he had tried to call us up on the VHF and we hadn’t responded, we wouldn’t have anyway as they only speak French & Portuguese.

The local policeman invited us to his house to hear him sing & play music but with Pete’s hand and the fact there are large breakers on the beach there was no way we could take the dinghy and I couldn’t row us out against the waves.

A local boat with two young boys came over and asked us if we wanted fish (bright red things) and when we said we didn’t eat fish they looked at us in horror as to say well what do you eat? It’s refreshing as they never asked for money and were happy to just bob and look at us.

Taffafal is a very small village, the back drop is tall volcanic peaks and it’s very barren but, in the space they have, they are trying to grow crops. The village is a real shanty town and this morning I could hear the cockerels crowing at 6am, I really like it here as it’s no hassle and the natives are really friendly and completely different from Mindelo.

At 6am this morning I watched 2 long legged birds trying to land on the wind vane blades each time they landed the blades turned and they fell off…. Very amusing to watch!

There are sea hawks flying around and we think we have seen sea turtles. We have been invited for drinks at 12pm on a French boat, amazing eh! So after drinkies we’ll explore the coastline on the dinghy.


Fliss has said it all again. The local policemen also did not like where we were anchored. I think he was telling us that it was where fish breed but, since I only got an ‘E’ grade in French at school and have not used it since, my understanding is limited!

The problem with the autopilot is the poor job I did at extending the cable when I first fitted it. The connections had worked loose and so I dismantled the connection and stripped some more bare wire back with the Stanley knife before crimping on the new connectors. At this point, the knife flew off the seat and hit point-first half-way between the base of my thumb and my wrist. That will teach me for not retracting the blade!

For such a small looking incision, it is giving me a bit of grief since it is affecting the whole of my thumb. I am taking care of it over the next few days and delegating work to Fliss.

Saturday 18th November 2006


Yesterday at 12pm we went over to the French boat for drinks, and Pierre & Chantal were brilliant hosts. They produced two very good bottles of wine a lovely white Bordeaux for me & St Emillion for Pete, the wine was delicious, our palette has become accustomed to cheap anti-freeze at 65 cents a litre.

Pierre also invited another French boat over and he spent the afternoon translating for us. At around 2ish Chantal decided it was time for lunch and not wanting to outstay our welcome we made moves to go back to Nadezhda. We were asked if we would like to join them. Starter was a very nice pate (in a glass container) & home made bread followed by fish that had been caught the day before, pan-fried with herbs, again delicious and desert was bananas cooked in rum and we finished it off with cheese & wine. The French really do know how to do lunch! I looked at Pete and said enjoy it when you can pal as it’s salad & potatoes for tea.

We were also invited for dinner, which again was superb, salad starter, roast lamb & beans (I don’t know what was in the beans but it tasted delicious) and finally Apple Tart with cream. Poor Chantal spent all of the evening in a hot kitchen and I really felt for her as catering for 7 on a yacht is hot, hard work.

Both French boats left at 9ish this morning to cross the Atlantic and we wish them safe passage and many thanks for the hospitality shown! Hopefully we will see them again in the Caribbean and we can re pay the courtesy shown, damn, I’m going to worry what to cook in-case I see them again!

This morning we took the “Rubbadub” to shore and explored the village, the locals are very friendly and it’s refreshing not being asked for money. The children love to just sit and watch you, the children are beautiful little things with big brown hazel eyes, long eyelashes and smiley faces.

The kids row over in a big old heavy boats asking if you want to buy the fish they have caught and are really polite when you say no.

All in all a delightful place & I hope that the other islands aren’t a let down as this really is a pearl in the Cape Verde’s crown.

Tomorrow we leave for either Boavista or Santiago, we can’t make our minds up, we’ll just wait to see what the winds are doing. I’ll be sorry to leave here but it’s time to move on, again!

19th November 06


We set-off for Boavista at 09:00 this morning and motored for about 45 minutes to get out of the wind-shadow of Santo Antao. The wind increased and we were close-hauled doing about 6 or 7 knots. However, the wind was more Easterly than forecast but we assumed that it was due to refraction around the island. Soon after, the wind decreased and swung around South of East which was exactly the direction we wanted to travel in. We headed in a Southerly direction at 4 knots, 3 knots, 2 knots and then ended-up unable to steer due to lack of speed through the water.

I am loathe to use the engine since we may need the fuel for the Atlantic crossing to avoid any bad weather. I am not at all keen on carrying 40-odd gallons of fuel from a local filling station back to the boat!

Anyway, at 17:30, we dropped the sails and turned the engine on. If we head for either Boavista of Santiago, we will arrive after dark tomorrow night and have to sit tight until dawn so we are now heading for the island of Sao Nicolau that is much closer. This means cutting back our motoring speed so we arrive at daybreak.

The day has been nice and sunny and there are few waves to speak of, so the ride has been comfortable without the usual slamming back-and forth of the sails. However, the weather did not listen to the forecast, leaving us a poor choice of daylight landfalls and another 5 gallons lower on fuel. It looks like the 5 gallon canister that has been sitting in the lazarette for the past 4 years will be coming out for a serious cleaning-out and filling-up!


The nice thing that happened today was that we saw some false killer whales just off Tarrafal, these ones were slightly more cautious and wouldn’t allow us to get too close.

Really hot in the cockpit today and being close-hauled we couldn’t escape from the sun as it was beating sideways down on to us. So in desperation I pinned a sheet to the rigging & the spray hood in a desperate attempt to provide some shade, not ideal as it was difficult to see the tell-tales on the jib but much better than being roasted in the heat.

We were under the impression that we had left behind close-hauled sailing when we left the UK but you soon remember how much hard work it is and the slow progress you make.

We have spent most of the day looking at Sao Vicente and we don’t even like the place!, never mind as we’ll drop anchor at Sao Nicolau and wait for the conditions to improve to go to Boavista or Santiago, it still beats sitting behind a desk!

