Ellen reports back from on board

We have 20 knots of breeze – it came back yesterday afternoon – and we’re now just 40 miles from the Cape Verde Islands. Right now, slightly more east then we would like but we are about 1000 miles from the Equator and now the breeze has kicked in, it should stay with us to be able to make a good course straight down to the Equator.

We’re going to pass the Islands and we’re going to gybe away or we’re lose the breeze in the shadow area. At the moment we’re holding 26 00′ W to 27 00′ W – I discussed with Meeno the options and we decided the best option would be to gybe to the west earlier rather than later. So everything got set up on deck, the standby watch up came up and then we got a 30 degree wind shift which meant we were heading to the west side of the islands and actually making it past the islands. But the issue is that behind the big island (approx 2000m high) you get a wind shadow and that wind shadow can be up to 50 miles. So what we’re doing right now is gybing away to the west to pass further away so we don’t get stuck.

Sometimes the wind shadow can be 4 times the size of the islands – even if you can’t see it there can be absolutely no wind. It’s not the case every time but all of us have been stuck behind islands and its not much fun.