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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°53.13'N,24°59.56'W (marina)

Clearance

See Noonsite/Cape Verdes/Formalities page for full details of 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 marina office can provide a map and directions.

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 February 2018.

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 there are many unchartered wrecks and abandoned vessels, plus 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 here 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).

It is possible to drop off garbage outside the marina, just before you get to the street - you will see a small building. Simply find someone at the marina to unlock it for you, but they will  want the 1 euro payment. 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. Avoid walking around at night.

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 February 2018.

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).

Kyla Fuller
Kyla Fuller says:
Aug 10, 2018 12:58 PM

After getting dismasted sailing from the Canaries to CV we were forced to stay in Marina Mindelo until the repairs were completed. Overall the experience was pleasant. Boat CV did all of the work and did the work within reasonable time frames, taking into account “island time” which can be frustrating.
Having parts shipped to CV takes a very long time. We waited 5 months in total. But Boat CV successfully installed our imported parts: complete new rigging including mast (done at a swelly boat yard but fine), Bimini, spray hood, and fabricated us new stainless steel davits/solar panel array which we are very happy with.
Overall the experience was pleasant, and we enjoyed our 5 months in CV. We felt safe in Mindelo but did take precautions such as being back in the marina after 10pm, and not flaunting our valuables.
There is a man named Jorge with dreadlocks and a limp who hangs out outside of the marina, we used him extensively for sanding and as a boat boy, and built a very pleasant relationship.

Sailors for Sustainability
Sailors for Sustainability says:
Jul 19, 2018 12:17 PM

We spent ten days anchored close to the marina in June 2018. We felt save throughout our stay, also on land. There are beggars and we avoided walking around at night outside the main streets. For the dinghy (kayak) we used the marina (4 euros a day).
There are a number of supermarkets in town and open street markets, so almost everything (food-wise) is available in town.
Clearing in (coming from Sal) and out went very smoothly (5 euros for clearing out).

Alexander Motorious
Alexander Motorious says:
Jul 13, 2018 06:06 PM

Finally Boat CV resolve the situation. I mounted another autopilot and they helped me to set and calibrate it. We recalculated the invoice, I get a regulator for solar panels and Raymarine autopilot sensor (with installation!) and waiting for a refund of a rest of a money. They also was so kind to provide a berth in marina for the time of installing a sensor.

Finally after setting a new sensor and multiple sea trial yesterday we discovered that a first diagnostic wasn't complete and correct, now they told me that my autopilot computer has as mistake and i need to change all the set: drive, display and computer. Decided to do it in my next port and change Raymarine to Garmin. Thanks.

KBrossmann
KBrossmann says:
Jul 13, 2018 05:23 PM

Sorry to hear that Alexander is not happy with our service. We tried to assist him in any possible way. Alexander ordered goods via boatCV and made a down payment to secure that he will take the goods later. He was explicatively instructed that shipping to Cape Verde can be sometimes very annoying and that it sometimes takes time for the order to get here. In the meantime he bought a second hand autopilot from someone else and now he is trying to withdraw from the original business. It turned out that Alexander wasn't able to pay for the goods he ordered from the beginning. As to the Raymarine Price: A linear drive Type I costs between 1400 an 1900 Euros plus shipment. I even offered him to meet his price, if he finds a better price on the Internet. He never took our offer. Alexander is a nice and friendly guy, just make sure that he can proof he has enough funds before you order stuff for him! boatCV

Alexander Motorious
Alexander Motorious says:
Jul 10, 2018 10:39 PM

BOAT CV, most famous nautical repair company in Mindelo, scammed me. I've ordered a new autopilot drive Raymarine linear drive type 1 and paid the whole cost. After 20 days of waiting, when I bought a second hand Simrad and still was waiting for my new Raymarine and have to leave to Carribbean, Kai Brossmann changed the cast of prepaid autopilot drive from 980 to 1700 euros, and as the new drive still didn't arrived, offered me set a second hand drive from his boat. Gilson, Boat CV technical told me Kai was mistaken, but true is he is too greedy. With a payment confirmation he still denied that he twiced the price in a last moment. Gran truffa!

Alexander Motorious
Alexander Motorious says:
Jul 09, 2018 02:48 PM

Except the boat show in marina there are few near the city market. Also there are beautiful second-hand drogeria called Zefferino, where you can find a lot of useful stuff for boats also, quite cheaper than in another stores. Just ask a taxist to bring you to Zafferino, it's 170 cv dollars.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 08, 2018 09:51 PM

Reported to CSSN:
05.12.2018
Anchoring in front of Mindelo Marina, 2 people came on board and wanted to steal the Dinghy. Midnight. Owner (me) had a fight with one and kicked him in the water. One Stolen Laptop. Police was called. No answer. Thieves live in old white wreck in front of Marina Mindelo. Marina Office know the Problem.
31.12.2017
A French boat was completely robbed while owners were at New Year Party. Even clothes.

JJL
JJL says:
Dec 16, 2017 06:30 PM

Small correction to my previous message of December 1st 2017: The little cabin at the entrance of the marina is actually the Enacol gas station cabin, for gasoil refueling. Attended by crew members of the marina.

Maria
Maria says:
Dec 14, 2017 02:43 PM

Mindelo
I would echo most that has been said in previous reports, even the older ones . This place doesn’t change very much, except the marina is more modern now. Although the electricity did go off from time to time but not for long. Good WiFi in the floating bar early morning before it opens,they change the WiFi code every few days. Better WiFi in Simpatico ( Irish bar) . We were on the Odyssey Rally and Tom ( from Simpatico) arranged fresh fruit and veg provisions for the boats. He also had stew and Chilli made for us to take away the day before departure.
There is a pizza cafe across from the marina - great pizza and we took 2 with us and froze them.
Boat repairs are very quick and efficient.
Arrange with Kai in the office or email them before hand if you require parts.
Shops - small convenience stores close by, but we found many items. Bread ( as we know it) is in short supply . There’s a butchers in the supermarket to the right of simpatico.
No re cycling but rubbish bins are at the entrance to the marina in a locked store.
Some prostitutes were persistent even when told no.
There are beggars and people touting to help you with one thing or another. If you have anything your not using then they will take it away for you. One mans junk is another mans treasure.
We had help from a man called Joe ( had a Chicago accent ) he arranged a pickup truck taxi to take us to the lookout point on top of the island, to the beach and back for €75 euros 5 adults 2 children . We did get stopped by the police on the way back and had to get out and get on a bus to get back - we think that he wasn’t licensed to carry passengers ! Joe stayed with us and we never felt unsafe, it just added interest to our trip.
The Floating bar - reasonably priced food and friendly service.
Water is chargeable- you can add water to your card 100 litres is €2 or 200 pesetas, you need your card to exit and enter the marina and the toilets and you have to use your card to pay for the showers .
Electricity is €4 a day
Nice beach 15 min walk- turn left when you go out of the Marina .
All the marina staff were excellent and helped with mooring.
The water is drinkable as it is desalinated and 4 knots of tide between islands - best time to cross is 21/2 hours after high water

JJL
JJL says:
Nov 30, 2017 04:23 PM

On arriving to Mindelo, there is no point in trying to contact the Marina Mindelo by VHF. They never answer, neither on ch. 16, nor on ch. 72. By arriving during the day, sail straight towards the marina. There is a small cabin on the first pontoon (starboard) with people inside who will tell you which berth to sail to.
If you have any mechanical issues to fix, the manager of the small shipchandler of the marina is very skilled and knowledgeable. He also speaks very good French (and probably English, I did not check, sorry).

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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