Masters of the Seas

There’s something spectacular about a vista strewn with sailing boats

Tavira is possibly the Algarve’s most splendiferous settlement, not to mention one of its oldest, sitting peacefully on the region’s eastern coast since 2,000 BC.  It boasts seven arched Roman bridges, a decrepit Moorish castle, no fewer than 22 churches, and a history entwined with the Ocean across which it gazes, a sea port that acted as a portal to the wider world.  As such, Tavira’s waterfront has been forever graced by boats of all casts, from the big and brazenfaced to the little and lithe.

Today, the township’s slumberous shores spend most of their year watching an intense sun peel paint from wooden hulls, listening to the gentle lapping of apathetic waves, and generally being at ease without much of a care in the world.  And then Tavira Sailing arrives, a broad programme of Algarve events currently being hosted by the Clube Náutico de Tavira, bringing with it an whirlwind of effervescence.

There’s something spectacular about a vista strewn with sailing boats.  It draws breath in the same way as a balloon speckled sky, dramatic angles and erratic movements across layers of blue, a scene immortalisedin million frozen watercolour paintings hung in galleries around the globe.  Perhaps it’s the timelessness of it?  Perhaps it’s because in an age of engines and technology, there’s something that appeals to us intrinsically when it comes to motion propelled by Mother Nature herself?

Tavira Sailing’s schedule includes national, international and Iberian regattas, along with a host of championships and training camps for fans of anything that floats.  One such training camp runs from 17th – 20th July, open to anyone with a desire to ameliorate their sailing skills, specifically those concerned with making a boat go as fast as possible (i.e. racing).  Coaches at the camp include Nick Drougas and Pedro Pinto, an Olympic coach from Portugal.

The regattas are split into categories including International 420, Lasers, and the rather wonderfully named Optimists category, which brings to mind a group of ambitious but pitifully inadequate sailors convinced against all reasonable odds that they can prevail over their competitors.  In addition to these competitions, the event organisers are hosting a 420 Open Iberian Championship, a plethora of races under the umbrella of Youth Nationals and Optimist National Championship, the Optimist Open European Championship and the 420 Open European Championship.  In short, you will not be spoilt for choice.