Of those people who have dreamt, planned or actually crossed an ocean there are still only a few who will have experienced that special feeling the great explorers felt whilst sailing the southerly trade wind route. Those who have were probably boat owners or their friends, so it would have been difficult to achieve this otherwise… Until now!
The Atlantic Adventure is split into 3 individual legs, each one increasing in time and distance. Setting sail early October from Porto in Portugal the voyage to Barbados takes around 6 weeks to complete, ending the third week of ?November an estimated sailing distance of 3,500 nm. The first 2 legs are fast cruising and teaching whilst the final leg from the Cape Verdes to Barbados.
The coastal city of Porto in Northwest Portugal is famous the world over for its production of port wine and for its, architectural heritage, stately bridges, medieval Ribeira (riverside district) and narrow cobbled streets which wind past merchants’ houses and cafes. Visitors to Porto can marvel at the magnificent São Francisco Church with its lavish baroque interior and ornate gilded carvings and the palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, which was built to impress potential European investors.
The coastal resort and fishing port of Cascais lies just west of Lisbon and is renowned for its sandy beaches, lively marina and charming centre. Its old town is home to the medieval Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort and the Citadel Palace, a former royal retreat. Nearby is the Nossa Senhora da Assunção church, simply whitewashed on the outside and adorned with glazed azulejo tiles. The Paula Rego House museum by the prizewinning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura displays contemporary art within a modern building.
The resort of Vilamoura in the Algarve region of southern Portugal is best known for its large marina, golf course and casino. Vilamoura also boast fine beaches, red cliffs, Cerro da Vila archaeological museum has a ruined Roman villa with bathhouses and mosaics and the delightful fishing village of Olhos de Água. Vilamoura merges with the town of Quarteira, to the southeast, with more beaches.
Funchal is the capital of Portugal's Madeira archipelago which consists of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and the uninhabited islands of Selvagens and Desertas. Funchal is best known for its harbour, botanical gardens, its wine cellars and its fortified Madeira wine. Any visit to Funchal is incomplete without a visit to Funchal’s 15th Century Cathedral, The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in Sé, with its mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles, constructed using lava stone with an intricate carved cedar wood celling.
Located in the Central Atlantic Ocean off the West coast of Africa, Cape Verde is an Island Country and forms part of an archipelago of ten volcanic in the Macaronesia ecoregion along with the Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. This spectacular chain of islands boasts Stunning beaches and mountains and peaceful picturesque seaside villages. To the southwest lie the islands of Brava and Fogo with volcanic landscapes and stunning beaches.
The second largest inhabited island is Mindelo which is situated on São Vicente, the port city of Mindelo is best known for its nightlife, lively Brazilian influenced Carnival celebrations, music, and colourful colonial houses which line the shores of Porto Grande Harbour which nestles inform of a backdrop of rugged mountains. The Torre de Belém, by the harbour, is a scaled-down replica of a centuries-old tower in Lisbon.
Situated in the Eastern Caribbean the island of Barbados is an independent British Commonwealth nation, its capital Bridgetown is a popular cruise-ship destination. With its rich architectural heritage mixing Georgian and Victorian styles and its botanic gardens, caves and some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. The Island retains its colonial charm and traditions including afternoon tea and cricket, the national sport.
Situated on the North western coast of Barbados, you’ll find the Caribbean’s most luxurious and idyllic waterfront haven of Port St Charles Resort and marina with its luxury homes, luxurious lifestyle, spectacular beach and yacht club complete with pool, gym, tennis courts and beauty salon.
Leg 1 The Route
Porto > Madeira > Cape Verde > Barbados
Leg One ‘The Portuguese Experience’
Porto > Cascais > Vilamoura > Funchal (Madeira)
Departure Month: October
Duration: Approximately 11 days
Distance: 840 nm
October sees crews arrive and join the yachts in Porto. ‘’Changes in latitudes changes in attitudes’’ These words were written by sailing, singer songwriter, Jimmy Buffet and aptly sum up ‘’The Portuguese Experience’’. The voyage will give an opportunity to sail abroad a 90ft round the world yacht and visit the North, Central and Southern parts of the continental Portugal as well as one of Portugal’s many Atlantic islands, Madeira.
The Port of Loexies is where the crews will embark, just 30 minutes from Porto. Porto lies on the north bank of the Rio Douro and is connected to the south by several bridges, one of which is the Dona Maria Pia Railway Bridge, built by Gustave Eiffel in 1877, Due to its strong links with the British and seafaring history with likes of Henry the Navigator departing these shores has made it an easy choice for our own departure.
A 162 Nautical mile cruise down the Portuguese coast will be taken from here to Cascais. Cascais, still retains much of the charm of its fishing past and indeed present. Here you will find a healthy variety of fish restaurants, boutiques and well-heeled hotels, not to mention a veritable fleet of pleasure craft bobbing alongside the colourful fishing boats in the bay.
A short familiarisation sail will then be taken down the Tagus River towards the capitol Lisbon and the Padroa do Descobrimentos (statue of the discoverers) from this monument a fun match race to Vilanoura on the Algarve will commence. Vilamoura offers a fabulous diversity of experiences, from quiet pine forest ambles and Atlantic beaches, to a casino and array of nightclubs. The main attractions through are the environmentally-conscious golf courses and the Museum of Cerro de Vila where the area’s past is brought to the forefront by a preserved Roman site.
Finally a short swift ocean passage will be taken to the Atlantic island of Madeira and the Port of Funchal our final destination. Madeira is one of Europe’s oldest travel locations and whatever your taste, be it from wonderful parks with exotic flowers, seascapes with towering cliffs, rustic villages in quiet valleys or the views of the mountains whose lofty peaks are a photograph waiting to be taken…Madeira will take your breath away.
This voyage once completed will not only give you an insight to a wonderful country but the chance to meet its friendly inhabitants. Successfully executed will complete ‘’The Portuguese Experience’’.
Leg 2 The Route
Porto > Madeira > Cape Verde > Barbados
Leg Two – Funchal (Madeira) > Mindelo (Sao Vicente)
Departure Month: October
Destination: Approximately 8 days
Distance: 1,050 nm
The penultimate leg takes around 8 days or so to sail the 1,050 nautical miles and takes us South to the tropics and into the North-east trades. En-route to Cape Verde Islands, the yachts will sail between the Canary Islands. As crews head South they will notice the air temperature rising nicely! However, at this time of the year varying wind conditions are possible thus keeping the crews on their toes. Having negotiated the Canaries, the yachts will then enter the tropics for what will probably be your first taste of warm trade wind sailing.
Leg 3 The Route
Porto > Madeira > Cape Verde > Barbados
Leg Three – Mindelo (Sao Vicente) > Port St Charles (Barbados)
Departure Month: November
Duration: Approximately 14 days
Distance: 2,100 nm
The final 2,100 nm is a match race across The Atlantic. You should be in well established trade winds, spinnakers flying and reaching boat speeds of 18 knots or more. During the voyage, there will be time for reflection under a star-studded tropical sky with a warm breeze on your face. The trip across with four identical boats will, by its nature, create a competitive spirit – especially when you see a neighbouring Farr on the horizon! Whilst sailing you can expect the unexpected such as a visit from the odd whale, sea turtle and maybe a slap on the face by a flying fish! It should not only be fast and exhilarating sailing but also a chance to put the crews’ newly acquired skills and knowledge to the test.
The finish line is the breakwater off Port St Charles Marina, on the North-West coast of Barbados. On arrival and during the stay, the crews will re-unite with friends and families at the final stop of Carlisle Bay before attending a special party hosted by Mount Gay Rum, who will present the red caps to celebrate the participants’ achievements and welcome them to Barbados as the new conquistadores!
The Finish Port for the Atlantic Adventure
Barbados was named by the Portuguese and is regarded by ondeck as a key destination; one that is very important to the development and continues success of the event. By sitting that little bit further out into The Atlantic, the island’s position cuts around a day off the crossing, making it possible for the 9 to 5 commuter to sail the Atlantic in 14 days!
Barbados is recognised as a connecting hub for the Caribbean islands and with its daily flight to the UK, it makes getting home easy.
Barbados is the ‘Little England’ of the Caribbean, but not so much that the locals have given up rotis for kidney pies, or rum for a pint of bitter. Bajans, as the islanders call themselves, are as West Indian as any of their neighbours and have tended to selectively borrow rather than assume English customs.
Barbados sits almost a hundred miles East of its closet neighbour, so when the Spaniards, Danes, French and others were busy fighting over the rest of the Caribbean, Barbados sat back with its Pimms on ice, remaining solidly British.
Official Mount Gay Rum Red Cap Event
In 2007 Mount Gay Rum recognised the ondeck Trans-Atlantic Match Race as one of their prestigious Red Cap events. For more than a third of a century. Barbados, sailors and Mount gay Rum have formed a trio to the glory of excellence by participating in the most prestigious regattas around the world. These are not mere ports of call across the face of the globe; they are the countries where Mount Gay Rum sponsors the best sailors during the most select regattas. At each of these events, Mount Gay Rum organises exceptional parties in honour of these sea kings who strive to forever go beyond their own limits. During these evenings, true moments of friendship and emotions are shared and the famous ‘’Red Caps’’ appear.
The Mount Gay Red Caps, embroidered with the name of each regatta, are offered to only the best. They are prized souvenirs and are proudly displayed at each race. Stories tell of certain sailors who have dived into the sea to retrieve their Red Caps whisked off by the wind rather than lose their precious trophy. Others, apparently, have gone to great lengths to retrieve a forgotten cap, even sending a helicopter for it over the weekend. The best international sailors proudly display their Red Caps, declaring their common passions; sailing and MOUNT GAY RUM.