Wednesday 22nd November 2006

We’re still in Tarrafal – San Nicholau and although it’s not that scenic I really like it here, the locals are really friendly and have a relaxed attitude.

Yesterday afternoon we decided to venture ashore and whilst rowing we noticed a boat called KitKat, we last saw them in La Gomera. Stewart do you remember them? they had the disastrous arrival with fenders falling overboard & an over-helpful marina assistant who pulled the bow in so tight that the back swung out hitting the boat next to them. We’re no longer the token Brit as there are two other British Yachts in. Kitkat said that Sal wasn’t worth visiting as the locals are surly and are only interested in money. We weren’t planning on going there but they also said that Boavista was very nice so at 4pm we’ll leave to go there.

We paid two locals kids to look after the dinghy (50 Escudos) and wandered over to the fish market. The tuna’s were huge one was at least 60 kilos. Pete & I watched how they gutted the fish just in case we caught one & I couldn’t believe how much they bled, actually I felt quite squeamish as the bigger the fish the bigger the innards.

If you’re happy to eat fish & rice then this is the place for you as there is very little choice. Yesterday a boy swam out to the boat (we’re quite a way from the shore) holding three large fish, god knows how he can swim holding them! We said that “we no manger peche” and he was quite happy with this and asked to borrow the dinghy to try the other boats, here is no problem as you can trust the locals.

There is very little local produce so our diet has been limited to a vegetarian diet so when he arrive in the Caribbean we’ll treat ourselves to a big, fat juicy steak. The Pacific crossing will be a gourmet delight as it’ll be Marks & Spencer’s all way.

At the moment we have just four locals kids sitting in the cockpit with Pete, he’s being treated to them singing & drumming local music. They are really quite sweet as this morning they came over played in the dinghy and as they left they called “Madam” and then blew me a kiss goodbye.

We’ve got a “little friend” (he’s here at the moment) who comes over at about 5pm and stays till the sunsets at 6pm he’s happy to sit drinking squash and listening to music, the music must be heavy dance, just before it gets dark Pete has to row him ashore.

The problem with the Cape Verde Islands is that it’s difficult to explore inland as it’s either that you cannot trust the locals or the anchorage can be dangerous due to swell or strong gusts so Pete & I are nervous to leave Nadezhda unattended for too long.


We set off from Taraffal at 17:00 GMT and had light SW winds until the bottom of the island. As we rounded the tip, we were exposed to the gradient wind of NE (or thereabouts) and were able to keep North of the Rhum-line at about 6.5 knots. The seas were initially ok in the lee of the island and the winds good. However, the wind increased until we had 2 reefs, half the jib and the staysail and we were pounding a bit but still North of track. As dawn broke, we could see the white water and those very tight ripples on the surface that indicate a bit of wind! We had struggled through the night with two reefs, full sail, one reef and the jib in and out like a fiddlers elbow! Not a nlot of rest was had by either of us, especially as we were as close hauled as we could get.

We had set-off just behind a French boat and had soon overtaken him on the first leg South past the tip of Sao Nicolau. However, during the night, he slowly eased past us downwind of us until his lights were almost out of sight. This morning, the wind had veered (I always get confused with these terms.......it had gone clockwise) and headed us both. He had to put in a large tack, but did so too early since he was not in the calmer water in the lee of Boavista and we crossed tracks half a mile distant. We decided to use the undocumented entrance to the anchorage from the South (since we also could not quite make the heading for the North entrance), since once in the lee of the island, the sea subsided and we rocketed along at 7+ knots (Tiny headsail, staysailand two reefs in the main - close hauled!). With C-map (which we did not trust) plus hand bearing compass on the ruin (on the island) and the chimney (ashore in the bay) and additionally checking depths against contours, we placed a couple of tacks in the bay and kept well out of the nasty seas. Everyone else seems to follow the pilot book which suggests coming in between the island and English Bank. Frenchie took the Pilot Book instructions and pottered-in 50 minutes behind us - we sang "Rule Brittania!".


On dropping the anchor the boat in front of us gave me wave, he stood up & was in his birthday suit, not a sight for tired bleary eyes.

What a wonderful moment re the Frenchies, as there was no way we were giving up without a fight.... we even discussed the old racing trick, they would be on their final port tack & we would deliberately tack so they would have to give way to us as we were on a starboard tack. When they sheepishly arrived Pete & I were sitting in the cockpit with sail covers on & Naz put to bed, sipping our whisky & lemonade (yes it was early but boy had we earned it) we waved a cheery hello and as they went passed we sniggered like naughty school kids.... the trip was a total pain but it was all worth while when they limped in after us. For me it was Christmas Day!


During the passage, I noticed a squeaking from the front cabin. Some woodwork is separating in there and so we nursed Nadezhda through the roughest patches last night. It is very difficult doing this since Naz needs driving otherwise we hobbyhorse, stop, and lose steerage. A constant vigil was required to keep her moving without pushing too hard. I will empty and strip the whole area to check bulkhead bondings etc, etc, etc.

Fuel top-up is by jerry-can, as is water. The tap water is not generally potable so we will probably not take any more onboard. As for fuel, we have one full tank and I will check the other before we leave - we should still have half a tank full. This would give us 4 and a half full days motoring if we required it to get ourselves out of trouble.

Friday 24th November 2006


Yesterday we spent most of the day asleep and got up at 5pm to cook dinner & then off back to bed at 9pm, we both felt totally shattered, as the sail over was long & hard. Pete & I are now masters at reefing the boats sails. We should be as we had enough practise on our passage over here.

Boavista is completely different to all the other islands it’s just one big sand dune in the middle of the Atlantic. The water is an amazing greeny-blue colour and with backdrop being sand dunes you really could be in the Caribbean. It’s a flat island so it’s always quite windy.

We ventured into the village and you can see that Boavista is changing as they are building lots of new properties, this island is being found. Give it 5 years and it’ll be the new “Tenerife” and all the charm will be lost to McDonalds, terrible live music and bars.

It’s a nice island and we’ll probably spend a few days here.

We spoke to an Italian man who moved here 8 years ago and he said that things had changed dramatically, he also said to be very careful in Santiago, we’ll spend as little time there as possible. We’ll just get our exit stamp, water, provisions & fuel and leave.

We found a small frozen chicken in town so tomorrow we’ll have a Sunday roast, I know it’s Saturday but everyday is a Sunday to us!!

Saturday 25th November

There is another British boat in the anchorage called “Yvonne”. We had spotted them as we sailed down the East coast of Fuertaventura and also when we were in Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), however we had not spoken to them before.

They were anchored closer to the town than us, just in front of a rusting steel coaster/cargo-ship that was obviously the Cape Verde method of disposing of old ships…..moor them and let them sink and decompose. We had to row past to get ashore and the owners, Penny & Michael were in the cockpit and invited us aboard after we had waved and hailed them. Being from Ipswich and used to shoal water sailing, they had an aluminium Ovni with a lifting keel, it was nearly new and very nice.

Of course, out came the beer and wine and a pleasant couple of hours was had chatting. They asked whether we had met the swashbuckling pirate yet, which we had not. “Oh yes”, they replied, “He lives on the rusting hulk behind us and has brought it down single-handed from Europe”. Apparently, the Canary Islands would not allow him to stop (probably did not want to fork-out for salvage) but he had managed to anchor off Fuertaventura to take-on mattresses that the German hotels there were obliged to replace every two years. He is now flogging then to the Cape Verdians. Penny wondered what other, possibly illegal, cargo he was also trading.

The Hulk & Yacht Yvonne

On close inspection, the Incredible Hulk had not a spot of paint remaining on it, it was a uniform mottled brown. I cannot imagine how anyone worked-out whether there was any solid steel in the hull, maybe they didn’t! The fact that he was able to manage the beast single-handed is nothing short of a miracle. If anyone is interested, the Hulk is up for sale as the pirate wants a wooden cargo vessel (built in China) since it would be more accepted by authorities and within polite society.

We went ashore for a wander and re-provisioning……Uncle Peter, we bought a kilo of limes, is that sufficient for a night on the Margharitas?

There’s not a lot to do in town so we stopped for a drink at a little bar and met a English girl who had moved there a couple of months ago with her husband. They had never visited Boavista before but had seen pictures of the island and decided to sell all, and up-sticks. They have started a business renting out sea scoobies (little engines that pull you through the water) and hope that when tourism really kicks off, and it will! they will be very comfortably off… we wish them the very best of luck and every happiness. Very brave thing to do!

Back to Chez Nadezhda and we had decided to treat ourselves & have a sort of roast dinner, the menu was roast chicken, sweet potato mash, French beans from a tin, Yorkshire pud and gravy. The chicken was cooked in the pressure cooker and it came out really well, the mash was lovely but the Yorkshire pud was a complete failure. This will never be repeated as the gas and time spent plus washing up, it really wasn’t worth it even though the meal was delicious.

Sunday 26th November 06

In the morning we woke up at 6am to Nadezhda yanking hard back on her anchor, the wind had picked up & there was a slight swell.

Met.2 Area Forecast:

East or Northeast 4 or 5. Becoming rough or very rough from north in Northerly swell.


I sat back in the cockpit reading heavy weather sailing and Pete was inside screwing screws into the lockers so that if we do (and I really hope we don’t) hit nasty weather and invert we don’t end up being brained by bake beans.

During the morning I watched the conditions change within the anchorage and on a number of occasions summoned Pete out to have a look at the swell and breaking waves outside and inside the anchorage. Pete having not been outside that much didn’t seem that concerned but I had monitored the situation all morning and things were changing and intensifying.


I was more interested in the windsurfers since they have a French international champion living on the island. A couple of windsurfers were playing in the surf that was pouring into the entrance channel to the Northern part of the anchorage. Looked like great fun but never have I seen windsurfers in such large waves, at times the tips of the masts disappeared from view only to re-appear as they rode back up to the tops of the waves.

I mentioned to Fliss that I was glad that we had chosen to drop the hook in the more protected Southern anchorage even though it was a much longer trek to shore.


More excitement was to unfold as a French boat upped anchor and was driving around the anchorage shouting that “Le Big Boat was dragging and going backwards” the incredible hulk was surging forwards and then yanking hard back on it’s anchor and the line was being pulled to it’s full length. A catamaran decided to move and came alongside us (too close for our liking). Pete and I prepared Nadezhda for a quick getaway and sat back & monitored the Incredible Hulk. The pirate came back and went below and was never seen again, he didn’t think there was problem. We don’t think it was dragging but just pulling hard on its anchor lines. If it was we would be in its direct path.


Mr Pirate must have thought it strange that the huddle of yachts that were once surrounding him were now all cuddled-up in front of us. He obviously thought that the bits of knotted rope that made-up his anchor rodes were perfectly adequate.

However, the conditions continued to deteriorate and the swell was refracting around the small island that protects the anchorage and piling-in against our stern. There was a shallow patch of 3.7 metres depth about 100/150 metres South of us (not shown on C-Map charts) where the swell heaped-up then cascaded into boiling surf. Our depth-sounder was showing anywhere between 3.8 metres and 5.2 metres as we rose and fell with the swell and we were now concerned that some of the larger swells would keel-over and ride us forward into the boats in front.

