Cascais Marina - Lisboa 38:41:43N 09:25:11W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Sat 16 Jun 2007 20:19

It has been the best part of a week since I last contributed to the Blog. This omission has been brought about by the absolutely appalling weather we have suffered for the last week. In fact it has been so bad, that Jennie has been questioning my navigation skills and is now convinced that we are in a West Coast of Scotland port. We have had several gales, driving rain and wind that is consistently from the South West. So much so that since leaving the Cies Islands, we have managed a merge 4 hours sailing. The statistics say is all. Since leaving Dartmouth we have covered 878 NM and done 129 hours on the engine. Putting aside the boredom associated with a motoring in a sailing yacht, our fuel bill is interesting and the seas have also been very uncomfortable and consequently, tiring. Since arriving here on the 14th June, we have done little else but sleep and chill out.


Now I have gotten that bit of whinging over with, let’s look at some of the more interesting facts.


The first is. Bovril!  Yes, I really do mean Bovril. I rediscovered this last Autumn on a visit to Dartmoor with the Barratt family. Before that the only time I ever drank the stuff was at football and Rugby matches in Scotland. But hot Bovril with a goodly dose of White pepper can get you through any sort of weather. So if you are contemplating  sailing this way, ensure you have a good supply on board!


After leaving the Islas Cies, and motoring into a sea which had a large Atlantic swell with a short nasty wave action superimposed on top of it. (Jennie referred to it as the bucking bronco effect. Certainly I felt like one of those nodding dogs you sometimes see in the back of a car). In amongst this you have to keep a very vidulent watch out for the very many lobster pot strings that litter the whole of this coast. Sometimes these are very well marked, as the attached picture shows. Other times all they use is an old football with a bit of netting on it. Get that lot around your prop and it could definitely be a “Bad Hair Day!”


Our destination was Povoa Da Varzim.  This is an unremarkable place but the marina is huge, has the most  friendly staff you could hope to meet and a great restaurant. The restaurant in question is run by Eduardo, who is a charming and generous host. After a free welcome drink, he encouraged us to order his special for the evening which was to be a Monkfish Stew. Now Monkfish is high on Jennie’s list of favourite foods, and somewhat lower down mine. But I decided to spoil the girl, and agreed to go with this and the recommended wine.  So whilst waiting for our meal we got into conversation with another couple who had a large motor boat that was in transit to Cadiz. Their meal arrived and it turned out to be the same we had ordered. They seemed a little surprised at what they received, but I guess they assumed that had misunderstood what was on the menu. Then our meal arrived 5 mins later. Medallions of Beef. This caused immense embarrassment to the couple, who suddenly  realised they we eating our meal. Mind you not half as much embarrasment as the waitress was to go through. From my own point of view this was too good an opportunity to miss and I fell on the steak! Which was excellent, and had chips with it as well. Yum. . We were then offered a free bottle of red wine, which it would have been rude to say no to, despite its rather worrying name on the label “Fagote”. This too was consumed with relish. So, a most enjoyable evening after all, but Jennie is still living in hope of getting Monkfish some time!!

The other good thing about this marina is the price. £12 a night.


The following morning we were up at 0600 and off to Figueira da Foz. Another pants day on the water, but friendly staff to greet us and willing hands to take our lines. Which was just as well because there is a very tricky cross current across the berths in this marina, which can easily lead to a skipper being thoroughly humiliated, when parking broadside across a finger pontoon. Good market in the town, so we topped up with (real) Atlantic Salmon, sea bass and small Dover sole, not forgetting more large prawns. On the second night we eat in the club house and had a thoroughly disappointing and quite expensive meal. You have been warned…………………..The other shock was the cost of the berth, Euro 45 a night.


From there we headed south to Peniche. There was a gale warning that day so we made progress as quickly as possible and made good time. Shortly after mooring up on the visitors pontoon, a Discovery 55 moored outside us. Very nice bunch of Scandinavians. That night we certainly did get a whopping gale, and at one stage I thought the cleats were going to be ripped out of the decks, such were the violence of the gusts. Needless to say, no sleep was enjoyed that night.  On the positive side, the fishing boats were forced to stay in port so we had no wash from them to bounce us about. The next morning was much the same, but the forecast was for the wind to abate later in the day, so we delayed our departure until 1000. As the day wore on, the wind dropped and shifted to the west as we came upon Cabo Roca. So it was out with the sails and a fun 2 and a half hour sail, before it swung back south west and went up to a force 7.


This bit of coast line is spectacular. Just before Cabo Roca,  I spotted the old summer capital of Portugal, Sintra, in the mountains. Just as I decided to get the telephoto lens out for the camera, the mist and clouds descended and there was nothing left to see of this fascinating Moorish fort. So please enjoy the picture of Cabo Roca lighthouse instead.

Upon checking into this marina, we discovered that the World Sailing Championships are being staged here at the end of next  week. So getting a berth required a serious haggle. But the fact that our friends Ian & Alice Herve were already here in their Contest 40S “Lodestar”, swung it for us. Ian was in the berth next to ours and provided a very strong back to help us moor up in strong gusting winds. We then had the pleasure of a stunning meal onboard Lodestar last evening, prior to them going home to the UK for a week.


We plan to take the train to Lisbon tomorrow, and hope to be able to “do” the tram tour, without the rain for company.  We have abandoned plans to hire a car and go to Sintra, but that is something we can perhaps do later, and combine this with a tour of the Douro valley.


Next stop Sines. (They are even threatening reasonable weather for Monday). Fingers crossed XXXXXXXX


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