Phat Buoys


A particularly windy weather forecast is looming over the next couple of days so here we are holed up in Oeiras Marina, a short train ride into Central Lisbon. It’s been an eventful 48 hours.

We crawled into Péniche from Porto a couple of nights ago in darkness and hideous fog. In meteorological parlance you could see bugger all. It was bum clenching stuff and big thanks go to a Danish Yacht who talked us in and allowed us to moor up along side them for the night. We took a bottle of wine over as thanks and chatted to them for 20 Minutes before heading off to bed. They mentioned they plan to go trans Atlantic this December so Dave casually asked the skipper if he’d crossed before…… the response, this will be my 41st crossing. Guess that is officially a yes then.

From Peniche, we motored on a glassy oily sea to Cascais, the upmarket holiday resort which attracts the rich and trendy from Lisbon. We anchored in the bay, dinghy –ed ashore then walked around the resort, lowering the tone and designer clothing count. I had had my hair cut recently in Figuero de Foz, so at least I didn’t look like a bush too.

And on to Oeiras. There are a number of bars and restaurants on the front so after mooring up last night, we moseyed down the strip until deciding on one in which to spend our ever diminishing euros. Bang… as soon as we got in the door, we were ‘Phat Bouy – ed’. The Phat Buoys are an unofficial possy of guys who get together once a year to sail (and party). There are 8 members, 5 were on this trip, 3 Canadians and 2 Brits. In their 16 years of sailing together they have visited amongst other places Newfoundland, Brittany, Turkey, Iceland, Greece, England and the Channel Islands and this time Portugal.

There was no allowable resistance to their hospitality and I know Dave and I both enjoyed the mad couple of hours we spent in their company. Dressed in matching embroidered shirts and sailing jackets, they regaled tales of previous trips, ice bergs, sleeping on deck to avoid snorers, trophy winners and excess baggage charges to fly said trophy round the world so it can be awarded to a one of their members on the last evening of their sailing trip each year.

This morning the Phat Buoys had departed when we emerged to move the boat to another spot in the marina. In moving from one berth to another, the gear cable snapped so we had no gears and hence no useful engine and steerage. Thankfully we drifted reasonably gently towards the fuel dock and two marina guys who planned to take our lines in the new berth, legged it round the pontoons to help. They weren’t dressed for the 100m sprint in their waterproofs and boots but we’d be happy to award them both medals. Could have been so so much worse and expensive. Did I mention expensive?

Dave removed the cable and threaded a tracer line so that’s how we know it had sheared. Nuno, a really helpful guy at a local chandlery will attempt to get us one asap. To calm our nerves, we treated ourselves to a late lunch in Lisbon and walked round the sea front as a reasonably forgiving way of digesting the mountains of delicious food that we had consumed. There will be no vampires on our boat this evening due to the garlic leeching out of our pores.

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