Fliss noticed that there was a mainsail being raised in the Northern anchorage. We got the binoculars out thinking that it really was much too windy to be playing with sails in the confined anchorage. Suddenly, a jib was also set flying and a catamaran burst forth from behind the small mole on a broad reach at high speed (probably gunning his engine at full revs as well). He stayed on the broad reach and was hit by the first breaker that was not too bad. Still going at a serious pace, it was not long before the second, and much larger, breaker completely engulfed the whole of the vessel, all we could see was white water with sails poking out. He turned into the third massive torrent and burst through the other side and into clearer water.

These were the same waves that the windsurfers were playing with earlier in the day!!! Even they had given up!


Pete and I held our breath as we watched him, my god it looked really scary and we relived to see him make it through.

He must have been sitting there all day accessing the situation & hoping that the conditions were going to improve. The decision to go must have been a really hard one but like us he must felt that it was only going to get worse and so he had to make a mad dash out, the skipper must have had balls of steel and I bet once he changed out of his wet gear and also changed his underpants it would have taken him 20 cigarettes and 5 large brandy’s to calm down. We would have been mashed up & vomited back on to the shallows. He has our total respect!

We were really starting to get concerned as all the boats were weaving and straining hard on their anchors and the sea was building up, so it looked like we would have to make a decision soon as we only had two hours of daylight left.

The decision was made when 2 sets of large waves came in that had high steep faces and looked like they had the potential to break, also the pilot book says and I quote “….. gales further North may set up a north-westerly swell that runs down both sides of Sal Rei island, breaking heavily on English Bank, causing the reef between the island and the town to break all the way across, and even producing white water on the 3.7m patch south of the anchorage. The only thing to do in such conditions is to get out while it still safe to do so”. The weather forecast (see above) suggests conditions would only get worse.


On that second set of steep-sided waves, I had the key turned in the engine and we were off. We had already prepared and the anchor remote control was already in-place. The anchor came up surprisingly quickly, which was a relief as we were very close to the bucking bronco ahead of us. We were glad of our earlier preparations.

The initial thought was that we may anchor in 15m further South in the bay so we towed the dinghy around the breaking surf where the wind immediately picked it up, flipped it and it became a drogue. We both agreed that the swell was still too much and we struggled to get the dinghy aboard and set a course for Taraffal on the North West corner of Santiago Island (approximately 80 miles downwind).


We were amazed at the attitude of all of the other boats, they were casually lounging on deck & visiting each other they were concerned re the Incredible Hulk but seemed not to have noticed the conditions around them, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were picking themselves off the beach and buying tents the next morning. The French believe in safety in numbers, this is evident as they all anchor very close to each other.

Within 15 minutes Yvonne followed us out, we don’t know if this was their original intention or whether they too felt that they were safer at sea. No other boats left apart from us Brits.

I went down below and made sandwiches and a flask of tea for the crossing and Pete disappeared into the front cabin, whilst I watched he pulled out the drogue plus its line. When I asked him what he was doing he said that he was just checking the instructions of how to use it but I don’t think he wanted to frighten me so when I pressed him he said that the conditions could be really nasty and we needed to be prepared. I hadn’t paid much attention to the last part of the weather forecast that said the seas could be rough to very rough. We’ve been in moderate seas and I think Pete was worried about what we were heading into. As it turns out all was well and we cruised along with just a scrap of headsail out.

Monday 27th November 06


We arrived at Santiago as dawn began to lighten the horizon and turned into Taraffal bay to anchor at about 9:00am. The place looks very nice with a palm-fringed beach but there was also a large swell entering so we anchored well away from the beach and other boats and spent the day relaxing onboard.

Tuesday 28th November 2006

Yesterday we spent the day relaxing onboard recuperating.

During the morning an inflatable canoe with two young boys came alongside asking for money, we refused and they said they were hungry and wanted the money to buy food. Pete invited them onboard and we gave them lunch (crackers, salami & cheese) they settled down for about an hour listening to music and fishing off the boat. I didn’t like the youngest boy as he kept asking for things, he wanted the outboard for his father, the salami for his mum and so on, the demands kept coming and we were glad when they decided to go.

We went ashore and the little boy looked after our dinghy at an agreed rate of 100 Escodus. The town really didn’t have much to offer and after an hour we decided to go back to the boat. We gave the little boy his money and the other one who had been on with him earlier turned up palm outstretched. Pete said to me give him the small change you have, well I thought I had only 90 cents but it turned out I had given the other boy 120, you should have seen the tantrum the younger boy had! screaming, shouting and demanding more money, the older boy offered to share but the petulant little *hit threw the money back into our dinghy and walked off. Pete tried to get him to take it but on the 2nd time he threw the money in the boat we had had enough and left him to it…. His loss as two other local kids grabbed the money out of the dinghy and ran off.

Sadly and I knew it he wasn’t going to leave it & rowed back out to Nadezhda. Pete told him in no uncertain terms that it was tough and there was no more money, after hearing the exchange I stuck my head out of the cockpit and in dodgy French and highly irritated English, said “We give you food, drink & allow you on the boat and this is how you behave, go away”. He realised that he had pushed his luck and left.

We where told to bring fishing line, hooks and pens to trade with the locals but the cold hard fact is that things have moved on in the Cape Verde Islands and all they want is your money and when they have milked you they want more, (a few exceptions).

Kitkat rowed over and invited us for coffee the next morning and said that they had to be off the boat by 11am.

Wednesday 29th November 2006

We rowed over at 10am and had a wonderful day with Sean & Debby on Kitkat, we finally left at 10:45pm after Debby had cooked us Pan Bread (similar to an omelette but with flour) fried potatoes. They were great fun and it’s a shame that their off to Gambia as we would have loved them as cruising buddy’s. It’s was a really relaxing day and we just clicked.

