Mission accomplished.jpg

Mission accomplished

AFTER FIVE days, 22 hours and 25 minutes under sail, the Visit Portimão arrived at Dartmouth in the UK last Thursday (November 23).

Ricardo Diniz managed to successfully navigate the old Port route from Portugal to England and present Buckingham Palace with a bottle of Port from 1926, the year of the Queen’s birth.

The trip started on November 11, but encountered a six-day technical stop at Figueira da Foz. Unfortunately, the delay forced Josh Hall to leave the trip at Figueira da Foz as he had prior commitments in France.

He was replaced by fellow Englishman Josh Flavell, who accompanied Ricardo for the remainder of his trip to London.

The pair faced strong waves during the passage through the Bay of Biscay experiencing two 50 knot wind fronts with eight metre waves on the final night of their voyage.

They arrived safe and sound, but understandably were extremely tired.

On Saturday, Ricardo and Josh travelled to Buckingham Palace and handed over the 1926 Port that survived the journey without a scratch thanks to the protective Amorim cork packaging.

The packaging also included a small Portuguese flag and a message rolled up in the form of a scroll. Inside Buckingham Palace officials took the package and said that the Queen would certainly receive it and would be writing them a letter of thanks.

What is remarkable about this trip is how it symbolically raised awareness about so many interchanging aspects of Portuguese and English tradition.

The trip marks the 250th anniversary of the Douro Region, the Queen’s 80th birthday, the importance of Port wine as Portugal’s most important export, the irreplaceable nature of Portuguese cork and finally the special relationship between England and Portugal, who are the oldest allies in Europe.

Ricardo flew back to Lisbon on Sunday night after spending a few days relaxing in London. On Monday he spoke of how the trip was an enjoyable experience despite very rough conditions, which nearly made the trip extremely dangerous.

“The job is done and the bottle-handed in. It’s a simple gesture which is symbolic as it rings all the right bells. It was a very happy event,” he said.

The trip was pioneered by Diniz as part of the Made in Portugal project, which promotes Portugal and its finest products. Ricardo is due to announce more sailing trips in the near future.


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