Lying as they do, on the cusp of the Atlantic tradewind route to the Caribbean, a call into Cape Verde is a popular option for offshore cruisers. Hosting both ARC+ fleets, Marina Mindelo has provided a great Verdean welcome this year, including dockside breakfasts of local fruits for the nearly 90 boats in the two fleets during their visit.
A fresh breeze was blowing through the marina this morning as the fleet made their final preparations for departure after their Atlantic pit-stop at Mindelo on Sao Vicente island. A chance to do some laundry, stock up on fresh provisions from the local market and replenish fuel supplies after more motoring than planned on leg 1 from Las Palmas.
If leg 1 was the “warm-up” then leg 2 to Saint Vincent, is the “real thing” and there was a definite air of excitement around the pontoons as crews, some of whom have never crossed an ocean before, got ready to set sail.
Lines were slipped, and as fenders were stowed there was a chance to wave farewell to new-found friends in Mindelo, before the 15 yachts of all shapes and sizes headed out to take the restart, in the delightful 15-20 knot easterlies. A taste of the trade winds that will now push them across more than 2,000 nautical miles of ocean.
Keen as mustard, first monohull over the line was Kelpie, already fully powered up with a glorious bow wave as the start signal was made, with Rose Marie chasing hard astern, the warm winds making for fine sailing conditions out from Mindelo Bay. First multihull over the line was White pearl with Blue Infinity chasing.
And then it was over, all the boats in the first ever ARC + Saint Vincent were safety away from Cape Verde and sailing steadily westwards, into the afternoon sun, their bows pointed at the Caribbean. Farewell Cape Verde, your friendly people and sunny islands have made us welcome and we will see you again next year!