Thursday 30th November 2006


We set off early for Pria at about 08:00. The shortest route is down the West side of Santiago and this is the way we went. However, we were plagued by wind shadow from the island and, when we came around the bottom of the island, we had a hard beat into 20 knots of wind and choppy seas. Fliss took the unprecedented step of taking the autopilot off and helming so that we made better use of the wind that was constantly swinging about in the gusts. We arrived at 17:00 local time and stayed on board since it was due to be dark in a couple of hours.

Friday 1st December 06

We went ashore and were met by a boat-boy who took us to immigration – it was closed. He told us to take a taxi into town since it was not safe to walk and arranged it for us. Although we had wanted to go to the centre to change some Euros, the taxi took us to the hypermarket instead (on the orders of boat-boy), so we paid another fare to get to the centre. We ambled around just long enough for all the shops to close for an indeterminate afternoon break and so returned by taxi to the hypermarket to buy provisions for our long Atlantic crossing. The shop seemed to have absolutely everything apart from potatoes and onions so, on our return to the port, we had our boy go and get some from the local market. By this time, we knew we would get ripped-off for money but really just wanted to get provisioned and off.

Later, after visiting the port capitan, we returned to boat-boy to at last clear immigration and got him to refill two 20 litre water containers. We sat on the fuel pontoon awaiting his return and a while later, we saw him struggling with the weight. At least he actually did some work for his money – he was obviously unaccustomed to it!

Having acquired a kilo of mince, Fliss knocked-up a massive chilli-con-carne that will last us most of the passage. We tried it just to make sure it was of the correct quality. It was.

Saturday 2nd December 06

We rose early to prepare the final stowage of the boat and to check and lubricate anything and everything that moves. I went up the mast in gusting winds and a rolly-swell and clung-on for dear life as I re-attached anti-chafe protectors and checked the rigging.

At 11:00 local time (12:00 GMT) we departed Pria into 20 knot winds and were soon running at 6.5 knots downwind under headsail only. As I write, we have only 2085 miles to go to Barbados.

Cape Verde Islands Summary.

Even though we would not have missed it, the Cape Verde islands are barren and the people are devoid of any culture. The locals are slowly ruining their environment with waste and, in the larger towns, are surly and untrustworthy.

The smaller islands and towns have been pleasant and the locals more friendly. It is these places that we would like to remember where the people do not simply see Europeans as walking cash-machines.

We are glad to have visited but there are many other places in the world where we think we would rather be.

Canaries to Cape Verdes

Wednesday 9th November 06


25 degrees 45 minutes North, 17 degrees 30 minutes West (09:45).

The last couple of weeks have been spent in Pasito Blanco doing jobs and awaiting repairs to the mast. Last Monday, the rigger completed the repairs on the mast and we were ready to leave. The marina has been pleasant but much too remote and quiet.

Fliss went and paid our dues and collect a letter from the marina staff that authenticates that they were our last port of call. This will hopefully help with the immigration in the Cape Verdes who would prefer to see an exit stamp in our passports.

We set-off at 09:00, early since the wind swings into the marina later in the day and would make it a not-so-delicate departure.

We were soon under-way with full sail and bounding along at 8 knots. Fliss wants a lively sail with an average of 7 knots so that we make landfall a couple of days earlier than the expected 7. I want a nice easy ride.

The winds increased and we once hit the 9 knot barrier that has only ever been broached once before. It was shortly afterwards that we were hit by a much stronger burst of wind and decided to put in a reef in the mainsail. An hour and a half later, we put a second reef in the mainsail and fifteen minutes after that, we fully furled the headsail and were still gunning along at 7.5 knots.

It wasn’t long after our last reef that we heard a high pitched alarm from down in the cabin. I went to check but, with these high electrical whines, it is really difficult to hear where they are coming from. I peered at the navigation station and started turning things off one-by-one until I had turned everything off. It was then that I realised that the noise was coming from the barometer just above that was beeping a warning of sudden change in pressure (4mb increase in 4 hours). Well, thanks very much but we already knew it was windy. There were white crests everywhere and the faces of each wave were getting steep. I was in the mood to put the mainsail away altogether and for poling-out a scrap of headsail when the conditions seemed to stabilise and begin to moderate.

Why do our long passages always start on the boisterous side??

Late afternoon, the wind had moderate sufficiently to unwrap a mainsail reef and to pole the jib out on the opposite side. It was a b it rolly but otherwise pleasant and we ran at about 7 knots most of the time.

It is 10:00 this morning and we have the headsail reefed a bit but still poled-out.

So in our first day of passage, we clocked 162 miles – not bad eh?

I have had a few hours nap here and there, unfortunately, Fliss has not yet been so fortunate and has not managed sleep yet. I came back on watch at 09:00 and went into the captains cabin at the rear to grab my lifejacket before going on-deck. Down on the floor was a flying fish! It must have had a seriously good aim since the angle through the companionway and across through the door of the cabin is very acute. We don’t know when boarded but was truly dead and stiff when we found it this morning. We didn’t fancy fish for breakfast (it was a tad small) so sent it back to its maker overboard.


Yes it was an interesting start to the journey but like all able crusty old sea dogs we knew what to do when over canvassed and broaching, we dived to the cockpit floor & waited until the moment had passed then reefed the main. Pete denies that he leapt for safety and said he was only following my lead as he thought I had spotted a big wave heading our way.

Maybe it’s my fault the weathers at bit blowy as I made a deal with mother nature to be kind and make the weather good when Mum & Ash & Naomi were over but the good news is that we are steaming along and Nadezhda feels comfortable.

Sleep again is proving troublesome but I expected it, so tonight hopefully will be easier.

The flying fish was really quite colourful and god knows how he managed to fly past us as it was relatively cloudy night but, with a full, moon you had really good visibility.

On my watch there’s always loads of boats out (well, on the 8-11pm watch) and one boat I really couldn’t make out what he was doing. 1st there was 1 light, then it went to three, then changed to two and for some strange reason it appeared to be going from left to right then back again. Pete was really tired and thought maybe it was car headlights in Gran Canaria, probably not as we were around 60+ miles away I lost sight of the boat after an hour.

