Daily Cruising Log – Cape Verde to Saint Martin
We were finally ready to do the last and final leg of the Atlantic Crossing, and we set sail from Cape Verde to Saint Martin. This trip is about 2200NM in a straight line, but as you all probably know by now, sailing usually doesn’t happen in a straight line. We had a super sweet weather window however and managed to stick to a pretty tight course for the majority of the trip.
Since the weather was favorable, we were off to a flying start, eating up sea miles like Dorritos with salsa on a late Saturday night!
I hope you have followed the entire Atlantic Crossing series up until now and enjoyed it. This is the end of one adventure and the start of the next.
BUT, in case you missed it, you can find the entire series in the links below:
The Atlantic Crossing Series
Sailing From Cape Verde to Saint Martin
Following the previous post, these are the daily updates we posted using the IridiumGO! while sailing from Cape Verde to Saint Martin. As usual, you have to read them with a sense of humor and irony as the sea can make you a bit coco loco sometimes, but in a good way!
Here you will also find all the unique photos that were taken along the journey so even if you read the daily updates during the trip, you might enjoy re-reading them and looking at these amazing captures of the vast Atlantic Ocean!
Day 1 – Departure Cape Verde
By Robin Iversen
Mon Jan 03 2022 16 53.144n 25 15.706w
At 16:00 local time, GMT – 01:00, we left Mindelo and have set course towards St. Martin in the Caribbean.
The trip is roughly 2200NM and is estimated to take around 16 days.
Feels great to be back at sea again!
Calm waves and the mild trade wind is blowing 20-25 knots.
That is a sweet start of the third and longest leg of this trip.
Have a great night 🙂
By Robin Iversen
Tue Jan 04 2022 16 50.729n 27 28.916w
It is day number two and after a few hours of shitty wind in the lee of the Verde Islands last night, we now have a perfect 20 knots of true wind on a broad reach while flying the full Main and a reefed Genoa wing on wing. And we are literally flying 7.5-8.5 knots! We caught up to a boat that left a few hours before us, but he has now disappeared behind us.
Let’s hope this wind continues. It would be nice if the swell could calm down a bit, it is rock and roll onboard at the moment, but we’re not complaining. Tonight’s dinner is Karolius pasta bolognese and I spoiled us with homemade pizza for lunch. The sun is up and the weather is warm and sweet. We have done about 150 NM during the last 24 hours which gives us a great start.
I had a flying fish almost giving me a heart attack last night. It was incoming at something that must have been 100kts and landed in the cockpit right next to me like a rocket. I managed to save the little fella and threw him back in the water.
After that, we have been seeing a lot of flying fish. I think they are cool. But now it is about time to put the fishing lure back out again. I think we are probably too fast to catch anything we would dare to take onboard, but I’ll try anyway. I’m craving fresh fish.
Okay, Ellidah out.
By Robin Iversen
Wed Jan 05 2022 16 37.626n 30 24.011w
We are still flying away making great speed. I caught a little tuna today, but way too small so I let it back out. Conditions and weather are great, but Filly and Karolius are struggling a bit with a cold. I hope it will pass quickly.
Not much else happening, days fly by at an incredible speed. I was supposed to write some more blog content today, but I’ve been busy doing other stuff. And then all of a sudden, the sun was down. Oh, yes, I finished a book, made some more vape juice, cooked some pancakes, cleaned windows, did a round on deck to inspect all deck gear, and probably more that I don’t remember.
I’m enjoying this a lot.
Gonna try and convince one of my crew to do tomorrow’s update. Need to whip them up a bit.
By Robin Iversen
Thu Jan 06 2022 16 32.898n 33 16.016w
It is rock and roll. On the radio and in motion. Swell has been hectic today but calmed down a bit after sunset. Not much else happening. Still doing great speed averaging above 7kt. We are about 480NM west of Mindelo in Cape Verde, with about 1700NM left to go.
The flying fish is an interesting creature. We get bombarded by their kamikaze flying. Filly had one jumping straight out of the water and into her face. There have been several jumping up on deck and into the cockpit. Some found their way back in the water by themselves, others we had to throw in.
