We left Mindelo, Cape Verde, with the course towards Brazil at five in the evening, just before darkness fell. Our neighbors in the marina found it a bit odd to leave so late in the day, but we prefer starting out late and letting the kids have a night of sleep to begin the trip. This way, we find, that we have less seasickness onboard. Everybody went down to get some sleep, and I started our Atlantic crossing with just the genoa, in the strong winds between the islands. But soon we were in complete lee of the island and I had to start the engine. The whole trip to Fernando de Noronha is about 1320NM, so should take a couple of weeks. So far so good.
Day 2, 1241NM to go: Esben had been using the sail the whole night, and when I started my watch at 4 in the morning, the speed was down to 1.5 knots and I started the engine again to get out of the lee of the islands. After a couple of hours, we went back to using the sails, and for the rest of the day we moved slowly, with the genoa and one reef in the main (in case of sudden strong winds). Only Esben was sick, so that was a clear win.
Day 3, 1130NM to go: We put the genoa on the spinnaker pole, and with the butterfly setup, we almost gained a knot in speed. The water was still almost flat, the calmest sea we have had since entering the Atlantic from the Mediterranean, and Esben was feeling better. Still eating the food prepared in Mindelo. We especially appreciated the meat!
Day 4, 1043NM to go: We were now using the full main (getting braver). We had a lot less wind than we would like, and moved slower than we were used to. Esben put up a sun awning for the day shifts. Eating the last of our prepared food from Mindelo.
Day 5, 960NM to go: Very little wind through the night. The mount for the kickinstrap came apart, we tried to fix it, and it came apart two more times before we got it fixed properly. Good thing we have the Walder Boom Brake, which helps hold the boom down.
Day 7, 746NM to go: The water is noticeably warmer, and we see a lot of sargassum algae in the sea. We have tried to fish, but took in the lure again, as we kept catching sea weed only. Runa helps us a lot doing small jobs below deck.
Day 8, 641NM to go: Halfway to Fernando de Noronha. Runa baked a cake to celebrate. And Esben won the job of repeatedly cleaning the wind vane from sargassum.
Day 10, 458NM to go: The wind was very weak during the night, but picked up again in the morning. We were finally able to leave the lure out without catching too much seaweed, caught a Mahi-Mahi and had delicious lunch.
Day 12, 277NM to go: We were now in the doldrums, the equatorial region where the winds usually die. When the speed was down to one knot, we started the engine.
Day 14, 77NM to go: It’s Runa’s 10-year birthday and we crossed the Equator during the night. Celebrated with cake and presents. It’s raining more now, and we have to close the hatch sometimes to avoid getting rain in the boat. We caught another Mahi-Mahi, almost too big. We’re getting to the point where we had enough fish to eat.Fernando de Noronha before sunrise, and the kids came up to see the land becoming bigger as we approached. The big rock by the anchorage can be seen far away. Such a beautiful place to arrive. And incredible to think that we sailed Chip-Chip, a 28-foot boat, across the Atlantic.
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