Into The Portuguese Trades…And Without a Mainsail

Leaving Porto, we were keen to get to Lisbon to get our mainsail fixed. It was frustrating motoring along in the Portuguese trade winds, unable to take advantage of being blown down the coast. Instead, we were a motor boat with a very tall mast.

We headed for Figuerira da Foz, 62nm away, the place where Ooroo first hit Portugal. It was a pretty non-eventful motor, getting there in good time. We arrived on the 1st May, to be told it was high season and the prices had gone up accordingly. It didn’t feel like high season as the whole town was shut for a public holiday. We were glad to get going the next day, bound for Nazare, a short hop of 23nm.

Nazare turned out to be a great little spot. The marina is small and very scenic, with the fishing boats tied up right next door. A couple came in whilst we were tied to the end of a finger jetty and expertly missed our stern by inches as they swung around to berth. At least someone round here can drive a boat, we’ve seen some terrible yachtie and powerboat drivers.

Nazare was definitely in the holiday resort category, with a beautiful beach running along the front, bordered by a majestic cliff face at one end. Alex reminded me that this is where they surf the monster waves coming off the Atlantic. None of those today thank goodness.

After visiting the mandatory boat shop to replace a shackle that had come loose off our topping lift at an incredibly low price (prices in Portugal are interesting – anything made here is incredibly cheap, anything imported is incredibly expensive – courtesy of a 23% VAT), Al and I then ventured into town to check out the “action”. At 5pm the streets were buzzing with lots of pommy and german tourists. By 8pm the place was dead. We sat in an almost empty restaurant – the locals saying its because all the waterfront real estate is now owned by out-of-towners that only come here fro 3-4 weeks a year.

Next stop was Peniche, another great find.  As we only had 25nm to knock off, we decided to check out Sao Martinho do Porto along the way. Here the sea has widened a breach in the hard cliffs and carved out a crescent shaped bay out of the softer rock behind. Quite spectacular, but not a place to linger as any sort of swell will trap you in there for days. Sightseeing over, we headed for Peniche and got there in no time to find another attractive and this time reasonably priced marina. We parked behind an Irish cat that had evidently played lets see how fast we can ram this collector jetty the day before. Lucky we parked behind it as it left before us the next day.

The music festival was still on and the place was full of Uni students and local tourists. Its a petty the place doesn’t get more tourists – it deserves it. About 4pm the music started and we went over and checked it out after dinner. It was loud but I think we were a little early as nobody was there. The music went on to 5am so obviously people came later.

Next morning it was off to Cascais to catch up with the Ooroo crowd. But that’s another story….



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