While the Azores are renown as a stopover on a transatlantic passage, there’s another way to experience the 9-island archipelago straddling 36 to 39N and 25 and 31W — via bareboat from a company that offers five Dufour monohulls from 38 to 45 feet.
For high school teacher and sailor Nicolau Faria, starting Sail Azores with his family in 2011 was more than a way to stay busy during summer break. “We love the Azores, our home,” he told me in Horta, on Faial, during my visit to the islands aboard the Swan 57 Flyer.
“We love to sail, we love boats, and we want to show the Azores to other people,” Faria said. “We want to show our place to the world. For those for whom it’s difficult to get to the Azores by boat, now you can sail in the Azores. We have a strategic position in the Atlantic.”
From Flores in the west to Santa Maria in the east, the area encompasses more than 300 miles and the between-island distances range from as little as two miles to more than 100, so diehards won’t be disappointed. Flights to and from North America and Europe are frequent.
On land, attractions of the individual volcanic islands satisfy a range of interests beyond the renown watering hole of Café Sport— from sites with world heritage and biosphere designations to those with golf, trekking, bird watching, surfing and diving. Excellent food and wine come from island farms and vineyards. The standard bareboat amenities, from linens and provisioning options to galley and navigational gear, are provided, as are dinghies and outboards. Anchoring is in deep water and Faria is working on a plan to install moorings in selected harbors throughout. High season for one and two-week charters is May through September. For details contact Sail Azores.