Atlantic Crossing part 3: Enjoying Las Palmas And Smooth Sailing To Cape Verde
Monday, December 14, 2021
In the Atlantic Crossing Part 3, we are enjoying Las Palmas and smooth sailing to Cape Verde. To get the context of this journey, you should read Part 1, Part 2, and the Daily Cruising Log found linked below.
Atlantic Crossing part 1: Sailing from Almerimar to Gibraltar
AtlaAtlantic Crossing part 2: Heavy Weather Sailing To Las Palmas
Daily Cruising Log – Gibraltar To Las Palmas
As we are approaching the port area in Las Palmas, I was starting to wonder if SV Sunday were in the Marina or at anchor. All of a sudden, a “bip” sounded on the chart plotter and I saw an AIS target from my “Buddy list” show up.
We continued into the anchorage and stopped Ellidah about 2 meters away from SV Sunday. The funny part was that they had just talked about that they wondered where we were, and as they came out in their cockpit, we were sitting there right next to them. Cool surprise!
They met us with greetings, smiles, and barks. After a quick chat, we went to anchor up and planned to catch up later.
SY Ellidah And SV Sunday
I first saw the name SV Sunday when I was at work in the North Sea around Christmas time in 2021. Ellidah was parked in Licata – Sicily for the winter and I was really wondering how things were down there. I started Googling the marina and searched Facebook for local marina groups to see if there were any pictures or videos.
I then found a YouTube channel with a couple from Canada and Australia that were also in Licata for the winter onboard their Benneteau Oceanis 46 together with their dog Jackson. It looked like they were having a nice winter down there and I also found some video clips on the marina Facebook page where I got a glimpse of Ellidah exactly where I parked her.
That was comforting for me while sitting in the North Sea during Christmas in the fierce winter storms. I also thought that it would be cool to get to know these young sailors. Most of the people I meet are really cool, but many of them are much older than me. It was nice to see someone my own age out there cruising. I decided to get in contact with them when I came back to Licata.
And so, I did. Then we caught up to each other in Tunisia later. We spent a month in a North African fishermen’s yard doing boat work together. Later we met again in Sardinia on my way back west from Greece and sailed around the Maddalena Islands together. We planned on meeting up in Almerimar and doing the trip to Gibraltar, Canaries, and Cape Verde together, but our delays gave them a head start.
In other words, it was really cool to meet up with them again this way!
Exploring Las Palmas And Meeting Up With Other Sailors
We stayed at anchor in Las Palmas for a few days while waiting for an available spot in the marina. After catching up with Ryan and Brittni, they told us that they were invited for some beers on some friend’s boat in the marina and asked if we wanted to join. After a week at sea, we were all quite ready to socialize and have fun!
Later that evening we ended up in a burger restaurant in town where we also met the crew from a few other boats. The mood was great and we all ended up having an excellent night.
Living On A Cruising Boat Means Doing Boat Work In Nice Places
The heading is truer than you can imagine. Anyone I talk to says the same. Old boats, new boats, they all break and have problems and issues. Or have upgrades planned. It is a good thing that I actually enjoy it.
It’s like a video game. You work to get money so you can upgrade and maintain your boat, sail to new locations and unlock new experiences. The more you progress, the higher your level gets. Cool way of seeing it, huh?
We had massive provisioning to do. I wanted more fuel cans and more fishing equipment. One of my wireless instruments needed a new battery. My house battery bank and alternator charging system needed some work. And I had the Gennaker halyard wrapped around the forestay so I had a mast to climb.
Visiting Shops And Climbing The Mast
We went on a mission to go and buy some stuff. Luckily, the chandleries in Las Palmas are super well-stocked. I was amazed when the guy told me that he actually had a battery (a super special one that only fits this particular instrument) in stock! We got some fuel cans and the courtesy flag for Cape Verde in the same place as well as some other bits and bobs.
