Race of the Barcos Rabelos

Have been worrying for a day or two – who do I root for in this race?  Warre’s was my first love and still is for vintage, but tart that I am I could not face life without Ramos Pinto’s 10 year Quinta de Ervamoira tawny, nor Graham’s 20 year old tawny…

In the event none of the three placed.

A barco rabelo is the small ship that was used to bring the port down river right up through the mid 1960’s.  At the Museu do Douro in Régua you can watch a fantastic film of one of the last trips made – more about that another day.  As the prevailing winds here are westerly, they had to pretty much row, pole or shoot the rapids to come down river with the port, and then sailed back up.

Nowadays, the barcos are usually moored all along the cais de Gaia.  Which looked oddly naked today at noon – everyone was off to the races, which start near the mouth of the river.  The finish line is just short of the Ponte Dom Luis I.  I was up on that little tourist terrace just on the Gaia end of the bridge.

Everyone coming round under the Ponte Arrábida (12:45 ish) :

Clear leaders at the bend in the river nearing the cais de Gaia:

Colourful trailers – all that dye in the sails must have had a dragging effect:

Coming into the finish line:  Fonseca clear first, and Cálem and Dow’s look tied at second.

Taylor’s was last, Graham’s just ahead of them – but I love this photo as a very clear shot of the boat itself and the two men straining at that tiller – it isn’t much of a tiller, more like a giant oar, I can’t imagine it gives very much leverage