The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sines to Cascais

At 7:00 am I motored through the large Port of Sines for the 52 mile leg to Cascais...and continued to motor all the way there.

FX 324 MAP color
My old trusty Magellan FX324 MAP color showing the way.
I stubbornly raised the main and stay sails for some motor sailing, but that didn't last long and didn't help much either. My speed varied greatly - sometimes from 4 to 5.5 kt - probably caused by the tides flowing in and out of the Setubal and Lisbon estuaries.

Sines to Cascais
The straight leg.
Other than getting annoyed of listening to the engine - gotta soundproof the engine compartment some day/decade - the trip was fairly dull. So dull that I even played chicken with a cruise ship. These floating islands are deceiving; it looked like a toy ship in the distance upriver and, in no time, it was looming large and heading straight for the spot I was also aiming for. He was approaching on my starboard side and had the right of way, so I throttled up and ran for it.

Cruise ship in Cascais
Plenty of room to spare.
I was looking forward to a peaceful night at the Cascais anchorage, maybe a walk around the ritzy tourist town, maybe even dinner at the only somewhat inexpensive restaurant I know.


The choppy water in the picture above kept getting worse and the wind began to pick up as I approached land. OK, so I've been here plenty of times and know the score: the wind barreling down the Sintra mountain can get pretty fierce in the afternoon but normally settles down after the sun sets.

I'll give it to you straight: all my hair got blown to one side, the towed dinghy got blown out of the water, flipped over and was being dragged violently upside down. The water churned in white froth.

I could hardly hear the engine anymore. As I approached, I saw a lot of boats either anchored or motoring around, even a small sailboat sailing back and forth with a tiny piece of genoa rolled out. I surmised that some boats had returned from a Saturday outing and didn't dare enter the marina and that others simply didn't have an anchor fit for the job.

I decided to anchor way back in deeper (9 m) water away from the danger of having somebody drag into me before I had time to act. On the first attempt, by the time I ran up to the bow and got ready, the boat had blown far from where I had planned to drop the anchor. The second time I motored up farther and just let the anchor fly. Was I ever so happy to have just bought a 25 kg Rocna.

I went down below, got my glass of wine and watched the chain get tight as a steel bar and the chartplotter showing 0 speed. A very large sailboat arrived later, decided to anchor out by the anchored ships and was slowly blown away. It, a dark racing sailboat, returned the next morning and entered the marina. 

When I crawled into the aft bunk at 11 pm, the wind was blowing strong as opposed to insanely ferocious.


  1. Why do you end these posts so abruptly?? You're driving me nuts! (lol)
    Sorry to hear your hair got blown the wrong way but hey, did you really think you'ld get away with it?? You got flashbacks swirling in my mind and remind me of that Rocna I cant afford yet. A windy anchorage is quite educational watching how different boats blow around... and their dingies too. White froth seas....yikes!
    9m is pretty deep...what scope did you let out and what kind of bottom was there?

    1. The trip posts don't end, they pause...sort of go to sleep until the next morning.
      The bay of Cascais can be heaven or hell, and if I ever go to hell I'm taking my Rocna and chain with me!!!
      I had 45 meters of 10 mm chain out (can't remember the state of the tide when I anchored), so let's say I had at least 4:1 scope at high tide. The bottom varies from sand to darkish mucky sand and, with all this anchoring around, I forget. But it wasn't mud because otherwise I would have a Rocan full of mud. Rocnas are like dredging shovels - although it comes up clean in normal sand, in mud and muck it will bring back a huge sample of the bottom.