can we help
+44(0)1983 296060
+1 757-788-8872
tell me moreJoin a rally


The last legs - with an exciting ending

It was yet another splendid leg of ARC Portugal as the fleet made their way from Oeiras to the beautiful seaside town of Sines. As the boats took their slip and got tied up, participants congregated on the dock to enjoy a sundowner and greet the other yachts in after their sail. Drinks and nibbles were enjoyed on the dock and most crews remained there into the night, saving the trip into town for the following day. There was an atmosphere of relaxation and reflection the next morning, as they wandered about the pretty seaside town of Sines taking in the sunshine.


Our friendly guide Manuela lead participants up the hill to the town centre also stopping off at the newly finished Art centre where an interesting exhibition is currently on going called the seaside laboratory (direct translation from Portuguese). The participants also stopped off at some stunning viewpoints of the pristine Vasco de Gama beach with the rally boats all together in the background. From there, everyone entered the Sines fortress where a short tour had been organised of the museum before the prize giving ceremony inside the castle walls. A glad of white port and tonic was served before Andrew Bishop announced the results.

The penultimate stopover on ARC Portugal, Sines marina had cleared space on the outer dock so that the entire fleet of 19 boats could be berthed together on one pontoon. It wasn’t long after arriving that boats started to ‘dress overall’, raising their multi-coloured code flags to create a wonderful spectacle in port. .

With the fleet only a few miles apart during their day sails down the coast, and with little if no other sailing traffic, the vhf radio takes on a new importance between the 65 or so participants, really becoming the social network of choice! The crews had had great fun chatting along the way on the radio waves, discussing where the wind was and their progress, as well as winding each other up about performance and sharing jokes along the way. Rally Control Kieran was able to sail the ultimate leg to Lagos and was amazed at the amount of banter going on via the VHF, something the rally team are usually blissfully unaware of.

The final leg from Sines began on Tuesday morning at 0600 with a gate start. Light winds were forecast and that is exactly what the fleet encountered apart from some stronger breezes around the Cape St Vincent. Typically this leg is a windy and exciting sail into Marina De Lagos, however participants were not phased by this as they appreciate how lucky they have been this last month with a favourable Biscay crossing and next to perfect conditions on all legs going down the Portuguese coastline.

The true spirit of ARC Portugal was depicted on this ultimate leg from Sines, where one rally yacht experienced total engine failure approximately 10NM North of Cape St Vincent. Yacht Serendipity, after attempting to repair the starter motor, which was what appeared to be failing, made a call out on Channel 77 to the rally fleet explaining their situation. Immediately calls came back with offers of assistance. Ocean Trilogy was close in front of them, and after some further liaison agreed to fix a tow line to Serendipity and help them get around the cape where winds were higher hopefully enabling them to then sail to Lagos.

This proved very effective, and meanwhile further talks on the radio continued regarding possible issues with the engine and means of repair. Yacht Abraxas, after hearing the problem onboard, announced that they had a spare starter motor to exact specifications of the one required on Serensipity. Abraxas then agreed to turn back under engine, come alongside and exchange the start motor. On effective transfer, and installation, the engine still failed. A decision was then made amongst the fleet that Yacht Webtser, also close by and with a more powerful engine than both Abraxas and Ocean Trilogy would tow Serendipity all the way to Marina De Lagos. The two was not easy on entrance into the marina as a large swell was running, combined with the low tide, made it difficult for Charlie Baynes owner of Webster to keep the tow straight. Dave and Neil, owners of Serendipity donned a drogue to help keep their boat from surging forward in the waves. It was a tense time for all, as crews listened patiently via the radio until they were clear and inside the channel where they came alongside the reception pontoon and greeted by Rally control and Marina Manager Ingrid Fortunato. Huge thanks goes to all yachts who were part of the operation, and as the crew onboard Serendipity said ‘this is exactly why we joined ARC Portugal, imagine if we had been alone out there’.

Previous | Next