From La Gomera, Canary Islands to Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

Monday-November 28, 2016-Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

Before expiring visas forced us to leave the Canaries, we crammed in as much hiking, swimming, and birthday party-ing as possible. Much of it was nostalgic as we remembered the same anchorages and walks from 2 years prior. It was then that Deb flew to meet me aboard Dawn Treader and assess what exactly she might be getting herself into. It was fun retracing our steps and we felt we were leaving a bit too soon, but there is no negotiating with immigration officials.

The Sail to Sao Vicente from La Gomera was fast by Dawn Treader’s standards. The wind started out light but filled in during the night and pushed us 113 miles the first day. The Northeasterly wind steadied at 20 knots the rest of the way and we saw daily runs of 141, 131, 128, 134, and 126 nautical miles.

The seas continuously grew and a handful of 15 footers rolled under our keel toward the end of the passage. We measure seas by standing in the cockpit and while in the trough we stare out to where the horizon should be. If the horizon barely disappears below the wave crest, we figure that’s about a 7 footer (I am 6 foot and standing 1 foot above sea level). If we stare out and only see halfway up the wave, then that’s about a 13 footer. We had a couple waves splash into the cockpit and fill the footwell with seawater. One wave even found its way into the cabin through the small hatch under the dinghy. That night I made a note to find a way to better shield the hatch from waves in Mindelo, as if I was going to forget the waterfall cascading onto my bunk.

The sailing was fantastically easy. Two weeks ago we arrived in Cape Verde and I can still clearly recall each time we made a sail or course adjustment on the entire passage. We set the Jib deeply furled on a pole to starboard and did not touch it until arrival. We jibed the triple reefed main only twice which is super easy with our dual boom vangs to port and starboard. As far a course changes go, there weren’t any. The windvane auto pilot course control gearing broke early in the voyage making it somewhat inconvenient to adjust course. So we left it as it was, and it steered us straight to Mindelo.

Once in Cape Verde, we were immediately taken by the vibrant people and their unique and beautiful music. Then I became ill with a stomach virus and Debbie cared for me aboard the Dawn Treader for 4 days. Slowly we are venturing out again and also squeezing in some chores and projects. Debbie cooked a wonderful and bountiful Thanksgiving dinner which we shared with friends Matt and Amy from SY Florence. Next we have our sights on Santiago to obtain our Brazilian visas.

7 thoughts on “From La Gomera, Canary Islands to Sao Vicente, Cape Verde”

  1. So great to talk to you on Thanksgiving and to know all is well with you both although the 15 foot waves had me a little concerned with or without a math lesson on your boats ability to stay upright. I loved all the pictures. Beautiful sunsets and crystal water. What a great combination. Love you both. Mom


  2. I probably already mentioned it when you were here that Kirk had the roll pin drop out that is glued to the course control knob, which locked it up. You may have fixed it by now, but if not, you can grind off one of the stainless cover plate pins, pop the cover off, and replace the pin with a small cotter pin or seizing wire. Then replace the pressed pins with screws for future access.


    1. Thanks James, we have done just as you recommended with seizing wire. I think it will hold up for awhile. I enjoyed reading your shakedown post and your 2016 blog. Plus the shakedown video is excellent. And the Tripp 29 looks like a great boat! You are definitely staying busy!



  3. Lovely to read this. We can’t wait to leave for Cape Verde (start of feb). Having an expired European visa is not a problem when sailing I think… Who will check it?

    Great to read it was smooth sailing, as between the Canary Islands itself it seems to be rough sometimes..

    Would like know how the Brazil visa things went out there, we read some on Internet which included sending your passport to the US!?



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