Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Tue 24 Sep 2013 20:23

20-24 September 2013 – At anchor, Cascais




We left Leixos on Thursday 19th at about 10am, to do the 170 miles down to Cascais.  The winds were rather stronger than Roger would have liked, and the swell high: but the choice was to go on Thursday and sail most of the way or wait 24 hours to leave on Friday and motor all the way in ultra-light airs.  As it turned out, the sail was even more sporty than expected – two reefs in the mainsail and a small jib, poled out, all the way.  We ate supper at 7pm, and then Roger took the first 4 hours til 11pm, and I carried on til 3am, getting up again at 7 to find the wind had gone with the dawn.    We drifted back inshore with the light, keeping a sharp lookout for lobster pots (we saw some 19 miles offshore in over 150m depth!) which were a bugbear in the dark.

As we rounded up into the Cascais anchorage, the warmth hit us!  On day one, we didn’t even put the bimini up, but just soaked up the heat.  The boat was covered in oily sand after three days of being downwind of the Leixos refinery in a strong wind and we spent time cleaning as much as possible, including the rigging and mainsail.  It’s a very busy anchorage.

The snowbirds are all swarming south and meeting again in Cascais: Island Kea; Right Turn; Mahi Mahi; and Red Snapper were all in the anchorage, and Capibara in the marina.  We book-swapped with Right Turn and I’m now reading a very interesting account of the American WW2 TORCH campaign in N Africa.  The confusion at all levels was very apparent, as was the distrust between Yanks and Brits at all levels.  I didn’t have many books to swap: most of mine are on Kindle, and I haven’t got into many of the hard copies.  Peter Mandelson had to go, together with some Andy McNab novels.

Cascais is a great town.  It feels like a very upmarket suburb to Lisbon.  We walked along the coast northwards along the coast to see the Boca do Inferno (a granite bridge over the sea: a local beauty spot) and visited the Casa de S Maria near the lighthouse.  Both the casa and lighthouse are now museums; and the Casa had a super travelling exhibition of postcards sent back to Lisbon from Japan in the early years of the 20th century, via the Trns-Siberian railway.  Beautiful photographs, both artistically and historically, and a real treat.

The town is dominated by its citadel, which has a newly opened Pousada inside the walls.  The interior is a stark white, and the reflected light was uncomfortable in the afternoon.  But the citadel is surrounded by lovely gardens.  The marina (extremely expensive) sits under the walls.


Yesterday, Monday, Roger joined a couple of guys to make a mould for casting a zinc anode.  I went up with Margie to the big Jumbo supermarket which is a subsidiary of Auchan – a very wide selection.  We queued in the shortest line which turned out to be a mistake – there was priority for disabled and pregnant people.  Priority means being able to overtake everyone in the queue.  Poor Margie had all her goods on the conveyor belt when twice she was stalled by ladies with full chariots being filleted in front of her.  In the end we both gave up and moved to other lines. 

Henrik and Signe came back from Aarhus on Sunday evening and came to supper on Monday.  The weather is starting to break: the wind has moved to a move southerly direction rather than the northerly that we’ve had since early August.  By this morning, despite setting a kedge anchor overnight the anchorage was uncomfortable.  It was misty and the outlook wasn’t good.  So we, along with many of the others, decided to move to safer holding.  We’ve gone 5 miles up the coast to Oeiras; others have gone further up the R Tagos to Seixal.  And at that point the Cascais anchorage showed its teeth: one of the Norwegian boats found its anchor fouled on a rock and despite diving was unable to clear it; and we too found that the chain was snarled up, although it freed itself.  So we may not be back!

More from Oeiras follows…