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Beluga - why we really stopped in Mindelo

When people join the ARC, it is to cross the Atlantic non-stop from Las Palmas in the Canaries, all the way to St Lucia. The Key Word is non-stop.

Which is exactly I will not take it personally if you are wondering why on earth I am sending an update from Mindelo. Whether you are a keen geography enthusiast or merely an astute reader, I have few doubts that you will have noticed that Mindelo is neither in Las Palmas nor in St Lucia.

So why were we in Cape Verde, being rebels and defying the race protocols by making a stop in these -seemingly- welcoming islands? Good question. And because you are a faithful reader, you deserve nothing but the truth about our stop. So let’s get going shall we?

The main reason is that we decided we had to get my Mother-in-law off the ship. She just was not cutting it anymore. Let me share with you how treacherous the situation had become.

First, she repeatedly refused to climb up the mast to take overhead shots of the boat. Look, if we are going to be YouTube stars, we need action shots from the ship because we are not getting views if I take my shirt off and show off my Dad-bod. So yeah, the top of the mast was a big hope we had to gain new followers.

But alas, I was told I was not being considerate and was given the lame excuse that 30 knots of winds are simply too much to go up a mast.

Fine…but then there was that one time where I asked her to jump off the ship so we could test our new DAN buoy. I spent a nice amount of money for this piece of equipment and would like to make sure that it works. But once again no. She refused. The excuse that time was that running a man-overboard exercise in 20 foot swell in the middle of the night is not a safe practice. Me thinks she just did not want to get her hair wet and was not in tune with my desire to run a safe ship.

Though I think the proverbial reed that broke the frog’s back was when, acknowledging her desire to leave the ship, I offered her to use the dinghy to reach land faster. I felt it was a most generous gesture even after her very harsh behavior. But once again I was met with negativity and skepticism. So what if we were 300 miles from shore and that I was steadfast on keeping the oars because we may need them for our BBQ… I had done my homework and had read all about the currents. The dinghy (and her) were going to make to make it eventually
No need to panic.

But once again I was overruled and was pondering calling ARC control to report that the boat was about to be renamed Bounty.
Life at seas can be hard like this. Thankfully we made it to Mindelo, feeding many fishes along the way.

Ok…before you report me to Mother-In-Law-Protective-Services, let me reassure you. None of this happened. Unfortunately she was not able to recover from the rough start to the passage and we all deemed that it was not in her best interest to struggle for the long passage. And given that I did not want to spend the next 15 years being banned to sleeping on the couch, I took it as my personal duty to get my wife’s mom safely to shore!

The second reason we’re here in Mindelo is that I am trying to channel my inner Tony Stark. You know: Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist. Well in my case I’m starting with the Philanthropist part because one out of four is not all that bad. I figured that I had already maxed out my credit card at Rolnautic in Las Palmas buying boat equipment, why not keep on spreading the love and dollars along the way. Doing a technical stop over in Mindelo seemed like the sensible thing to do. The ARC organization was quite generous in helping us setup a work order with the local repair shop so really, what else could I do but apply the infamous Acronym of BOAT: Bring Out Another Thousand.

Turns out it was a brilliant move because when you want to spend money in Mindelo you’d better be prepared to do it using cash which means constantly walking around town to find an atm that not only has cash but one that your bank has not blacklisted. It’s a great workout. For example, we had to purchase 2 new batteries (that may, or may not, work at the time of this writing) but the local merchants do not want to take credit cards. I suspect they do so to challenge Visa’s claim that “It’s everywhere you want to be”. And yes, I also tried to barter and I did offer to trade in a kidney but apparently the joke got lost somewhere in translation. Though the workout I got from carrying these batteries across town may contribute to helping get a playboy physique so watch out Tony Stark. And maybe I can leverage the physique to get more views on YouTube. See, this spot is already paying off.

And getting a payoff and return on investment is the last reason why we stopped in Mindelo. I truly believe that the more you pay for something the more you should enjoy it and the longer it should last. The expense should bring some pleasure.

Therefore we shall no longer look at this trip as a sailing experience but rather an extended stay at a very expensive amusement park with absolutely outrageous roller-coasters.

Finally I decided that I had kept the ARC crew so busy prior to departure with multiple changes, lost cards, and unregistered yet registered child that they were going to miss me too much during passage. I missed my daily interactions with Jeremy. I missed these guys. So that’s why I plotted this scheme to extend to Mindelo.

We are now back on course but at least you know the real reason we’re flying the Cape Verde flag !

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