West coast of Portugal is usually considered as “coast of passage”. However, it also deserve crusing. When you start cruising between marinas and anchorage of Portugal coast, you will start enjoying the sun, sandy beaches, lovely towns, nice food and wine. You may find mooring options in a day sailing distance.
Best time to sail along this coast is April to October. During this period prevailing wind direction is from N. Usually during the summer months winds are lighter in the mornings and gets stronger in the afternoon (may reach up to force 5-6). Therefore, sailing south is easier than northward route.
If you need to sail to north, you may consider to depart early in the morning and arrive to next port before northerly winds gets stronger. If wind persisted overnight, it is advised to wait for weather window to sail north. Sailing to north in early Spring or late Autumn may be another option. During that time of the year northerly winds are not very persistent.
Tides and Currents;
Tidal range is less than 3 m for all of the W Portugal coast. Most of the estuaries have sand bars at the entrance. Therefore you should consider tides especially while entering some estuaries. Tidal streams are not very significant, except Tagus River. At Tagus River tidal streams may reach up to 3 knots.
General current direction is during summer is south along the coast.
Atlantic swell may be very intense