Trans-Atlantic 2008  -  Sao Jorge

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Sao Jorge is a relatively undeveloped, attractive, quite hilly island  about 35 miles long by 5 miles wide, about 20 miles North of Pico and Faial.

There are no really good anchorages or ports, so it is not visited much by sailors.   The main town, Velas, has a new, very solidly built marina, but the surge there is really bad in Southerly winds.

We enjoyed a quick visit by signing on for a local race from Horta to Velas and back, with an overnight stay in Velas.

Unfortunately, very few of the 250 or so cruising boats in Horta entered, which was a pity because the dozen or so local boats were crewed by a friendly bunch.

The serious racers beat us handily, but we came in second in the cruising class by 2 minutes, despite a disastrous start when we were stuck in a hole in the wind for 10 minutes as the more knowledgeable locals sailed away.

I strongly recommend participation in the local races if you stop by Horta.

Although there are under 10,000 people on Sao Jorge, they put on a huge party, complete with a gigantic sound stage, and breastbone rattling music all night.

Here we are in the raft of regatta boats was about 50 metres away from the stage, with the crowd all around us.

People came from all over the islands, probably doubling the normal population for the weekend.

It was a wet, fun night, although we prefer that these be rare.

This natural arch looks like a heap of boulders, but it held Gerry Goodwin up OK.

He is not faint of heart, being a true single handed sailor, with four fingers missing on one hand.  He was soloing en route from St. Martin to Wales when we met.

Snorkelling below the arch is spectacular.

We did not tour Sao Jorge, but stories from other sailors we met later made us wish that we had.

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