Sailing Cape Verde – How it all started

Looks like we’re about to become a fulltime liveaboard cruising couple. It’s been a long way, and everybody has to start out somewhere. Let us tell you the story of we turned into boaties over the course of a couple of years only. Everything started out with an amazing sailing trip to the Cape Verde islands.

How does one become a sailor?

I think for many people it is relatively ‘straight forward’ – you spend your childhood near a larger body of water. Therefore, life along or on the water is practically cradled. Maybe you even grow up on a ship. Others find their way into sailing life via detours or by accident, as was the case with us. But let’s start from the humble beginnings.

Travelling as a couple

Patricia and I have known each other for more than 10 years now. We spent most of this long time as a couple and we have traveled a lot and far. By train, mobile home or plane – privately or for work. Be it the busy streets of New York and Hong Kong, a road trip in a motorhome in New Zealand, football trips to Bulgaria, or business trips all over Europe – we have seen and experienced a lot. But still, we never got enough. We have always been drawn to the near and far, since the world is big and wants to be discovered. But sailing on the Cape Verde islands? That had never been on our bucket list to be honest.

Of course we didn’t hesitate for a second when Patricia’s sister Carmen and her boyfriend Iñaki (we’ve never heard his Basque name either) asked us if we would accompany them on a two-week sailing trip to the Cape Verde Islands. Both of them are experienced sailors with many miles of experience. Above all Iñaki, who has worked for a long time as a sailing instructor and skipper for the Neuhaus sailing school on Lake Thun. Thun lies in Switzerland, which is our stunning home country.

Carmen and Iñaki, exploring the island of São Nicolau in Cape Verde
Iñaki & Carmen in all their crocish glory

Sailing Cape Verde

After a turbulent trip to the Cape Verde islands (including a cancelled flight from Zürich followed by an unscheduled overnight stay in Lisbon), all of a sudden we were residents of a Beneteau Cyclades 43.3 called “Whisky” for two weeks. It is difficult to tell what we were experiencing in these two weeks in a short blog text without writing an entire book in an excessive manner. Maybe we will do that later tough? From calm winds up to 4m high waves, from complete calm to catastrophic seasickness, over silver waves in the moonlight with phosphorescent swarms of jellyfish – the list is endless. Everything about the trip totally blew us away. It was clear that this had to be repeated. As soon as we got home, we were practically planning the next sailing trip.

Want see more impressions from our Cape Verde sailing trip? Head over to our gallery!

Rough sea when sailing in Cape Verde
David enjoys the rough sea state when sailing Cape Verde
Our sailboat Whiskey anchored in the bay of Santa Luzia, Cape Verde

Project boat for sale – but will it be ours?

Suddenly, in August 2018 there she was – Iñaki discovered her on the Internet. Her name was Orcella. She was/is a monstrous 75 foot (22 meter) long Frans Maas expedition sailing yacht, which was berthed in the Carribean. Our Milagros is already a beautiful sailing ship, but Orcella was simply an absolute gem. We could immediately imagine our everyday life on the ship, and therefore started dreaming and planning the conversion from land to sea in our heads. Without a doubt, the discovery of Orcella turned our lives upside down.

We started to investigate and quickly, thanks to the marvels of the internet, found out a lot about the ship. After an incredibly expensive phone call with an inspector from the Carribean, who had checked the ship several times, we were suddenly in possession of up to date and detailed photos of Orcella. Although she had to be an absolutely sick vessel in many respects, we came to the conclusion that Orcella might not be the big love story.

It quickly became clear that Orcella had been neglected for a long time. She had big problems with leaks and moisture, and thus would have been a huge and expensive project. There was water damage and rust spots everywhere. The boat broker responsible for her turned down a completely crazy offer from Iñaki, as a result we decided against her with a heavy heart. Personally, I still think we made the right decision to ignore Orcella, because in many ways it would have been too great a risk.

No turning back now

But from that moment on, the idea of giving up our existence as landlubbers and instead becoming sea doggos didn’t let go of us…

The view from our sailing boat to the island Boa Vista in Cape Verde
Bring it on!

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Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better!
Reading through this post reminds me of my good old
room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.
Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

Carbonie thierry henri

Nous nous appretons egalement a partir depuis le gabon a bord d un 56 pieds que nous possedons depuis 28 ans peut etre aurons nous l occasion de nous croiser direction la polynesie en passant par le bresil

Very sad to see Orcella in such a neglected condition. I was skipper/ engineer for her voyage from the builder in Breskens to her owner’s home in Seattle in 1974/ 1975. She could be wet at times but was fast under sail. She was easy to manoeuvre under power.

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