Originally Posted by Gordon_A
First Post. Thanks for looking.
Planning a year-long Atlantic circle in 2012-2013. 2 aboard an Alberg
29. Considering Mid-May from NYC
area, south-east toward lat 40, east to the Azores (June) then Portugal. Returning via Canary Islands (January 2013) through the Caribbean
(March-April) and back to NYC
Would appreciate advice from anyone with experience about (1) our timing/schedule (2) Safe and reasonably-priced mooring
in Portugal or nearby (my buddy will fly back while I stay with the boat to wait out hurricane
Hi.. some good cautionary advice here so will chuck in my ditzzy views and experiences for you to consider.
I've made one crossing from the States(NC) but two departures in a37ftr, the first in early April passing north of Bermuda where I got hammered and had to turn back due to gear
failure and hull
concerns(Groundless) when a bulkhead was punched out by big wave dumping on me. Second attempt the following year May(same boat) was sucessful but still got some heavy weather and ended up hand steering
for 1300 miles following Autopilot
failure... crossing took 40days, water turned foul in tanks
after 17 days and was filtering/boiling with only 1 litre out of 3 useable... not nice.
The St Martin-Azores-Portugal run I've done twice,
1st time(31ftr) I left June 14th 01, and took 24 days to reach the Azores... 3 days of calms after the Stream then good S-SE's the rest of the time.
2nd time(34ftr) I left St Martin
April 12th 08, took 21 days to reach Horta with only 1 day of calms... worst weather on these runs was F7 gusting 8's for short spells during some line squalls but nothing troubling.
All crossing were solo so no watchkeeping problems...lol.
In the Azores Horta is the usual stop and well worth the experience but no anchoring
unless Marina's full then they'll let you hang on the hook till a space comes available... Terceira's got a nice anchorage on its NE where you can hang out and its an easy days run from Horta.. great spot to wait for the time for the run to Portugal... they also have several bull runs in the streets every year which are a great laugh and good party fiesta's...
As for Portugal.. I'll disagree with Lagos as the best... Portimao now has great facilities, an good anchorage and a friendly Marina and does not involve entering a canal to reach it.. bigger and better Supermarkets and not as expensive. Boats have sat at anchor
there for months with no worries tho the ocassional SW can force you into the Marina for comfort.. but holding is very good.. should warn you its now a Cruise
port so watch out for big ships. Another great place to wait is the Faro/Olhau lagoon
to the east just past Villamoura.. lots of choices for anchoring
and two different types of towns.. Faro touristy and expats... Olhau more old Portugal and with fantastic fish/meat/veg market on the quay... lots to see and do if you've a good dinghy
to get you round. The favourite spot used to be just off the sandbar village of Culatra but they've now built a marina for the local fishing
boats but further east are some great quiet spots you can reach on a rising tide..
Another possibilty is going up the Guadinana.. get a taste of Spain
on one bank and Portugal on the other... the big advantage of this is fuel/food etc is cheaper in Spain
Water needs are dependant on how many crew.. how often you shower
... try salt water
bathing with a fresh water rinse of from a solar
bag in the cockpit
.. you dont get dirty out there so unless you suffer from a glandular BO problem... once a week is plenty...
If you want to explore the towns of the Algarve there's a cheap regular coastal railway that'll get you to most places worth a visit... Portimao to Lagos 4euro return last time I used it early in 09... runs from Lagos to the Guadiana... Enjoy and dont stress out to much.. its not that bad... just be carefull with needless water wasteage... fresh is for drinking... not for laundry
plates and pans...