Villa Real de Santo Antonio - Portugal
37:11.728N 7:24.800W Sun 2nd Apr 2018. 70nm 10:45hrs
What a great sail! This was one of those rare days of perfect sailing; a beam reach (wind from the side) in calm seas in a force 4, roaring along at over 6kts all day. We had an early start to make the most of the tides, so we had best part of an hour before sunrise, lit instead by the almost full moon. Getting out of the river with the tide flowing pretty well already was interesting, but easy really. The wind was brisker and from a better direction than forecast – a rare event that it goes in our favour. Apart from a couple of hours in the middle of the day, conditions were just perfect. Fast, calm, comfortable, great. We had a few challenges weaving our way through a huge fleet of fishing boats (over 20 fishing in formation), followed by a dense field of fishing floats that needed a few dodges, but no real hassle. We even managed to time our entry into the Guadiana (river that forms the border between Spain & Portugal) pretty spot on. We arrived a bit before the tide turned so had to reverse into the tiny marina to deal with the dying tide, but we earned the approval of the marineros by sliding effortlessly into a gap just big enough for our oversized boat. A few rain showers on arrival didn’t mar our joy at all and we are moored in a wonderful location looking across the wide estuary to Spain.
We have visited Vila Real de Santo Antonio (often shortened to VRSA) before in a day trip from Ayamonte on the Spanish side of the river. It is a lovely town and a delight to wander its attractive grid patterned streets designed in the late 18th century after the destruction of the infamous Lisbon earthquake and tsunami. It also has a wild, unspoilt beach about 2 miles out of town beyond the mouth of the river which makes a good running d
destination. We hope to be here for at least 5 days before moving on.
The main square:
The old bath house: