The Sailing Area
The coastline between the Western tip of the Algarve, Cabo de São Vicente, and Gibraltar is full of contrasts. The scenery at both ends is spectacular with impressive cliff formations whilst the middle section is mainly fine white sandy beaches, many backed by lagoons and nature reserves which are a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, full of many different species of birds.
There are many harbours and hundreds of unspoilt picturesque anchorages along the coastline as well as two navigable rivers to explore - the Río Guadiana which constitutes the Portuguese/Spanish border where we are located and the Río Guadalquivir which takes you to the historic city of Seville.
The large sheltered lagoon of Faro and Olhão is a great place for pilotage exercises with its many sandbanks and winding channels to negotiate. The lagoon is protected by sandy offshore islets with wonderful beaches, a great place for swimming. In the evening we can row ashore to the island of Culatra where you can sample superb freshly caught fish with the locals and the trip back after dark in the dinghy is a marvel as the water is rich in phosphorescence.
From a sail training perspective, our location is second to none. We have the wide estuary of the river Guadiana, navigable for up to 27 miles to play in as well as the Atlantic ocean. You can really test your tidal height calculations with a sand bar at the river entrance to negotiate and work out your vertical clearances getting under the bridge. Challenge yourself further by sailing in an area encompassing two different time zones - secondary ports in Spain are based on Lisbon standard port which is not only a different country, but a different time zone! The beauty of having our base in the estuary is that we never lose sailing days to bad weather. If bad weather is forecast, we can ensure we are in the river for that day sailing around with a storm jib and heavily reefed mainsail in protected waters rather than stuck in port doing theory!
The tidal range is 3 metres at Springs and 1 metre at Neaps. When you add the river current to the ebb tide, we get some fantastic currents to contend with to add some spice to your boat handling manoeuvres!