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 Mindelo (Sao Vicente) - Profile

Location

The island of Sao Vicente has 90.000 inhabitants (approx. 70.000 of those live in Mindelo) and stretches 16 km from north to south and 24 km from east to west. It has several very beautiful beaches, all very different from each other.

Mindelo is where most yachts go for a quick refuelling stop, but it is worth lingering longer to explore this restored colonial town. The town is situated at the edge of a subsided volcano crater, the harbour is naturally formed and is one of the most protected in the archipelago.

The town is in Porto Grande Bay (see photo courtesy of World Cruising Club), which gives total protection from NW through E to S and partial protection (with a fetch of up to 2M) from S around to W. Occasionally a westerly swell can set in which can make anchoring here, or berthing in the marina, rather uncomfortable.

Position 16°53.9'N,24°59.8'W.

Clearance

Yachts must fly the "Q" flag until cleared in, after which the courtesy flag must be flown. These can be purchased from the chandlery at the marina or at "Casa das Bandeiras" in the town.

The skipper should go ashore to see Immigration and Port Officials as soon as possible. The police building is on the other side of the harbour to the marina, 10 minutes walking distance. You have to visit two different offices.

The captain must sign a form that absolves the Port Authority from responsibility in case of theft from the yacht. Ship's papers will be held by the Authorities whilst in the harbour however they will accept a laminated copy.

Passports are no longer retained but must be stamped by the Immigration Office (in the commercial port). It has been reported that Immigration can be a problem as they often close up shop to go to the airport.

Customs will issue clearance for the next port as for Praia. Yachts can clear out up to 24 hours before departure.

Last updated August  2017.

Docking

Marina Mindelo recommends yachts approaching the harbour keep to the north of the bay after passing the big rock "Ilhéu dos Pássaros" in the middle of the channel. On entering the harbour keep a distance of approx. 100m off the commercial pier.

Cruisers have commented that a night entry here can be difficult as the navigation lights are impossible to distinguish from the ones on shore and those of the anchored ships in the bay. A chart plotter is practically essential. Marina Mindelo have reported that a clear landmark to spot at night is the bright white/red ferry called ARMAS moored to the end of the commercial part of the harbour. They recommend keeping it clear to port and enter the marina or anchorage area at moderate speed as many of the anchored yachts do not use anchor lights.

This harbour offers good shelter from the NW through E to S and partial protection (with a fetch of up to 2M) from S around to W. Very occasionally a westerly swell can set in and this can be a problem both at anchor and in the marina.

Anchoring

You may anchor for free but be aware that holding can be patchy as there are areas of volcanic gravel.

Yachts can anchor beyond the commercial port, in the northern part of the bay. Prevailing winds are from the NE (the trade winds), Force 3 to 5, and are pretty much constant. The harbour is subject to strong gusts, especially in winter, so make sure the anchor is well dug in. (The old steel motor yacht which previously provided a mooring is no longer there).

Locals may offer to dispose of garbage for a small fee, however be cautious in accepting this help as there is a problem in Mindelo with garbage being dumped out of sight, not in the proper receptacles.

It is not recommended to leave your dinghy unattended at the city beach of Mindelo (as in many other cities around the world). For a small daily or monthly charge you can moor your dinghy at the marina where there is 24/7 security on the pontoons.

Security

Exercise caution if you contract someone to look after your boat or dinghy while you are away, this is not always a guarantee for safe anchorage. Locals swim in the bay where yachts are anchored and there have been incidents of stolen dinghies at the beach or from yachts that were being looked after by local watchmen.

The only guaranteed safe place to leave a dinghy is at the designated dinghy pontoon in the marina where they charge €4 a day to tie up (long-term rates are available). However, local police recommended not leaving your dingy on the pontoon or beach at night.

Whether at anchor or in the marina, it is recommended to keep your boat locked at all times.

Marina

Marina Mindelo opened here a few years ago. It provides slightly better shelter than the anchorage and has 24 hour security. Should a W swell set in during your stay here, be prepared with springs and rubber guards for mooring lines.

Pontoons are anchored to the seabed without fingers. Instead there are mooring buoys for tying to. The floating pontoons run roughly from NW to SE, so make sure that your berth is on the SW-side of the pontoons so will be blown off the pontoon. There is always some swell here and movement of the pontoons.

