I was aiming to arrive in the anchorage at Cascais last weekend to meet up with Claude who after completing the Jester Azores challenge was passing through on his way north from Canaries and Madeira. I had the option to do the trip from Leixoes direct over a couple of days or stop a couple of times on the way. Non stop would mean heading offshore at least 20 miles before heading south in order to avoid the fishing markers and other unlit coastal hazards at night but I decided to do day trips.
First stop on the 21st was Figueira da Foz. The wind for the 60 mile passage was again very light and after departing Leixoes at 06.00 managed a few hours of sailing in about 9 knots breeze from astern. As I was sitting eating breakfast in the cockpit there was a splash alongside and a dolphin came to say hello. Somehow I managed to get a photo just as they jumped out of the water alongside. Only later when I was looking through some photos on the laptop, did I notice that exactly one year ago to the day, I was sitting in the cockpit eating breakfast a few miles south of Jersey when a Dolphin did exactly the same thing – the two photos are almost identical. In the afternoon I’m pleased to report Manuel’s magic lure worked and the first fish was caught – a decent sized Mackerel or similar. Hopefully on a roll now… The entrance to Foz is renowned for being dangerous when a swell is running and water can break in the entrance but all was calm on arrival. Unfortunately there is nowhere to anchor at Foz and I was disappointed that the marina charged 23 euros for the night so only stayed one night. Didn’t get a chance to explore the town but enjoyed eating the fish for dinner finished off with a glass of Port from a few miles north.
Early the next morning departed on another 60 mile trip south this time to Peniche. During the morning the wind hovered around 10 knots and as I was out of bread decided to bake a loaf. Nothing quite like the smell of baking bread when at sea. By lunch the northerly wind had piped up to a good 20 knots and Fathom flew south at 6 to 7 knots over the ground, really fantastic sailing. A large sea was running as we rounded Cabo Carvoeiro but the anchorage off the breakwater at Peniche was nicely protected and a good place for the night. Very few other yachts spotted at sea except a 50 footer ‘Christine’ who for the 2nd day running had blasted past Fathom at 9 knots with help from their huge Parasailor spinnaker. I never like being overtaken by another boat even if they are nearly twice the size!
The trip from Peniche to Cascais was shorter than the previous days but the conditions were far livelier. While trying to hoist the main I realised that it had flipped itself around the radar reflector at the top of the mast which would have required a trip aloft to free it. Could have used the topping lift to hoist the main but just the headsail poled out was sufficient. Very exhilarating sailing and for the last couple of hours into Cascais the wind topped 30 knots with decent sized waves. On rounding Cabo da Roca and heading east towards Cascais the coolish air which had been blowing down the coast over the sea was replaced with wind that had been blowing south over the land. It was suddenly like a hair dryer had been turned on but unfortunately at that very instant a huge swarm of flies appeared out of nowhere and covered the boat both inside and out. Luckily after anchoring they disappeared as quickly as they had arrived. Being a Saturday the anchorage at Cascais was rammed with locals as well as cruisers. Claude was due in the next day and the town looked liked it would be a fun place to spend a bit of time.