Cabo Verde to Antigua 2014

By Art on (with 13 comments)


Distance (nm)
Average (kts)

OK, the stop-over in Mindelo was very nice and the crew had wonderful food and fun for Christmas but... it's time to continue on with the passage to the Caribbean. The reason for stopping in Cabo Verde was due to the winds dropping off to almost nothing across the entire Atlantic. Now, that reason is going away as the trade winds are coming back and should be fairly steady for the rest of the passage to Antigua.

So tomorrow we will see Feelin' Good toss the lines and leave the Mindelo Marina to begin her crossing to meet up with me in Antigua. I'm not sure who had the most fun over Christmas as some of the crew went wind surfing in Mindelo and I hung out at a nice beach in Antigua. I do miss being on the boat with everyone though and really look forward to greeting them upon their arrival here in Antigua. Carmen is doing much better and will fly over to join me in time to welcome Feelin' Good back to the Caribbean.

Passage Position

Log Entries

by Tracy

Squalls again last night, big wind, big seas, and fast sailing, but when the cloud cover finally broke the sea became illuminated by an enormous full moon, it hung low in the west lighting the path ahead. Then as the sun rose the moon set, turning golden as it slowly faded into the horizon while the glow of morning was expanding in the east. Then the sun appeared and the stars that remained suddenly vanished, the squalls behind us turned to umber, their rain shafts washing over the orange sun like the wet pigments of a watercolor painting running together.

So here we are, one hundred miles from our destination, riding this wild bullet train to Antigua, we have the bottles of bubbly chilled and standing ready, we are all sleep-deprived, junk-food overdosed, a bit crabby and somewhat stinky. We've been looking at each other in the same shorts and T-shirt for the past three days, we all crave a real bath, clean sheets, and will most certainly want to eat anything but pasta once we arrive.

And yet, on this our final day there is a bit of sadness too, we are a group of people who came together to sail across an ocean, we've lived, and worked together, joked around, enjoyed each others company, shared Christmas and New Years together and once we land most will scatter in different directions. It's the sailor's life, where saying goodbye to friends and loved ones is a regular event, tempered by the knowledge that you will probably be meeting up again sometime on another boat in another ocean.

As I write this it's a rodeo outside, we will be gybing soon as we need to adjust our course before the final gybe takes us into Falmouth Harbour. We are on a hard heel, and surfing crazy big waves, making it difficult to type and hold myself in place here at the navstation. It all sounds so romantic, and it is, but sometimes it seriously sucks too, but honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. Cheers, hugs, last one to the bar buys the first round- we are feeling good!!!

Nope, first beer is on me!! I got 'em cold and waiting for you!! - Art

by Tracy

We are at this moment just under 350 NM from Antigua and she is closing in on her target like a bullet. Last night was fast and rough with winds up to 35 knots and boat speeds near twenty in big, crazy seas, and yes, we are reefed! The helm was a challenge last night due to the strange angles the waves were hitting and also the jumbled sizes; three huge giant waves followed by a set of odd chop then more giants arrive, but we are a sailing yacht, we are sailors, and so we sail; we are not complaining, we are not from Genova ;=) ha ha..

This morning we still have the huge seas outside, but they seem more manageable during the day. I awoke at sunrise which has now become my routine, to find the seas were golden, the clouds, the sky, everything was bathed in gold. Andrea was at the helm wearing a storm jacket and his pajamas, but I'm not surprised, at this point in our journey, we are all just getting through each day the best we can; the last miles of a marathon are always the hardest. In the quiet of early morning I find the galley is a fallout zone of empty lasagna pans long scraped clean, torn candy bar wrappers, discarded half-eaten chip bags and cookie crumbs. As soon as people begin to emerge from their bunks however, it's quickly cleaned and all evidence of the previous nights foraging has been erased as if it never happened.

