Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Algarve

The Algarve Sunday 26th August

A good forecast for the passage south. An early start, up anchor at 0630 and off.  60miles to Cabo St Vincent and another 5 or so to the anchorage at Sagres.

A busy exit from Sines with an oil tanker being helped in by 4 tugs and a pilot, another tanker at anchor, a 3rd tanker coming in to anchor and a container ship looking for his place in the outer anchorage as well. Just like sailing at home. Oh forgot to mention fishing boats and pot markers plus the other 6/7 yachts leaving at the same time!

Sailing in the Portugese trades

We motored for a couple of hours until the wind picked up then made our way south under the Genoa and mizzen. ‘Arry steering, us working on our tans!

Our friends on Synkope who took the above pic.

With ‘Arry steering we can concentrate on looking out for pots, diving gannets, sheerwaters and dolphins. Yes, dolphins again and again.

We saw dozens of dolphins that came past us and there was a whole area of the sea that was alive with dolphins hunting and gannets diving. There must have been an enormous school of fish despite the fishermen’s best efforts! We saw dolphins twice again but not on the scale of this first encounter.


We arrived at the cape at about 1730; the wind was dropping despite the cape’s reputation. It soon came back again after we gybed and headed east. We turned to anchor in Sagres bay in 20kts of wind. It was a fairly sheltered anchorage despite the strong winds.
Cliffs off Lagos

The following morning we had a brisk sail in 20kts from the north to our destination at Lagos. Arrival at Lagos was beautiful as the coast is spectacular with many isolated stacks, caves in the cliffs and many beautiful small beaches.

Praia da Luz

The river entrance was alive with many tripper boats, fishing boats and a ferry crossing the river. On the reception pontoon we had to wait for the pedestrian bridge to be opened to allow access to the marina. We had been warned that Logos was very touristy, however despite being surrounded by holiday flats and a hotel plus numerous ‘English’ bars (a sort of Port Solent in the sun) in the marina, we rather liked the town, a 10 minute walk across the river, which is old, historic and relatively unspoilt and has a genuine feel to it.

Lagos town
On the Square - Lagos!
Slave Market Lagos

Again black and white cobbled streets, some very narrow and winding, with buildings in generally better repair than the previous towns. Lots of shops selling a variety of things from souvenirs to nice clothes and paintings and ceramics. The fort is from 17th C, sacked by the Earl of Essex, obviously Sir Francis’ day off. They also have the oldest slave market in Europe, the first auction being held in 1444, and the usual churches etc, though again not a lot from before the 1755 earthquake.


 The beaches were beautiful, nice sand clear water (COLD!) and the rugged stacks here and there backed by the cliffs.

The only thing we didn’t like was the marina prices which were €44.28 a night! No wonder the marina was half empty. We were expecting a 10% discount as we are members of the Cruising Association, but had to argue hard to get a 5% discount, not what was published. This left a sour taste in the mouth especially as the facilities were not 5 star and we were paying 5 star prices.

We moved on to Portimao and having heard the marina was very large and very noisy from the clubs and bars close by, we anchored along with about 20 other yachts.
Cliffs off Portimao
This Anchorage - or
This - or
This marina - Your choice
 This anchorage is beautiful. A lovely view of the beach, cliffs and the castle, light background music from the beach bar in the evening but not intrusive. Town was a long dinghy ride away and was not terribly interesting.
Portimao town
 Ferrugudo on the east bank of the river was a fascinating old fishing village with several restaurants. We had a lovely lunch in the square overlooking the river at an excellent price.

Our stow away, (remember Skipper?) has been spotted with a rather natty pair of shorts and has taken to spending days on the beach and evenings in the cockpit with a cold beer! Obviously thinks he is on holiday!

We dinghy’d to the beach on Sunday to investigate the caves. It was interesting walking round and through them. You can see the layers in the rock, some black, looks like lava, then just plain sandstone, but there were layers you could see shells in the stone. It can’t be very old because they were not fossilized, just hard and white.

The water was not as cold as Lagos, but still a bit too cold for a swim. We walked up to the other end of the beach near Ferragudo where there are a few beach bars. .

Again all the menus were in English as well as Portuguese with some Dutch and German as well. They are nicely done with thatch roofs and palm trees so they blend nicely into the scenery, unlike on the other side of the river at Praia da Rocha.

That is all very modern and brash, with flats or hotels completely covering the tops of the cliffs. We did not go over for a closer look. It was not very appealing.

Our next stop is Albufiera where we will leave the boat for a week to come back to the UK for family commitments. We will continue our cruise along Portugal’s south coast before heading out to Madeira.


  1. Hi R and R ,'twas good to see for the short time you were here. Great SMs Travel Talk. Thanks. Envy Envy !! This w/e was on "Petal" with Garry & Janice, SMs Rally to Littlehampton.(7 boats) Nice Sunny Motor all the way there. No Wind. Return was a little more exciting.f 3/4 SW'ly. Nice w/e. but definitely NOT (I said NOT) the Algarve. !! Cheers Vic (the olde one)XX. . Was steel anygood?

  2. Your boating escapade truly defines a fun holiday. Splendid pictures and perfect destination. Just awesome!