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Archive for August, 2010

Sailing to Cape Verde

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

My name is Bob White and in 2007 I decided to come to Sal to have a look at the boat excursion market.

I had been driving powerboats for over 20 years in and around the UK and I decided it was time for a change of lifestyle, after visiting Sal I knew that this was the place where I wanted to settle.

So, in July 2007 I put my 35 Glastron Powerboat (King Boa) on a container ship to Gran Canaria and flew on ahead to await its arrival. I had to wait 3 months in Gran Canaria to sort out the necessary paperwork and also to await the arrival of a yacht to accompany me to Sal, as it was a dangerous journey to attempt alone. Whilst there, I spent the time preparing the boat for the 961 mile trip to Sal.

I had some challenges to overcome before I set off on my trip, one being my crew man did not arrive so I had to find someone else to accompany me on the trip. This proved very difficult as everyone who saw my boat said it was a suicide mission. I did find one man to do it however, the chef on the accompanying yacht, much to the dismay of his skipper! I was hoping I’d eat well on my journey!

On October 25th we set off from Gran Canaria, carrying 675 litres of fuel in the tank and another 660 litres in jerry cans stacked everywhere on the boat.

Sailing to Cape Verde

We had heard some stories about pirates in local waters so we decided to avoid any coastlines and go offshore all the way, which meant we were sailing 200-350 miles from the nearest coastline. Conditions were pretty good, we had the wind behind us all the way with a 15-30ft swell following us. We travelled at 8 knots in order to get the best mileage but also to avoid overtaking the high swell.

We had no auto pilot so as the swell reached the back of the boat we had to steer left, and as the swell reached halfway down and under the boat we had to steer to the right. We could only run with the steering wheel in the centre position for 10 seconds at a time before starting the manoeuvres all over again, so by the time we got to the end of the journey we had worn the surface off the steering wheel. These manoeuvres meant we had to be at the wheel constantly, so we took it in turns doing 3 hour shifts and covered 200 miles a day driving 24 hours continuously.

Food preparation and quality was limited but having a chef on board meant the food was good and we ate well unless a big swell knocked the food off our laps to the floor, which unfortunately happened quite often.

At night we were bombarded with flying fish, the lights from the boat seemed to attract them but they could be quite dangerous as they flew very close to our faces on many occasions.

The journey was a solitary one, we only saw lights from one other ship once, and they were way off in the distance.

On the 31st of October we saw the coastline of Sal and I have to say I was a very happy man to set foot on land! It was a gruelling journey but also a very exciting and challenging one and if I had to do it again I would do so in a heartbeat.

I am delighted to say we have a whale and dolphin excursion business now and I am enjoying my new lifestyle enormously.

You can follow us on our Facebook page – King Boa Powerboats or contact me on 238 994 9248 to find out more about the excursions we offer.