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Yofy 06-17-2009 03:52 AM

Portugese coast and passage planning
I am in the midst of passage planning for the delivery of a boat from New Rochelle France to the Red Sea. While I am an experienced skipper, the Atlantic coast of Portugal and Spain are new sailing grounds for me. I am doing my homework and have one question.

I understand that all along this coast I can expect intensive fishing and mussel farming. Does anyone have any advice about how far off the coast to plan a good route. ie) Do I need to head 100 miles out to sea or only 50?

I am asking this question because in various parts of the world I have run into fishing grounds which can be quite a nightmare to navigate through and I would like to avoid it here...It is just not clear to me how far out the fishing extends form the coast.

Any other advice from sailors who have made this passage is welcome.


bubb2 06-17-2009 04:10 AM

I suggest that you ask your question over a the Anything Sailing forum, as I understand there is a Portuguese sailor over there that should be able to help you.

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sailingdog 06-17-2009 04:17 AM

Post this on and Gui will reply. Those are his waters...

Valiente 06-17-2009 11:38 AM

Although I have a total of only two days sailing the Portuguese coast between Cascais and Vilamoura, I would say you have good reason to be concerned. We would regularly see fishing net buoys and floats and were instructed to avoid them (given our 10 foot draft, I am not surprised). These waters are intensively fished in what appears to be a random manner, although the actual fishermen might have a method.

I would say that it would be ill-advised to sail by night unless you kept a lookout on the bow with a strong light and a means to rapidly signal the helmsperson.

The fellow with the knowledge is indeed on and is currently sailing these waters. He will have better and more in-depth advice.

Yofy 06-18-2009 08:01 AM

Okay. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I'm off to Anything sailing forums.

Yofy 06-21-2009 07:14 AM

As I first posted here and as a courtesy to other forum members who one day may search for this information too, here is the gist of the advice that I received from Gui at the other forum:

There are only 2 fish farms along the portuguese coast. Both are situated at 12 and 25 miles East of Faro, almost at the Spanish border and are between 3 and 7 miles off the coast.

You can sail safely between the 7 and 25 mile line from the coast, anywhere.

Between Porto and Lisbon, be careful with the Berlengas islands, as they are true death traps, other than that, its a nice safe sail.

As a rule every day between 5pm and 7 pm, North winds blow up to 35 knots. (This is good for me because I will be heading south in a catamaran!)

Valiente, I have read that the Atlantic coasts of Portugal and Spain are heavily fished, so I am preparing for a sharp lookout on night watch. I think I will follow Guis advice and head out to around 25 miles offshore.

After my passage I'll post an update, but it might not be till the end of the summer:D .


Yofy 09-23-2009 08:43 AM

I'm back from the delivery and almost two months sailing! Had a great trip. Both Robyn and I agree that some of our best memories are the ports that we called in along the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal. As this was a delivery, we couldn't dawdle and that's a shame because this coast truly is a beautiful cruising ground.

Gui's advice was spot on (of course ;) ). Our delivery began in La Rochelle France and once we'd sailed up the Bay of Biscay we were ready for a rest so we called in at La Coruna, Spain. From there we had light winds to round Cape Finister and head south. We actually caught northerly breezes as we headed south, so I tacked out to sea. One long tack to about 35 miles off the coast and then another tack back to Caicais, Portugal our next stop. This allowed us to avoid the Berlengas Islands and to sail.

Unfortunatley we had the owner's rep on board who was fairly interfering (just read our blog if you want the whole story...) and we were only given 3 hours in Caicais! So I didn't get a chance to call Gui or to enjoy the town. We all regretted that because Caicais is a very pretty place.

From there we had good straight forward sailing all the way to Gibraltar and into the Med. There was some fishing, but nothing like I expected there would be and I didn't see any fish farms.

So, thanks for to all of you who put me in touch with Gui.

krozet 09-23-2009 12:45 PM

One of my dreams, to sail this area. Thanks for the information.

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