April 1993 - Sesimbra to Almerimar

1 April 1993 Sesimbra to Sines
We passed the three-masted training ship “Sagres” as we left Sesimbra. As we entered a depth of 200 metres, a group of dolphins joined us and stayed for 10 minutes. There was was a 2 metre swell just on the aft quarter, so I poled out the genoa and we rolled downwind. About 15 miles from Sines, the swell increased and the motion became very unpleasant – I tried to turn the run into a broad reach but we still rolled – I must try 2 jibs poled out. Sines looks like a nice anchorage – time will tell. This is our first time anchoring this year. I took Brett and Craig to the beach and unfortunately fell off the side of the dinghy into the water when leaving the beach – rucksack, camera, wallet and all!

2 April 1993 Sines
Glenys went shopping and I did a few jobs. We had an early dinner and weighed anchor at six p.m. The wind in the anchorage was 15 knots, but when we got out in the open sea, the wind was gusting 30-35 knots. We sailed downwind for 10 minutes and then decided to return after we had an indicated gust of 30 knots when we were going at 8 knots boat speed.

The anchorage is nice and peaceful – good decision! A chap from “Kormoran of Dart” came over to welcome us back – they had tried to go north earlier in the day.

3 April 1993 Sines to Vilamoura (Day 1)
We lounged about on the boat and the beach until six p.m. and then left to go to Lagos. The large swell had disappeared and we had a nice fast reach.

4 April 1993 Sines to Vilamoura (Day 2)
The wind dropped just after midnight. The swell was making it unpleasant to sail at 3 knots, so we put the engine on for 4 hours until we had rounded Cabo De Sao Vicente when the wind picked up enough to sail at 5-6 knots.

We started to approach Lagos at eight o’clock in the morning and then decided to give it a miss and go straight to Vilamoura. The wind dropped an hour later, so we motored all the way to Vilamoura marina. We arrived at midday and had to wait until two o’clock for the office to open. After endless forms and a customs officer asking me about previous owner (again!), we went to a berth which was downwind and I made a complete hash of it (twice!). We met Johann and Marise (age 7) on the German boat “Sa Joma”.

5 April 1993 Vilamoura
We went shopping and generally messed about.

6 April 1993 Vilamoura
Jobs and messing about. Vilamoura marina is OK and the weather is noticeably warmer than the west coast of Portugal.

7 April 1993 Vilamoura to Islas de Culatra
We ran the gauntlet of bureaucracy when leaving Vilamoura. It was a pleasant beat upwind to Culatra which had a tricky entrance with lots of eddies and sand banks. It was a little fraught going across the marsh at nearly high tide at springs – but no problems. There are about 15 yachts already here – I didn’t expect any!

This is a great anchorage, tucked behind a very long sand spit, with the town of Olhoa about a mile away. The small village (Igreja) by the anchorage is very strange – small single storey houses which look like they should be knocked down, but instead the locals are fitting double glazing, TVs and stereos. We went to a bar where Glenys was persuaded to buy a plate of clams for us all – very nice.

8 April 1993 Culatra to Vila Real de San Antonio
We started to weigh anchor at eight o’clock - it took 15 minutes because there was loads of weed on the chain. We had a nice trip to Vila Real de San Antonio. We have started to trust the Hydrovane a little too much. We were really slack with navigation and, at one point, we discovered that the wind had veered 90° causing the Hydrovane to sail us south instead of east! I then managed to lose one of the hydrovane knobs overboard in a tacking frenzy.

The entrance to the river is quite worrying because of the shallow bar. We went into the Doca De Pesca next to a Dutch gaff rigged schooner “Inesplarado” which was impounded 2 years ago for possession of 1,500kg of hashish. It is to be auctioned soon - probably for £10K-15K. The town is very pleasant with storks nesting on the top of chimneys.

9 April 1993 Vila Real de San Antonio to Cadiz (Day 1)
I went into town to sort out the departure documentation but the Capitania was closed because it’s Easter. This was a bit of a surprise to me because we had celebrated Easter two weeks ago in Lisbon! I eventually persuaded the Customs to fill in the necessary forms so that we could leave.

We had a bit of a struggle leaving the dock due to no room front or back and a strong side wind pushing us onto the dock, but we managed to escape without a scratch. We had a fast, rolly reach until midnight.