AT 19.22 UTC
Position 21 ° 31 ′ N 21 ° 48 ′ W.
Similar latitude and longitude, 21 ° and 21 ° a point in the middle of the ocean to signify an important passage, the one that during an Atlantic crossing invites the sailing ships to turn west, and gain longitude towards the Caribbean.
We all learned from Christopher Columbus, who baptized the turning point as the “gate of Columbus”, so much so that he considered it a fundamental crossroads before leaving the African coast. He, too, in one of the latest ventures, had suggested a stop in Cape Verde, like us in this new travel experience.
The ARC Plus, this is the name of this non-competitive regatta, unlike the normal ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) which does not stop; it was introduced 3 years ago precisely to give the possibility to those like us, who in addition to the love to navigate, we recognize ourselves more in the journey, in the discovery and in the knowledge. The success was great, so much so that this year for the first time there are 95 sailing ships registered, 24 the first year, then 50 was the limit, this year the Cape Verdeans (it was a Portuguese colony until the end of 1960 for gain independence only in 1980 after many tiring years of conflicts with the Portuguese overseas provinces and with Guinea Bissau) have committed and enlarged a marina (to say) with 100 more seats, just to give space to us nomads of the sea, but travelers in the soul.
At the pre-departure Briefing they explained to us that they are islands where the essential and simplicity reign, where essential is the opposite of superfluous and simple opposite of complicated, so we expect an atmosphere that we of 5G 4.0 perhaps find it hard to understand up to bottom.
It is no coincidence that the purpose of this new experience with Ariel towards distant lands will end, at least for the first part, in Australia, land of aborigines and colonizers, passing through what the popular imaginative, shaped by brochures of beautiful resorts before and now made exponential by the use of the web, in reality with the intent of trying to discover what was at the origin, and we return to the essence and simplicity.
We start from Cape Verde, now close, about 300 miles always driven by a strong north-east wind, a rich trade wind this year.
The departure of this ARC Plus was desired and not postponed despite a force 8 only because it was in favor, and therefore more manageable; this in words, but in fact we found an impetuous ocean, as I had never encountered, with the same wind conditions. The reason lies in the geography and orography of the African coast, where in the narrow passage between the Canary Islands and the Saharan coast, two effects are created, one of tidal current, similar to a river effect in flood, the other from the consideration that the seabed passes from 4000 meters to 600 in about fifty miles, for a distance of over 100 miles in latitude. The powerful energy of the oceanic mass can be smashed on a deserted beach, and all the images or videos of surfers skilled at riding such waves are clear;when this energy crashes on an underwater wall of 3 km it results in surface waves of 4 or 5 times higher than usual. In the presence of a declared force 8 (40 45 knots of wind) wave trains of 6 meters were created with a period of 6-8 seconds (interval between one and the other), to make the gallop not exactly among the most sailed comfortable.
In fact, following the SSB radio contacts with the other boats, I was asked for medical intervention for a couple of cases of uncontrollable seasickness, with serious danger of dehydration, especially for a 7-year-old girl; the problem, with the sea having calmed down from the initial violence, then returned.