I wonder if they are eatable?
Not much luck on the fishing rod. We are probably still too fast.
Expect the wind to calm down over the weekend, then I’m going all in to fishing mode! Until then we’re going to keep making way with our superspeed. Filly and Karolius are feeling better today, that’s good.
It has been cloudy today and we had to run the engine for an hour to charge. Very happy with my new regulator! Now charging 80-115A compared to the weak 20-25A from the terrible battery to battery charger.
Anyways, have a good evening!
Fri Jan 07 2022 16 40.253n 36 26.278w
Another late update!
Well, not much to report. We are just getting lazy.
It is still windy. There is still kamikaze fish. Probably 10 fish an hour. Maybe 15. Too lazy to count. Yeah, and of course waves, swell, waves and swell…
Robin is concerned about the last provisioning and that we will run out of food. I’m on the other hand am confident that we in the rush, excitement, and lack of provisioning choices the last day before departure managed to be well-planned and prepare for 10 days. Or 15. Can’t remember actually what we planned for. Didn’t have a list either… Aargh, never mind. We’ll find out. There is plenty of fish in the ocean (and flying into our lap with no need to even lift a fishing rod)…
By Robin Iversen
Sat Jan 08 2022 16 38.010n 38 26.583w
This might be confusing for some, but day 6 actually means that we have been sailing for 5 days, but counting the departure day as number 1. We should probably have changed that and maybe I will when we get to St. Martin. We’ll see.
Still no luck with my fishing, but we are still flying away making great speed between 6.5 and 7.5 knots.
Too fast for the fish?
Okay, so let’s break some numbers:
We are approximately 775 NM west of Mindelo where we started. That is in a straight line. Calculating our average speed from start to this point over ground gives us approximately 6.46 knots in average speed. That is pretty good. But when we look at our actual sailed distance, this number gets more impressive. The actual sailed distance over the last 5 days is 800 NM giving us an average speed of 6.67 knots. Now that is not bad for a heavily loaded 41-foot boat from the late 80s! That also means we have been averaging 160NM a day. We have recorded speeds as high as 11 knots surfing down waves, but at that point we reduced sails.
We have been lucky with the weather, having mostly 15-25 knots of wind and the swell pushing us forward. But we have also been cautious and reefed both the main and genoa down to the first and second reef respectively, to keep the boat stable and comfortable.
The last couple of days have been rock and roll as I wrote in a previous update and that’s because of a change in swell direction giving us grief straight in from the side. There have also been some messy waves on top rocking us around. This morning however both wind and swell have calmed down and we now have a comfortable 2 meter swell from behind with a period of about 10 seconds.
The wind is hovering around 20 knots true/ 13 knots apparent on a starboard broad reach of 120-150 degrees apparent wind angle. In other words, smooth sailing. It has also been a bit cloudy, but today the sun is back and it is getting hot! It is nice to be able to do night watch in t-shirts. The forecast looks great for the coming days, but the wind is supposed to die down to about 15 knots, which is still fine. If it drops more than that, we can always fly the Red Giant that I managed to patch up in Cape Verde.
Things onboard are good. We have all fallen into the passage vibe. Reading books, watching movies, sleeping, cleaning, cooking, and having good conversations. I have been writing blog posts all day on the computer.
An ongoing topic is still the kamikaze fish bombarding us at night. Yesterday I picked up 3 from the deck and threw them in the water. Moments later, a fourth one jumped into the cockpit. Later last night, one jumped over the boat, landed on the spray hood, slid from starboard to port, and then jumped back in the water. Incredible!
Today I’m cooking Chili Con Carne with orange peppers, garlic, and onion. Then I’m gonna chuck it in a bowl with cheese on top and gratinate it in the oven and serve it with Chinese cowl and wild rice. I’m getting hungry writing about it so I’ll get right ahead and crack on with it.
Catch you later!
Mon Jan 10 2022 16 38.809n 42 32.032w
Another late update.
Not much is happening, the flying fish has stopped bombarding us finally.
We expect to reach halfway through sometime tomorrow.
The wind is also expected to calm down and we will probably set the Gennaker at some point.
