The participants have certainly packed alot into the last couple of days of Rally Portugal, with two fantastic day’s sailing and some good shore time too.
After leaving Figueira da Foz on Thursday morning, the boats headed down the coast on a 55nm trip to the next stopover of Peniche. After a slow start, the winds picked up and the day provided breezy downwind conditions - most of the fleet had only logged a couple of hours under motor after a full nine hours sailing down the coast.
Peniche, like many of the ports visited on Rally Portugal, still has a strong fishing industry, but it’s inhabitants are generally a young crowd, attracted to the seaside town by the world class surfing waves on it’s doorstep. The fleet had timed their visit well, as Portugal were playing in the quarter-finals of the EUFA football, and the bars were buzzing!
Peniche is only a one-night stop on the rally, so crews enjoyed the late afternoon and evening ashore taking in the atmosphere and catching up on stories… and sharing Portugal’s delight at winning the quarter-finals!
The boats had been rafted two deep on the long visitors pontoon in Peniche, and the strong northerly winds the following morning meant that leaving the docks proved to be a one-at-a-time process, with everyone helping each other out to ensure a safe departure. There was no hesitation in getting the sails up once the boats had cleared the dock though, and with the sun already out and the winds predicted to be 15-25 knots all day, it was clearly going to be a cracking day on the water…
… and indeed it was! The whole fleet rocketed down the coast in near-perfect sailing conditions, pulling into the beautifully kept marina of Oeiras towards the end of the day with big grins on their faces. Many boats had hit an incredible 10 knots boat speed along the way, with the wind and swell behind them and warm sun in their faces. Karma Wins, the only catamaran on this year’s Rally, clocked 14.7 knots and even the Hanse 370 Gertha 4 topped their speed at 14 knots. The Moody 44 Seraphina logged an impressive average speed of 8.3 knots over the day.
As more and more boats arrived it was clear that it had been a very special day at sea, with several participants immediately claiming it as ‘the best day’s sailing of their life’.