Location - 130 miles north of Santa Antao in the Cape Verde Islands

The big news of the morning here on board is that a really spooky occurrence happened. Overnight, and unbeknown to us, The Admiral (our good luck bear) took on a distinct list to starboard. A sign! Oh, you may mock, but it was definitely a sign. We have been trying to decide when to go to starboard and just as I was thinking it was time, I look up; and there was The Admiral, pointing the way. Coincidence? I think not.

Follow the Admiral! So we did, and turned to starboard. Our idea now is to try and skim round the south eastern edge of the area of calm to our west and to then hopefully pick up a building trade wind to the south of the calms. A trade wind is called a trade wind because in the days of square rigged trading ships, they could only sail effectively with the wind coming from aft of the beam of the ship. The early explorers discovered that there was a clockwise rotation of winds in the North Atlantic and that if they dropped down to the latitudes that we are now approaching they could head west to the Caribbean just as we are now trying to do. Neat, huh?

It is an absolutely peachy day out here on the big wide, empty sea – nothing on a 360 degree horizon scan. As it got dark last night the sea and wind increased to 20 – 25 knots and we finally had to bring down the spinnaker after a great three and a half days running under spi. We set the genoa out to port on the pole and snugged down for the night. This morning the wind is down and the sky is blue with puffy cumulus gently blowing across from east to west and the sun is hot!

So we thought, easy, spinnaker up again, no problem as we have done it plenty of times before on this trip. Which we did, but then someone had the great idea that as the wind had gone down we now needed to change to the bigger spinnaker – which was where it all started going wrong. The smaller spi came down, no problems, but the new one just refused to go up! The first time we hoisted, Northern Child went through a huge series of rolls and the spi managed to wrap itself round and through everything. Down it came. We woolled it. Up it went again, and just as it filled the guy line on the windward side of the spinnaker tripped and down it came again. We woolled it. Up it went again, this time perfectly! Oh, the joys of sailing! We are now charging along at 8 knots in bright hot sunshine.

Wow! Thank you so much for all your replies regarding yesterdays log question about Nouadhibou. We had a lot of feedback from old clients, new log readers and children, so thank you all very much. Names from the past; Jonny and Mike, as you can see, nothing has changed aboard Northern Child!

Barbara (Andy’s other wife!), Alex, George and Isaac sent this: Don’t stop off! Not good for tourists. Not much to do or see. Mainly sand shaped by the wind – so that’s promising! Shabby streets. Daily air connections back to Las Palmas – in case you can’t make St Lucia. However while accommodation is difficult, eating is better here than anywhere else in Mauritania!

From Rita: The Bay of Nouadhibou, seven miles south from the Mauritanian city, hides one the biggest ship cemeteries in the world. There are more than 300 wrecks around the harbour, rusting for years and coming from all nations. However, there isn’t any magic or mystery in this squalid place. For years, Mauritanian harbour officers were so corrupt, that they let ships be discarded in the harbour in exchange of some cash. Discarding a ship is quite expensive for a company, so during the decades, lots of unwanted ships ended up in the Harbour of Nouadhibou.

From Mike: The major economic activity is fishing; however, the largest industry is processing iron ore transported by train from the interior mining towns of Zouérat and Fdérik. These freight trains can be as much as 3 km long, reputedly the longest in the world.

Many more people sent in information, thank you. I now feel that we know all there is to know about Nouadhibou!

In the last 24 hours we have sailed a total distance of 181 nautical miles and are now heading more to the south west on a course of 255 magnetic. We will pass through the 2,000 mile to go to St Lucia mark sometime this evening! It’s still a long way to the bar! A Bientot, Julian.