Wednesday 01/06/2011 Leixoes to Póvoa de Varzim

We were hoping to make it as far as Viana do Castelo today, but what started as a steady easterly breeze and a fast sail turned into a force two (not very much but enough) on the nose and some lumpy sloppy sea of insignificant height unless you are driving into it. Although one Portuguese marina man was insistent on writing down our engine capacity on his form as 75hp despite us trying to correct it, we can confirm from our speed on days like today that it is definitely 24hp. For those unfamiliar with the sensation and effects caused by this, try loading up a small car with heavy things and trying to drive it uphill over speed bumps. It’s a bit like driving past the Roseland School on your way out of Tregony all day in a Vauxhall Corsa full of china, except thankfully without the noisy schoolchildren.

So instead we had a rethink and decided to head for Povoa de Varzim about fifteen miles up the coast. We’re glad we did; there was very little swell at the entrance, which was the only thing concerning me, and the people in the marina were lovely and helpful, and it’s reasonably priced as well. We went for a walk to buy dinner and found an excellent butcher and some new flip flops. We didn’t eat the flips flops because they looked a bit rubbery. Instead I used them to replace my other ones which I threw in the bin outside the shop because they were by now paper thin and in places had entirely worn through the sole.

The most interesting thing about Povoa was the boats here, in both good ways and bad. On the good side, we found a lovely looking gaff cutter about the same size as us, and almost definitely of Falmouth extraction. Sadly the owners had gone away for a week, but it’s nice to know we’re no longer on our own. Back in March or April, while we were in the Balearics, we heard a story about a boat that had been wrecked on the Portuguese coast as they tried to enter harbour after being caught in a storm on their way south.

Tragically, the boat was lost and with her two of the three crew. You can read the article here. We thought no more about it, other than to make a mental note to take extra care on this stretch of coast and to reflect on how sad it was that such a horrendous accident had happened. As we were coming into Povoa today we remembered the story, and remembered that this was the harbour in the news story. The wreck of the boat is in the boatyard here, cordoned off for insurance presumably. I don’t know whether I feel comfortable putting photos of it up here or not, but I have on the basis that a blog is for recording the things that happen in our lives and this was an important and very sobering part of our day.

It’s easy to look back on something like this and think about whether or how it could have been avoided and what you would have done in the circumstances. But ultimately mistakes happen, and most of all you think poor things and poor families, and we promise to go (or not go) as safely as we can.

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