Portugal - Povoa 'd' Varzim
15 October 2013
After leaving Baiona under a cloud , I was really looking forward to getting on down the coast and into Portugal , fourth month , fourth country , fourth courtesy flag etc.
The trip to Varzim was pretty straight forward ,again hardly any wind so motor sailing most of the way, we left at first light and got in just before dark, the entrance had a sizeable swell washing against it and you got a real good feel of how scarey it would be closing on this coast line when the swell was even bigger.
We dropped sails and motored around the break water into the small marina for visiting yachts , there were small un lit green buoys to mark the entrance and a single cardinal , none of which are shown in the pilot book.
IMPORTANT: Having seen how shallow it is here at low tide , DO NOT even consider wandering outside of the channel, the buoys through the marina and into the basin are merely a boats length away from the pontoons and maneuvering wouldn't be possible at low water.
We had been told to make our way to the arrivals pontoon by the marina office , that was simply going to be impossible for us as there were two ninety degree doglegs and then to turn around to come back out simply wouldn't happen.
So seeing an empty finger berth directly ahead of us, we made for that instead, at the last minute we were shouted off by another boat owner, as there was a rope across the opening from the adjacent boat that we just couldn't see in the failing light.
So with a burst of power (fatal) and full lock we skirted the catamaran on the hammer head of the pontoon and made for the next pontoon row, the hammer head there was empty and we made a lot of noise with the engine howling with astern gear to make her stop before we ran out of pontoon.
Thankfully there were other people there that had seen our plight and rushed to take our dock lines, had they not managed to stop the boat and we had over shot there was nowhere to go but ...aground.
The marina here is just SOOOOOOO friendly, day 1 of our stay here and we were in the marina mini bus (free) and heading for the supermarket, later that day I asked about getting fuel , back into the mini bus ( again free) and off to the fuel station.
The prices are WAY cheaper than any where we have experienced since stopping in Camaret for a work rotation back in the spring, the laundry service is 2.50 euros and is an HONESTY system , no slots , no tokens , if you use the machines please pay 2.50 euros at the dock office.
I would happily winter here , BUT.... the reason all the yachts have double the normal mooring lines is the swell that comes into the marina, it damages boats and pontoons during storms , so the marina want everything lifted out , which isn't in my plan, so I will move on .....shame .