43 – Atlantic crossing
43 – Atlantic crossing

43 – Atlantic crossing

With this article we hope to give you a little insight of our Atlantic crossing from Mindelo to Fernando de Noronha, with a few extracts from our diary. Enjoy !😊

Tuesday, 16th January 2024

16h30: We leave pontoon C to get fuel at the petrol pier… and stay on hold for the next 30 minutes waiting for a sailing boat to settle their payment. We get rid of our last Cape Verdean Escudos in cash and over € 300 with our credit card filling our 1000-litre petrol tank.

18h30: We just past the light house of Dona Amelia and the bay of Sao Pedro.

19h20: It’s pitch dark outside; the moon isn’t out yet. Conditions are good, which allows us to have our last piece of delicious fresh Cape Verdean tuna mi-cuit with rice. Speed up to 9,6 knots!

I spend my night shift from 2 to 6 a.m. standing in the cockpit, holding on to the sprayhood. Wrapped up in several layers of clothes and even a jacket, I listen to Dire Staights and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.

Wednesday, 17th January

09h30: The waves have increased; the wind is good though. I’m feeling quite seasick, which is not surprising after being without movement for nearly 3 weeks.

During the night we lose half of the content of our fruit and vegetable net… (1 papaya, 1 watermelon, lots of apples ☹): the rope holding the net gets cut through due to the movement from the waves; it was rubbing against a sharp edge. Jean-Luc manages to catch some potatoes and onions before they roll off the deck. Luckily we bought alot of fruit and veggies, and stored them in 3 different nets.

The boat is moving too much inside and it’s too windy outside. One can understand that it’s hard for the boys to do schoolwork. We’re glad to have pre-cooked a few meals before leaving Mindelo. Chicken Thai curry is on the menu tonight.

TOUKA’s Team is supposed to leave end of the afternoon from Brava, so we would sail to Fernando de Noronha more or less together. But they’re blocked by a ship’s line across the bay and have to wait till the ship leaves. Therefore, we’re already over 20 miles ahead when they manage to get going.

21h30: Alexander helps with the night shift. We play several rounds of Mastermind with headlamps.

Thursday, 18th January

Wind and big waves (unfortunately criss-crossing) from the back. Using our spinnaker, we’re moving fast but it’s not comfortable. The waves are impressive: as high as our Bimini (name for the soft roof over the cockpit). We see them rolling past under us.

13h: Jean-Luc fries the left-over pasta from yesterday’s lunch with some edible Cape Verdean sausages!

In the afternoon: the fixation that holds the spinnaker boom brakes. We can still use the spi but not when the wind comes straight from the back. We start zigzagging to more or less keep our heading. 1030 nautical miles left… Temperatures are getting more acceptable; we take off one layer per day 😉

19h: we have a ready-made quiche for supper, and an omelette made out of the 7 eggs that fell out of the cupboard when taking out the plates…

3rd night: During our night shifts we both have difficulties to stay awake. Beethoven 5th Symphony helps as well as sticking your head out in the wind!

Friday, 19th January

Very cloudy sky, the waves are still between 2 and 4 meters high, 12-17 knots of back wind. With these conditions, we don’t have our meals at the table anymore as we list too much and the waves make everything fall…

The boys do a bit of school and spend most of the day fishing sargassum, that look like hedgehogs clutching onto the fishing line. Check out the interesting link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sargassum

13h30: We have hamburgers and fruit for lunch.

20h15: After “the sailors favorite meal” Chinese noodle soup, we watch the hilariously funny French film “Hollywoo” with the boys. This means, that every 10-15 minutes we go out, look in all directions, check the radar and the AIS detection system that shows any boat within 40 nautical miles (about 70 km) and beeps if you’re in collision course with any boat, with alot of time to change course if necessary.

My night shift is pleasantly interrupted by Oliver joining and a game of battleships and cruises at about 4 am. But before that we had to get past this wall of “boats”, that turned out to be responding fishing net signals, in fact each of them about a mile apart from each other. So finally, we sailed through between them.

Saturday, 20th January

Still high waves, but more regular, still 15-17 knots of wind, sailing with the spinnaker and moving fast. Catamaran Touka’s about 60 miles north-east, having taken a more southern direction to keep out of the swell. Smart!

09h45: Big excitement! We have an enormous dolphin fish (Mahi-Mahi) on the line, meaning Daddy is woken up to pull it on deck. It get’s emptied and fileted by Jean-Luc and Alexander, where as Oliver and I take care of preparing an appetizer and lunch. Mahi-Mahi tartare followed by fried fish, potatoes and Tzatziki. Interesting to see how the Mahi-Mahi changes its colour when dead: from yellow to grey-white and then back to yellow but less colourful.

It is surprising to see the colour of the Mahi-Mahi change…
… and then change back again
Alexander learning how to filet
Mahi-Mahi tartare with parsley

Despite the 3-5 meter high waves, I feel less sick than the last few days. One does get used to the constant movement, luckily!

Sunday, 21st January

06h00: I wake Alexander for sunrise. HE WANTED IT! Afterwards, we play a game of Kahala.

After breakfast the boys do quite a bit of school. Bored?

The waves increase during the day up to 5 meters, 17 to 20 knots of wind. Mainsail with 2 reefs and full jib.

15h30: We just had a squall with over 30 knots of wind followed by heavy rain for 45 minutes – very impressive! After that a beautiful rainbow appeared.

Pasta with a bacon-cream sauce for supper. Finished our last green salad.

Monday to Wednesday, 22nd-24th January

The waves calmed down to remind us how nice sailing can be. Beautiful weather, good and steady wind, still from behind. Sailing with the spinnaker for 3 days. Jean-Luc, nearly as usually!, has to go up mid-mast : the rope helping to bring the spinnaker down is entangled around the radar…

16h20: Equator crossing! We open a bottle of Champagne that we bought at Auchan in Dakar for this occasion. The boys happily join in and half a glass goes over board to Poseidon or Neptun or who-ever wants to celebrate with us 😉.

17h20: Jean-Luc gets busy repairing the ventilators that broke when flying off the boys shelves when listing. They will be needed; we can feel the temperatures rising! Cat is making bread.

The stunning moon lightens up the night shifts!

Thursday, 25th January

Getting closer! We don’t have the wind conditions expected: the easterlies force us to sail at close reach and waves from the side for this last day, listing heavily.

Jean-Luc shaves: interesting exercise at sea!…

We have a squatter all night. He didn’t choose the most comfortable spot… and leaves a white puddle on the teak deck.

Was nice to have his company anyway 😊

Friday, 26th January

04h50: Sunrise, the island of Fernando di Noronha in sight.

06h20: We drop our anchor in the bay, amongst about 30 other boats, mostly boats for day tourists. The dolphins and the sleeping man greet us.

Our sailing friends with their catamaran Touka will be arriving in a few hours.

After 9 days and 13 hours, we’re looking forward to going on shore! But it’s just a little stop-over on the way to mainland Brazil, which is another 270 nautical miles to go.


  1. Sally and Denis Bridges

    Awesome my dears. I can hear the waves crashing about you. Have you made any recordings of the majestic symphony of the sea.? Great photos……the Mahi-Mahi; what an incredible fish. 🤗💖

    1. Hi Sally, thanks for your feedback!
      We are very bad at video or sound recording… sorry. We even have a drone, but don’t even know how to work it properly… But yes, we enjoy the sound of the sea, especially at night. Or the waves against the hull when laying on our bunks.

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