The sun’s out and it’s going to be a nice day and the waves have calmed down.

Breads in the oven for breakfast and all is well on Yacht Nadezhda.

Thursday 9th November 2006

23 35.9 N 19 05.8 W


Good morning all it’s 9am and it a lovely bright start to the day.

At about 7pm Pete decided he would go and get some rest as he was shattered as he didn’t manage to get any sleep during the day. After an hour into my shift the wind picked up (not that much but enough) and the seas were building.

At one point waves where picking up the stern of Nadezhda and flinging her forward resulting in her nose sloshing sideways as this was happening waves where then hitting us at the rear quarter of the boat pushing the stern over, potentially putting us into a broaching position side onto the waves. This was a real concern as the waves were quite big & choppy. Charlie (our auto-helm) really wasn’t helping, he panics and thrusts the tiller hard over pushing us into the waves’ path.

All this in mind and the fact we were racing along at well over 8 knots (mostly 8.5+)
I decided to reluctantly wake Pete (after my knees stopped wobbling) to get him to help me reef the jib. I was also worried that there was too much stress on the auto-helm.

Pete got up (he was already awake) and said that I was right to call him, ESP on his part maybe? We reefed the jib changed Charlie for the Aries wind vane & Nadezhda settled down still sailing well into the high 7’s. I slept and didn’t get up till 8am, brilliant!.

From now on we will reef more sail in at night if it’s quite windy & there’s big seas running.


Good day sailing yesterday but we are rolling around quite a lot which makes all tasks a chore. A good 24 hour run at 168 Nautical Miles.

We spotted some dolphin/whale things beside Naz earlier today. Snub-nosed and larger than your average dolphin. Unfortunately they did not stop and we did not have the time to identify them from our new book on the critters.

If these Trade-Wind conditions persist, Fliss will get her wish of a quick passage. The clouds are forming long parallel rows in the direction of the wind with a couple of miles between each row. In the area under the cloud, we do about 6.5 knots, in the area under blue-sky we get about 7.5 knots. Very predictable and wind-speed and direction are constant. I haven’t looked at today’s forecast yet but the view is that this pattern is going to break in the next day or so. Shame since this then will bring calms of unpredictable direction and squalls before the Trades set back in again.

Friday 10th November 06


Yesterday saw us keeping a good 7 knots with much the same conditions as the day before, we even reefed the jib again before dark as the wind was increasing.

At midnight, the wind started dropping and I un-reefed the jib and started playing with it to get it flying properly fully downwind. The night was lit by bright moonlight and the sails and boat were brightly illuminated.

In the UK, we had little practice sailing with the jib to windward on a spinnaker pole since, (1) You always seem to be beating against the wind, or, (2) You are constantly dodging other boats and obstacles so that it is daft to go to the trouble of setting the pole up only to have to take it down again minutes later.

So, I had not realised that we had too much bagginess in the leach. The sail was luffing-up as we rolled and then unfurling with a slam and yanking the forestay. I looked at the mainsail and it dawned on me that the reason why it was not doing the same was that the leech was pulled taut. So, loosening the topping-lift and pulling down on the spinnaker pole, I rectified the problem and have learned a little about sailing in the process.

The problem now is that we want to control everything from the cockpit. I have rigged blocks tied to bow roller and cleats and run lines aft for pole down-haul and boom-preventer and have run out of line and blocks for other bits and pieces. Nadezhda has never really been set-up for downwind cruising and some serious thought will have to be given to what we need to do to make life easier for ourselves - once we reach the next chandlery. We will have lots of opportunity for thought and practice before this happens!

Not much really to report. Fliss made a wicked curry last night that was really appreciated and my constipation was fixed earlier this morning.


Much calmer day today seas not so big & were still kicking along at over 7 knots.

Beautiful clear blue skies & very warm apart from in the cockpit, that’s downwind sailing for you!

Re the whales we got our dolphin and whale book out we could only assume that they were false killer whales also known as false pilot whales or Pseudorca, they defiantly weren’t dolphins as they were much bigger and certainly not Pilot Whales as pilot whales have bulbous heads. The ones we saw yesterday were black, quite large and had long slender head that tapers to a rounded beak. The marine life so far has been very brief they come over take a look and then leave.

As the conditions where good I decided that we didn’t have to have the “Gruel”again that I made in Gran Canaria so cooked a huge curry that might last till Cape Verde… Pete made me laugh when I dished up the “Gruel” he said it was delicious and then promptly covered it with pepper & Lee & Perrins sauce….Actions speak louder than words!

It’s 9:30pm and Pete is tucked up happily snoring in bed the sky is awash with stars. It’s really dark & sometimes a little eerie so I’ll be glad when the moon makes an appearance at around 10pm as it makes night watches so much easier as you can see for miles, not that there’s anything to see as we haven’t seen another boat all day.

All in all a lovely day & so far we have done 411 miles and according to our pilot book it’s about 830 miles to the Cape Verde Islands so very shortly we will be going over the half way mark (we did this at 10.10pm). Champers in the fridge, well two bottles actually one very expensive one at 5 Euros and the other one was 3.95 Euros.

We’re in the Tropics and at the moment I have my fleece & thermal trousers on, I never would have thought they would be needed, it’s also been known for us both to don our Henry Lloyds on night watches.

It’s strange really but it’s hard to believe that we are crossing the Atlantic Ocean, you could be crossing over to Jersey, the only difference is larger swell.

Saturday 11th November 2006

Lat 19 18.8 North Long 022 38.6 West

We certainly have arrived in the tropics as the days are much warmer & the evenings are so balmy but the humidity is high. The cockpit is absolutely soaking wet by the morning that you would have thought that it had rained in the night.