Day 8 – Halfway across the Atlantic
By Robin Iversen
Mon Jan 10 2022 16 51.150n 43 57.852w
Wohey, we are officially halfway across! 1100 NM out of 2200 NM done and dusted. In just 7 days. It is almost going too fast! We want more of these sunsets and sunrises. More of the tranquility. The peace and calm. The lack of distractions.
I think we might even start to go a bit crazy. Raymond the Raymarine autopilot is such a valued crew member that we have given him hands (gloves taped to the wheel), a face (very artistic pirate drawing by myself) and he has borrowed a salty Sailing Ellidah cap. Now he is one of us. Like Wilson in Tom Hanks’ movie, Cast Away.
So I was having this interesting conversation with a lost seagull this morning.
Haha, no, just kidding. It isn’t that bad.
The sea has calmed down a lot and today has been pleasant with 15 knots of wind and temperatures up to 28 degrees. We had a small squall hit us last night with heavy rain and 30 knots of wind. We will probably see more of them the closer we get to the tropics.
Not many flying fish to see anymore. But I do still find shells from them everywhere. And on two spots on the boom, there were shells glued on. How they managed to hit the boom is for me a mystery.
It couldn’t have felt good, probably flying around with a headache. Or more likely already food for some bigger fish in the food chain.
Out here we have a lot of time to think and reflect on things. Some silly things like this, but also more serious stuff. Not gonna bother you with any of it now, we’ll save that for the movie.
Yeah, we’re making a movie!
Have a good night
Day 9 – Calm after squall
By Ofélie Quivron
Wed Jan 12 2022 17 11.893n 46 30.362w
So after celebrating being halfway across the ocean, and offering a drink to Neptune last night, we figured he might not have liked the taste of our rum so much…
A few moments later, the wind started to shift in all kinds of directions, the rain started to pour down, and the wind increased from 18 knots to about 40 in the blink of an eye.
Ellidah healed over to about 45 degrees, water came in the cockpit, everything inside started to fly around, which made it seem a lot more dramatic than it was.
We lost a few soldiers on the battlefield… I think Ellidah might need a few more drinking glasses.
Or maybe not.
Who needs drinking glasses anyway when you can just drink out of beer cans?
Our amazing mascot Raymond (made of the incredible skipper’s drawing skills) didn’t make it either. Rip. Lest we forget.
Anyway, our dear Captain Rob got the situation under control, the enemy retrieved, and the episode was over as fast as it started.
Yep, that was our first big squall of the trip.
So after this interesting night, everybody was kind of tired today and we had quite a relaxing day. Captain Rob took care of his rusty tools, while I cooked for my favorite guinea pigs, trying out new recipes (poor guys).
Sun is shining, the temperature is definitely increasing. And clothes are shrinking. Even the cockpit took a few layers off today and stripped down its walls.
Oh and Neptune, we forgive you mate, it’s all good. But please don’t do that too often. That would be nice.
Day 10 – We saw whales!
By Ofélie Quivron
Wed Jan 12 2022 17 21.648n 48 45.567w
Whales !! Whales !! Whales !!! We saw whaaaales !
As you might have got it, I’m still pretty excited about it, even though it’s been a few hours. But how could you not be? Mother Nature sent a pretty sweet present our way around sunset time, reminding us that we’re not alone out here.
We were having a nice dinner cooked by our dear Captain Rob, when we heard a deep breathing sound. We were debating if it was just us hallucinating a bit from being so long in the open sea… A bit like you would dream of an oasis after walking in the desert for too long.
And suddenly a big grey body and fin appeared from the water. We dropped our plates and rushed to the bow, enjoying an hour-long show from these amazing sea creatures. We first saw a huge one, then two smaller ones. We really want to think it was a little whale family cruising around, making friends with Ellidah.
I tried my best to get some nice shots of them, but hey it’s not that easy. Especially when you are like a 4-year-old, almost crying from excitement.
Anyway, that was definitely a big highlight of the trip. Absolutely priceless.
The rest of the day has been pretty damn good as well, starting off with Captain’s special: Pancakes!
And I finally got to wash my hair after…Too many days. And trust me, it’s worth talking about it. It’s funny how a regular everyday life thing can become so enjoyable out here. I feel like a new woman.
