Colin and Louise start their voyage with a passage from Spain to Morocco.
Transatlantic On “Pèlerin”
The story of a different and much more interesting transatlantic than the classic milk run from the Canaries to Barbados. Colin takes us along as he and Louise visit Senegal, the Cape Verdes, and on for the long hop to Brazil in their Ovni 435, Pèlerin.
Not only do we learn about these fascinating off-the-beaten-path cruising destinations, but Colin also shares valuable voyage planning and execution information, including how to transit the tricky Intertropical Convergence Zone.
And all of this is delivered in Colin’s lyrical travel-writing style that will sweep you away to these exotic places.
Table of Contents:
Colin and Louise really enjoyed Morocco, and found it hard to leave, but the anticipation of a new landfall in the Canaries made the break less painful.
After a winter in the Canaries, it’s time to head for Dakar, Senegal, about a week away. The forecast is looking good, “Pèlerin” is loaded to the gunwales with food, fuel and water, and all systems seem to be behaving.
Colin and Lou find a warm welcome at Dakar. But where are all the other yachts that used to visit?
Colin uses their trip from Dakar to the Cape Verdes as a good example of how to plan and execute a safe and enjoyable passage.
When cruising, flexibility is a must, and Colin shares how a problem with the engine on “Pèlerin” led to a change in their planned landfall at the Cape Verdes, which led to a wonderful stop at Marina Mindelo.
Before every ocean passage, there comes a final moment, when all of the food, fuel and water is aboard, the boat is ready to go and the goodbyes have been said. All the planning, scrutiny of the weather and last minute checks have been carried out, and there’s no excuse to linger a second longer—it’s time to go.
“Pèlerin” and her crew spend the Christmas at sea, destination Brazil, with arrival at Salvador on January 4th of a new year.
After experiencing the “new” Brazil—the city of Santiago—Colin and Lou head out to find the “old” Brazil—up the slower, quieter Rio Paraguacu.
The Baia de Camamu still offers quiet anchorages in beautiful surroundings. But the number of pleasure boats has increased incrementally in recent years. Will Brazil find a way to ensure all can enjoy and benefit from the popularity of the Baia without losing its essential magic?
Pelerin’s shoal draft comes in very handy when Colin and Lou visit the National Park of the Arqipélago dos Abrolhos—a remote island archipelago and one of those places where you feel about as safe “as the mouse that dwelt in the cat’s ear” (Bill Tilman).
Sometimes cruising in foreign lands in a foreign language can be exhausting and overwhelming. That’s when the kindness of strangers can make all the difference. Colin describes just such an experience during their approach to Rio de Janeiro.
After a few days in Rio, Colin and Lou are ready for peace and quiet, which they seek in Mata Atlantica, a little known natural area of rainforests and savannahs that runs from Brazil down to Argentina, followed by a visit to the charming old city of Paraty.
Colin provides a clear-eyed analysis of the benefits and challenges of cruising Brazil. Not only is this chapter of use to those with that country in their cruising plans, Colin does a masterful job of discussing the issues that a voyager visiting any country with a very different language and culture from their own should consider.
There’s nothing like a good long voyage to sort out a boat, for better or for worse, and after 3700 ocean miles between the Canaries, Senegal, Cape Verde and Brazil, Colin reports on what worked and what didn’t.