Chap’s crosses the Atlantic

« In November 2010, Chap’s set out from Bayonne for an Atlantic crossing. A journey that began with a first stopover in Port Mogan, at the southern end of the island of Gran Canaria, to revictual Chap’s before heading out to Guadeloupe.

Some advice for sailors: a small sack-truck is a wonderful crew member when it comes to victualling and takes up very little space on board.

Located 55 miles away, we headed towards Tenerife, whose peak reaches 3,717 m (12,200 feet). An appreciable crossing, downwind, marked by a sumptuous sunset. The first night was spent at anchor in southern Tenerife. Sea 24°C (75°F), air 18°C (64°F) at night and 26°C (79°F) during the day, mild weather that allowed us to take our first dip.

75 miles was the distance we then covered to reach Hierro, a small island, the most southwestern part of the Canary Islands. Less well-known because it is less touristy, and yet Christopher Columbus set out from this island for his second crossing. At the time, it was the westernmost island in the known world!

We were starting to get a definite taste for life on board: no more planes, no more stress, the sea as if it were eternal starting over, the sea that makes us humble and the sea that gives itself away. We enjoy every moment.

Then, we make our first major crossing, 750 miles, between the Canaries and Cape Verde under different weather conditions: from flat calm to 15 knots of wind, from the East, North and West.

We got into the routine of watches quite quickly. We lived by the sun, especially since just after sunset there is a period of total darkness with an extraordinarily starry sky. Then around midnight, the moon rises, illuminating the sea and making sailing timeless.

This Atlantic crossing convinced us as to the choice of our boat. Chap’s is remarkably reliable. Life on board: we tinker, optimize and stow everything aboard, allowing us to sail for long periods of time.

We took full advantage of these moments by leading a life on board filled with various activities: crafts, reading, swimming and fishing.

After 750 miles, we reached Cape Verde with a first stopover on the island of Sao Nicolau, where we anchored in Porto de Tarrafal. The black sand of the beaches is very famous because it is rich in iodine and titanium and is renowned for its medicinal qualities.

Then, we headed over to Mindelo, capital of the island of Sao Vicente, one of the nine main islands of Cape Verde. Here, we met a very endearing population and also some of the sailors who were participating in the Iles du Soleil transatlantic rally. They helped us discover the evenings of the island, full of colour and music. Cape Verdeans have music in their blood and a taste for celebration. The ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) also had a stopover here due to lack of wind. This led to some very cosmopolitan evenings with about twenty different nationalities who were trying unsuccessfully to dance Cape Verdean dances.

2,350 miles, or more than 4,200 km, without seeing the land, is the distance we covered in 15 days to reach the other side of the Atlantic. We covered a little more than the normal distance because we had to go further south than expected to get some wind and avoid an area with no wind on the direct route.

The Atlantic is still an area of freedom and adventure: flying fish, dolphins, whales… an extraordinary crossing.

What we remember from these few days is first of all that time regained its full value. The other thing that struck us was the total freedom we felt.

A fantastic experience that nevertheless required a little preparation, a little recklessness, resistance, patience, philosophy, and above all a boat in which we have confidence, that we monitor and that we listen to all the time….

But Chap’s journey didn’t end there! After 25 countries visited during this Atlantic circuit, we plan to return for a Mediterranean tour in 2020. Stay tuned for our forthcoming adventures! »

Arnault et Marie-Laure Chaperon