Winter 06/07 in Lagos Portugal.
It was a super winter this year, Lagos certainly has a lot to offer the wintering
yotty, be it low cost food and wine, a busy social circle of like minded individuals
or international competition Lagos can provide it, and much much more as well.
Winter events in Lagos and surrounding areas.
Bunch sprinting for line.
Eisle on the podium.
Tour of Algarve; an early season international professional cycle race which
finished on the Avenida (avenue by the marina). What a cavalcade, 100 brightly coloured
support vehicles preceded the bunch contesting the sprint finish, they must have
numbered 100 riders, then over the next 15 mins a further 200 trickled in. Crowds
were 3 and 4 deep for the final kilometre. Awesome. Sad to say the winner failed
a drugs test but Eisle took victory and the podium kisses.
Adult ladies massed start.
Mens skating team final.
Internacional de Patinagem, Tonejo do Velociadade; an international 3 day
speed skating competition. Competitors ranged from tiny tots through teenagers to
superbly fit, lycra clad, adult athletes. The first day was along the closed off
Avenida, and must have seen 500 contestants speeding along the 1km circuit. The
second day was around a local skating circuit and the final day was a road race.
Land Rover at speed.
Biker entering the pits.
Lisbon - Dakar Rally. Wow what an event this was; 300 cars, 200 bikes and
100 wagons/trucks. We saw them arrive for an overnight stop in Portimao where the
pits/paddock was totally open to the public. It was quite amazing to see what, in
profile, is a standard easily recognisable car but when the fibreglass body was
hinged up it was a money-no-object F1 rally car. The following day saw us on the
free 0700 bus to the off-road rally stages. It was quite amazing to see the speed
of these vehicles as they thrashed across the Portuguese stages on the way to crossing
Fully certified team.
On Moyle Rose with Phil and Pauline.
Phil's Yachtmaster exam; Phil of Moyle Rose perhaps chose Janet
and I because of our skills on the racing circuit, and Terry for his foredeck skills.
We all had yacht-master qualifications so were likely to be good crew, that is if
we could all stop being skippers for one day. In practice Phil learned quite a lot
about his boat, previously thought of as only a motor sailor. On the day
he performed perfectly and his effortless style gained him the certificate. The
crew also had a good time.
Winter in the marina.
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- Lagos Marina 2007. For those wanting a berth in the marina then be aware
that in Sept through to early November the ARC fleet occupy loads of the winter
berths and they will have booked them months before, so either you take pot luck
and hope for a berth being available, as we did, or you put a 25% down payment and
book your slot. In November the ARC boats and the summer-only residents will be
long gone so the marina looses its hustle and bustle and so becomes most pleasant.
We highly recommend it. Discount is available for a 6 month berth or even more for
a 9 month berth.
The racing fleet following us down wind.
- Race Series. The Navigators club and SW Boat Charters between them run a
fortnightly Sunday race series. The course is just outside the
harbour entrance and is approximately a 2 hour circuit around an Olympic course
(i.e. its a triangle plus a sausage). A committee boat is always on the start and
finish line, all very proper. Only puzzle is that its supposed to be friendly and
so no protests are allowed. Ruby T does very well, our first attempt took us to
third place on handicap and second over the line even though we missed the start
by 5 minutes. Some catch-up! We entered the special marina race which coincided
with a festival in the town; we were all supposed to be dressed in costumes but
Ruby T was just dressed overall. We won line honours and and were first on handicap.
The winter series proper was 5 races with one discard, we did 3 of them and gained
a first and a third on handicap and second overall in the series. This picture shows
us all dead down-wind and goose-winging; we're obviously well ahead.
- Navigators Club and VHF net. The club is open to all and costs nothing, best
of all, membership gets you 10% discount in some of the bars. The members also broadcast
on Mon, Wed and Fri and offer a self/group help forum. Topics covered each broadcast
are; 5 day weather forecast, technical queries, transport and car hire, events in
the Lagos area and anything of general interest to the members. An evening meeting
once a fortnight covers items of general and technical interest.
