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The Azores:
Summering and Wintering!

   by Duncan Sweet
After many years of helping clients who stop in Horta while crossing the Atlantic from the Caribbean to Europe, a few things are clear.
Some yachts that cross towards Europe in May, June or even July (?!) may be a little behind schedule and are sorry they cannot spend more time exploring all the delights of the nine islands of the Azores. Yet the Azores should be considered a cruising destination in their own right.

If you are so inclined, I would like to propose you break your voyage in Horta, explore this amazing archipelago, and then consider overwintering aboard or leaving your yacht under our care while you get on with life back home. Then, the next spring you are only a week’s sail from Lisbon or about 12 days from Gibraltar or Falmouth in the UK. The point is, you can continue cruising the Azores in the spring and also have a jump on the European cruising season just next door.
There are good facilities to leave a boat ashore here in the Azores. Terceira and the marina at Praia da Vitoria are best suited for this purpose. There is also hard standing in Sao Miguel, Santa Maria, and, to a limited degree, in Horta.

Many cruisers leave their boats in the water in Horta over the winter; there is good overwintering shelter here. Monthly or six-month rates (including water and 220v/50Hz electric) are available. Berths are in the middle of town and close to all essential services, entertainment and local culture. Horta is a gateway into Europe and in a variety of ways will be a change from the Caribbean.

Many Azoreans are connected to farming, agriculture and the stewardship of the land; fishing and a budding tourist trade. The Azores are clean, well kept and very welcoming to visitors. It’s also very easy to feel safe here. The summer months provide a great cruising area that remains to be discovered in depth instead of simply used as a stop for food, fuel and water on the way to Europe.

We have good flight connections to Horta from Lisbon as well as frequent service from Boston to Sao Miguel and/or Terceira; all with Azores Airlines (
In any case, we look forward to seeing you in Horta and hope you have a safe, swift and uneventful crossing!

Duncan Sweet is the owner of Mid Atlantic Yacht Services (MAYS). MAYS will watch vessels overwintering in Horta and offers support for any work needed on board, no matter the scope or depth: engineering, electric/electronics, maintenance and cosmetics, on deck or aloft. MAYS operates 52 weeks a year. For more information see ad in the Market Place section, pages 36 and 37.

Visit for current information on clearing into the Azores.


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