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Azores: the primitive Atlantic islands

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Everyone knows them for the same-named anticyclone but only few people know where they are. We’re talking about the Azores, an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, about 930 miles from Lisbon.

destinations-Azores-Lagoa-do-Fogo
Lagoa do Fogo

If you want to cruise to them directly from Portugal, the country which the archipelago belongs to, you should be a highly experienced sailor, accustomed to long-distance crossings.

If, instead, you are not ready to face the demanding waters of the ocean and you prefer to explore the Azores only after having landed at the airport of Sao Miguel, the largest island of the archipelago where most of international flights are operated, here is an itinerary that will make you discover one of the world’s most fascinating archipelagos by sea.

It’s an authentic natural paradise, a destination where weather is mild throughout the year, with constant high thermal pressure. After all, who has never heard of the Azores anticyclone? How many people, however, can point them out on a map?

Nine green spots in the blue ocean

The starting point is the port of Ponta Delgada, the capital of Sao Miguel Island, also known as “green island” for its large expanses of grass, lush fields and tropical forests that give a sense of peace and freedom.

destinations-sao-miguel-ponta-delgadaIn the primitive scenario of the hinterland (don’s miss the famous volcanic lake of Lagoa do Fogo) rises the coastal town of Ponta Delgada, the economic, political and cultural beating heart of the Azores.

A cosmopolitan and touristically lively city, it offers a wonderful promenade, perfect for a relaxing walk before casting off and heading south to Santa Maria Island, about 60 miles away.

Also known as “yellow island” or “the island of the sun“, Santa Maria is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque islands of the Portuguese archipelago, thanks to its wonderful beaches and enchanting bays where you can drop the anchor in total safety.

Santa Maria is a floating color palette where the white the houses, the green of the vegetation, the golden sand and the basalt of the volcanic stones give life to a real spectacle of nature.

Heading north and sailing along the western side of Sao Miguel for a total of around 186 miles, you can get Terceira Island.

So called because it is the third island discovered in chronological order, Terceira represents a mix between pristine nature and urban architecture of great artistic originality; not surprisingly, the historic center of the city of Angra do Heroísmo, the capital of the island, is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Flores Island
Flores Island

You can drop the anchor in the bay of Praia da Vitória which, wide and sheltered from the wind, is the ideal starting point for an excursion by sailboat or RIB. Offshore, if you’re lucky, you might spot dolphins and whales splashing around freely in the Atlantic.

The Island of Sao Jorge, with its particular shape of a dragon lying on the sea, is less than an hour of navigation from Terceira. There, large vast green meadows flow directly onto the ocean, interrupted only by cliffs made of lava consolidated over millennia.

Opposite Terceira raises Pico, the second largest island of the archipelago and the most volcanic one (for this reason it is called “gray island”), at the center of which rises the Montanha do Pico which, with its 2,350 meters, is the highest mountain in Portugal.

The coastal town of Madalena houses numerous diving sites. Don’t miss an excursion to the famous Grotta das Torres.

Yachts destinations: Azores, a journey into the most remote nature

Less than 4 miles away raises Faial, with its gorgeous beeches and hydrangeas. It is the most populated of the Azores islands. The main town is Horta, which offers a well-equipped marina with good protection from all winds.

Destinations-Azores-HortaThe main natural attraction is the Capelinhos Volcano, one of the few volcanoes still active on the Azores, whose last eruption dates back to 1957.

The other three islands of the archipelago are located to the North. In this area, Atlantic currents become more vigorous, therefore we suggest to undertake the journey only in favorable weather conditions.

Azores Graciosa IslandGraciosa Island is completely flat and, among the lush grasslands, stone windmills with red roofs spring up here and there.

Rich in thermal springs, Graciosa jealously guards the Furna do Enxofre, a gallery that leads inside a large cave with an underground lake of sulphurous water. In this picturesque island, the most particular village is Santa Cruz, where you can taste excellent dishes based on fish and exotic fruits.

Flores Island, instead, is very small and you can circumnavigate it in a couple of hours. You can start from the Arch of Santa Cruz das Flores, passing through the Gruta dos Enxaréus and Gruta do Galo, and explore caves and coves visible only by sea.

In the heart of the island, you can admire the Ribeira do Ferreiro waterfalls. Flores is locally known as “little Ireland” because of its florid and intense green vegetation.

Volcan-CapelinhosFinally, Corvo Island is very small and parsely populatedTrekking enthusiasts have known them only since 2007, when the island was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

From Mount Morra da Homens a spectacular panorama opens onto the volcanic lake that fills the crater. The only village on the island is Vila do Corvo, which is located near the port from which maritime connections with Flores depart.

Among boat itineraries, the Azores archipelago represents a niche destination. That’s why  we highly recommend it: you will return with nature in your eyes and the ocean in your heart.

Superyachts.News is a The International Yachting Media publication.

Superyachts news by The International Yachting Media

Rolex giraglia: a history of sailing

A history of sailing : inside the Rolex Giraglia offshore race 2019

Joining the Rolex Giraglia is much more than taking part in a sailing competition.

Rolex-Giraglia-crewThis is well known by boat owners who, year after year, want to continue to breathe its exciting atmosphere. This is well known by crews who literally compete with each other to be invited on board one of the many boats taking part in the race. And this is well known even by the sailing professionals who inevitably put the “queen of the Mediterranean” at the top of their list of preferences.

Luca D'AmbrosioWhen, as the case of this edition, it is windy and the finish line is in Monte Carlo, then the charm of the Rolex Giraglia achieves extraordinary heights.

These emotions and satisfactions are usually reversed for participants and, only partially, despite the incredible number of media forces deployed by the organizers, involve the boat owners and crews that  haven’t joined the race yet.

That’s exactly why The International Yachting Media has decided to make a docufilm that, shot during the race, could return to the viewers the pictures of the competition directly from within it.

A docufilm that could tell not only the images, always amazing, of the competition but also the atmosphere of the start from Saint Tropez, crews’ emotions, the joy of the arrival and the spectacular party in Monte Carlo.

The-International-Yachting-Media-rolex GiragliaA docufilm that, through the voices of key players, could tell the noble reasons that led to the birth of the Rolex Giraglia as well as the massive work of the yacht clubs that guarantee a perfect organization for what is one of the most popular races in the Mediterranean.

The 67th Rolex Giraglia has, indeed, registered a record number of participants. 297 sailboats have taken part in it and, I assure you, seeing them departing from the start line all together, and in a matter of minutes, is an indescribable emotion.

An emotion that, after passing the Cape of Saint-Tropez, became even stronger, fed by a 30-knot south-west wind that characterized one among the most beautiful close-hauled moments of my life. After this amazing experience, we sailed on a beam reach for a total of 220 miles that could not have been more perfect.

The arrival in Monte Carlo, the impeccable organization and the seafaring spirit shown by the crews in the fourth and fifth tier at any time of night and day seal with the adjective ” unforgettable” the end of a unique experience.

An experience that we want to tell you with the pictures of  our reportage “A History of Sailing – Inside the Rolex Giraglia offshore race 2019”.

Enjoy it!

A history of sailing

Inside the Rolex Giraglia offshore race

BLive Communication production

A special thanks to:

Be1Sails – Millennium Technology Center
Rolex
Rolex Italia
Raymarine
Quick Nautical Equipment
VennVind

Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez
Yacht Club de France
Yacht Club de Monaco
Yacht Club Italiano
Yacht Club Sanremo