Porto to Lisbon

Peter and Sarah Shaw
Mon 22 Aug 2016 16:07

I think coming up the Rio Tejo and under the Ponte de Abril into Lisbon is one of the highlights of the trip so far. Mind you I wouldn’t of said that 8 hours earlier !


So we left Porto at 7am on Saturday for the 180nm leg to Lisbon. It was a very calm quiet morning as we left the marina and headed out on the River Douro to the entrance of the river which is known to be difficult in certain conditions. As we approached we could see the large swell that was pushing in to shore so it was a case of powering through and out of the river, the large swell being a shock to the system after the calm of the river inland. Once out we turned south which meant that the swell was uncomfortably on our beam for the first part of the passage. There was little wind so we had to motor for the first few hours.


Then the wind picked up, and increased steadily throughout the night to Biscay proportions. Our bodies just thought “here we go again”!! It was a very bumpy, rolly night so not much sleep was had due to the noise and the motion. Our wind speed indicator recorded winds of 25 to 30 knots with the strongest gusts of 42 knots!!!


Another night spent in thermals and full wet weather gear. When are we going to find the perfect relaxed sailing that we signed up for!!


With the wind from the stern we sailed with just a well reefed headsail out and we were still managing 7 knots. As the wind abated we arrived at Cascais at about 8 am so decided to pull in and anchor for a couple of hours, have a coffee, eat our dinner from last night which neither of us felt we could eat, and wait for the tide to turn to carry us up the river to Lisbon.


As soon as we turned towards land the warmth hit us. It was like someone had turned a hairdryer on. So off came the thermals and on with shorts.


It took us about 2 hours to come up the Rio Tejo into Lisbon, past the Torre de Belem and under the bridge which was a spectacular sight.


We arrived at the Marina Parque das Nacoes (try pronouncing that on the VHF marina channel – well done to Peter on that one) which has rather awkward lock gates at the entrance. A nice man comes out in his rib and says “follow me and go fast”. He wasn’t joking!! As you approach the lock gates look more and more narrow, and long. The river current surges through them carrying you along like a plastic duck down a log flume!! Well a slight exaggeration but it certainly got your heart rate up.


We are in Lisbon now for four days, and it is very hot. 33.9C this afternoon. I should be careful what I wish for. There are boat jobs to do, sail change ready for crossing to the Canaries and food shopping to do. We are going to try to spend one day on a tram tour of Lisbon which should be fun.


This is more like it.