The Atlantic crossing

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 6, 885NM to go: Runa and Mattis did some school work, Esben baked bread and Vibe showered and washed hair. Life at sea is becoming the new normal.

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 9, 551NM to go: The wind is weakening, and we didn’t get far during the night. We ate the last of the cake with “cream” from Mindelo. We forced the kids to shower.

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 11, 363NM to go: The timer on the old GPS now says we have less than 100 hours to go before we reach Fernando de Noronha. It’s cloudy with squalls all around in the morning, and warm and moist during the day. Caught another Mahi-Mahi.

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 13, 170NM to go: Still motoring. Every night, after Esben goes to sleep before his night watch, the kids and I read a good night story in the cockpit while the sun sets. The best part of the day.

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.

Day 15: We could see the lights on 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.

The whole trip turned out to be a lot easier than we had expected. We had a bit less wind than we would have liked, but since that meant that we also had a lot less seasickness than we are used to, that was a clear win. The boat did fine, though we are very happy that we have brought a lot of extra little rigging pieces, so we could fix the kickinstrap when it broke off. Food and water was fine, we still have loads and loads of tinned food for our time in Brazil, and the water maker worked as it should. The solar panels gave us all the power we needed to run the boat, and we only turned the engine once the wind died as we neared the Equator. All in all, the trip was everything we could have wished for.

To see our most recent position, click here and scroll down.


2 thoughts on “The Atlantic crossing

    • Well, this trip truly was a lot easier than one would think. We have somehow mostly read German blogs about Brazil, it seems to be French and German boats that go here for some reason.


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