Join to sail and explore exotic Cape Verde archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Canaries, 300 miles west of Dakar. It is a former Portuguese colony and is made up of 15 islands. There is a breath-taking mix of mountains, beaches, and quiet coastal villages. Come to sail and explore these stunning islands. The voyage is aimed at novices and experienced sailors alike.
The start and end dates are fixed.
Whole trip (10 days) per person:
- 760 Euro (75 Euro / day) for a bunk. Deposit (50% of the balance) paid within one week of booking, the rest 35 days before the start date.
- 150 Euro (15 Euro / day) for consumables. Collected during the joining day for all food consumed onboard, harbour fees, and diesel. This is a realistic estimation. If there is anything left at the end of the trip you will get it back.
The trip is non-commercial and run in friends-sailing manner. The contribution per person is fixed no matter how many people booked the trip. The trip will run regardless of the number of participants.
What is not included:
- Optional expenses like rental vehicles or food & beverages consumed ashore
- Travel to and from the boat
- Personal travel insurance (highly recommended) - you can find some recommendations in the FAQ
- Personal laundry (some ports have facilities to do laundry if you need)
How much to bring in addition?
Generally, you won’t need anything in addition but this will depend on how much you want to eat in restaurants and spend on other things like souvenirs and tourist attractions. Some people prefer to eat only on the boat and don’t spend anything on restaurants and some prefer to eat outside whenever we are on land. This is very individual.
Euro is accepted currency in Cape Verde so save yourself all the problems by taking Euro in cash. There might not be ATMs in all places we plan to visit. The BCA and Caixa banks are quiet prominent all over Cape Verde and you can change Euro to Escudos. The Escudo is fixed at a rate of 110 escudos to 1 euro and euro is widely accepted across the island but you may still prefer to buy some Escudos just in case. The Cape Verdean escudo isn’t available outside of the country, which means you’ll need to exchange it once you arrive in Cape Verde and exchange it back before you leave the islands.
Who can join
You can join even if you have no sailing experience. You will learn everything needed on board. It is an awesome opportunity for you to get into ocean sailing in more sheltered waters.
You will become an active member of the crew. You are not just a passenger. During a voyage, you will assist with helming, sail trimming and all the normal duties of a crew member whilst having the opportunity to learn about weather, routing, navigation, boat handling and many more according to your interest and experience. Above all, it should be funny and recreational for everyone.
If English is not your native language and you don’t know the English sailing terms, don’t worry. You will learn the necessary vocabulary in no time while on board.
Try the following websites to find the best flight connections:
If you cannot find a good direct flights to/from the particular Cape Verde island, check connections to/from other islands (Boavista, Santiago, Boavista, Sal, Sao Vicence). You can take domestic flights operated between the Cape Verde islands by Spanisch BestFly airline - available on the site or through an agent less than 3 months in advance. They offer reasonable prices, frequent schedules and free checked-in luggage of up to 23kg. Alternatively, you can take a fast ferry operating between the islands.
Let us now and we can help you find the best connections!
Are there any visa requirements in Cape Verde?
No. In total 61 countries (including UK, US and EU countries) are exempt from visa requirements for stays up to 30 days. Only a simple online declaration a few days before arrival is required via the E.A.S.E. form - cost 59€ per traveller.
Do I need to be vaccinated before I travel to Cape Verde?
There are no mandatory vaccines to enter Cape Verde. Cape Verde has become a very popular destination with its sunny climate and wonderful winds, which attract sailors, surfers and other sports-interested tourists. Cape Verde is also a safe destination to visit, which always feels good as a tourist. Diseases that may be prevalent in mainland Africa are very rare or non-existent in Cape Verde. The best is to consult with your doctor before the travel. Vaccines that you may consider includes Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid. You most likely received the first two as a child. Please find more info here.
Marcin Wojtyczka: RYA Yachtmaster Ocean commercially endorsed, RYA Yachtmaster Cruising Instructor
What should you pack
You can download a complete checklist here.
The most important items:
- head torch for night sailing
- boat shoes that don’t leave marks on deck
- foul weather gear (if you have one), otherwise waterproof jacket
- some warmer clothes for the night
- insurance policy
- payment/credit cards
- phone with charger
This will be a pleasant sailing with time to explore ashore. In total we should log around 280 nautical miles and 60h in tidal waters. There will be a decent amount of sailing but also plenty of time to visit the islands. The general mode will be to sail for a day and have another day to explore ashore.
