We leave "Playa Papagayo" in the south of Lanzarote island, bound to Dakar.
The navigation, around 1000 nautic miles (1800 km), is planned to last 7 to 10 days depending on weather conditions.
Winds are good in direction and intensity, the sea is a little bit shaped, with waves between 1.5 and 2 meters but in the right direction for the next 5/7 days, and then the wind will decrease as we get south.
The first 4/5 days are all right, the wind is faster than expected but with stronger waves. To sail in good conditions, we pull edges.
The fourth day at sunset, the pulley of the genoese on starboard gets off rail following a gust. We repair the damage in the morning.
The rest of the journey goes well, but we can't see any animals... The wind drops down as expected and we have to use the engine.
On the 2nd of October, we celebrate Elouan's birthday. In the evening, four different birds pay us a visit, including one "grèpe huppée" !
The arrival in Dakar is planned for the day after.
The night goes well, all sails deployed, speed 7 knots, some thunderstorms far away...
At 1 o’clock in the morning, suddenly the wind turns and strengthens. We reduce the main sail and the Genoese. But the wind increases from 15 knots to 40 and more in five minutes. We cannot keep the boat front wind to haul down the sails. The waves are huge: exocets are flying over the solar panels 3 meters above sea level. We don’t know what to do!
We secure the boat and its crew the best we can, we try to keep the boat stable and we wait for the end of the storm…
After two hours, the wind calms down for a while, allowing us to reduce the sails. Then it strengthens again, but not as much as before, leaving the boat more stable.
This goes on for 5 hours. With our damaged boat, we finish our journey on the engine and arrive at the “Cercle de Voile de Dakar” at 2 pm. During the night, we have travelled 6 nautic miles in… 6 hours!! We are more than happy to be on shore!!
Upon arrival, we see three collapsed boats on the beach, a building with its roof destroyed, many trees torn down... We learn that this "wind blow" was actually a tropical storm with winds up to 70/80 knots...
After a night sleep, we inspect the damages with the help of our hotline Philippe Plaisance: some damages to the main sail (tears, sliding elements broken), pulleys of the lazy-jacks broken... Nothing on the Genoese, mast, engine, automatic pilot... It could have been worse!
In the end, Diego from the CVD will do a great job repairing the sail. And Tonio, a team member and a friend, will bring the required replacement parts to Senegal.
Now the crew has to digest the event, not so easy but we will make it!