A weather window at last.
Cascais is a really excellent marina but we're ready to make progress North
Peniche (22nd April, 38 Miles from Cascais)
The weather had been forecasted as being OK for a couple of days and when that couple of days looked like starting tomorrow we started to believe it. So, following an evening conference with Sapphire Voyager, who get the professional Wind Guru service, we all decided to leave at 0930 once we had paid our dues at the office. They relieved us of 138 Euros for the 6 days, (23 Euros/day)
The Passage to Cascais. We left Cascais in virtually zero wind and motored West. We gave Cabo Roca and Cabo Roco wide berths because, being cliffs, they can give gusty wind acceleration situations. They gave us a gusty force zero. Once round these headlands we set a direct course for Peniche and set cruising revs, equal to a boat speed of 6 knots with our clean bottom. Mid afternoon we sailed for a few hours but then the wind died and it was back to motoring. Boring.
We tied up in Peniche after 8 hours at sea, with 6 of them under engine. Sapphire Voyager arrived 30 minutes later. We paid 13.50 Euros for the one night, and what a night. Being on the outside of the linear pontoon we were to get the full wake of any careless fishing boat who forgot to slow to the mandatory harbour speed of 3 knots. Almost without exception they would leave and arrive in the harbour at full speed with huge wakes.
Nazaré (23rd April, 28 Miles from Peniche)
W e were bounced mercilessly in Peniche and only Barry had slept, so we were all pleased to leave at 0700 in the morning.
The Passage to Nazaré. Just outside the harbour, yes beneath the cliffs, it was blowing a full force 4 and so boded well for the passage. Sadly once round the headland we had the usual force zero. The sails banged back and forth as we motored at our customary 6 knots. After about an hour we notice our GPS said we were only doing 3 knots. Strong tide maybe? No, the log confirmed 3 knots. Looking overboard, starting at the bows, showed no dangly bits likely to slow us down but at the stern, just below the water, was a strange thick brown bar-like object which extended into the distance behind. Then, as we watched it and tried to work out what it was, a float appeared and disappeared astern taking the brown bar with it.
Once again at 6 knots we realised that we had run over an emaciated pot float and that it had wrapped around our keel so we must have been towing a whole string of pots behind us. The Brown bar had been the stout rope attached to the pots and we had been lucky not to wrap it around our prop. Breathing sighs of relief on we travelled, this time with us both on lobster-pot buoy watch but we weren't watching for sub-surface floating debris.
Suddenly the back of the boat started shaking alarmingly, the wheel and binnacle were a blur, this time something was round the propeller. Using forwards and reverse did not clear it but it did lessen the vibration such that we could manage 1500 rpm so 4 knots, and with a little wind assistance reach Nazaré.
We tied up on a pontoon at the South end of the fishing harbour most carefully as we now had no reverse gear so could not stop ourselves. Thankfully the international double arm wave brought an Irish lady yotty to take our lines.
Alongside now, it was time to dive into the soup of the fishing harbour. "Better you than me", said the lady, "I know what's in that water". Nevertheless, 15 mins later we had this tangle of old ropes that had needed cutting off of the prop. (in the photo is a mobile phone, just to give an appreciation of size)
One major upside to the day was that Keith and Jo had been around to the marina Club Naval de Nazeré and found that the private marina had 2 vacant berths and that we could have one each for 6 Euros per day.
Monastery of Alcobaça
After a couple of days in Nazaré we caught the bus to the Monastery of Alcobaça and what a fantastic place it turned out to be. Its the biggest church in Portugal and was built in the 12th century. Inside it must have been renovated because its as new and shows that monastic life could at least be in a pleasant location. Don't think I could have handled the silence though.
But rather than describe it why not see the Alcobaca photo gallery? Click the camera.
One other good thing about Nazaré is that it has an all weather entrance, and even though the waves pound the beach and all the other Portuguese Atlantic ports are closed, Nazaré remains open. Not that it helped us, we could leave but we couldn't go anywhere. Here you see the town, bay, port and original cliff top town of Nazaré. We had been cycling in the hills one day and took this photo.
We stayed at the Club Naval de Nazaré for 7 days and apart from the one mile long 14% gradient up to the supermarket we enjoyed ourselves in the town and surrounding areas. We were charged 42 Euros total for the 7 days.