South to Lisbon


sunset on rias trip

This week everyone on board had boots and sods law of the sea – it didn’t rain all week!  There were however some big waves splashing in the cockpit …

After three days in the sunshine in Galicia – a night in San Simon, a night in Sanxenxo and a night at anchor the weather looked right to head south.  In the past we have struggled against southerly winds, but this year we were in luck with strong – sometimes a bit too strong – northerlies.

The sky was clear, the sun was strong and the sea was flat as we set off past the Islas Cies.  As the sun set, the moon rose and with a sky full of stars it never got dark.  The northerly wind continued to increase bringing with it a chill to the air and some big rollers.  Velvet Lady was in her element surfing down them, sleep, however, was a little difficult.

The wind continued to blow, occasionally reaching gale force as we rounded the headland for Cascais.  There is a little bay just east of the marina and we chose to anchor here in the dark rather than messing about in the marina.  Our fast trip south gave us a bonus day which we decided to use to sail up the Tagus to see Lisbon from the water

monument of discoveries side on

The trip up the Tagus was a first for us, and we meandered all the way up the river, admiring the architecture and scenery until we were way past the cruise ship terminal where it was too shallow to continue.  We took a look at the marinas on offer and confirmed that for the boat Cascais is definitely the best place even if it is 15 miles out to the west.

tower of belem

Now that we are secure in Cascais, we have started on our jobs which always include laundry, cleaning, shopping, admin and internet.  It was most bizarre to discover that to buy 1GB of data to use on the internet (15 euros) was cheaper than a pack of 10 2B pencils (17.50 euros)!

From here it is 600 miles south  to Lanzarote, we should  be there on the 4th December, in time for Christmas and our winter season.  There is now only 1 individual male and 1 individual female space left for the Christmas week – so if you were thinking of coming, book soon!  Spaces are available in February and March see our Schedule


Will I need boots?

our anchorage at beuThe Travel Information page of our website includes a kit list for every area that we sail in.  After reading the kit lists the most frequent question we get asked is ‘Do I really need to bring boots’?

There is no easy answer to this.  Lots of sailors will go through a whole season of sailing and never need to wear their boots, but it only takes one wet week to realise their worth.

In last weeks blog I wrote, ‘the rain in Spain falls mainly on Galicia’, and this week after a short dry spell it started again.  Luckily rain doesn’t stop you sailing, so dressed up for the weather in yellow oilies and an assortment of footwear – or in my case bare feet – we set off exploring the Spanish Rias.

On our first day, with strong winds forecast, we abandoned our idea of heading west out of Ria de Vigo and opted to head east to the sheltered Ensenada San Simon.  Last week we spotted that the marina at San Adrian  had been extended and as it was high water we decided to give it a go.  We moored on the outside of an extremely solid pontoon and after a quick calculation worked out we would have 3 metres of water at low water so no worries.  The town was quiet with everyone hiding indoors from the wind and rain.

Our next sail took us to the pretty town of Bayona and our first rays of sunshine and blue sky.  The sun was still shining on the morning of our third day providing a perfect opportunity to look around the fort before heading for Sanxenxo.

One of the tricks of deciding where to go on our sailing weeks is looking at the weather and choosing places that are protected from the wind you have and the wind to come.  The forecast showed we were due a westerly gale – and Sanxenxo with its big solid marina wall was going to be a good place to sit it out.  We set off  from Bayona, motored past the Islas Cies for lunch and then had another great sail arriving in Sanxenxo about 3 hours before the rain, just enough time to look around the town before settling down to dinner on board.

We had to spend the day holed up in Sanxenxo as the wind howled, but the guests were bold enough to front the rain and head out to buy fresh bread for lunch.  After being cooped up in the boat all day we decided to have a Spanish evening out.  After giant Gin and Tonics in the yacht club bar – so we could use their free internet – we headed to a Tapas bar that opened at 2100.  We had a lovely meal and as the only guests in the restaurant were amazed to be treated to free desert and a selection of after dinner liqueurs.

With the strong wind gone and replaced by a gentle breeze, it was time to set out again sailing towards ever increasing patches of blue sky.  By the time we reached our anchorage in Bueu it was sunny enough to take pictures and dry enough to hang the wet gear out and air off a few pairs of soggy shoes!

mussel boat close up

We awoke to even better weather on our last day but encountered a slight delay when we came to lift our anchor.  It was tangled amongst some old mussel lines that had been dumped on the sea bed.  After about half an hour of pushing and prodding with the boat hook we managed to get the lines free of our anchor, and set off again back towards Vigo.

It is always good to end on a high and so we were pleased that our last day of sailing included all points of sail.  A busy beat amongst the fishing fleet and lobster pots, a flying reach past the mussel beds on the north side of the Ria de Vigo and finally a downwind blast towards the Real Club Nautico and marina dodging ferries. Our muscles were burning by the time we reached land!

Velvet Lady is ready to head south now on two long passages, towards Lisbon in the next 10 days and then on to the Canary Islands where we will base ourselves until March 2014

stunning sunset

Richard and I have spent 6 winters in Lanzarote, this will be our 7th and we continue to love it.  The people are friendly, the marina is safe and best of all even on the odd cold dull day it is warmer and sunnier than the UK.

We still have availability and would love you to join us so why not check out our Schedule and join us for some winter sailing and sunshine.  Hasta Luego!