- Bridge Club A weekly event for beginners and experts, some Brits from the
town also attend.
- Walking Club Open to all, this fortnightly event is organised down on the
pontoons, initially by the liveaboards from the previous years. Chip and Sue of
Toujours kicked off the fist walk this year and usually figure in
them somewhere. Usually walks start with a bus to some location then a 15 to 25
Km walk and a bus journey home; we all take packed lunches. On the longer walks
escape points are planned in so its not such an ordeal for the unfit. To date they
have all been superb, we all get many hours to meet other marina residents and we
see the country which we most probably wouldn't have seen without the walking club.
One amusing item is that Chip always takes his GPS and he records the position of
all public loos in it. So at any time on a walk he can give you course and distance
to the nearest one. If you are laughing at this then you are probably still under
60 years old.
- Marina's special monthly event. These are usually free and to date have included:
-whiskey tasting. Didn't go to this as we don't like the stuff,
-wine tasting. We went to this one and can report it was again splendidly
organised. About 30 wines were available for tasting and then as the evening progressed
tasting turned to drinking, serious drinking. The following day hangovers were aplenty
and some people were unavailable for comments.
-Christmas dinner. About 80 of us sat down for an 8 course dinner. Starting
with a champagne reception we then took our seats for the splendid meal. Throughout
the wine was free and flowed freely. Finally we had a prize giving where every boat
won a bottle of Port.
-out-of-date flares setting off or disposal session. We all took our out
of date flares down to the beach where 4 maritime police kept spectators at bay
whilst allowing us to set them off. After an hour or so the police realised that
we had about another 4 hours worth so they collected them and disposed of them for
us. Although some were about 10 years old none failed though some of the rockets
didn't go quite as high as others.
- Book and DVD swap Chip and Sue of Toujours organise a monthly
book swap where we simply put the books we want to swap on the chosen pontoon and
help ourself to books others have deposited, and with no restrictions on quantities.
A box of DVD's is always on the deck of Toujours, its a simple help-your-self
and return it when you have finished.
- Craft Workshop. An ex-yotty and now a local resident, Barbara runs the craft
- Algarve climate and weather. What a smashing winter.
- Sopromar boatyard. Expensive but capable and very professional.
- Train travel on the Algarve is on an Eco railway! Many have taken the train
from Lagos, maybe to Faro, and have commented on how cheap it was but they have
not realised how eco friendly the train is. I noticed eco features on 3 fronts;
it uses wind assistance, it recycles heat from the braking system and it has a means
of pollution reduction. In detail then:
On many earlier journeys on this train I had often notice how one minute we were
looking over crops and small trees and the next minute we had tilted over and so
were down amongst them. Janet put this down to subsidence on the lines but I had
realised it was something more clever, the train was tacking. Somehow it was harnessing
the wind causing it to tilt onto a starboard tack, then minutes later as the wind
went aft the train would take on an even keel. Surprisingly the wind often must
go right around because the train can quickly move from
one tack to the other in a matter of minutes. All very impressive for something
A second unusual feature, and one particularly important in a hot country, is that
as the train applies its brakes, well naturally they get very hot, but the heat
is not simply allowed to escape and so heat up the countryside even more, it is
converted in the brake pads into a acrid smoky gas. OK so the countryside is cooler
but what of the resultant pollution. Well, this has also been thought out and a
Smoke from the engine and particularly from the braking system could be a real problem
to those living alongside the railway if it were allowed to naturally dissipate
into the atmosphere, so the ventilation system on the train draws the smoke into
the carriage compartments. From this it is clear that the ticket price is low because
each passenger is expected to do his bit to recycle the acrid smoke into clean air,
and we are all being paid to do so. The payment to us all coming as a reduced price
train fare. The reprocessed air we all create, as we exhale, escapes out of the
carriages and so the countryside remains cooler and pollution free. Brilliant eh?
Janet says we should use the bus more.