Yesterday the wind died on us at about 5pm and we had no option apart from to stick the engine on. We motored all night and so far all day today. Pete has just gone to bed (it’s 8pm) the sky is really clear and I’m typing this is my bikini as it’s so warm.

Earlier on this morning (Pete was off watch) I spotted loads of flying fish, there must have been over 30 of them skimming across the water and as I watched a large bright blue fish jumped out of the water after them, obviously he was trying to catch one, brilliant to watch. The flying fish we have seen to date have been quite small but I saw quite a big one today.

Not far to go now we only have 188 nautical miles and we expect to arrive around lunchtime on Monday but tomorrow evening we’ll have a better idea.

Today we had a close encounter with another yacht. I was in bed and Pete had the radar on and spotted a boat. I got up and as the sun rose and you could clearly see it. The yacht was on a direct collision course with us. At one point we wondered if he was meaning to come over to us, he eventually changed course and went behind us, he was so close that we waved at each other. Amazing really being out in the middle of nowhere and being so close to another boat. If we had been in a troubled area it would have been a mayday call.

Really lazy day today and the only thing we had to worry about was finding shade.

12th November 2006


Lat: 18 12.7 North
Long: 23 40.2 West

Lazy day yesterday with the engine on. At 1am, Fliss woke me to say the wind was increasing and we could get some sail out. So we upped the mainsail and poled-out the jib and Fliss made her exit to bed.

The night was a balance between flogging sails and attaining the right course and I worked at it most of the night. Eventually, I pulled the jib in and gybed so that we would get some Southerly before returning to the same tack. Fortunately, the wind has changed in our favour this morning and we are cruising gently down to our waypoint just North of our destination.

Last night, there were 4 flying fish that landed on deck. The first was still flapping slightly and so I hope I got him back in the water soon enough. Two were dead and the last one hit the doghouse with an almighty bump and was a bit dazed as I flipped him back over into aqua infirma.

A hot sunny day again today but (fingers crossed) a little more wind. We expect to reach landfall in dark but understand that there are no significant hazards entering Mindelo.

Sunday 12th November 2006


A really lovely day today as we had enough wind to keep the sails flying getting us along nicely, doing a steady 6 knots, nice calm seas but as usual the wind died at 5pm and rather than have the main beating itself, and the rigging, to death we took the sails in.

For a lot of the day we had company of a school of Atlantic Spotted dolphins, the book Mum brought over has been excellent. These dolphins have white belly’s, spotted flanks with long snouts and are incredibly playful.

They love to play with the bow wave sometimes they leapt right out of the water and belly flopped back in we also watched them spin round, find a big wave and surf down it, fantastic to watch. Each time they came over they stayed with us for some time. The young Atlantic spotted dolphins develop their spots, as they get older so we could distinguish the young from the old.

Add this wonderful display to crystal clear blue water and cloudless hot day it, really has been magical.

We wondered what they would do if Pete got in the water with them, so we stopped the engine, tied a line on the back so he could pull himself back in and, as suspected they left…. Next time we see them we’ll try again.

I adore the flying fish as so are so funny to watch! Here is teeming with them as we watched whole schools of them leaping out of the water and flying for some distance, under the water must be mayhem! When the dolphins arrive the fish go into panic mode and you can see them flying off, thousands of them. If I stick my head out of the cockpit now (it’s 10pm) all you can hear is the pinging sound of the fish.

We were saying today that it doesn’t feel like we’ve going for 6 days it feels shorter than the Madeira run. It has been a fantastic passage. The marine life (especially today) has been superb, the sunsets are lovely and the weather has been hot, maybe a little too hot.

When we arrive in the Cape Verde Islands we’ll have to re-train ourselves, as we have had a rather casual approach to the security of the boat. Sadly theft is a big problem in the Cape Verde Islands. All the life saving stuff on the stern of the boat will have to be brought in at night, the dinghy will have to be lifted out of the water and the outboard padlocked to it’s bracket, we’ll put a cloth over the portside cockpit window so you can’t see the Iridium phone and all the navigation equipment, padlocks on the lockers in the cockpit and we’ve also put latches on the entry boards so we can padlock the boards shut. We’ve also been told that it’s wise to employ a dinghy minder to look after your dinghy when you’re ashore. Pete bought a fake Rolex in Gran Canaria which we’ll leave on the boat and hide the rest of our stuff.

It’s a shame as the Islands are meant to be stunning but the people are really poor so hence the problem with theft.

Strict watch-keeping system tonight as we’re approaching the islands (44.9 miles to go) 3 hours each with a 30 minute allowance for your sleep-inducer (whisky & lemonade) normally we’re quite slack with it and we leave each other for 5-6 hours.

Can’t wait to get there but this has been a brilliant 830 mile passage, the “Pond” doesn’t seem so scary now.

ETA is around 9am tomorrow morning, the fridge is turned up so the champers will be nice and cold and the Cap Verde cutsey flag I made is sitting on the navigation table.

Let the good times keep rolling and long may it last…..


We saw another yacht today. I had spent some time running on the mainsail only after having taken-in the jib and gybed the main. To be honest, the wind was a bit fickle and at the time I couldn’t be bothered with the rigmarole of undoing all the block lashings, transferring them to the other side of the boat, re-running the lines and re-setting the spinnaker pole.

Did I tell you that we really need to look at how Nadezhda should be equipped for downwind sailing??

Anyway, I spotted another yacht in the distance and this spurred new efforts because I wanted to intercept them. So, with the jib re-set out on the opposite side we picked up a bit more speed and it wasn’t long before we had caught them and passed about a mile away from them. I imagine we will see them in Mindelo sometime tomorrow.

Tonight, Fliss woke me up at 23:00 and we prepared to change watches. As Fliss went down below, we noticed a squashed fish on the floor of the saloon. We puzzled over this and, even though I could not quite believe it, I accused Fliss of treading on it and tramping the guts across the floor. Actually, fresh fish are very firm and unlikely to be squidged without knowing it.

