Jul 29, 1999

We are Paula and Timothy Colwell, former owners of Seawind II Hull #84. Our permanent home is on the island of Faial in the Azores. Any Seawind (I or II) stopping in Horta Faial is welcomed to contact us. paula.tim@mail.telepac.pt

Aug 17, 1999

Dear Tim/Paula: Will be back with repaired and spare starters on 30Aug PM via Lisbon. Is there anything you need besides Tim's parts? eg, more aspirin or Ocean Light or other stuff? Thanks again for your kind welcome and visits of the island, plus the wonderful gift of the Caldeira... Did you see my Seawind painting on the wall across Pianissimo? All the best, Bert dF

Dec 13, 2001

Dear CW:

I totally agree with Webb Chiles warning about the galloping inflation/infatuation of cruisers flocking to rallies and pre-empting marina space (a solution: reserve some "visitors' space") but respectfully warn about his recommendation to stop at Lages de Flores. In my July 1999 experience (and there were no plans then to extend the huge breakwater), Lages de Flores is by no means a satisfactory harbor, albeit the least unsatisfactory in the area:

1. There is no yacht docking space, and that may be just as well, as the harbor is often prey to heavy surge which cuts off even dinghy landing, as fishing boats preempt the few acceptable docking spaces in the bottom of the harbor. We scurried out after refueling (a grueling expedition with jerricans, 2 miles uphill before you can get a taxi ride back), but I met later in Horta cruisers who stayed a bit and were stuck on board or an land for 3 days;

2. There is a rocky ledge in the middle of the outer harbor that will chafe nylon rodes, even without surge. After one night (my crew needed a hotel night after a 36 h storm of 65kts wind, 12m waves, but I slept aboard), I had to cut off 15 ft of nylon from the length of chain.

Flores is a nice out of the way place (no airport, small population, rural and mountainous), but I would not leave my boat unattended in that harbor for more than a few hours, and with a jaundiced eye on the weather at that. By contrast, Faial has an exciting Sea Festival, lovely hydrangea-striped hills and a grand caldeira, good repair, provisioning and sailmaking values, a good beach and free showers within walking distance, a hospitable Yacht Club (with the cheapest beer in town), and near-by splendid Pico with daily ferries. Not to mention the first quays with painted yacht memories. All these can be sampled at leisure, whether you are moored or were able to find a decent berth. I finally was granted such a berth after a few days, repaired my sail track, and flew home for the full month of August without misshap.

Bertrand de Frondeville, Allied Seawind II-K Pianissimo, Rye NY.

Dec 30, 2001 2:11pm

I am a little behind in reading/responding to e-mail. In my rush to delete things I missed the original suggestion to visit Lajes dos Flores in the Azores.

Everything Bert deF says about the harbor there is true. We spent 10 days there in July 1995 and finally left because of the surge. The 7 days of rain didn't help either. (grin)

All of that aside, we stopped at Lajes because another boater told us if we did not, we would hate ourselves for the rest of our lives. THAT IS THE TRUTH. We had not intended to stop in the Azores (we were on our way to Ireland). Our Flores experience was so wonderful we continued on to, and stopped in Horta. Three weeks later we owned a house, barn and land.

The geography of Flores is not to be believed. The flowers (from which the island takes its name) in June and July are stupendous. And the people are incredibly welcoming and helpful. The only reason Bert suggested not leaving your boat unattended for more than two hours is the harbor. Not the people.

The culture is reminiscent of small-town US in the 1950's. We never locked anything the entire time we were there. Even here on Faial with a larger population we only lock our house when we are not at home and we only lock our car in downtown Horta.



Dec 31, 2001 9:49am

Flores and its flowers and mostly deserted mountains are beautiful to behold or trek. But, other than a quick technical stop if necessary, avid trekkers and botanists should consider taking the ferry from Horta, instead of lingering away from their boat anchored in Lages.

About Horta, what Paula does not mention is that her and Tim's hospitality and quality as persons are one of the great delights of wonderful Faial. Pico island and volcano (a must do trekking and people visit by daily ferry, much closer than Flores, can even be done in one day although a couple would give it better tribute) are absolutely grand from their abode, whether the barn where they lived for years or the new house (across the pastoral cow grazing lawn) which I saw Tim about to complete, including an elevated terrace for improved views and comforts...

I shall never forget the drives around the green hills festooned with enormous hydrangea hedges, or amidst the villages half destroyed by two earthquakes, one of which opened the earth to lava which burnt out the NE lighthouse and created a big chunk of new real estate jutting into the sea and sky. In addition to the earthquakes traumas, the reconstruction works brought lots of "outlanders" who changed a bit the old culture, eg, locals advise you with regret to lock your car in Horta itself. Walking down into the extinct volcano (caldeira) and its quasi-vertical 1300' wall with Tim also carved vivid memories, of the eyrie silence which engulfed the gorgeous views when scrambling down, of the quality of the companionable communion lunch at the bottom, or that of the philosophical exchanges whenever we would stop for a long breath while scrambling up, a very frequent occurence as we were both in our mid-sixties, and then the cool drinks on Paula's "stoep" for a last look at Pico, the jewel on the eastern ocean. So, don't forget your hiking boots...

Go East, my lads!