three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Portimão and Ferragudo – Portugal

We have settled into the anchorage in the harbour of Portimão.

From here one can go ashore by dinghy at various points. One could go to the marina, but it costs €20 plus VAT for 4 hours to leave the dinghy there. Further up the river there is a public jetty where mooring is free. We usually use that one. On the eastern side of the river there is a mooring at a travel lift, where you are tolerated if it doesn’t take too long. So it’s ok for shopping. There is also a wide slip ramp where you could probably stay longer. The next point is at the fishing village of Ferragudo. Here you moor at the quay wall near a slip ramp. This works well and Ferragudo is a good place to go for a walk and there are small restaurants. Another option is to go to the beach at Ferragudo, but we only did that once.


This is the jetty in the shipyard area. Depending on the water level, you may have to climb more or less.

On the beach next to the castle

The castle is called Castelo de São João do Arade. The Arade is the river on which Portimão and Ferragudo lie. The castle is still privately owned and is said to be rentable. However, I have not found anything about this on the Internet.

Ferragudo – a picturesque fishing village
View of the estuary from the church
At our anchorage:

We were in Germany over Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For the first time, we left the SAN alone at anchor (on 100 metres of chain). As a precautionary measure, we monitored the weather forecasts for the region. If a bad storm had been forecasted, Mathias would have got on the plane and flown back. Fortunately, a stormy wind didn’t come up until we were already back on the boat. The journey itself was not difficult. There is a direct flight from Faro to Hamburg, not daily, but 2-3 times a week. One can easily take an airport shuttle taxi to Faro. The only thing that needed to be clarified was how to get ashore from the boat. There are water taxis that go to certain points. On enquiry, it turned out that you can also call them like normal taxis and they will then come directly to the boat. That is of course convenient. However, we were told on the outward journey that the water taxis don’t operate in January. What a bummer! However, we had booked the airport shuttle with a local company and the driver promised to organise something with his brother when we’ll get back. That almost went wrong in January because the brother’s boat couldn’t be launched. But the driver was at the harbour and knew the fishermen. One of them was just about to go out and gave us a lift. Even on Sundays you get friendly help here.

Self-printed new end caps for our dangerous swimming ladders. These caps are now connected to each other with an elastic band through the tube-step and will hopefully not get lost so easily.

The stormy winds here in January didn’t really bother us. Winds of up to 40 knots and waves of around 1.5 metres are easy to cope with with our 100 metres of chain, a good bridle and the good sea ground here in around 7 metres of water. We’ve had worse anchoring experiences. It was a different story around us. Some of the smaller boats anchored closer to the shore in shallower water, where the waves almost turned into surf. Two of the boats had not been able to withstand the movement and were washed ashore. The chain broke on one of them, but I don’t know what caused the larger one to break. The blue boat had moved back and forth strongly on the chain.

No sooner have we settled back in and survived the wind than the next problem arises. The maintenance of our Volvo machine brought various problems to light (I think the Portuguese mechanics are more thorough). Among other things, the stupid turbo has become excessively sooty again. Who needs a turbo on a sailing boat? We have tried to drive at full steam from time to time, but it happens too rarely and consumes too much diesel. Now we’re without an engine for a while, because the mechanic is removing some parts. The cooling water pump will be replaced and the heat exchanger and turbo will be cleaned.

Just then, of course, a sailor came during the night and anchored far too close to our boat. After they had had a good night’s sleep, we spoke to them. The skipper said that he had noticed in the morning and would of course anchor at a different spot. Said, but not done. Instead, they first rowed unstressed to the beach. They also spent the next night too close to our boat. The wind had shifted a little and it’s not strong, but as the boats here orientate themselves differently in the current than we do (we are more sensitive to wind), it’s not good seamanship to just stay on the spot. The next day we popped round again by dinghy. The skipper said that the SAN was in the way of lifting the anchor. Hmm. So we pushed a bit with the dinghy, as the engine wasn’t operational at the time. There’s always something 😉

We are gradually getting to know our way around Portimao and Ferragudo quite well. The latest thing we discovered was the industrial area with small specialised tool shops (second picture).

Third picture: Multi-stage lightning protection for the autopilot. Consisting of: 24V DC/DC converter with galvanic isolation and Dehn type I and II combined lightning protection modules. You can also see a newly installed equipotential grounding bar.

I now know where the storks spend the winter:

In the next blog: A trip along the coast and how we experienced the second storm in the area.

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