On Saturday August 24 we leave the anchorage at Cascais to continue our way south.
Our next destination is Sines. There, you can stay in the marina or use the anchorage right in front of it. During the day we have again very low northerly winds for this long distance of 54nm, so that we have to use the engine. But we are lucky to have the visit of several groups of dolphins that join us during the day.
Unfortunately, Vito has to leave in Sines since he needs to spend time for his studies. We were very happy to have had him for some days with us, and his language skills made things a lot easier. He helps us to untie the lines in the morning before he returns home. From now on we are alone again.
Fo the long trip to the Cabo de São Vicente we have light northerly winds again. We set the sails mainly to stabilize the boat in the swell, and we need to use the motor again for almost the whole distance. In the afternoon we take the sails down since too often the main sail flaps so strong that the whole mast trembles.
Late afternoon we round Cabo de São Vicente , the most southwesterly point of Europe.
Last time I passed this cape was in 1987 and I remember well that the wind was suddenly increasing at the cape. We are therefore prepared and in fact the wind suddenly increases up to 25kn. Since it is northerly winds we unfurl the genoa, stop the engine and continue for the last couple of miles under foresail.
The plan was that we sail into the bay called Ensenada de Sagres, which is right after the cape and to drop the anchor there. It has a beautiful beach on the northern end and the bay gives good shelter in the prevailing northerly winds.
Unfortunately, we now discover a south-easterly swell (!), which comes directly into the bay, being completely open to the south. It comes probably from the Strait of Gibraltar since they have strong easterly wind there (Levante) at the moment. We would in fact have a pretty uncomfortable night on anchor due to that swell.
We need to consider alternatives. The next possibility is Ensenada de Baleeira directly to the northeast, where is the small harbour of Sagres, but according to the pilot books there is not much space to anchor, and the ground is foul. The swell can easily enter as well, if you do not find a place directly behind the breakwater.
Other sailors, which were directly behind us, have entered this harbour and reported lateron that there was only little space available. They could drop the anchor and it was well protected, but right outside the breakwater there was quite some swell.
We decide to continue to Lagos, hoping that we arrive before it gets dark.
We really do not want to search for fisher buoys in the dark… Also, we have to avoid a fish farm which is in our way. We are sailing under genoa at 8kn in this strong northerly, but slower in the end, since the wind decreases while we approach Lagos.
Fortunately, we arrive with the last daylight in Lagos and anchor in front of the beach directly east of the harbour entry. The swell is weak and we are happy to have found a good anchorage for the night.
Two other sailing boats are on anchor there, which reinforces our decision to stay outside the harbour and to not enter the marina for only one night.
After a long breakfast we start next morning to the last leg of 7nm to Portimão. We take our time and sail despite the very low winds. In the end we start the engine, enter the river and drop the anchor in the bay which is right opposite of the harbour of Portimão. Plenty of ships are on anchor there, but there is enough space for all.
We stay on anchor for several days and begin to prepare the boat for the next period of time. We explore the area, go shopping in Portimão, but also in Ferragudo, the town on the other side of the river of Portimão, nearby our anchorage. Ferragudo is a beautiful small town, but unfortunately there is no real possibility to leave the dinghy. An alternative are water taxis, which operate between the anchorage, Ferragudo and Portimão.
Portimao will be our harbour for the coming 9 months. The berth has been reserved well in advance. We enter the marina on Thursday afternoon and prepare the ship for the long perid to come. We are cleaning the whole ship and run the conservation procedure of the watermaker which we do not need any more until next summer.
We plan to spend several short periods of times in Portimão during the winter, and to explore the beautiful Algarve by boat.
From now on it will be more relaxed. We look very much forward to our time we will spend in the Algarve. In particular we are happy to spend time in this comfortable climate during the winter and to avoid at least some cold weeks of the North.
Algarve, we come…