Follow the boat on Marine Traffic.
Sal island - Boavista island - Santiago island - São Nicolau island - Santa Luzia island - Santo Antão island - São Vicente island
There will be a mix of shorter and longer passages. We will be maintaining a watch system to ensure everyone is well rested and meals are prepared.
We will try to stick to the planned route but the final itinerary will be decided in association with you, the crew, in light of the weather and crew condition at the time.
Sun Odyssey 519 ("Alboran Champagne")
She is a well-maintained boat, lifted out regularly to check hull, keel and prop. She is well equiped and prepared for ocean sailing. We will inspect the boat thoroughly before the voyage to ensure that every bit of equipment is absolutely ship-shape.
- Year: 2016
- Type: sailing
- CE design category: A – Ocean
- Hull: monohull
- Length: 15.76 m (52ft)
- Berths (Bunks): 12 (booking max 10)
- Cabins: 5
- WC / Shower: 3
- Beam: 4.69 m
- Draught: 2.28 m
- Engine: 75 KM
- Fuel capacity: 240 l (Diesel)
- Water capacity: 615 l
- Displacement: 13900 kg
- Sails: main (full batten), genoa (furling), storm jib
- Pillows, bedlinen and towels for each crew member
- Solar panels
- DSC VHF radio
- Handheld VHF DSC radio
- Power inverter from 12V DC to 230V AC
- AIS class B transponder (Transponder/Receiver)
- Radar reflector
- Bow thruster
- Chart plotter with GPS and digital chartography charts
- Sextant Astra IIIB Deluxe
- Iridium satellite terminal (getting weather forecasts and contacting family offshore - available for the whole crew)
- PredictWind Offshore app (satellite-enabled license) - Ocean Racing proven, highest resolution marine forecasts
- Complete set of pilot books, almanacs and charts
Average weather conditions can be found here.
During the day you can expect on average very pleasant temperature of 26°C and 21°C at night.
There is almost no rain in Cape Verde in April. You may expect maybe one short shower during the whole trip.
Sea water is warm during the entire year in Cape Verde with an average of 23°C in April. So, you will be able to enjoy swimming in the ocean.
Wind and sea state
Wind conditions in Cape Verde are perfect for sailing due to the trade winds blowing all year round with an average of 5 Bft in April. The islands topography can greatly affect the strength and direction of winds in certain areas.
There is a warm, dry, oceanic climate and the sun shines 350 days a year. The weather is characterized by the trade winds governed to a great extent by the activity and strength of the Azores High.
There is a weak south west going current and stronger tidal streams between islands.
The route is divided into several passages with some night sailing. You will receive a certificate of passage to prove your sea time for sailing licenses. You will be an active member of the crew and we will provide practical trainings on board to everyone that will be interested to improve sailing skills.
We give a great amount of responsibility to each crew member in running the ship so that you can gain a good experience and learn new skills as much or as little as you want. The skipper is an instructor and will find it difficult not to teach or coach to anyone that shows the slightest bit of interest.
RYA qualifying passages
If you are an aspiring Skipper or Yachtmaster, it will be an excellent opportunity to gain some bluewater miles, practice navigation, pilotage and COLREG skills so that you can be more confident and comfortable when taking a boat out to sea on your own.
The opportunity will also be there to act as a skipper (with guidance if needed from the skipper) for your RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualifying 60M passages.
Main topics that you can learn or brush up:
- Maneuvering under sails & engine: berthing, hoisting and lowering sails, reefing, tacking, gybing, sail trim
- Anchoring in swell (winch bridle and stern anchor)
- Safety: use of liferaft, lifejacket, EPIRB, PLB, AIS beacons, managing emergency situations
- Equipment: use of Autopilot, AIS, VHF, Satellite communication
- Weather forecasts and weather routing
- Ocean & coastal navigation: digital and traditional
- Night navigation
- Pilotage and passage planning
- Storm tactics and the use of storm jib
- Life on board: organization of watches, nutrition, sleep management
01 April: Joining day - Porto do Palmeira on Sal island
Porto do Palmeira is a small fishing harbour. The village remains small, but is lively colourful and always full of music, and though some new buildings have taken place it has changed remarkably little over the past two decades. Barefoot women still carry their loads in great baskets balanced on their heads, whilst children play in the streets.
