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Old 12-02-2011, 09:31   #31
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Day marks are usaually a combinatation of balls/diamond which vary... see pilot book for specific ports... night is red lights but often you'll find the problem is you cannot see them hence always enter the river ports in daylight hours.... IMO the skipper should have made searoom or hove to till daylight before trying to get in... or carried on and done his crew change elsewhere... trains/bus's/taxi's are cheap in the long run...
and I would advise anyone traveling this coast to plan their stops accordingly...
see below...

Figuiera da Foz.
A river entrance where swell, tides and a bar can combine to cause a dangerous entrance. During the summer months with the northerly trade winds blowing, entry is safe in most conditions. In winter, it is suggested that the port should not be entered except in daylight on a calm day when conditions at the bar can be seen.
Lights are exhibited from a signal station on a fort on the north side of the entrance when the bar is dangerous or closed but cannot be seen from the sea due to bright sodium lights in front.

1) There is a new leading light system installed (2 units) at the new channel entrance (direction T047) with red lights - 6 mi range, that you should follow, with:
  • Front unit: 2 s light, 1 s Oc
  • Rear Unit: 3 s light, 1 s Oc
2) There is a new buoy for signing the danger area (west), that also signs the cross between the new and the inner existing channel (this one leading to the marina) - buoy n2, red, located on the northwest end of the new channel, so you should always leave it on your portside, when entering.
3) At this point aproximately you should be able to see the existing leading lights (installed in the Commercial Port), also red, that define the direction T081,5, and that can be followed for some time in an optional basis.
4) On arrival, if there are poor visibility conditions, you should take care, because most probably the horn signal on the north breakwater will be working, but if is not, remember at the moment it is not installed at the end of the breakwater, but more or less in the middle, so you must be aware that, at this moment, it does not indicate the end of the breawater, but its existence; as I said before, I hope it can be installed during the month of June, in the new lighthouse.
So, in case of foggy conditions, all precautions must be taken, and it is advisable to contact Figueira Pilots on channel 14 or the the Maritime Authority on channel 16, before entering.
Besides all this information, the new marina, located on the east part of the dock, is almost finished (88 new places). It does not have energy or water for the moment, and we are studying the best way to use it for the summer time.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:45   #32
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On the Northwest Coast of the USA, we have similar problems... A strong onshore wind combined with a strong Ebb current makes for high choppy seas at the bars of various ports and in the strait of Juan de Fuca.
Have seen that strait go from 1~2 waves to 14+ foot Chop on the turn of the tide. Makes life interesting.
Best way to survive such seas is to sit in a seaside restaurant with your favorite drink in hand and watch the fools trying to prove how good their seamanship is.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:46   #33
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Look at the breakers on a calm day in this clip....
BBC News - Two British men missing after boat capsizes in Portugal

EXTRACT;

Povoa is a busy fishing port where you might still see one of the traditional, open sailing fishing boats. The fishermen used to be a community, marrying within their own and related families. Each family has its own sign for its boats which has been passed down through generations.
This new marina is rapidly establishing a reputation for the helpful attitude towards visitors. This applies to both the marina office and also the ancillary services offered by To Mane of International Marine Lda.
Povoa de Varzim is an excellent place for hauling out for the winter using the 35 ton travel lift and, a cradle can be made. There is plenty of hard standing and most yachting services (all at the lower rates of Portuguese labour) are available. Facilities include a laundry room, a bedroom with two bunk beds (use your own sleeping bag) and a restaurant on site. It is a good place for those with a rope around the propeller since the entrance is easy to enter under sail in most conditions and a diver is available through the marina.

Sounds great huh..... but remember... its advertising the town and marina... real life is different... interpret write ups with a dose of salt on any first time entry
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:04   #34
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Have sailed into Varzim from both directions. Travelling from the north a lot more care is needed even in good conditions,as the swell runs into the harbour entrance. If the corner is cut when turning in to the harbour it's easy for the swell to deposit a boat on the north wall. Apart from that, when in, it's a good place to rest up or winter. Porto is a tram ride away from this working harbour.
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