Atlantic Crossing – Part 1

The time had come for us to start our Atlantic crossing and prior to departure we had to sort our some paperwork. As it is a pretty unusual year with the virus we had to contact authorities in the Caribbean before we left Cape Verde to make sure we were allowed to enter. We had decided to sail to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The reason was because there is a lot of islands there to explore and a place we can stay in for a while and hope that movements between the islands becomes easier.

We checked latest information on noonsite.com and got okay that we were allowed to enter Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Our time at sea would count as part of quarantine and when we arrived we would need to take a test (60 USD/person) and when we got the test result we would be checked in and allowed to enter the country. We didn’t only prepare the paperwork, we also prepared some food for the first days, bought vegetables and fruit and cleared out of the country (first a visit at Customs office and then Immigration office).

We had decided to depart together with Svala and they had a broken hatch which they waited to have repaired. So we waited on anchor until they got their new hatch. Never been more ready for a crossing than this.

Day 1 – December 18, 2020
  • Distance: 0 nm
  • Breakfast: –
  • Lunch: –
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: –

When Svala finally got their deck hatch we pulled up our anchor and started our sail to the Caribbean. It was pretty late in the day, about 4-5pm and when we left Mindelo there was a lot of dolphins jumping around the boat. There was some acceleration between Sao Vicente and Santo Antao and for the first part we made really good speed. But when we came behind Santo Antao the wind died out and it was very rolly. As we both started to feel a bit seasick we wanted to get out of this place as fast as possible and find the wind again, so we started the engine and ran it until we got far away from Santo Antao and we got some wind again.

Waiting for Svala.
Svala got their hatch and we were ready to start or Atlantic crossing.
Day 2 – December 19, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 108 nm
  • Total distance: 108 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Dryfood (but Petra couldn’t keep hers)
  • Dinner: A Mars-bar and chips for Thomas, nothing for Petra
  • Sunrise: 08.07 UTC

Both of us had started to feel the seasickness and Petra threw up a couple of times. Thomas managed without throwing up, but was still not feeling very good. It was a slow day and we were really glad that our windvane worked so well so we didn’t have to worry about the steering. It was a tough night, mostly due to the seasickness, but we managed to get through it.

(From the first days we don’t have so much pictures taken, due to the seasickness. You just have to imagine two tired humans staring at the ocean waiting for it to pass)

Day 3 – December 20, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 127 nm
  • Total distance: 235 nm
  • Breakfast: Müsli with milk
  • Lunch: Dryfood
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.16 UTC

Our seasickness was much better this day, still we both felt it but way better than before. Petra rested a lot during the day, a bit tired after not being able to eat or drink properly the first days. This day was also a very calm one and we didn’t do much. Svala caught up with us again after we lost each other the first day when we started the engine.

Day 4 – December 21, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 120 nm
  • Total distance: 355 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.25 UTC

This day the seasickness had improved even more. We had sun for the most part of the day which was really nice. The winds were stable and we made really good speed. We saw Svala all day. We tried to fish for a while, but with no luck.

Day 5 – December 22, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 139 nm
  • Total distance: 494 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Freshly caught Mahi-mahi with Canary potatoes and Mojo Verde
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.34 UTC

The night was pretty calm, but we started going on a more northely route to stay together with Svala. We ran the engine for a while during the night when it was at its calmest to charge the batteries. When morning came we set the genoa (we sailed with one of the smaller staysails during the night). We tried fishing again and almost immediately caught a small mahi-mahi. But it was so small so we decided to through it back in again. We tried again and caught another mahi-mahi, a bit bigger than the first one so we kept it and made a nice lunch out of it. From the moment we caught we had it on the plate ready to be eaten in less than one hour. Now that is fresh! In the afternoon we sat in the sun for a while and took a well needed shower. We drove close next to Svala and took some pictures.