Under the sheets that make-up our bed in the saloon during passage, I noticed some movement and asked Fliss to check it out (she was the closest). She gave a cursory glance and nothing was there but after a few moments, I had another look and we have a small black seabird for company. It has obviously regurgitated the fish and we also have some poo around as well. It jumped up onto the seat next to Fliss and looked bewildered so we turned the lights out and left it alone. We have had birds aboard on a number of occasions that have been exhausted, have landed and gone inside Nadezhda. We leave them alone and ensure that they can see the way out. However, after about an hour, I realised that seabirds can always get a rest by simply bobbing on the water. It must have flown-in by mistake and then become disorientated. So I found it in the semi-dark (Fliss was asleep) and gently lifted into the cockpit. Two minutes later and it was back inside! Having put it out in the cockpit again, it waddled around a bit, jumped on the side, and few off. We wish it luck.

Wednesday 15th November 2006


(Monday Morning)

I first spotted a light at around 5:30pm but no land, and at 6am I woke Pete up.

The wind appeared to be picking up so we put the main sail up and I went off to bed to grab an hours worth of sleep.

When I got up (around 7) the scenery was amazing all these jutting peaks surrounded in mist, very strange looking.

The deck has been covered in little green bugs they where absolutely everywhere so I slooshed the deck with sea water and I must have got rid of hundreds of the damn things but we still keep finding them, lucky though as we find the odd one inside the boat. We must have picked them up in Gran Canaria.

As we approached the anchorage we were greeted by a smiling man in a small dinghy who promptly came alongside and instructed us on where to anchor “Umberto” was to become our “Boat boy”.

After a glass or two of champers we retired to bed for a few hours.

The heat is stifling and the humidity is totally debilitating and I’m finding it hard, Pete is faring better than me but during the day it’s hard to do anything and it doesn’t really cool down at night. It’s 32 inside the boat at night and that’s with having the curtains closed during the day.

(Wednesday Morning)

Mindelo in my opinion is a complete dump and I don’t mean the buildings, the people are surly and look at us with contempt (they look at each other in the same way) everything for them is an effort, if they do smile or talk to us is that they want something from us. The approach is that they give you something as a gift then put hard line pressure on you to give them money. We learnt this very quickly that a smiling face equals a demand for cash.

We are constantly approached by people asking for money, one local who I found intimidating offered us a thousand Euro’s to smuggle him to another country.

The “boat boys” have got it completely sewn up and without doubt it is protection money Umberto wanted 10 Euro’s a day to mind the dinghy and was happy to take 5. If you don’t pay it is guaranteed that your dinghy would go missing or would suddenly develop a puncture, I also wonder if the yacht is protected, as so far we have had no problem. Pete was telling me that last night a French yacht (we’ll come onto the French later) had three local people in a dinghy hanging onto the stern of the boat and left a while later shouting & screaming at the skipper. The French boat promptly upped anchor and left we think that they were concerned re reprisals.

We went to the market yesterday and bought coriander, lettuce and tomatoes and the stall holder wanted 900 Escoudos which is about 9 Euro’s of course he had no chance I gave him the bag back and said it was far too much, we eventually agreed on 400 but the sly and smug look on his face told us that we had been ripped off.

The problem is we really don’t trust anyone as they really are only after you for your money and will take every opportunity to steal or rip you off. So we have decided that from now on if we are approached we will say that we are happy to talk to them but we don’t want to buy anything and we do not have any money, this way the ground rules are set. Another train of thought is that we hire a local for the day and get him to take us around the island show us the sights and also help us understand the true value of things we don’t mind paying slightly higher than the locals but we are fed up with being fleeced.

It is very poor here and it appears that 50% of the population are unemployed so hence the grasping attitude but after a while your sympathy wanes.

We’ll be leaving here soon to find a peaceful anchorage and hopefully leave the hassle behind. We had to come here to get an entry stamp but we’ll be glad to go.

Mindelo has no charm and it’s purely due to the attitude of the people.

Again we are the token Brit, where are they??? The boats are either French or Dutch with a splattering of Finnish. The French are rude & ignorant and will come close the boat and ignore you even when you say hello, we find this hard as we are friendly & sociable people.

I think we’ll be vegetarian as the meat is frozen and laying un covered in the freezers we don’t like fish but even I did it is unappealing as it’s laying in the heat covered with fly’s.

I hate to damn a place and I always try to see the best in places but the only positive is that we are leaving soon.

It’s good for single yachtsman looking for a bit of company (you know what I mean) as a Spanish boat close to us has two young ladies delivered most nights, a young man in the skippers dinghy delivers the 1st one and then picks her up an hour later only to come back later with a new “friend”. We think the skipper is mad as he lets them stay on the boat overnight and he allows them to use the dinghy, this potentially is an explosive situation as the tables could easily turn on him. He’s over 50 and must have shares in Pfizer’s.


I cannot say more than to back Fliss up on her initial opinions. The unemployment here is terrible and the town is full of people simply lounging around. The people who do work have faces that tell you that they would rather not work. They are obviously very hard done-by, their entire body language is like a sullen teenager whose parents are making them do a boring task for the umpteenth time (Waynetta Slob springs to mind).

So, they are unemployed and moan about it, or they are employed and moan about it.

The fact that we have to pay protection money shows that they are a bunch of conning and thieving b$%^&&s. Even people you talk to (who want money later) warn you that people will steal from you at any opportunity and that everything is corrupt. I assume it includes themselves as well and damns the entire lot.

We will be getting laundry done today and are waiting for a gas bottle re-fill before getting away to somewhere a bit quieter. We are hoping that the more rural locations will be less hassle. However, Mindelo has shown the people in their true colours and we now know not to trust any of them (especially if they smile).