The only thing we could wish for is a little bit more wind (hey Neptune, notice how I said “a little bit more” right? I know we have to be careful what we ask for).
Big Red (the gennaker, for those who didn’t follow last season) might make its great comeback tomorrow, as we’re not flying as fast as we used to.
But actually, it might not be such a problem… We like it here.
We don’t have to get there too fast.
So yeah, another amazing day here on Ellidah. Feeling grateful for everything we experience.
Have a good night everybody.
Day 11 – Photo update
By Karolius Nordlund
Thu Jan 13 2022 17 55.955n 51 09.309w
Well. The wind is calming down and changing direction a bit. Making the heading change to the Bahamas for today. We’ll be getting to the Caribbean eventually, no worries. Just not in a straight line.
Other than that, not much to report actually.
Doing 5 knots.
1 wale spotted.
So for your entertainment, here’s a photo of us 3 waving, taken by the wale.
(The resolution may be a bit blurry, but hey. It is what it is… We’re laughing at least)
|…ő/ …ő/ …ô/ …|
|…() …() …() …|
|…/\ …/\ …/\ …|
Artist Karolius out
Day 12 – Some sailing action
By Ofélie Quivron
Fri Jan 14 2022 18 12.032n 53 12.272w
Today is a very special day.
And you know why? We gybed!!
After 11 days of sailing on the same setup, only taking and shaking reefs, we actually got some sailing action going on.
Well, same old wing’o’wing, but on the opposite side now.
So we’re not heading towards the Bahamas anymore.
We figured we might need some more food if we had to go this far, as our fishing luck isn’t so great.
Back to the Caribbean then.
The wind picked up again last night and lasted throughout the day. Ellidah is back in flying mode.
Oh, and I saw a boat last night! First one since… Like a week or something. I’m not sure. We live on a different idea of time here. Just consider it being a very long time.
So long that you’d first think it’s a ufo, before realizing it might actually be a boat.
It was a sailboat, going 23 knots. Jeez. No wonder why it was called Maserati.
Read in an annoying YouTuber’s voice:
“Alright guys, that’s about it for today. Thanks for watching, please don’t forget to give a thumb up and hit the subscribe button, and stay tuned for more updates to come”
By Robin Iversen
Sun Jan 16 2022 17 29.477n 56 40.656w
We forgot the update again. But nothing too interesting to write about. We saw another whale and the weather has been nice.
Getting creative with tin canned meals and our veggie diet consists of beans, potatoes, and onions. And for some reason, our yellow pepper has survived this far. It isn’t strictly veggie though, we still have ham, chorizo, and salami.
It is getting warm, even during the night, and we aren’t complaining.
By Robin Iversen
Mon Jan 17 2022 17 40.710n 58 18.924w
We’re getting close to St. Martin. I can almost smell the Caribbean.
Our ETA is Wednesday 19th January and that is pretty soon! Time flies when you have fun and it’s crazy to think about how far we have sailed. Actually about 3700 NM, from Spain to St. Martin.
It will be interesting to connect to Internet again after being off the grid for more than 2 weeks. Hopefully, the world is still here and Covid is about to be defeated.
We’ll see soon.
Day 15 – Less than 200 miles left to go
By Robin Iversen
Tue Jan 18 2022 18 00.523n 59 19.746w
The title says it all, we are almost there. We have had such good weather for this ocean crossing. When we left Cape Verde, I calculated an average speed of 5.5 knots for the full passage and at that speed, it would take us 16 days to do 2200NM in a straight line. Taking into consideration slow and fast days, and also having to sail angles, it looks like it is a pretty accurate estimate.
If we want, we can be there tomorrow night. But we have plenty of water and food left so we’re just going to slow down and probably time our arrival at sunrise on Wednesday. We have also sailed quite conservatively, reefing at night, and be fine with going slow in periods instead of flying the Genakker just to speed up a knot or two.
The weather forecast says that tomorrow will be pretty calm. Maybe a good time to stop for a swim and to do some fishing. I have still only caught one small tuna… I can’t really say I’m proud of my fishing luck haha. The other two seem to have no interest in fishing at all.
