Penned in, in Peniche

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Sun 6 Sep 2009 08:34
39.21.112N 09.22.597W
The trip from Nazare was fast, nearly furious and great fun although it did get a little bouncy when we changed course from the Isle de Berlenga to Peniche. Mike the harbour master in Nazare, told us that it was unlikely we could get into Peniche due to our length so we decided, with Lucy Alice, to try and anchor off the Isle de Berlenga. The wind was building as we left, dodging the numerous pot markers, and we made the trip to the island under genoa alone - we were averaging over 6 knots and at one time reached 7.5 knots - pretty fast for a 20 ton boat. The sun was shining, though the wind from the north west was pretty cold, but it made for great sailing.
Reaching the island it became clear that anchoring off was not going to be an option. The swell was very significant and the island did not provide much shelter in the three marked anchorages from the wind which was forecast to reach F6/7, so we and Lucy Alice decided to take our chances in Peniche, some 7 miles to the southwest. It was a very bumpy trip and were were sailing at 6 knots under a reefed genoa - bit of a switchback ride - wheeeeee, with some cutlery moving through the cabin at times!.
Arriving in Peniche we again tried the radio but could raise no-one, but did manage to get someone on the phone. Amazingly though the police always turn up even before you have tied up. There was a gap on the harbour side of the pontoon and with the help of dutch friends on Drifter, we managed to moor alongside and then help Lucy Alice to raft alongside Andromeda.  Its always nice when there is someone to catch your lines when coming into a marina or up to a pontoon - takes quite a bit of the stress out of the situation as it can be so unpredictable and the wind can change in a flash. The inner side of the pontoon, despite what the pilot books say, is full of small boats, so yachts can only use the harbour side of the pontoon and are, therefore, subject to swell from the fishing and tripper boats leaving and returning to the harbour. As it was the start of the weekend we had been told it was probably going to be quieter than during the week.
Peniche itself is a holiday/fishing town with character, much of it coming from the narrow streets and small squares and churches and much coming from the old castle (with some very scenic and draughty old loos - use your imagination please) and extensive city walls. Its a lovely with a buzz about the place and we have enjoyed our short stay here. Once again the harbour master is a character with a nice line in dry wit, clearly he's been learning from Mike in Nazare! Lucy Alice left for quite a lengthy journey in a very short time as they need to be in Gibralter by the 11th of September - not much lee way in the event of bad weather or fog, but we wish them well, particularly after Glenda's beef burgers!!
The warnings we had about berthing in Peniche were realised twice - both by single handed sailors, one Swiss and one Spanish. The Swiss boat came in at such a rate Ian and I had to rush to Drifter to stop him taking the stern off - the dutch couple having gone for a walk. He had two tiny fenders and one line ready - it took about 30 minutes to sort him out and suggest what he ought to be doing. The dutch couple told him what they thought of his lines and added additional lines to secure him - they being the inside boat were the most concerned about him moving in the swell. He left very early the next day. After Ian and Glenda left a British boat came along side us, Unity, with four on board and it was a breeze helping them get their lines sorted out. A little later a Spanish sailor appeared moving at quite some speed heading for Drifter with no fenders out at all. They went ballistic and told him in no uncertain terms that he could not raft along side them (having nice black lines down the side of their boat from the Swiss guy) so he fell back and went alongside Unity which meant we were the inside boat of three - penned in, in Peniche!! He did not have enough lines nor fenders so the folks on Unity helped sort him out - he left very early this morning. As we plan to go tomorrow it will be interesting to see what happens later today - both Unity and Drifter have headed south, they are both heading for Lagos eventually so we will catch up with them in October all being well.
We are sorting the boat out for the trip to Cascais and plan to leave early on Monday morning for the 45 mile trip, subject to the weather. Today is a grey, overcast and cool day, but it may brighten up later.
More in due course............
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda