Having just arrived in Vassiliki for now the 7th year in a row I can’t really think of many places that will top this one for some guaranteed wind+ sun. However I’ll be saving all the inside info on this one for next months feature due to be released in two weeks time. Check out www.clubvass.com for more info on that one.
In last months wave side of the feature I wrote about Guincho, Portugal. After a few days sailing there I was in need of a freestyle fix, which got me looking into more spots to head to whilst in Portugal. I’d heard a little bit before about this spot called Sagres on the southwestern tip so I thought it would be the perfect time to check it out.
Now I didn’t actually visit the spot in July and the conditions were already amazing when I was there in May but the guys working at the centre assured me that around July/ August time the wind was even stronger and more reliable. Only 7 hours or so from Tarifa this spot is worth the drive if you’re stuck down there with no wind!
For me this was a no brainer as we had already driven most of the way there!! However flying is very straightforward and the nearest Airport in Faro is around thirty minutes away. The windsurf spot itself isn’t in Sagres but just round the corner on the beautiful beach of Prai do Martinhal. Even though being dangerously close to the Algarve region of Portugal this small town is nothing like the high-rise ridden golf holiday resorts situated further down the coast. Only 7 hours or so from Tarifa this spot is worth the drive if you’re stuck down there with no wind!
The beach is just round the southern side of the peninsula meaning the strong “Nortada” northerly winds blow pretty much straight offshore in this mirror flat little bay. In the 8 days we spent there I was fully powered up on my 4.7 every day bar one, which I had to use my 5.0!! It was windy pretty much all day when the forecast was perfect but occasionally it didn’t kick in until lunchtime. Obviously with the wind being offshore you’ll always going to have to deal with it being a bit gusty but on one side of the beach there’s nothing at all getting in the way of the wind meaning you can fly along right next to the sand. Overall I was very impressed with the conditions and I managed to learn a few new moves in the perfectly flat water.
There is two windsurf centres on the beach however only one was open when I visited. The centre Martinhal watersports centre itself is pretty small however they manage to squeeze a hell of a lot of stuff inside it. There’s even a big choice of paddles boards, kayaks, catamarans and dinghy’s to compliment the windsurfing. The guys at the centre also offer instruction and were all very helpful and friendly, especially Andre! There isn’t much space to store your own gear but there were a few rumours of them expanding, so maybe in years to come that will be available.
The windsurf centre is connected to an extremely nice hotel located just up on a small cliff over looking the beach. I didn’t get the chance to look around but it looked stunning from the beach. Check some pictures out here on their facebook or website www.martinhal.com. For us it was easy to make the most out of our van for sleeping in. On arriving we weren’t sure on whether to look for a campsite but it turns out Sagres is a bit of a haven for “Wild campers”. Even though its banned to camp on the windsurfing beach the best free campsite we found was a car park overlooking the sea in the main town of Sagres, there were easily 40 campers in there most nights and we met loads of interesting people as they were passing by. There were campsites with showering facilities available if you needed.
That’s right waves!! Not just a flat water freestyle heaven; just 5 minutes away on the other side of the peninsula the western facing beach’s can offer some pretty epic wave conditions. Unfortunately when we visited there wasn’t enough swell to warrant going out but I did have a good look around. Tonel seemed to be the main spot the windsurfers were heading too and the conditions did look tricky as there were a few big rocks knocking around at low tide when I checked it out. I was advised by one of the locals to have a chat with them before launching. Like I mentioned it was flat when I visited but there’s plenty of surfing to be had on this stretch of coast and there’s a load of rental places if you didn’t take a surfboard with you. You will be pretty stuck for windsurf kit rental at this spot as I cant imagine the centres not being to keen on you taking their kit!!
If there’s no wind?
Surfing is the obvious one having not had a day without wind when we visited I’ve not got many more recommendations. We did visit the furthest southwestern tip of Europe, which was just a ten-minute drive away where you can see some spectacular views. The area is very pretty so I can’t imagine anyone being short of things to do here.
- Pau de Pita bar/ café is the best for wifi + food they even have iPads for you to use.
- Try the cold octopus salad in any of the traditional restaurants “incredible” However all the seafood is pretty dam good.
- Take a wetsuit as the offshore winds can keep the water relatively cold.
- It can get pretty shallow in the starboard tack corner so keep an eye out at low tide.
- If you’ve learnt Portuguese in Brazil like I had don’t ever say “Oi” instead of “Ola” for hello!!! It doesn’t go down well apparently.