Sagres to Lagos
First, there are 3 “on-passage-refuges” east of Cape St Vincent and off Sagres, but there is no real scope for landing at any of them.
Then, at Baleira, just past Sagres, there is a small port with piers reserved for fishing boats. There is room to anchor to the east of the piers, but this is not a recognised Port of Entry and a new arrival will not be allowed to land. It is a good destination for a day trip from Lagos but you are still likely to be checked by the police on going ashore.
Next along the coast are the villages of Salema, Burgau and Luz – all pleasant lunch stops, but with indifferent holding. Once round the corner of Ponta da Piedade, there are some good bays to explore – with a very secure spot just east of the breakwaters of Lagos. This is well sheltered, apart from South or East, with easy access to Marina de Lagos in case of trouble!
Other anchorages in the Algarve are fairly limited and would not normally be suitable for leaving a yacht unattended. Apart from other “lunch stops” – almost anywhere along the coast, but watch out for the rocky bottom – there is Alvor near Lagos; Ferragudo inside Portimão breakwater; Culatra within the Faro/Olhão estuary; and Tavira.
Alvor estuary is very safe and secure – once you have negotiated the sand banks. Our web site has the positions of the red and green channel markers – but the sand banks shift and these are frequently off station. You are recommended to enter on a rising tide, read the water, and NOT to follow the local fishing boats across the banks! If visiting, we recommend that you use the excellent pilotage notes produced by Martin Northey on his web site, www.theiberianseaschool.com.
There is usually anchoring space for short-term visits, though it can get very crowded in the high season. It is a lovely town – but there are no shore facilities specifically for yachtsmen. Technical support can be had from Lagos or Portimão, of course.
If you want a longer term stay, there are moorings available for about €60 per month and a local can be employed as watchman. Visit the Captain of the Port or ask around the harbour.
The harbour is very easy to enter and anchoring off the village or off the beach just inside the east breakwater is secure – though in summer it can get crowded with moored,live-aboard boats.
Near the harbour mouth, the anchorage can be exposed to any W or SW swell that happens to be around – as well as wake from fishing boats and jet skis. Apart from the lovely beach and a café, there are no shore facilities, unless you visit the marina and pay a day-rate.
It is a very popular destination for day-trippers from the two big towns and this does mean that there are plenty of ferries to Olhão to facilitate any serious shopping trips.
The island is superb for swimming and bird life.
For the sustenance of the crew, there are some excellent bars and restaurants, as well as two reasonable mini-markets (“Spar Grocery” in UK terms).
Three cautions, though:
1. Beware of serious wind-over-tide effects at the estuary entrance and bar at Cabo de Santa Maria, especially when the ebb tide is running.
2. Note the existence of a substantial area of shallows, out to 0.8 miles SW of the west mole.
3. Very unusually for Portugal, dinghy theft from anchored yachts is a particular problem – and the police do not seem interested in taking action – so lift it, lock it or lose it!
This is a very historic river-side town, with the town centre about 1.5 miles from the sea.
Inside the narrow entrance, there is a pleasant anchorage at the mouth of the river and again, there is an off-shore island that is very popular with the locals. There are frequent water taxis to the island or the shore, where the local yacht club is based. I don’t know if their “race-day” toilet and shower facilities are available at other times – but as there is only one communal shower area, caution would have to be exercised, anyway.
There is a local bar and two popular restaurants beside the club, though.