Somehow we hoisted the Portuguese Courtesy Flag in the midst of a bit of a blow today and are now in the small but friendly marina of Povoa de Varzim, where we had an interesting time berthing in a Force 6 (could have been a 7) but far too busy to check!
We filled up with fuel last night, 115 litres cost us 149 euros but the fuel berth at Bayona was very busy and situated very close to some small moorings and larger boats have to go stern to. The marina staff help you onto the berth and there are lines already connected to the pontoon. Afterwards we anchored in the bay beyond the marina with 6 other boats and spent the night there. Holding is excellent in sand but the wind died and the swell made the boat roll quite a lot but it was beautiful at sunset.
We left at dawn this morning with a good weather forecast for winds only up to 20 knots and initially there was very little but it quickly became a Force 7 bordering on 8 and under main alone we were making 10 knots in huge swell and surfing down the waves. The wind increased so unexpectedly we didn’t have time to reef but as it was behind us it wasn’t so bad. Of course, given the chance we would have reefed. Turning into the wind and swell was not an attractive prospect.
Not only did we have to contend with the wind and waves but also do a repair along the way to the kicker which had ripped itself out of its bracket. At the last minute we spotted a tiny dinghy out in the big swell, turned to avoid them, the wind got behind the main and although the preventer stopped it from gybing, the kicker sheared off from its mounting on the base of the mast. We turned into the wind to take the pressure off the sail and managed to re-attach it to another fixing point by the mast foot and carried on. That was lucky!
The entrance into Povoa is between 2 breakwaters and can be so rough in bad weather that the harbour is closed. We made it in but berthing was an entertainment to put it mildly. The marina staff changed their minds twice about where to put us and we had to back out of the way of another yacht in difficulty, for which they gave a bottle of wine later. In the end Beyzy decided where she was going to berth and floated herself down to a lovely spot just by the office and without damaging anything.
To welcome us in were several new friends we have met on our south who are sheltering from the storm. It is very cheap in this marina for ARC participants and we may well leave the boat here instead of the Canaries whilst I return back to the UK. The facilities are new, great showers, Wi-Fi, laundry, book exchange and a restaurant/bar plus yacht services.
Tomorrow we are getting the Metro into Porto to see the sights, Port and port 🙂