The First Thing To Go Is Always The Plan

Chapter 4 of 12 in the Online Book Transatlantic On "Pèlerin"

Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands

A stop over in Mindelo hadn’t been on our original route, but then, as we all know, the first thing to go in ocean cruising is the plan. We had intended to meet our friend and new crew member Ronnie on the island of Sal, before heading for the southern islands of the Cape Verde group such as Santiago, Brava and Fogo. Then, filled up with food, fuel and water, we’d make our departure for Salvador, Brazil from there.

But a persistent problem with our fuel system, that we simply couldn’t correct without technical assistance, put paid to that. In common with many French built aluminium boats, Pèlerin is fitted with plastic sea cocks and valves throughout. These tend to deliver a trouble free life if treated with respect, but ours were admitting small amounts of air into the fuel inlet line (due to having been over-tightened), which eventually gathered in the engine filter with the usual results. Once bled all would be well again for another twenty hours or so, but I didn’t want to face 2000 miles of ocean with any fault at all (they don’t cure themselves, do they?), least of all with the doldrums involved. Better to do our best to make a proper repair if possible, which we’d already tried to do in Dakar to no effect. Everybody we asked said ‘go to Mindelo’, so that was what we did.

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