Escape from Peniche
What a dreadful place! As the crew said “Peniche has no panache!”
As mentioned in the previous missive, we were rafted three deep on the pontoon. As we were about to go out for the afternoon on the 20th a large Polish flagged steel yacht just moored up on the outside of our raft. Not a word, like do you mind etc. There was no way we could take another boat outside of us, as our fenders were already practically squashed flat by the weight of the current three boats and the ceaseless 25 knot wind that was blowing us onto the pontoon. So I went to have a little chat with them. The boat was a floating wreck, with at least 10 people on it. No springs and frayed and knotted dock lines. At first they pretended that they did not understand English, but eventually I managed to get through to them, that I was not a happy bunny about them mooring along side in these conditions, in a very heavy steel boat. So after about two hours arguing he eventually moved of. Thank goodness I was persistent. Because, over night the wind got up and the local fishing boats are a nightmare! There is a huge sign in the harbour entrance, saying “max speed 3 knots”. The fishing boats seem to believe that they are exempt from this. So at 0530 we were awoken by a violent motion of the boat being thrown sideways onto the pontoon. On inspection it turned out a fishing boat had passed by us no more than a few feet, travelling at well in excess of 10 knots. The resultant wash tossed the rally boats about and those that were moored mast to mast, suffered some damage. We had scratches to our top sides, when they had bashed into a cleat on the pontoon, but mercifully, nothing worse. Thank goodness. This process continued for a couple of hours and had us all running about adjusting lines and fenders.
The town itself is a mixture of interesting Moorish influenced old buildings and modern (60’s style) utilitarian buildings. We did manage to find a good bar that has a wide screen TV so the majority of the Rally crew descended on this bar for the England Sweden match in the World Cup. Poor barman did not know what had happened to him when this large bunch of thirsty yachties arrived for the match. A fun evening and bed at a sensible time (for a change).
What was also interesting to see was the fishermen still repairing and loading their nets in the traditional way. As the attached picture suggests.
On the morning of the 21st it was time to cast off our lines and head for Cascais, 50nm due south. Getting the boats off the pontoon in a strong wind blowing us all on proved to be a long and tedious process, and we finally got off less than 5 minutes before the start of the next leg. Too late to participate in the formal start.
This was to prove to be an entertaining day, as detailed in the next entry to our Web Diary…………………………….