We sailed here from Porto Santo and arrived at dusk. The long breakwater from the northern tip of the island seems to go on forever and the entrance is very busy with huge ships constantly entering and leaving so you need to be very wary.
Once inside you have to motor across the harbour where some ships are anchored and tugs maybe in operation and head for the marina or anchorage. The marina entrance is lit by port and starboard markers and is wide and easy to enter. There is abundant space inside to get the fenders and lines in place.
The reception berth is huge and to port but was masked slightly by a coastguard/safety vessel on the pontoon in front when we arrived. There are lines on the pontoon and rubber strips but we used our own fenders which need to be quite low down. There is water and power and the office is right next to reception.
As the office was shut we stayed there until the morning when we were allocated a berth and went on to the fuel dock to refill our tanks. This is again a large pontoon and the staff help with the lines and fuel. The shop is just above it where you pay using cards or cash.
The berths are all stern to with lazy lines to pick up with a boathook. They are slimey and some are broken but we had one for each side of the bow and although they didn’t always hold in high winds, everyone just lay against the next boat! One day we had a big swell and the boats were crashing back onto the pontoon but the bow lines didn’t seem to hold them off too well. One boat also had their bow cleat broken with the pressure from the lazy line, so you need to check your lines.
The showers and pontoons are accessed by keys, 2 euros deposit. They aren’t that clean though and a long way from some pontoons. There is water and power to each berth and security patrols. Chandleries, cafes and restaurants onsite but it isn’t the prettiest of places to sit being on a road.
The town centre has some great shops though, including El Corte Ingles, a huge department store with a good supermarket in the basement. The local markets and stores all deliver free to the marina for the ARC.
The launderette cost 8 euros just for the wash but the machines are big and clean.
There are plenty of engineers available so it is a good place to start off across the Atlantic.