June 14, 2009
May 21, 2009
I am currently entertaining visitors in Portugal – my mother and her friend have arrived for a few weeks and are staying at a local hotel, which has a discount for us hard up sailors and their families!
The Portuguese have excelled themselves with their helpfullness and hospitality. The first night that my mother arrived she needed to see a doctor – being a diabetic she had forgotten her needles for her insulin. The Portuguese taxi driver picked my mother and her friend up from the train station (the train was an hour late and he waited patiently with me, in fact he bought me a coffe whilst we waited!) he then took my mother to a state hospital and translated for her so that she could see a doctor and get a prescription, the taxi driver then took us to a late night pharmacy so that my mother could get the needles for her to take her insulin. All in all the taxi driver was with us for 3 and a half hours – he only charged us what the original journey would have cost if it had been a straight run from the train station to the hotel. If he had charged us what it should have cost 247 euros – it would have wiped out my mums spending money. I cannot praise him enough – but I have often been pleasantly surprised by the Portuguese and how friendly and helpful they are. I am very disappointed when I go to England for a visit and find the services people to be very rude and unhelpful, especially to foreign tourists.
I will remember to treat people how I would like to be treated – if we all did that then this world might be a better place!!
May 17, 2009
I have had the pleasure of meeting new sailing friends who have read my blog.
It is quite a strange experience to meet and talk to people who have read about you before they have met you – but I expect that will happen more and more now as I write more blogs and travel to different cruising grounds.
I have enjoyed making new friends – some cruising people are wonderful people and you have the benefit of having something in common before you even strike up a new friendship.
I hope my new sailing friends enjoyed the cocktail party on my boat, even though it was pouring with rain! I managed to fit 9 adults into my saloon for the party, which is a record so far!
As the sailing season starts here and the weather improves – I am looking forward to sailing my boat in Spain and Portugal and making new friends and meeting up with old ones! Happy Sailing everyone!!
January 31, 2009
The weather has been so bad here that “us cruisers” in the marina have resorted to emailing each other, rather than getting soaking wet going to each other’s boats! Is the height of laziness? Or just good sense? It is difficult to get your clothes dry when it rains day after day – we have had weeks of rain without a break now. Last night the wind blew from the land and all of our boats are covered in brown sludge, even the halyards and sheets are saturated in brown dirt, which is hard to wash out. Ironically we need rain now from another direction to wash out the brown goo covering our boats!
Despite the weather we are still making ourselves do things, we go out for a meal on a Tuesday evening, there are normally about 10 of us every week, and different people manage to make it each week, which makes it interesting. The meal only costs about 6 Euros, and the food just keeps on coming, if you have a few drinks as well the whole evening costs about 10 Euros! The food is tasty too!!!
Us cruising ladies go out for a coffee morning once a week and our numbers have swelled; there are now 8 of us! We have started to go swimming after the coffee morning, the local swimming pool is like an Olympic sized swimming pool, exceptionally clean, it will give us the exercise that we need during the winter months. When the weather gets warmer there will be a weekly barbeque, they are fun too, you bring your own food and drink and throw the food on the barby, and this is a great way to meet new cruisers in the marina. Currently there are British, American, Italian, German and Portuguese sailors here – I am looking forward to meeting new people this year from other countries too!
November 14, 2008
November 13, 2008
This blog entry is for everyone who thinks it is sunny and warm in the Med in Winter, I have come across and spoken to many people who believe that cruising in the Med in Winter is better than England, but the reality is that the only difference is that it is possibly a few degrees warmer in some countries. The storms can be far worse than in England and very dangerous or uncomfortable for us cruising sailors!
Last night we had a Northwesterly hurricane Force 12!!!
Last night all boat owners were re-enforcing their warps and anti-chafing hoses, adding fenders to their boats and then settled in for a wild night. In typical cruising tradition, I made sure my boat was ok and went to dinner on another yacht and then battled back to my rocking and rolling boat to wait out the storm. NO sleep all night, you just lay there waiting for the unusual noise which tells you something has happened to your boat that shouldn’t have!! Everyone sleeps in the next day, when the weather has calmed down and then gets up and re-checks all fenders and warps!!
No damage!! Phew!! But we have to go through it all again tomorrow as the same weather is forecast again for Sunday! Bummer!! In fact, the forecast is slightly worse!! We have had ice and hail stones so thick it looks like snow, tons of rain and a the top of everyone’s shopping list is a new heater and dehumidifier to cope with condensation.
So, if you thought it would be sunny and warm here in Portugal or Spain at this time of the year, think again!
Hope the weather is better where you are!
November 12, 2008
For anyone travelling the Red Sea Route, this article may be of interest to you!
November 11, 2008
November 10, 2008
I thought I would just share with a you a few personal insights for staying in marinas – especially from a multi hulls perspective. I can only give you my own personal experience so I hope you find it helpful!
The marinas on the South Coast of England have great facilities but are expensive. I paid over £400 per month for my 26ft catamaran and I wasn’t being charged 50% on top for being a cat.
In England the major marina owners often have a discount card which you can use in marinas along the South Coast – it’s worth asking them when you go into pay your bill.
The marinas often give you a berth which actually belongs to someone who has paid to be there on a permanent basis. So, if they come back you have to move your boat. Difficult if you are single handed.
Again you can ask for a discount card in some marinas. It costs about 5euros and gets you a 10% discount – only good for Northern Spain though.
The marinas are very good if you are staying for a while and will give you a good deal if you ask.
Some marinas penalise catamaran owners but most do not.
I wintered in Northern Spain and was charged 180 euros per month and this included electric, water and Wifi.
The cheapest so far! The people are very friendly and helpful and speak good english. You can also negotiate for longer stays.
It actually works out cheaper to stay for a longer time than a shorter stay.
If you stay for a year you can get your haul out and re-launch and pressure wash thrown in for free.
It costs me 98 euros per month including electric, water and Wifi.
From previous experience of staying in Southern Spain, the marinas are expensive and not friendly or helpful, in fact they are unfriendly and unhelpful. I have had friends who have had to fly back to Southern Spain just to move their boats. Although, they have been told this would not happen before they left for England.
Gibraltar is nearly as expensive as England.
Southern Portugal used to be good but the prices have gone up and the anchorages have been either taken over by marinas or you are not allowed to anchor anymore.
If you have anymore information to add to this then please give me a shout! Sassy x
November 09, 2008