Seville to Cascais

The trip back down the Guadalquevir was quick and surprisingly we got to sail much of the way.

We - Almut, Rainer, Christoph and I - anchored - again - at Bonanza near the mouth of the river but this time, we had bug spray and a mosquito lamp, which made things a lot better. The mosquitos simply could not stop the first of many rounds of Doppelkopf (a German card game) on this trip!

We - Almut, Rainer, Christoph and I - anchored - again - at Bonanza near the mouth of the river but this time, we had bug spray and a mosquito lamp, which made things a lot better. The mosquitos simply could not stop the first of many rounds of Doppelkopf (a German card game) on this trip!

Christoph ready to attack the mosquitos!

Our first stop in Portugal was Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the Guadiana river. A lovely, clean village and we managed to get the last spot in the marina. Astonishing but the high season is still in full swing until October 1 here in Portugal!

Vila Real de Santo Antonio

From there we sailed - upwind, of course - to the Faro estuary, where we anchored just off Ilha Culatra. The plan was to stay for a day and explore Faro and Ilha Culatra by dinghy. A nice anchorage definitely, as promised in the handbook. At high tide, you seem to be anchored in the middle of the ocean, at low tide you're in a river with muddy river banks!

The anchorage at Ilha Culatra at mid-tide.

Unfortunately, the handbook did not mention that the anchorage is right in the approach to the busy Faro airport. Rainer, who is a licensed pilot, had an app showing the arrivals of all planes. Many!! In the beginning, that was kind of amusing but after 4 planes had passed closely overhead between 7 and 8 am the next morning, we decided that one night was enough in this place!

Next was the famous Algarve coast. First stop was Portimao, where the current runs hard in the river.

Portimao with the marina on the left

When sailing in, we encountered a small excursion boat right outside the breakwater which simply did not give us the right of way. It was clear that we were under sail with a 20 knot following breeze, going 8 knots and more and the guy would have rammed us had we not shot into the wind at the last second to avoid a collision! Unbelievable! Portimao itself is quite a nice marina but the town is nothing to write home about. We had a lovely hike to Carvoeiro along the coastal cliffs, which come in all shades of beige, yellow and pink.

We even took a day sail and anchored under the cliffs for a while and dinghied into the coves underneath. That little sail was triggered by a desire to "fix the WIFI". Well, sort of. Those who have sailed on Kincsem are familiar with the little blue indicator above the washing machine which looks like a WIFI symbol but indicates the level of the holding tank. Blue means all is ok, but it can change color to red, which has some dire consequences. Well, one of our crew mates announced one morning that the WIFI was broken to the great amusement of the other crew mates ....

West of Portimao

Next stop was Lagos. Again a very nice marina - albeit very pricey - and a town with many bad restaurants and bars and too many tourists. But the old town has a certain charm and there were a few historical sights to see. We were moored next to an Amel Super Maramu and a few boats down from an Amel 64. Always nice to see other Amels and I've yet to meet an owner who was not good to be with.


Exploring the coastal caves West of Lagos

When I planned the route for this year, I made sure that we would not arrive in Portugal too early in the season. All spring and summer long, the Portugese coast is known for its "Portugese Norther," Northerly winds which blow 20 knots and more on most days. They are caused by the Azores high and a thermal low over the Iberic peninsula. Given the Northerly winds, Southbound currents and the Atlantic swells, the accepted wisdom is that it's very hard to make progress in a Northerly direction along this coast, which is exactly what we have to do to get to Vigo in Northwesterly Spain by late October. However, the accepted wisdom is also that the Portugese Norther becomes less consistent in the fall and is replaced by frontal weather with a mix of wind directions, including hopefully Southerlies. Well, this year, in mid September the Azores high is firmly in place, as is the low over Spain so there is no end in sight to the Northerly winds. The GFS model showed fresh Northerlies for the next 16 days when we left Sevilla! Luckily, Kincsem likes the Atlantic swells much better than the short, steep chop in the Med so the upwind sailing is faster and more comfortable! So the next couple of days after Lagos were filled with some great sailing, lots of tacks, reefs in and out and quiet anchorages at night.

At anchor at Sagres, the last stop before Cabo Sao Vincente

Rounding Cabo Sao Vincente in the early morning light

Getting ready for the next tack

It's 5 o'clock somewhere

Dinner at anchor at Sesimbra

Sesimbra in the morning

Cabo Espichel

The next major stop was supposed to be Lisbon - the marina of Cascais some 25 km from the center of town or anyone of the other 3 marinas big enough for Kincsem to get into. When I emailed those marinas 4 weeks ahead of time, I received no responses or "sorry we're all full." How can this be, in October? Well, with the help of the owner of the Amel 55 Merit - based in Cascais - and the local OCC port officer, we managed to get a spot in Cascais a few days before our arrival. The Amel owners forum and the OCC port officer system are great things to have on your side when cruising!

So we ended up arriving in Cascais right on schedule. Time to meet the helpful Amel 55 owner and OCC port officer, but also to line up the shirts in the cupboards, sweep the floors, detail the galley and wash the decks - all in preparation for inspection by the Admiral!


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published