This post is a work in progress and, in time, may get out of hand and become a scary cruising guide to Portugal. Be sure to visit periodically for a fresh dose of fustigation!
OK, so here it is. Lately, I've been reading plenty of Internet armchair sailors chattering about hum-drum repetitive and theoretical safety stuff. Is sailing becoming a "Facebook" experience?
|April 2013, Figueira da Foz Portugal, as described in another post.|
If you're a sailor - or plan to be one or dream about it - please read on, even if you're not too enthusiastic by my lecture-like attitude. Additionally, I'll only talk about what I know that is applicable mostly to Portugal. It isn't that much, but it's important.
1. Don't sail close to shore, specially near capes.
The offshore winds at some of Portugal's capes and along the coast of Algarve (on summer afternoons) can quickly change from pleasant to storm-like conditions in a blink of an eye. If you have all sail up, you'll need to reef or drop sails.
Either way, the operation requires heading into the wind toward shore. You'll also need to maintain a decent speed to keep your nose into the wind, otherwise your mainsail will be plastered against the lazyjacks, shrouds and spreaders and will never come down.
If you're 1 mile from shore and heading for it at 5 knots, cussing and swearing at the sails, you'll run aground in about 12 minutes. So you abort the operation and your sails pay the bill. I know of at least one boat that rounded up into the wind and, in the confusion, end up on the rocky shoals near Cabo Raso and sunk. Four years ago my previous jib literally exploded in this area.
2. Tie off your anchor while sailing, untie it before you enter a port/bay.
Last year, a 42-foot sailboat heading north for Peniche in rough conditions was nearly sunk by its anchor that came loose and banged a hole in the hull. By looking at the picture below, it's almost hard to believe that the lifeboat was able to tow it into port.
|Courtesy of the newspaper "Jornal das Caldas"|
That's enough for today, I'm getting sleepy.