Our Location Vila Real de Santo Antonio
The Algarve region, the sun-drenched Southern coast of Portugal and South Western Spain’s Costa de la Luz, offers fantastic sailing due to the predominance of the North Easterly Trade Winds which blow during the Summer months making the coastline very protected with flat seas and offshore breezes.
The area boasts golden sandy beaches, warm weather, tidal waters, friendly people, great food and stunning sunsets.
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Vila Real de Santo Antonio is a very pretty Portuguese town which faces the delightful Spanish town of Ayamonte on the opposite side of the river Guadiana. The area to the East of Faro is relatively undeveloped compared to the busy Western Algarve which means you experience the "real Portugal" and "real Spain" when you sail with us - an old man sitting on a wooden cart pulled by a donkey is not an uncommon sight on either side of the border!
The climate is idyllic in the Algarve with temperatures averaging in the 30’s ºC during the Summer with virtually no rainfall between the beginning of April and the end of October.
From a sail training perspective, our location is second to none. We have the wide estuary of the river Guadiana, navigable for up to 27 miles to play in as well as the Atlantic ocean. You can really test your tidal height calculations with a sand bar at the river entrance to negotiate and work out your vertical clearances getting under the bridge. Challenge yourself further by sailing in an area encompassing two different time zones - secondary ports in Spain are based on Lisbon standard port which is not only a different country, but a different time zone! The beauty of having our base in the estuary is that we never lose sailing days to bad weather. If bad weather is forecast, we can ensure we are in the river for that day sailing around with a storm jib and heavily reefed mainsail in protected waters rather than stuck in port doing theory!
We are also ideally situated for you to explore the area by land at the beginning or end of your sailing course. Inland, the local province of Huelva is dotted with sleepy whitewashed villages and the ancient City of Seville in the heart of Andalucia is a cultural paradise. The nearby Doñana Natural Park is host to a wealth of flora and fauna, being one of the largest and most interesting bird and wildlife sanctuaries in Europe.
For the more active, you can choose from some of the best golf courses in Europe, the nearest being Castro Marim, Costa Esuri and Isla Canela. There is also scuba diving; big game fishing; horse riding and cycling on offer to name but a few.
History of the Region
The Algarve is steeped in history. The Phoenicians established trading posts along the coast some 3000 years ago, followed by the Carthaginians who founded Portus Hannibalis (Portimão) in 550 BC. The Romans are to be thanked for spreading the cultivation of wheat, barley and grapes and building roads and luxurious palaces during their 400 year stay. After the Romans came the Visigoths and then the first Moors from North Africa. The Moors remained for 500 years having their capital in Silves or Xelb as it was called then. It was not until the first half of the 13th Century that the Portuguese reclaimed their territory.
On a nautical note, Prince Henry the Navigator chose Sagres in the West as the base for his school of navigation. He had ships built in Lagos for the Portuguese expeditions to Africa and Asia making Portugal a major imperial power.
On the Spanish side, the city of Huelva is one of the oldest cities in Spain from which Christopher Columbus embarked upon his voyage of discovery to the Americas over 500 years ago in the surprisingly small Caravels - there are 3 full size replicas located on the Muelle de las Caravellas. The final resting place of the intrepid explorer is in the exquisite Gothic Cathedral of Seville.