Day 0 (Wednesday, 31 August):
The night before we left Portugal, bound for the Canary Islands, we moved to an anchorage just outside of Cascais marina. While in Cascais, a north wind had picked up every afternoon from around 4pm until late evening. We were told by residents that this phenomenon was called “nortado” and that it happens most days. Our afternoon in the anchorage was no exception. In fact, it was an enhanced reality! The winds did kick in, and this time they kicked with force. Gusts reached at least 39 knots and we saw steady winds in the low 30s. It was a rolly, windy evening, but our anchor held fast.
More exciting, was the experience of those around us. Over our time in Cascais, we have been surrounded by SB20s (20 foot, high performance, racing sailboats) from around the world that are in port for the SB20 World Championships. These boats were just coming in from racing as the winds were picking up speed. As they arrived at the anchorage to dock or pick up a mooring for the night, the gusts were showing their strength. Boats were screaming past, capsizing, losing hold of their halyards, and generally putting on a show – all within 50 meters of us. One in particular, barely cleared our bow as he came past. While we were not concerned for ourselves in any way, his beautiful jib would not have faired well against our spare anchor that was at the ready to shish-kebob his sail!
The anchorage was windy enough that we discussed heading out and making headway towards the Canary Islands. However, as we knew from heading into the port, there were many fishing pots and buoys awaiting us, so we felt it best to depart in daytime. A morning departure assured us better visibility of all fishing boats and gear, as well as shipping traffic for the first 50 miles (10 hours of travel) away from the Portuguese coast.