So here we are, the last full day of our passage, yesterday's galley menu included catch of the day, a beautiful Mahi Mahi skillfully landed by our resident samurai fisherman (you know who) so in honor of the occasion we used up the last of our fresh salad veggies, while the Mahi was roasted whole, ok cut in half so it would fit in the oven, but wow, it was truly amazing, fabulous, and as Pitiou likes to say in his special french accent: delicious! If the winds hold, we should make Antigua tomorrow, arriving just at the beginning of Happy Hour, the Champagne is already in the fridge! Grandi Abbracci Tutti!! We are feeling good!!

by Pitiou

"Ocean Song" - pensees matinales, Celeste ('Pitiou')

il y a des moments de present ou les vagues et le vent s’accordent pour composer une douce mélodie…

la lune dessine un ruban dore sur l’ocean qui illumine l’étrave alors que notre sillage s’évapores dans la nuit…

notre jolie fille glisse sur du velour…just delicious!!!

by Giamma

Perfect night of sailing in the Atlantic, almost a full moon " C.A.V.U." 25/30 kts of wind 150º TWA long oceanic wave and 1kts of current push "La Piccola Feelin' Good" run run the right course, everybody at the helm are excited.

Now are 5.42am boat time the rest of the crew are taking rest, Pitiou and me are on watch swapping the helm every hour until the moon set, now during the dark we can see another ocean...The sky, billion and billion of star constellation and some satellite run very fast..we are doing very good passage, we make 270/250nm daily, trust me not bad ;),

un saluto from the blue ocean...I go back to the helm:))) /)/)_/)

by Tracy

Greetings from the FG flight deck, we have CAVU conditions this morning; (clear above visibility unlimited) we are currently flying at 12 knots in 24 knots wind with an occasional increase to 19 knots boat speed when the crew feels a bit frisky. From our command center here in the galley, not far from the coffee machine, and next to Giamma's lucky turtle, I see we are now 590NM from Antigua and closing..ok that get's a woohoo, how about that?

Special messages from the crew today: From Andrea to all the girls anxiously awaiting his arrival in Antigua- "Ciao bella, Io arrivo subito"..From all of the FG crew a special shout out to the crew of SWS Windfall: Noi siamo piu veloce...ha ha!! Oh yes and..Noi siama piu belli...yes, you all know that tune. A special message to the Palma gang- you guys are awesome! Ciao Carmensita!!! From all of the crew to our beloved il mozzo Gustavo back in Ticino; grandi abbracci!! We miss you!! And a very special thanks to our weather guru, ground control and webmaster supreme Art- thanks honey!!

Of course we still have a couple days left to go, and I may get all Moittisier again tomorrow who knows? But for today we are feeling pretty light-hearted, I can hear Giamma outside at this moment, "Bambini.." So this can only mean the kids are playing the "fast game" again, which is the game of who can make that fastest speed when they get their turn on the helm.

Yesterday's galley menu included pasta puttanesca alla Napoli, while today's menu will feature Lasagne della Carmen- sorry we are no longer taking dinner reservations, last time we did that the mermaids came and they ate everything. Ciao tutti!!! Thank you for all of the beautiful comments, they mean so much!! I) _I) _I)_____>>>>!!!

by Tracy

So why is it then? Why is it that people still come out here? Out into the middle of the middle of nowhere, a place that isn't even a place at all but just liquid space filled with nothingness...why is it then that such a nonexistent point that can only be properly designated with numbers, as it has no discernible geography by which to be otherwise identified, why then of all the parts of this planet does the sea tend to draw out a person's inner most thoughts and feelings about everything the world is and everything a person could possibly find themselves made of? Seems really silly doesn't it? Maybe it is, but that's what happens anyone who is ready for it.

So here we are at this moment 800NM from Antigua, "She is like a horse who can smell the stable is close" says Pitiou, "she is on a straight course and running fast you know?" He has just returned from making his morning rounds, walking the deck and checking the rig, which is part of his daily routine. A few minutes ago Andrea's fishing rod started to sing, he was in the middle of making some eggs and bacon for breakfast, but had to leave it on the stove as a fish was calling him. In the spirit of good sportsmanship he handed the rod over to Captain Giamma who fought well but in the end the fish was just too big- biting straight through the stainless steel leader and taking our fancy lure with it, one of the hazards of flying along at such huge speeds is that we tend to hook huge fish! Still great fun though.

Last night for New Year's dinner we had those tasty little chickens stuffed with bacon and dates- grazie mille Carmensita! We also had Pitiou's special gratin dauphinois, a recipe of his grandmother, so yes, fish- no fish, we eat very well. we are feeling good!

by Tracy

I woke up this morning a bit disoriented...where am I again? Peering out my window I'm suddenly reminded: ah, giant grey waves..right. We celebrated both New Years and reaching our mid Atlantic way-point at the stroke of midnight last night. The deck, the sea, and all of us received a proper prosecco soaking courtesy of Andrea, who as we all learned is never to be handed a bottle to open unless you're ready to get wet. We did manage to drink a bit, and eat quite a lot.

There was the lentil soup Carmen made for us as we are all Italian now, we ate our grapes- twelve all at once right at midnight like good Spaniards, our resident Brazilian reminded us that in her home country everyone goes to the beach on New Years day to jump seven waves for good luck, we've been jumping waves for over a thousand miles so I can safely say that base is covered.

Giamma was in charge of music so we danced (read: moved slightly in a cheerful fashion so as to not be knocked off one's feet in heavy seas) to Ciamboa. Jonsi, our native son of Mallorca was in charge of croquette baking and the all important jamon iberico slicing. Many gluten-free chicken croquettes died a brave death last night.

We didn't just make the best of it we had the best of it...but now its back to work, we have another thousand miles of ocean in front of us; Happy 2015!!!

by Tracy

Since yesterday we've made 270NM averaging 11knots boat speed in 25-30 knots wind. We are in big seas but the helm is light and everyone wants their turn; the game is on, who can be the fastest? So far three crew members have each held the record for this passage, most recently Andrea clocked 20.7 knots surfing, so he now has the target on his back. But none has come close to Gustavo's all time surfing record of 25 knots- bravo Gustavo!

Tonight is a very special night, not just because its New Year's eve but because at midnight we are calculated to reach the mid-Atlantic point, so the prosecco will be popping for sure!! We have a special dinner planned for tomorrow, Pitiou will be baking a special French cheese tart with potato, and we will be roasting some little chickens Carmensita put in the freezer for us. The crew are all debating what is the best thing to eat on New Years day in order to ensure good luck for the coming months.

The Spaniards have been guarding a cash of grapes in the fridge, they plan to eat twelve grapes each for good luck. Where I come from in the American South, we always had black-eyed peas on New Years for good luck. The Italians are adamant that we must have lentils, and we must eat a lot of lentils for good fortune in the coming year.

As for our resident Frenchman, he says in France they like to celebrate the new year with Champagne and oysters- vive la France! Sounds good to me, but we would have a hard time diving for oysters out here ;=) the Champagne we have! Buon Anno a tutti!!! Aguri!!! Grandi Abbracci!! Ciao Feelin 'Good!!

by Tracy

Silver bullets during the night and silver seas by morning.. we are 670nm out from Cabo Verde, beginning our fourth day on passage and the true Atlantic ocean is showing her face. The pleasant soft seas we've enjoyed are gone, replaced by a huge following swell. The sea is grey today, frothy and loud. Last night the winds picked up considerably, and playing the conservative card paid off as with gusts up to thirty knots we were all thankful the gennaker was safely put away for the night.

The flying fish were out in force, they're silver bodies flashed as they streaked through the shaft of light off the stern, one hit Maira in the leg, others landed on deck only to be quickly retrieved and tossed back into the sea. This morning was cloudy and dark; no Genny today that's for sure! The helm is a roller coaster ride, we're surfing at 17kts, so the cockpit is a quiet zone- no speaking to the driver! We still need to eat though, Andrea is making pasta for lunch- yesterday's pasta was with zucchini and onions, today's pasta is with eggplant and tonight we'll have the teriyaki steak with rice from our freezer stash, so all is good on Feelin' Good!!

by Tracy

The third day's the charm. The first two days were spent readjusting to the watch schedule, the shift back to on-board GMT, and for some reason everyone was ravenously hungry. Even Giamma was going back for thirds which is so unlike him. Now that day three has arrived there's been a much lighter mood on board. We all have the clock in our head, and the midnight raids on food stores have dropped considerably.

I can tell I've adjusted as my need for Sturgeron has faded away- the box is back in the first-aid kit. The biggest morale booster by far has been the return of the trade winds. They arrived early this morning just as Giamma was sadly contemplating switching on the engine as the breeze had dropped to almost nothing during the night. But then suddenly there was twelve knots, which quickly rose to fifteen, then the sun arrived and we had eighteen knots so up went the Genny.

Now it's all aboard the Feelin' Good express train, we are on a direct course with twenty knots wind in light swell making twelve knots SOG- its like she's on rails, prossima fermata Antigua!

by Tracy

Our first day out from Mindelo and after several hours tediously motoring out from under the infamous Cabo Verde wind shadow we are finally sailing. Currently we are 10.5 knots SOG in 20 knots wind, however the wind angle changed during the night so you may have noticed our course change northward- we hope to be gybing south west soon!

A large pod of dolphins escorted us away from the islands yesterday; our ocean sailing welcoming party. For Andrea though, our fish guru and sailing samurai, this was no good- "when the dolphins arrive", he said, "there are no fish." So last night's dinner was pasta bolognese...then there was a radio call, a call from another yacht coming in clear as daylight from S/Y Angel Louise.

A brief exchange revealed this yacht was actually smack in the middle of the Atlantic, some 1200NM due west of Antigua at 17 degrees, making 5.5 knots. At our current position we never should have picked them up on our standard VHF but there she was. The skipper was just looking to touch base with someone..anyone. He was happy to hear from us and that there were indeed other boats out there; even if we were a thousand miles away. Radio aficionados call this sort of anomaly "skip" and the conditions have to be just right, but for us it was an interesting encounter- and as for the Angel Louise- safe journey! See you in Antigua!

by Art

And they're off... at 11:30 local time they tossed the ropes and headed out. Once they've cleared the bay, the wind forecast looked to be about 15 kts out of the north east so perhaps they can get the sails up and begin to enjoy the sailing again. Look for updates every four hours on the map below and follow along on this new passage.

by Tracy, The Calm before the Passage

The sunny clear skies that greeted us upon our arrival in Cabo Verde have tarnished into a grey persistent haze as dust storms engulf the islands. What has in fact been only a few days of waiting out an Atlantic low feels more like two weeks, especially with this swell. My gosh it never ends, this feels more like a rolly anchorage than a marina slip; it’s crazy. As I write this I must steady myself trying to sit and type at the navstation.

It’s a rodeo just getting on and off the boat; the passerelle is swinging wildly and so is the dock but in different directions. Despite the 24hr funhouse that is this marina, we are all restless and bored, but our collective malaise will end tomorrow- yea! As the wind reports are looking very positive we have all set to work once again preparing to leave these dry rocks.

This morning Maira, Jonsi, and I picked up a load of fruits and vegetables at a local market where Maira’s native Portuguese proved a formidable asset as she bargained at lightening speed with the vendors. Then a second trip to a local store for bread, eggs, bottled water, sodas and beer- yes! We are ready!

That same Portuguese folk singer is still playing over at the local bar, like at this very minute, no seriously you can see him sitting out there strumming away, ok it’s nice but after days of listening to the same guy play the same stuff its like basta! Siamo apposto!!! Ciao Carmen and Art!! See you in Antigua!!!!!

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Comments so far

  • comment from Art Tracy on January 6, 2015

    Ciao tutti regazzi!! Many many thanks so very very much for all of your wonderful delightful comments! I know all of the messages have been greatly appreciated by everyone. Thank you also for reading and following along with the adventures of Feelin' Good and her marvellous crew. There will be one last long-form post from me for the passage I hope you will enjoy. May Art and I wish you all a very happy Day of Epiphany, big hugs! Cheers! Tracy

  • comment from Carmencita Carmencita on January 3, 2015

    Ragazziiiii....forza che quasi arriviamo tutti!!! vediamo tra un paio di giorni ad antigua dock....:-)))

  • comment from Alberto Alberto on January 3, 2015

    Hi crew and Tracy, very good, the game is on, who will be the fastest for the crossing? There are bets? what will be the prize? you really are Flying (good), and fishing? Let us know please! With our best regards and compliments to you all , and special for the "novelist" Tracy and to the weather guru Art! Andrea ha molte amiche in Antigua che lo aspettano? Ah ah :-)) Ciaooo!

  • comment from Chiara Chiara on January 3, 2015

    Happy new year to the all crew!! Antigua is waiting for you... see you guys in a couple of days!! A special "ciao bello" to Andrea

  • comment from Marie Fabre De Balanzo Marie Fabre De Balanzo on January 2, 2015

    Tracy, really nice to read you...thank you

  • comment from Chris And Heidy Chris And Heidy on January 1, 2015

    Vivissimi auguri per un anno 2015 stupenda a tutti a bordo e buona continuazione. Have not seen Gustavo yet although we spent the day in splendid sunshine and dark blue sky tying up together on the lago Maggiore sipping Prosecco and thinking of you. Enjoy your terific sail and have fair winds with not too much swell. Veeeery unpleasent. Thanks for the great News. Cari saluti dal Ticino

  • comment from Marie And Buby Marie And Buby on January 1, 2015

    happy new year to all of you* thank you so much for all the news, viva feelin'good!

  • comment from Alberto E Patrizia Alberto E Patrizia on December 31, 2014

    Carissimi Auguri a tutto l'equipaggio, ed a Tracy in particolare che ci fa vivere con i suoi scritti momenti indimenticabili come fossimo a bordo anche noi! Buon Capodanno, qui a Napoli fa molto freddo, ieri sera qualche folata di neve, voi avete 30c e noi vorremmo essere li', o magari ad Antigua con Art ad attendervi. Happy 2015 con lenticchie, tante, cotechino e prosecco, anche se qualche ostrica la mangerei volentieri. Buon vento e buon divertimento Feelin'Good! See you next year.

  • comment from Inma Inma on December 31, 2014

    Happy new year 2015. For all the crew Feelin'Good. Regards Jimmy & Inma (Jonsi parents)

  • comment from Gustavo Gustavo on December 31, 2014

    Buongiorno Crew Feelin'Good, voglio augurarvi un felice anno nuovo a piena velocità verso Antigua...mi mancate tanto! un grande abbraccio da Gustavo, Cristina e Timo (sono contento che nessuno ha battuto il mio record!)

  • comment from Cristina Van Roomen Corsi Cristina Van Roomen Corsi on December 29, 2014

    Ciao a tutti….ho ripescato il Gustavo a casa ……ok. tutto bene . Vi auguro un buon passaggio verso Antigua con venti favorevoli….e vi penso quando tutti vi incontrerete ad Antigua , con Art e Carmen Tracy e Giamma e tutto l'equipaggio , finalmente insieme per nuove avventure. Cari saluti e un abbraccio . Cristina

  • comment from Vickie Vickie on December 27, 2014

    Sorry I missed your call Tracy! Glad to hear you are now enroute to Antigua! Have a great crossing and I believe there is a guy that is waiting in port for your arrival!!!

  • comment from Alberto&Patrizia Alberto&Patrizia on December 26, 2014

    Auguri to all the FG Crew. Enjoy the crossing, fair wind!