We will spend the first day preparing and victualling the yacht, going over the safety routines and practices, getting up to speed with the boat and learning or refreshing all the basic sailing skills before we embark on the journey. Once we slip the lines there will be plenty of occasions to practice tacking, gybing, reefing, boat handling under engine and all the other key skills we must have.
Porto de Sal Rei on Boavista island (~38 NM / 8h of sailing)
On our way to the Boavista island we will anchor for a swim at the outstanding Santa Maria beach on the southern tip of the Sal island. The turquoise and crystal clear water, the soft white sandy beach in combination with the beach facilities is an absolute bliss.
Boavista still feel like something of a secret: the vast stretches of untouched golden sand, rich, turquoise seas and unique atmosphere all combine to make a truly fantastic destination. The island with its giant sand dunes and thousands of date palms, has aptly been described as "a small piece of the Sahara adrift in the Atlantic Ocean", and it is well worth visiting the unexpectedly attractive interior.
Porto de Sal Rei has grown over the past two decades from little more than a village into a town more than 1km across. It is a feeding ground for humpback whales and if we are lucky enough, we may see them. The beautiful beaches south of Sal Rei are long, clean and almost deserted. Sailboards are available for hire, and the area has a growing international reputation as an outstanding venue for the sport.
Baia do Tarrafal on Santiago island (~76 NM / 15h of sailing)
The largest island in the archipelago and the first to be populated, Santiago is rich in history and culture and known for its lively nightlife. The various mountainous peaks of the island reflect its volcanic origin.
Tarrafal town with its distinctive blue and white church lies at the southeast corner of the Tarrafal bay, overlooking an attractive white sand beach backed by coconut palms. It has become a popular weekend venue for people from Praia (capital of Cape Verde) and is regarded locally as Santiago's main tourist attraction.
Porto do Tarrafal on São Nicolau island (~86 NM / 18h of sailing)
São Nicolau is a quiet, stunning, and unspoilt island whose barren and dramatic mountains capes boast some of the most spectacular scenery in the archipelago. Beyond nature, the island's capital, Ribeira Brava, is a colourful colonial town home to striking architecture and beautiful gardens.
Porto do Tarrafal has a nice and quiet anchorage, regarded as one of the best in Cape Verde. It lies between its dark sand beach and a backdrop of equally sandy hills. The local people are friendly and welcoming toward visitors and the local economy revolves largely around fishing, with tuna and other large fish salted on the quay.
Santa Luzia island (~26 NM / 5h of sailing)
Santa Luzia is the smallest island in the Cape Verde archipelago and is completely uninhabited. It is a beautiful place and home to a variety of feral animals including donkeys, goats, and cats. It is a primary venue for the spawning of turtles, and the surrounding waters are home to many of fish and shellfish. The island have been designated a Natural Reserve.
Sandy beach in Santa Luzia
Today, fishermen from the nearby islands of São Vicente and Santo Antão fish in the waters around the island. We will anchor for a short stop in this deserted place in front of a sandy beach (Praia do Palmo a Tostao).
Mindelo on São Vicente island (~32 NM / 6h of sailing)
São Vicente is home to Mindelo, the cultural capital of the islands and where you'll hear music all day long and be able to explore the city's fine architecture. The island is home to some of Cape Verde's greatest musicians, writers and thinkers.
Mindelo is a vibrant musical town where you can soak up the very best of Cape Verdean culture. By day, you can head down to Laginha Beach, where there's a bay of white sand and a great beach bar. By night, with live music taking place most evenings across the variety of bars and restaurants, you won't struggle to find several places to grab some tasty food and listen to the talented musicians.
Santo Antão excursion
The best way to explore the island is to take a ferry from Mindelo to Porto Novo since there are no marinas on the island. The ferry travels every day between São Vicente and Santo Antão and it takes around 45 minutes.
Santo Antão is home to some of the most spectacular scenery you'll see anywhere on earth and it still feels relatively untouched. An island where towering green peaks and fertile craters meet cliff-hanging towns. Santo Antão offers the opportunity to embark on hiking and sightseeing explorations, in a place relatively untouched by tourism.
10 April: Finishing day, Mindelo on São Vicente island
We will finish our trip in Mindelo. If you want to continue the journey with us join the next leg to sail from Cape Verde to Canaries.