Later, Karolius hoisted me up in the mast to sort out the Gennaker halyard. Luckily it hadn’t done any damage. Halyard wrap can be a dangerous thing to a forestay and this halyard was brand new a few weeks ago from Almerimar. At the same time, I did a rig inspection. With a brand-new standing rig, everything seemed in great condition and I was happy.
Doing The Big Provision Run
Obviously, we needed food for the next 800NM passage down to Cape Verde. I was advised to get as much as possible in Las Palmas as the selection in Cape Verde isn’t all that good and it is also cheaper here. We still had quite a bit of dry food and drinks from Almerimar, but now it was time to stock up on the majority of the provisions we needed for the Atlantic crossing as well.
Luckily, Las Palmas is a great place to do this. We found a grocery store that packed everything down for us and delivered it to the marina the following day. Super convenient and at no extra charge! As you can see, we made quite a chaos onboard…
Impressively, we did find space for everything and to our surprise, there was still more storage space for more stuff.
I had some issues with my battery bank during the passage down to Las Palmas. One night the over-discharge relay disconnected the batteries which basically means that all electricity onboard shuts down. The relay protects the batteries from being fully discharged which does damage to them.
We had a few days of cloudy weather and didn’t really manage to charge as much as we consumed so we were definitely getting low and I expected to start the engine the next day when everybody was awake.
However, the batteries shut down when the battery monitor showed that we had another 80Ah left, or about 20% in the middle of the night. That means bye-bye autopilot, navigation lights, and basically everything else. Including the fridge.
Starting the engine reactivated the relay as soon as the alternator started charging, but it was obvious that something was off. The calibration was all wrong and some of the battery cells were also out of balance. This was something important that I had to address before we left Las Palmas.
Las Palmas Marina
We got a spot in the marina and got access to shore power. Then I recalibrated the battery monitor and managed to balance the cells. (Not fully, but well enough). So far this seems to have done the trick.
When charging with the engine running, I have been charging about 25A through a “battery to battery” charger. That is quite low and I haven’t been happy with this solution. I had a new alternator regulator onboard that I ordered from a guy in New Zeeland earlier that I haven’t had the time to install yet.
I spent a couple of days measuring, pulling wires, reading drawings, and rewiring some of the old charging circuitry to get the new unit in place. I’m not going to go more in detail about this in this post, but I will write a separate one about it.
More Delays Again
When I finally had the regulator wired up, I realized that I was missing about 5 meters of 70 mm2 cable. This was on a Saturday, and I ran off to the closest shop to see if I could find one. They were of course closed for the day. The following day was Sunday, then a Bank Holiday on Monday. Which meant we were stuck until Tuesday. And we planned to leave the following day.
Oh well, what to do?
Getting Into Party Mode And Having A Terrible Hangover
Since we were stuck waiting for the cable, we figured we might as well go for a late-night out. It was Saturday after all and we were in the Canary Islands capitol. We teamed up with some Swedish friends we made in our neighbor Hallberg Rassey and went into town. Bar jumping, beers, drinks, and eventually shots. What a dangerous, yet fun combination. That combined with the adventure ahead of us made for an excellent vibe.
We ended up meeting two local girls that dragged us on to a nightclub next to the marina a bit later on. The place was packed with people and good music and here is where we all had our last drinks and dance (if you can even call what we did dancing) before heading back to Ellidah to sleep.
The following day was as rough as our passage from Gibraltar to Las Palmas.
Leaving Las Palmas With The Course Set Towards Cape Verde
We said goodbye to all the new friends we made in Las Palmas and headed for the fuel station to bunker diesel and water. I managed to get the missing cable from the chandlery and connected it up, but for some reason, I couldn’t get the regulator to boot up sadly.
I sent a mail to the dealer and hoped to get a reply by the time we came to Cape Verde. At least I had the equipment I needed on board.
This passage was about 800NM and we were glad to see that the weather forecast looked decent. I expected to motor for the first two days or so, but from there on out, it was supposed to be great sailing conditions.
We were also to celebrate Christmas onboard in the middle of the ocean, which we were all pretty excited about.
Like last time, we made daily updates through our IridiumGo! and you can continue on to them in the link below: