S/V Dalliance

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December 13, 2006 - Mindelo, S„o Vicente, Cape Verdes, Africa

Coming to Cape Verde was not part of our original plan.  We had planned on going the straight to Barbados from Gran Canaria.  However, we know all to well now that you can not make plans when sailing.    When we left Gran Canaria the weather forecast showed NE winds 20-25 knots for the first 5 days out.  On day two however the winds progressively began to build and we found ourselves sailing in 25-35 knots with gusts up to 40 and WOW's (Walls of Water) everywhere.  Dalliance was sailing along beautifully though.  We were just sailing under the storm sail and doing 6.5knots very comfortably, Marco and I were sleeping good and overall enjoying the cruise.  On the 5th day out, December 10th, I woke from my shift and went on deck because I heard a "funny" noise.  When I looked at the rolled up jib I knew something was wrong.  It was swinging back and forth from only the halyard, we had lost our forestay!!  Marco quickly started gathering all the available running halyards (spinnaker& mainsail) and attacked them to the pulpit to try to give the mast more support.  We were then were able to lower the jib down to the deck using the still attached halyard to guide it.  After the Jib and roller furling were safely laying along side the deck, Marco used the Jib halyard also to help maintain the integrity of the mast.  Now that our standing rigging was severely compromised we knew we couldn't make it to Barbados, we needed to get to Cape Verde which was some 350 nm away.  We decided to try to motor there and luckily we had just enough fuel to make it.  Eight days after leaving Gran Canaria we dropped anchor in the harbor of Mindelo on S„o Vicente.

During the entire trip, our friend John from home in Rhode Island sent us daily weather reports over the satellite phone.  Every night from about 2 am until 3 or so he and I would exchange SMS's.  It really helped my shift go faster and I had a few laughs along the way.  Anyway as soon as John heard about the forestay, he contacted Kai in Sao Vincente, Cape Verdes to let him know what had happened to us and to know to expect us.  We can't thank you enough John and Judy.  You guys have been amazing the entire time we have been gone.  Just knowing that someone was expecting us was a HUGH  relief.  Thanks again for everything, you have been amazing friends!!!


With the rough seas, every morning Marco and I would find flying fish on the deck of all sizes. 

It was so rough that even a squid found its way onto our deck!!

The WOW (Walls of Water) caused the boat to be quite rocky.  We found that you could get a good nights sleep in if we slept on the floor and packed pillows all around us so that we didn't rock back and forth. 


                           (Bow view)                                                                                      (View from the stern)

Over the next few days the wind build to 25-35 with gusts to 40.  The boats sailed beautifully under storm jib only with the wind vane handling the steering without any difficulty.  After 3 days, the exhilarating sailing came to an abrupt end.  The forestay suddenly broke at the top, where the swaged fitting and the cable meet.  The yankee was still rolled up, but was now only suspended by the halyard.  Luckily the inner forestay held.  We were able to jury-rig the mast by running four halyards to the anchor roller and winch them tight.  As we were about 360 nm north of the Cape Verde Islands we decided to motor to Mindelo, to avoid stressing the rig. 

Pictures of how we were able to stow the roller furling and jib along the deck of Dalliance.  It is longer than the length of the boat so in the stern we used part of the halyard to keep the top end of the roller furling from bending and breaking by tying it to the radar post



Me putting up the Q (Quarantine) flag before getting into harbor.

What a beautiful sight, the port of Mindelo on S„o Vicente!!


Dalliance safe and secure at anchor as the sun is setting behind the island of  S„o Vicente.




Once in Mindelo we realized that there really were only sparse facilities there.  We were lucky to find Zeca who owned several fishing boats, and a machine shop.  Within a few days they had made a sta-loc fitting with extra long shaft out of a piece of stainless steel bar stock.  This way we could still use the existing cable and turnbuckles.  These guys were terrific!


Merciano works for Zeca, and has a great can-do attitude.  He does amazing work on a large lathe from Budapest.



The new "Sta-Loc" with long shaft above, and the original swage fitting below.

Zeca (in red overalls) with some of his workers helped put the whole rig back together.

A very generous fishing captain gave us a bucket full of crabs, and a large lobster.  No money was accepted.


Marco celebrated his 43rd birthday in style with crab and lobster fresh from the boat.  I even made him an Dutch Apple Tart for desert. 












We did take some time out to try and relax, we needed it bad,  so we took the dingy over to the beach outside of Mindelo and went for a swim.  The local boys and us had a great time playing in the sand.  We didn't understand a word each other said but were able to communicate just fine.


Clube NŠutico de Mindelo is the sports cafe of the Cape Verde Islands.  Here not only could you get a cold one but we came here also to take our showers.  Now this is a full service establishment!

Our friendly bartender at Clube NŠutico de Mindelo.


Scenes around the town of Mindelo

Many of the women and girls around town carry items in these buckets on their head.  This young girl was selling cilantro and garlic from her bucket. 

Scenes of Christmas were all around town.      

Along many of the side streets in Mindelo you would see women selling fresh vegetables ( green and red peppers, fresh fish, potatoes, herbs, etc..)

Typical street in Mindelo

These fisherman would take their net out in their wooden boat in the harbor.  Then a few men would get into the water and disperse the net so that it was in a large circle.  They would then slowly bring it in on the shore.  They seemed to mostly catch what looked like sardines.


The old Portuguese customs house modeled after Lisbon's famous Torrť de Belem (See Cascais -  Lisbon)

Before we even dropped anchor Sydney came out and greeted us.  The custom here in Mindelo is to hire a boy to watch after your dingy when you are ashore.  We were a little leery initially but after a few days Marco even allowed Sydney to take our dingy out to try to drum up more business.  Sydney was a wealth of information and he even washed our dingy, now it looks brand new.  Thanks Sydney for everything.  We will recommend you to all of our friends!!!!

Mindelo Bay