Day 4 of the Atlantic

Trip log this morning stood at 394 miles, making a day’s run of 140 miles, not bad given the light conditions.

We had a comfortable night with winds below 15 knots and seas around 1.5m. The autopilot mercifully steered without hiccup, except when crew chose to hand steer. They are unstoppable now! Apparently that’s what you do when you wake up and find you’ve fallen asleep while on watch at 4AM.

The pleasant conditions persisted all day. The swell period is a bit short and the odd cross wave rolls through, but that’s just being a bit picky now. We made another 71 miles between 7AM and 7PM, pretty much directly towards Martinique, 1,650 miles west of our current position.

The latest forecast shows the weather for next week still easing, with wind and swell forecast to briefly peak at 18 knots / 2.8m in the early hours of Thursday. We adjusted our route to suit the new forecast and turned directly west. The long range forecast is for light winds / motoring the last two days, but the models diverge on where the light winds will be, so we are just keeping an eye on that for now.

The autopilot did not disengage so far today, touch wood.

We had pretty good sunlight around the middle of the day, and were a bit shocked to find we had hit the current limit on our 60A Renogy MPPT charge controller. Nonetheless, we pretty much got the house bank fully charged by around 3PM, despite the main meal being prepared using the electric pressure cooker and induction cooktop. We are considering options for adding a second charge controller before we cross the Pacific. This will reduce the temperature of the controller, provide redundancy and allow us to use the full capacity of our solar array with the sun directly overhead.

A little more development was done on the instrument prototype and the “smalls” were washed and dried. Always good to get some laundry done while the weather is good!

Main meal was Spaghetti Gorgonzola with walnuts. Another feast!

Forecast for tonight is more of the same weather, so looking forward to a quiet night.

Day 3, Atlantic Crossing, and another Autopilot Glitch

At 7:09AM the trip log was at 254 miles, day’s run of 132 miles. We made 70nm in the last 12 hours, and we have 1,874 miles to go to Martinique. The wind is still 8 to 12 knots from the NE with a NE swell at 1.5 to 2.0m.

A quiet night for all only marred by the autopilot disengaging again around 6AM, again with the “motor stalled” error message. As before, we were able to re-engage the autopilot, this time just 10 minutes later. As conditions at the time were very light, with virtually no load on the autopilot, this eliminates the possibility that the fault is caused by excessive rudder force (we can literally hand steer with one finger). Suspicion is now focussed on the autopilot drive motor, made by Kenlowe in the U.K., part no KLM2189.

By the end of the day the log was at 320 miles, 1,810 miles to go. Made 65 miles in 12 hours since 7AM.

Weather continues fair with a steady 12 to 15 knots and 1.5m seas from behind. Great sailing weather! Forecast is still good.

The Autopilot disengaged again at 4PM. While it is an unnerving trend, everyone is beginning to accept it as the new normal and is now quite happy to take the wheel, hit standby and then re-engage auto a few minutes later. As we do not have the mainsail up there is no real risk involved in a minor deviation from our dead downwind heading for a brief period while we take over from “Brittany Steers”.

I spent a few hours today working on my instrument display prototypes, fine tuning the display brightness, specifically “dark mode”, which is a little too bright on a pitch black night. Looking forward to also adding more data pages, especially a wind instrument.

Las Palmas to Cabo Verde, Day 6

Gabo caught another Mahi Mahi, we are getting used to eating fish daily now :-). A large pod of dolphins (50+) came to play for probably an hour, just cavorting around the bow and scattering schools of flying fish that happened to be in the way.

Late afternoon the sky became very hazy, a light brown colour. Looks like dust from the African continent. Impressive, given we are about 600 miles offshore.

Haze in the Mindelo Anchorage

We arrived around 2pm yesterday, and anchored in the middle of the anchorage, but not before doing a detour to check out the Sorlandet, a Norwegian square-rigger that Maria spent 6 months on back in 2017.

Today we went to visit the Sorlandet, which was a bit nostalgic for Maria, and really interesting for me.

Las Palmas to Cabo Verde, Day 5

Sunny conditions with not a cloud in the sky!

Sailplan for last 24 hours was #3 genoa poled out to port (weather side) and staysail poled out to starboard (lee side).

We sailed very conservatively the last 24 hours due to concerns about the reliability of the autopilot, especially when going faster. The staysail was up throughout, but the #3 was part furled most of the time as it was gusty and we were making consistent 6.5 to 7.5 knots of boat speed still.


After an uneventful night with the wind and swell slowly abating, we rolled the Genoa out fully this morning at sunrise. The captain  is very grateful for a good night’s sleep, made possible by the crew!

We are now sailing very comfortably, making 7 to 7.5 knots boat speed in 1 – 2m seas from behind. Looks like we will reach Cabo Verde later on Tuesday given the latest forecast and the lighter conditions will prevail until then.


We will probably stop at Cabo Verde, even if it is just overnight, so everyone can have a night off. The forecast is for very light conditions west of Cabo Verde next week, so we may check in at Mindelo and wait a few days for better wind. The ship’s engineer  also wants to do a full inspection of the steering system and autopilot and possibly make some adjustments. Only possible when not underway.

We had a fair wind between 10 and 14 knots, sailing at a very nice pace on seas getting smaller and more regular every hour. So far we’ve made just over 90 miles since 8:30AM.

Joy of joys, Gabriele landed a small Mahi Mahi just before lunch, and most of it was devoured shortly after with couscous and roast vegetables. Living the dream!

Getting it on board was a bit Laurel & Hardy 🤣

The wind is now quite light, under 10 knots true, but we are still making 4.5 to 6 knots, generally in the direction of Mindelo, Cabo Verde. All other boats around us on AIS have also slowed down (not that it’s a race, or anything like that, of course…).

Looking forward to quiet night of gentle sailing, Aeolus and the autopilot permitting.