Daily rates are comparable to the Mediterranean, however long-term discounts are much more economical than in the Canary Islands and Europe.

Provisions & Water

Whilst basic provisions be found here for re-stocking, a much wider range is available in the Canary Islands.

Water is a scarce commodity here. The electricity company is also responsible for the water supply on the island. They use the desalinization process to get sweet water, meaning that every litre is produced by diesel and consequently limited, and expensive.

Last updated August 2017.

Berthing Master
Tel:+238 9990290
Harbour Master
Porto Grande, Mindelo, Sao Vicente
Tel:+238 324 414 Fax:+238 321 433
This office deals with commercial shipping and mega-yachts.
Marina Mindelo
Cais Alfandega Velha , 1191 Mindelo, S.Vicente , Cabo Verde
Tel:Reception: +238 230 0032 / +238 9387 832 (Johanna Meyer-Scheel) for Marina Management / +238 991 5878 (Kai Brossmann) for Boat CV (repair shop within the Marina) Fax:+238 230 0034 ,VHF Channel 72
Opening hours: Reception open every day
120 berth marina with all necessary facilities. Charges are based on m2 but do not include water, electricity and WiFi. All new arrivals are given 100MB free WiFi at check-in (to test the quality and velocity before purchasing further data packs). Facilities include 24hr security, fuel, LPG, basic but adequate toilets and showers, floating Sailor's Bar. Limited chandlery, sailmaker. Provisions within walking distance.

Yacht Clubs

There are two yacht clubs, the old, nostalgic Clube Nautico just outside the Marina's pier  (open Mon - Saturday, morning until midnight) and the floating Sailor's Bar / Restaurant inside the Marina (also available for Dinghy clients).

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 21, 2017 05:38 PM

Posted on behalf of Stan Luyten:

I've spent a week anchored in the Bay of São Pedro, in the South of São Vicente, about 8 NM downwind from Mindelo, in the second week of February 2017.

There's a little bit of swell working itself into the bay, but only noticeable close to the beach. There's always a lot of wind, that seems to pick up around noon and at night. Early mornings and later afternoons seem to be calmer, although these wind accelerations can seem quite irregular. I've had at least one day without a calm period. Good ground tackle is therefore a must, though holding was excellent in black and white sand with a few isolated rocks. The best shelter is to be found close to the village. I relied on local knowledge and anchored between the fishing boats on permanent moorings. After a few days I decided to move closer still to the beach (in about 5m), where the wind is less ferocious. Locals told me wind direction can be changeable due to the mountains, so I also put a stern anchor. However during my stay the wind always blew from the valley.

Facilities on shore are minimal. There's a nice restaurant on the beach, owned and run by a French national. In town there are a few small shops and bars, but for fresh victuals one needs to take the minibus ("aluguer") or taxi to Mindelo (only 15min away). The nearest internet is at the airport next to the village (30min on foot, free). Fuel or water would have to be brought in jerrycans by local fishermen.

The beach is superb. Although windy, this is definitely a beautiful location. Visitors should be aware that the upwind sail to Mindelo can be challenging when the trade winds are strong, depending of course on the boat and its crew.

I definitely recommend a visit to this beautiful bay, but if your destination is Mindelo, don't underestimate the acceleration zone in the channel between the islands of São Vicente and Santo Antão. Be especially aware of very powerful gusts close to the capes (visible on the surface of the water).

Stan Luyten.
S/V Noctiluca

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 16, 2014 02:49 PM

See the report "Mindelo-Comments from Cruisers" posted in the right hand "Reports" column for further feedback from cruisers about this port.

Ulf
Ulf says:
Nov 28, 2013 07:26 PM

Right before the marina gate at the end of the jetty a local enterprise offers a laundry service EVERY day. Things are collected at 10:00 h and returned 17:00h the same day. It includes washing and drying. The quality is very good. The price is (also compared with self-service washing machines in some marinas) very competitive. So, a clear recommendation. For further details ask at the reception.

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BoatCV- Mindelo - Sao Vicente
For all Yacht Repairs.
Comprehensive Chandlery and Rigging
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