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Old 30-10-2008, 16:42   #1
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Sailing the Coast of Portugal

Hi
I keep my boat in torrevieja, but i am looking at taking her to la rochelle in the bay of biscay sometime next year, can anyone tell me the best time to sail up the portuguese coast as ive heard the prevailing winds are northerlys which would make it a bit uncomfortable
any advice would be welcome
jimmy
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Old 30-10-2008, 17:59   #2
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Hi Jimmy
I have sailed the reverse route your planning in early spring and encounter very light N. winds a lot of the time,, So I think you could just go along the coast and duck in a port if things get nasty - the wind and sea can pick up quite fast around Finastere(not spelled right) also lots of fog in that area .
take your time if you can
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Old 31-10-2008, 04:06   #3
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It's a hard trip. One method is to go via the Azores. The other strategy I've used is to make use of the night lees that occur. It means heading off as the sun goes down, hammering up the coast as fast as possible till the wind builds up in the morning, say 09:00 ish.
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Old 31-10-2008, 09:12   #4
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we made it from UK to gibraltar...sailing back is not easy. the best time is APRIL. if you leave early in the mornning. not many bays along this coast. good luck.
MIKE
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Old 31-10-2008, 10:37   #5
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We too have gone south but not north - but have good pals who did it with few dramas in August.

If you want to do it swiftly in summer, then the prevailing northerlies mean best sailing route is off to Azores, pick up southerlies from Azores high to carry you north towards Ireland, then bend east into the Channel.

You can coast hop - there are enough ports to day sail - but suspect you'd be using your motor a lot and need to really stock up to go north across Biscay.

Enjoy
JOHN
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:01   #6
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north along portugal . . .

You'll find a list of northbound strategies for the Portuguese coast listed on my web site. Go to the 'Sailing' tab, the click on 'Atlantic Portugal' on the chart.

Jim Baerselman. Google 'jimb' to find the site.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:34   #7
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Hi Jenkolav,
As noted above, perceived wisdom appears to be motor up inshore during the overnight/early morning lees or sail via the Azores. Having done this passage N to S (it's great in that direction!) my preference would be for the latter due to two factors not covered in earlier posts are:
In addition to the prevailing Northerly winds, there's a south going current to punch against too this was regularly reaching two knots on our trip and that doesn't switch off at night.
The whole length of the Portuguese Atlantic Coast was heavily populated with Fishing Pots and their unlit marker buoys; motoring at night, I think the probability of your snagging the prop at some point would be high.

That said; depending what your boat is, there's the third option of using the French Canal System; if you draw less than 1.4m (1.6m at a push) you could sail the north to Sete rather than a similar distance (400M?) south and west to Portugal, then motor gently through the Canal Du Midi which brings you out at Royan on the Garrone River, only a day-sail south of La Rochelle. Even if your draft is more, there are alternative though probably longer inland routes available (I'm no expert on them - sorry) via the River Rhone and other canals.
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Old 16-11-2008, 04:52   #8
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Another bonus of going via the Azores is that those islands are awesome! We look forward to visiting them again before we eventually head west.
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Old 16-11-2008, 06:11   #9
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sailed the route twice

Hi Jimmy
We have sailed the route twice, down and up the coast. In spring (May) it’s normally a N wind (15-20 knots) during day time and at night less, and this lasts till September.
The past years the Portuguese North started late, so maybe you are lucky if you start early. If you pass the Spanish Atlantic/Biscay corner the wind we be unfortunately against you again (N-E) during the same sailing period.

We had a really nice sailing trip. Going north we used the engine 20% of the time, going south 0%. Advice: take your time. (Stupid advice, because sailing is about taking time!)
Have a great trip,
Paul
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PS. Azores is also an option (windwise)?
Maybe we can wave to each other, because we will sail to the Mediterranean

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Old 13-01-2009, 03:57   #10
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Hey Jimmy,

I did this trip down from NW Spain to Lisbon, and met some sailors coming back up north. They'd all motored, and as the weather was a bit odd at the time, had fairly calm weather in September. They all mentioned some horrible days of beating... But I guess that's what you're going to have to expect.

Azores route is probably much nicer - I still regret not stopping there...

Good luck, and if you do decide to go along the coast, the shoreline is as you probably know, mostly sand, and harbours along there have a tendency to be a little shallow - I surfed into Figueira da foz, thinking I could skirt the outgoing river (I was late, and missed the tide) - Alas, the swell was going straight into the entrance, with the river coming the opposite way! The little towns are very nice along the way - And, while I (may) have your attention, do not miss the Rias in NW Spain that start at Baiona!

Cheers!

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Old 17-01-2009, 14:08   #11
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We have done it both ways . It is true it's faster going south with the northerlies predominating, especially in the summer. Late fall or early spring (it's also true in the winter but likely rougher sea) you may encounter some low pressure which would yield some SW to western winds and hence make it easier to go North . One caveat though, rain often goes along with SW winds!
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Old 01-02-2009, 16:33   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimB View Post
You'll find a list of northbound strategies for the Portuguese coast listed on my web site. Go to the 'Sailing' tab, the click on 'Atlantic Portugal' on the chart.

Jim Baerselman. Google 'jimb' to find the site.
Jim,

Thanks for taking the time to put that site together. I've been looking for a lot of the information you have there. I took a look at the "prejudices" area and we are a pretty good match so I look forward to some enjoyable reading... and I'll take notes.

George
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:05   #13
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Portugal coast north

Hi Sally and I did this trip in 2005 when the azores high colapsed and encountered very strong winds in the late afternoons. We motored all the way because of the north winds but had a wonderfull trip. The portuguese are very friendly but will close their ports in strong winds so BE CAAREFULL. We finnished up in Vivero in north spain a lovely place and very helpfull then crossed the bay in late september in force 5-6 on a fetch 60 hrs from Vivero to Camaret. If you are thinking of staying in south Brittany there are better places and less theives. If you would like to have a look at our blog we have a bit of info there. We are in Morlaix at the moment on our winter berth.

theguerns.blogspot.com
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Old 14-04-2009, 06:29   #14
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If you would like to have a look at our blog we have a bit of info there.

theguerns.blogspot.com

I turned to your blog to gain some insight and instead of useful info I found snippets like:

"As is the American way they considered us a bloody nuisance and made things a bit difficult to manouver around the many fish farms in the area."

I have to say, not quite the cruising narrative I was expecting - and here I thought we were all past such sweeping cultural jabs.
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Old 14-04-2009, 07:47   #15
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Americans

your remark about sweeping cultural jabs is unfounded as \i have an american mother and many cousins living in the USA. I am afraid it is as we have said we were bothered by the Americans several times in the med without any reason other than their typical ways of trying to impress everybody that they have the outright authority to pester peole in their lawfull passage from one place to another. We were called 6 times in all in the space of 160 miles of coastal cruising. After I had given them the info thay asked for 3 times I decided that asking the same thing of a small yacht is just being bloody nosey so told them where thay could go without being rude and this ended the situation. I must say it was the only time we have been bothered in57 years of sailing and covering somewhere in the reagion of 350000 miles.
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