Off at Last!

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Fri 9 Oct 2009 11:28

Noon Position: 36:02N 010:38W

Miles covered since 1845 departure: 115


After the mother of all refits in the Sopromar yard in Lagos over six weeks, yesterday evening at 1845 we quietly slipped our mooring lines, motored out of the river, hoisted our sails and shot away heading for Madeira 475 miles to the southwest in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The adventure begins. Hallelujah!

I had started communicating with Sopromar more than a year ago, drawing up and agreeing a long list of essential work. But by the time the yard had gone through everything with a fine tooth comb identifying many other problems that needed to be fixed, a loo roll wouldn’t have been long enough to list them all.  

So Mina2 has been a frenetic building site for six weeks and it was almost emotional to say goodbye to Hugo Henriques and his colleagues who had been so friendly and who had done such wonderful work on the boat. It was also a deeply emotional moment when Hugo presented me with my final bill – I really had tears in my eyes then. But Mina2 is now in better condition and better equipped than she has ever been (and is ever likely to be).

The last day was of course pandemonium with last minute jobs and preparations. Lawrence Wells, Adrian Burn and I went off to the supermarket with a very long shopping list and came back with three enormous trolleys piled high with provisions. Much of this, it has to be said, was booze. I had heard that it would be difficult getting either wine or beer in anything other than bottles during the three months it will take us to get to Brazil, so the haul included 20 5-litre boxes of wine which was taken out of the boxes and the bladders now wash around under Adrian’s bunk like an enormous water bed. 120 cans of beer are also strategically stowed around the boat.

Having turned southwest to our destination we seemed to be sailing at extraordinary speed. It would seem that our new super-smooth hull has added the best part of ¾ of a knot to our speed – a terrific bonus. But a consequence of all this additional speed (together with an inexplicable over-estimation on the skipper’s part of the time it will take to get to Madeira) probably means we will arrive in darkness on Sunday night rather than on Monday which is bit of a bore. 

Once we got beyond Cape St Vincent on the corner of Portugal and entered the open ocean, the long majestic Atlantic swells started to roll in. Their motion didn’t suit everyone and Adrian spent a miserable night but I’m pleased to say he arose much more chipper this morning after a decent sleep. We had a lot of shipping crossing us going through the shipping lanes off the Cape but have seen little since. Nor have we seen anything in the way of wildlife, having seen not one bird and still awaiting the pleasure of a visit from the dolphins or the sight of a whale.


The sailing has been good. The wind speed steady at F5 or 6, it started in the NW giving us an exhiliaratingly fast beam reach but it has since veered to the NNE meaning we are on a rather rolly broad reach. But we are sailing south at last, so all is well with the world!