So far we have run the engine for 1 hour on 3 occasions, only to charge the batteries after a few cloudy days. So we used about 10 liters of diesel.
How cool is that?
That also means I have more than 300 liters left. That should last a while and the fuel was cheap in Cape Verde.
We got 150 liters of water left in the tanks out of a total of 350.
I haven’t counted the drinking water bottles in a while, but I think we got about 30 or 40 liters in bottles, even though the water in the tanks is perfectly drinkable. Our port couch still has a sweet selection of beer and we’re not running out of tin canned food, rice, pasta, and potatoes any time soon. Oh, and still shitloads of cheese, and a good amount of ham and chorizo.
So we’re not rushing, we are not in any hurry to get there. The only thing to keep in mind is that Karolius needs to fly home before his holiday runs out. But we still got plenty of time.
The most challenging thing I did so far this trip was to bake bread the other day. My god, you won’t believe how messy that job got in the end. But the bread turned out nice, thanks to my beloved mother’s great recipe. We even have some left and today’s lunch consisted of fresh (to us, 2 days is still freaking fresh) bread with boiled eggs, mayo, Chinese cabbage, and onions. Filly is now making pizza dough, so I’m really looking forward to dinner.
So am I gonna rush ashore and kiss the ground when we get to St Martin?
Nope. I’m probably gonna have a drink, then go for a nap. And after that a swim and a shower. Then figure out where to check-in. In other words, life is still good onboard and we could have continued for much longer without any problems.
Okay, this is getting too long.
Have a nice evening!
By Robin Iversen
Wed Jan 19 2022 18 18.345n 62 34.711w
30 NM to go! I expect to get first sight of land in a few hours. The wind has been slow today so we have been flying Big red, our secret weapon, the Genakker.
We’re hopefully anchored in Marigot Bay before lunchtime.
Day 17 – Arrival St. MARTIN!
By Robin Iversen
Fri Jan 21 2022 18 03.973n 63 05.948w
We have officially crossed the Atlantic. 2200 nautical miles from Cape Verde. 3700 nautical miles from Almerimar. What a trip! Ellidah has proven herself to be such a strong and reliable boat.
We arrived Wednesday morning just at sunrise and the trip has taken 16 days. Which is what I estimated before we left Cape Verde.
It has been a great adventure and I already miss the tranquility of being in the middle of the ocean.
Karolius and Ofelie have left and now I plan to relax and hang around the island for the rest of the month.
Then we will see what happens. I think I’m going to sail down and meet up with my friend David on “Bobbie G” around Dominica.
You won’t find any more updates on here until next time I take Ellidah on a longer passage. Until then, you can read the blog posts!
That is partly the reason for me staying here for a while, I’m catching up with a lot of digital work. Picture editing and writing. Then there is boat work to do.
Thank you for following this awesome journey. We made these updates for you. If you subscribe to the newsletter, I promise to give you a heads up next time we go for a big trip. And also when the movie from the trip is released!
+ All the other awesome content that will be published over the next few months.
Catch you later!
Undertaking such a trip like this has been an enormous task. All the planning, preparations, upgrades, and questions wander on one’s mind. Setting off into the unknown and vastness of the sea in a tiny boat with good friends. It has been the adventure of my life, and the sense of achievement, in the end, is enormous.
I now understand why the Vikings back in the day would set off again and again to explore new lands. I think it might be in our blood. To travel by wind to distant shores, seeking new adventures, and last but not least, meeting new people.
Meeting a familiar face in the Caribbean
After arriving in Saint Martin, my plans changed quite a bit. I met up with Garrett again and he joined onboard as crew and we then explored Saint Martin for a while before we set course northwest to the British Virgin Islands.
This post is the end of the Atlantic Crossing Series. But it also marks the beginning of the next season cruising Ellidah around the Caribbean. It is definitely different down here from the Mediterranean. More palm trees. Excellent trade winds. Caribbean vibes. Expensive beer. Expensive food. I am not spoiled with fast Internet anymore.
But hey, in the land of Reggae and Rum, who can complain?
To be continued…