Sail Away – The Sailing Club of Lagos

Lagos, situated on the Algarve’s southwest coast, is one of the pre-eminent sailing clubs and small boat instructional schools in the whole of Portugal. The location is well sheltered from the prevailing northerly winds and has the protective walls of the old fort and the sea wall of the channel leading up to Lagos’ municipal marina. Boats are launched from a sandy beach into calm waters, an ideal location for beginners and experienced sailors alike. Boat classes are typically the Opti and the Laser, now renamed the Ilca, an acronym for International Laser Class Association. 

The club began operation in 1950 with the aim to teach school-age youngsters to get out on the water and learn to sail. It has approximately 60 students, operating at weekends during term time and every day during the summer holidays. The goal is to train these young sailors to sail to a competition level.

The club director, Rui Raimundo, explained that in 2022, “Our athletes competed in Faro in the 2nd Prova de Apuramento Nacional class ILCA. There was a stand-out performance from Eolann Hynes-Knight, who, in a very competitive fleet, took the 3rd position, giving her a podium finish. Very close was Rúben Ribeiro in 4th and Jannis Tomaz in 7th. Many congratulations went out to all athletes for their excellent participation in two days of competition with very harsh weather conditions!”

Olympic training
Rui Raimundo

This year, these three young athletes have qualified for the European championships in Spain, taking place this April.  

The club is not only a venue for young sailors to learn and compete in small sailboat races, but it is the host club for many marine events like cruising yacht regattas, foiling one-design catamaran races, dinghy races, windsurfing and various angling events. The sailing club also offers recreational navigation courses. 

The calendar for the summer includes many fun events, and if you can’t join in, a table at the water’s edge with a cold beverage in hand is a great alternative. The catamaran races in June and July provide a wonderful spectator opportunity, especially from the cliff top near Camilo Beach overlooking the spectacular Bay of Lagos.

Calendar of Events

  • 1–4 April – Windsurfing Nationals
  • 29 April–1 May – Windsurfing National foil and board – no foil
  • 22 April – Sportfishing Tournament
  • 4– 5 June – Cruising Yacht Race – Lagos to Faro, Faro to Lagos
  • 18 June – Snapper Jigging Competition
  • 21– 25 June – The GC32 Lagos Cup – foiling catamaran races
  • 7–9 July – Ports of the Discoveries Regatta
  • 10–14 July – GC32 World Cup – Foiling Catamaran Championship
  • 15–18 July – Cruising Championships ORC
  • 12 August – Dinghy Championship
  • 15 August – Veterans Dinghy Championship 
  • 17 August – Bottom Fishing Tournament
  • 23–27 August – Sailing Cruise to Funchal, Madeira
  • 16– 1h September – International Course Fishing Competition
  • 30 September–1 October – Dinghy Race. Trophy Races, Bay of Lagos

The GC32 Racing Tour

The Clube de Vela de Lagos has received praise for being instrumental in bringing the GC32 Racing Tour to Lagos. Portugal’s Algarve coast was not known in yacht racing circles before the GC32 Racing Tour first visited in 2018. Since then, it has become a firm favourite with the GC32 teams. The waters in the bay off Lagos can provide strong winds and flat water, but frequently, the weather conditions are more irregular, so teams must be prepared for anything.

While weather conditions are an attraction, the venue is popular because of the local support the teams receive from the Marina de Lagos, Tourism Portugal and the marine experts at Sopromar Centro Nautico. The Clube de Vela de Lagos was especially lauded thanks to its members and the ‘family atmosphere’ given by its enthusiastic youth sailors.

Recreational Navigator’s Courses

In April 2010, the club started navigation courses. Its classroom is equipped with modern technology (internet, video projector, etc.) and several instructional vessels (rigid vessels with cabins and semi-rigid). The following courses are offered and begin once a minimum number of enrollees is verified (varies from course to course). 

Junior Sailor from 8 to 16 years old 

Enables the holder to embark on a small boat with power to 6hp and up to 6 metres in length. They must sail to a maximum distance of one mile from the low-water line and three miles from any harbour. Candidates receive instruction on applicable legislation, vessel nomenclature, manoeuvres, rules to avoid collisions, safety, first aid and engine operation.

All the courses include accident insurance, educational materials, administrative expenses and issuance of the licence.

Sailor (sail, auxiliary sail and power) from 16 to 18 years old 

Allows for the command of vessels to a maximum distance of three miles from the coast and ten miles from a port of refuge. Their vessel must be up to 6 metres with power up to 30hp, this includes jet skis and motorised boards regardless of their power. Candidates receive instruction on applicable legislation, vessel nomenclature, manoeuvres, rules to avoid collisions, safety, first aid and engine operation.

There are other intermediate courses, but the most advanced available is the:

Coast Boss 

This qualification entitles its holder to command vessels, with no size or power limit, up to a distance of 40 miles from the coast. Candidates receive instruction on applicable legislation, vessel nomenclature, manoeuvres, rules to avoid collisions, safety, navigation on marine charts, passage planning, first aid, meteorology and engine operation (diesel, outboard, 4-stroke, etc).

Cais da Solaria, 8600-315 Lagos

+351 914 857 273

Main photo: European Championship Contenders


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