FIrst fish-dish of the atlantic crossing, served less than an hour after we caught the fish!
Happy that seasickness is over.
Day 6 – December 23, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 125 nm
  • Total distance: 619 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Fruity baked mahi-mahi
  • Dinner: Fish tacos with papaya-salsa.
  • Sunrise: 08.43 UTC

The night went on without any bigger happenings. As the night before we ran the engine for a while when it was calm to charge the batteries. Svala had come a bit behind us but as we had a pretty small headsail up already we didn’t want to reduce our speed more. After the nightshift had ended (during the crossing our night shifts looked the following: Thomas started shortly after sunset with a 4 hour shift, followed by 2 hours for Petra, Thomas again 2 hour shift and then Petra took the morning shift; 4 hours. We think this worked pretty well and it was nice to not have so long shifts in the middle of the night) Petra took a nap and almost immediately we caught another mahi-mahi, we brought it up and cleaned it and so on. Petra continued napping and Thomas sat with the shortwave radio for a while and made contact with a guy in Sweden. It was a sunny day and we spent the afternoon chilling and reading.

atlantic crossing
Our fruit-net. The fruit lasted quite long and we tried to eat from the things that would go bad first and check the fruits and vegetables regularly.

atlantic crossing

atlantic crossing
Fish cleaning!
Fish tacos!

Fruity-baked Mahi-Mahi.
Day 7 – December 24, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 109 nm
  • Total distance: 728 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Christmas rice porridge
  • Dinner: Swedish Christmas dinner: Pickled herring, potatoes, egg, salmon, hovmästarsås
  • Sunrise: 08.50 UTC

Christmas Eve! During the night one seam of our biggest staysail broke and we had to take the sail down. We hoisted our middle staysail instead, so we didn’t make very good speed that night. We ate breakfast and listened to Christmas music. After we had a nice Christmas porridge lunch we sailed close to Svala (but not to close, still had to talk via the VHF) and had a Christmas swim at 5000 meter deep water (but still 25 celsius). After the swim we hoisted the sails again (genoa+whisker pole) but it was to little wind and too much waves so the genoa was just flapping. We changed to the middle staysail and started repairing the biggest staysail so we could use that again. After we were finished we had a nice Christmas dinner.

atlantic crossing
Christmas swim!
atlantic crossing
Christmas sail repair.
As good as new!
Christmas dinner.

Day 8 – December 25, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 101 nm
  • Total distance: 829 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Foil-baked mahi-mahi with spices and fruit served with sweet potatoes
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.56 UTC

During the night it was not so much wind, but when morning came it picked up and we could make better speed again. We sailed with the staysail we repaired the day before and so far  it has worked really good. We caught another mahi-mahi, a big one so now we had fish for a couple of days. During the day it rained quite a lot, which made it very humid and warm inside the boat. We started to watch a movie but paused when the sun came out again. As our VHF-antenna has pretty bad reach, Thomas tried building a new one and with the homemade one we got better reach so when we arrive to the Caribbean we will probably buy a new one. The afternoon and evening was very rolly and it was a challenge to prepare food. We watched some movie before we started the night shifts.

“Chocolate balls”-fika in the making.
Day 9 – December 26, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 129 nm
  • Total distance: 958 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked carrot bread with fried egg
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 09.04 UTC

The night was cloudy (which means pretty dark as the moon couldn’t light up the sky) but we made good speed with our biggest staysail on the whisker pole. As we had run out of bananas we baked bread for the first time this passage. We spent a lot of the day in the cockpit, reading cruising guides, listened to reggae and dreamed about when we would arrive. The salinator on our watermaker had some problems, it rejected all water, so that is something we will have to look at when we arrive. We still have a lot of water left so no nothing that we have to fix immediately. We had now lost Svala completely, they were a bit slower than us, but this day we saw another boat on the AIS, a Spanish boat that also had sailed from Cape Verde. We had some “fika” in the afternoon, oranges with almonds.

Day 10 – December 27, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 105 nm
  • Total distance: 1063 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked carrot bread with fried egg
  • Lunch: Fried fish with Canary Island potatoes and Mojo Verde
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 09.11 UTC

Another calm night, except a big shower that cleaned the boat of all salt. As we’ve done before we ran the engine for a while during the night when it was calm to charge the batteries a bit. During the day it wasn’t very much wind either, but very sunny. We didn’t do so much during the day, read and cooked. We had some issues getting reception for the shortwave radio so we couldn’t send or receive e-mails. Before dinner we took a shower.

To be continued…

Part two of our Atlantic Crossing can be found by following the link HERE.

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