40:08.827N 08:51.578W Figueira da Foz

Ariel of Hamble
Jim and Valerie SHURVELL
Sun 19 Jul 2009 20:40

40:08.827N   08:51.578W          Figueira da Foz




On Friday 17.7.09 we left Bayona and sailed down to Leixoes.  A trip of 66 miles.  A lovely sunny day that started with only just enough wind to sail Ariel of Hamble along.  2 pairs of dolphins were sighted alongside the hull of Ariel but they didn’t stay for a game just a couple of runs by.  But as the day progresses the North wind became stronger and stronger. From a broad reach with a full mainsail and full genoa we reduced to the just the full mainsail, then to a mainsail with 1 reef.  We touched a new top speed for Ariel of 11.5 knots with the reduced sail plan.  The wind was 30-32 knots at the entrance to Leixoes and as we went in out came a medium sized tanker, just to make the small entrance to the harbour interesting.  Outside the entrance to the marina were 4 yachts anchored not a good sign and we entered only to find no available space.  So went and anchored in not brilliant cover from the wind that was blowing with some gusts at 31-32 knots in the harbour.  The anchor held to start with and then jumped and dragged a bit.  I laid more chain and we held fast.  Discussions were had with the crew re anchor watch duties during the night and the subject was not greeted with happy smiling faces.  Mark and I sat in the cockpit until nearly midnight and we hadn’t moved.  The wind had dropped to about 20 knots so we all went to bed.


Saturday morning was another lovely sunny day and the North wind was a pleasant 12-13 knots.  We sailed off at 10am on route for Figueira da Foz.  By early afternoon we were back in 25-26 knots down wind.  At the headland just before Figueira da Foz the wind went from nearly nothing to 35-40 in two minutes.  This made the entry into a unknown harbour a bit nerve racking.  The full main that was flying had to be dropped and then entry was made into the harbour with the wind screaming at us. Fun was had mooring in the small marina in the very gusty conditions. Fortunately a helpful French lady from another yacht helped save the day and she took a line from Ariel when it was thrown, as the only vacant space was an across the wind berth that took 3 attempts to safely enter.  66 miles sailed in 8 hours.


Sunday a day resting and walking on the beach after a wonderful lunch in the Club Nautico restaurant at the marina.  Mark won the day with the biggest veal chop/rib steak you could ever imagine.  Other choices were sea bream and Portuguese salt cod all cooked on the charcoal grill.  Such a meal that nobody wanted to eat again today.

Figueira da Foz in a pleasant seaside resort with a huge beach that stretches for miles and is a 500 meter walk from the road/promenade to the sea.  The side streets are full of tapas bars and restaurants with wonderful seafood dishes.

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