We left Povoa de Varzim after lunch on Monday 12 September as planned and had a slow sail in company with ‘Pipit’ to Leixoes, which was only 13 miles south. There was still some swell so the sails were banging around a bit in the light winds but once we put the genoa away the main took us down to the harbour easily enough. We tried out the Duogen in water mode and it seemed to work well but was slightly noisier than expected so we will check the bearings as we have spares.

On approach we could see the waves crashing against the breakwater and we needed the speed of the engine to push through the entrance and into the much quieter waters behind. We decided to anchor outside the marina and stayed there for two calm nights with only a couple of other boats.

Anchorage outside Leixoes Marina

The wind picked up during Tuesday though and above the huge breakwater we saw spray rising 30 feet accompanied by the noise of the waves crashing against it and onto the beach. We heard on the radio that Povoa Harbour was shut, so it was fortunate we had left in time.

We pumped up our newest car and paddled into the marina to have a coffee on ‘Pipit’ and took our ship’s papers into the office. For a 20 euro deposit they gave us a gate entrance card and we checked the showers out, which were not the best. There was just 1 toilet and 2 showers in the cramped female block.

Inflatable Car!

Wandering into town, we were stopped by another couple we met in Povoa, on ‘Time Off’ who live here and took up their offer of joining them and Andy and Annie from Pipit for lunch at a local restaurant, enjoying Dorado fresh from the boats that morning.

The anchorage was slightly ‘rolly’ at times but there was also swell in the marina and we prefer not to listen to squeaky lines and fenders all night and stay at anchor where we are always sheltered from the wind. No charge either! The marina at Leixoes is supposed to be able to take boats of our length but judging from the width of the aisles I can’t see how we would get her out of the berth as her stern would stick out over half way across.

View from our stern in Leixoes

We had plenty to entertain us, with a succession of huge container ships, cruise liners and pilot boats motoring in and out, plus the spectacle of the cruise ships doing a 180 degree turn almost in front of us so they could back into their dock. It isn’t the prettiest of places, with oil refineries and the docks but it was a safe anchorage with good holding in the sandy mud and we slept soundly.

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