I am often asked for advice as to where people might go for a cruise from the Algarve, and I usually advise that they go east and south to Cadiz and the Strait of Gibraltar, with stops along the Algarve and Spanish coast on the way. There is much to see when in the Strait, with Tangier, Barbate, Tarifa, Ceuta and Gibraltar just short distances from each other. While I have often done this cruise myself, I have also sailed north to Lisbon, which I have enjoyed immensely.
I remember, about six years ago, sailing Halloween, a 66-foot wooden gaff ketch, to Lisbon. We left Vilamoura late in the afternoon and sailed to Cape St Vincent with a gentle northerly wind on a beam reach. We turned towards the north at Cape St Vincent and spent that night and the following day tacking up the coast, arriving at Sesimbra in the evening having covered rather more than the 130 nautical miles that we would have logged in a motor cruiser taking the direct route. We spent a very comfortable night at anchor off Sesimbra and weighed anchor at 5.30am to complete the final 20 nautical miles to the entrance to the River Tejo.
We sailed into the river at 8am on a beautiful morning. Halloween could not have been a more suitable vessel on which to arrive in this wonderful historic harbour. We must have been a fine sight with our tan gaff rigged mainsail and mizzen, plus our staysail and flying jib attached to the end of her long bowsprit, which would account for the enthusiastic welcome that we received from people on other vessels as we sailed past. We sailed up the river and spent several days in the marina at Alcântara. This was an excellent place to berth Halloween and, as it is so close to the centre of Lisbon, proved to be an ideal base from which to explore the city.
Visiting Lisbon now, there is Cascais Marina as an alternative to the marinas that are close to the city.It is five years since the marina was completed and it is well established as a stopping place for yachts and motor cruisers as they cruise along the Atlantic coast of Portugal.
Cascais and Estoril, which are both walking distances from the marina, are probably two of the most beautiful towns I have ever visited. There are wonderful buildings, built mostly in the 18th and early 19th centuries, in a breathtakingly beautiful, extravagant style of romantic architecture. The train station is just 10 minutes walk from the marina, with regular trains to Lisbon taking just 30 minutes.
The aerial photograph taken in August 2004 shows the marina almost full – many of the few empty berths belong to people who were away on their summer cruise. There are, in fact, a total of 638 berths in the marina, 125 of which are intended for yachts in transit. There is a travel lift in the marina with a lifting capacity of up to 70 tons and facilities for storage ashore. Visitors to the marina arriving by boat can, if they wish, call the marina on VHF channel nine. Tel 214 824 800, fax 214 824 860, or email: [email protected]. Web Site: www.marinacascais.pt
Clube Naval de Cascais
People in both the Algarve and Lisbon often ask me about the opportunities for yacht, keelboat and dinghy racing in Portugal. While there is some racing in the Algarve, the Clube Naval de Cascais, founded in 1938, has an enviable reputation for the organisation of very successful regattas and world championships. I have insufficient space this month to do justice to what the club has to offer and so will give much more information about the club on my page next month. For the moment telephone enquiries should be made to 214 830 125. Alternatively, fax 214 868 712 or email [email protected].
Whether you visit for the day or stay longer, I don’t know of a more beautiful setting for a marina than the north shore of the entrance to the Tejo river, with Cascais and all the Estoril coast in the foreground, and the Serra de Sintra reaching up into the sky behind.
In addition to a wide selection of restaurants and coffee bars, two banks, a newsagent and shops selling nautical clothing, there are several companies in the marina offering a wide range of essential services. You’ll find their contact numbers and a little information about each company in the on board directory to be published in next week’s edition.
On September 3, I was incorrectly quoted in The Resident simply by replacing the word ‘to’ with ‘or’, which completely changed the meaning of my comment. What I actually said was: “People can take their boat to Spain if they want to, to ensure that they spend less than 180 days in the country”. By this, I meant that a trip down the coast to spend a night at Ayamonte, Isla Christina or Isla Canela twice a year would give owners proof (from their marina receipt) that they had not been in Portugal at any time for as much as 180 days.Unfortunately, this was misprinted as “People can take their boat to Spain if they want to, or ensure that they spend less than 180 days in the country”, which suggests that people should keep their boats in Spain rather than Portugal to avoid paying the tax. By reading what I actually said above, it can be seen that I did not mean that people should move their boats to Spain on a permanent basis!