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Old 02-06-2011, 04:28 AM   #1
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UK sailors missing off Portugal

The BBC is carrying news of two sailors who are missing off the Portuguese coast. LINK HERE

The men were sailing from Vigo in north-western Spain to Porto when their yacht was struck by a large wave.

Check the lik and, especially, the photo.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:32 AM   #2
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That's a lot of destruction for a wave. How frightening.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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Although I have nothing other than the photo to base this view on, I believe the damage shown in the photo is either a result of a very serious flaw in the construction of the boat or, more likely, the result of it being washed ashore in an inverted position.

Whichever, it is, as you say Jeanne, a lot of damage.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:38 PM   #4
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... hard to say what destroyed the yacht – *looks like as if this yacht has been caught by a huge *breaking see over shallow ground, and maybe the final contact with the shore destroyed her totally…Most Portuguese harbours and marinas are dangerous to approach during onshore wind- *and sea conditions! Especially during the winter months many harbours are temporarily closed because of Atlantic swell breaking as it reaches shallow waters. Especially dangerous is that the swell still can be a serious problem when the wind is already gone for days! Coming from sea, the swell does not at all look dangerous but once you are in a sea that starts breaking, there is no turning around!*

*Really terrible can be the conditions when entering one of the marinas situated in the mouths of small rivers with shallow bars (Viana do Castelo, Figueira da Foz), or, as we**sadly can see here,**the artificial harbour of**** Póvoa de Varzim *. Even on the marina’s hompage you can read a warning about possible heavy swell when entering.

Under such serious onshore swell conditions my choice would only be the commercial harbour of Matosinhos, which has a marina basin, but not the entrance into the river Douro a little further south.

We have been in the marina of Figueira da Foz, in Matosinhos and also in Cascais (Lisbon) - in all marinas we have been stuck for days because of high rising Atlantic swell already in the months of September and October! Figueria a Foz was officially closed and watching the swell hitting the outer breakwaters of the harbours of Matosinhos and Cascais was breathtaking.*

The Portuguese Coast is not an easy coastline to sail during the winter months. Wind is not necessarily the problem – it’s the Atlantic swell from far away storm centers.

Uwe*

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Old 02-10-2011, 03:07 AM   #5
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Another thanks, Uwe, for information.

One more example of something I didn't know that I didn't know.

Thank goodness for the cruising community, sharing their knowledge and experience; helping us find out what we don't know and that we need to know. We came close to getting ourselves into a similar situation - 'twas Peter's skill and more than a little luck that kept us from grief.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post

Another thanks, Uwe, for information.

One more example of something I didn't know that I didn't know.**

Thank goodness for the cruising community, sharing their knowledge and experience; helping us find out what we don't know and that we need to know.**We came close to getting ourselves into a similar situation - 'twas Peter's skill and more than a little luck that kept us from grief.

Fair winds,

J
... yes, these are the situations you really learn from, but after that you are pretty sure that you do not want to have to cope with such a situation again. Neither other sailing fellows.*

We had our lection when entering Fugueria Da *Foz (as mentined above): It was back in the 90ies, on our way south we had been waiting in Bayona (Spain) for several days until a fresh to stormy westerly wind calmed down, but the tremendous westerly swell kept on for another two days until we decided to go on. *As we moved down the coast, the wind left us completely, so we decided to go into Figueira. We knew about the lights that inform *approaching ships, if the entrance is open or closed. Luckily it was open. But as we approached the entrance, we had the depth sounder running and we saw that the depth was decreasing... all the way up to 3 meters over the bar. That was nerve wrecking enough and as the depths increased again behind the bar, the relief was just starting to set in, when we heard a breaking sea from behind... and looking back, we saw a breaking sea! *Not of the size that will turn us over head on, but enough to get everything wet.*

Once in, we had the time to think about the situation for another two days, because the entrance was closed again: now wind but again an increased onshore swell. Enough time to look again at the REED's Nautical Almanach and in its (for us) british understatement it informs in the general section of the portuguese coastline, northern part (now I had the 2001 edition at hand):

... Except for Leixoes ... other hbrs can be closed in bad weather due to heavy swell breaking on bar...

... Aveiro and Figueria das Foz are both exposted to the west...

... Nazaré is an artificial hbr and port of refuge with easy entrance... *indeed a perfect place to build an artificial harbour when looking at the sea bed: an undersea canyon is expanding towards the coast almost up to the harbour entrance: no way that breaking seas can develope!

And reading the harbour information:

Viana do Castelo: ...Night Entry not advised at any swell...

Povoa de Varzim: ... in heavy swell entry is rough...

Figueria Da Foz: ... Bar dredged at 5m but shifts/shoals constantly and can be dangerous in sell esp. Nov - March with strong S/SW winds....

Nazare: ... All weather access...

But with the necessary cortion in mind regarding the wind/swell situation, it is a wonderful an interesting coast to sail especially with the northerly winds prevailing during the summer months!

Uwe

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*
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