ponente ligure inverno

5 Ports of the West (plus one) here’s how they are during winter, undraped

15 mins read

It is known that winter navigation is harder and more challenging then it’s summers equivalent, it’s thus preferable to pass the night in one of the many marinas which overlook onto this wonderful stretch of coast.


Finale Ligure, Marina di Capo San Donato

finaleWe double Capo Noli and Punta Crena heading towards the marina from East, the entrance is about a mile and a half away. Near the entrance the dept quickly decreases, we draw 2,35 so we slow down while the dept gauge articulates more and more small figures. Curious is the trend to build ports on top of shallows, it’s something I’ve been always asking myself in twenty years of sea traveling…

The port site reports depts in dock at 3,5 meters, hard to think how to take advantage of it considerating that the entrance is limited by the dept gauge at 2,6 meters. At the entrance signs and buoys remark the same problem, calling attention for the approach to the distributor, the entrance in this marina is not recommended with seaway coming from East, its prevailing wind is the sirocco.

20151227_161414-300x169We call on channel 69 and enter without any problems seen the sea state (calm) and we moor with the assistance of a nice gentleman whom maybe has nothing to do with the marinas management but richly compensates with his kindness and helpfulness. It’s around 4:30 PM and the port is already closed, the kind gentleman collects our data, and gives to us a magnetic card for the use of the amenities, and prorogues us to the following morning for the transit payment.

thumb_IMG_8081_1024-300x225Capo San Donato’s Marina was built in 1962 and has about 560 berths, during the years it has took advantage of several modernisations and it’s been added to the Whale Sanctuary.

After navigation a nice hot shower is what is needed to warm up, so we head ourseves towards the showers which, we find to say the least, in poor conditions. They are positioned in a dilapidated structure, the interiors are left in an totally abandonment state, the plaster is falling apart, the shower handles are all rusted, really bad…

ponente ligure inverno  thumb_IMG_8083_1024-225x300

Finale Ligure is a nice country, very touristic, but the port is about half an hour walk far from the center, the walk tho is gladdened by a wooden esplanade realized by the municipality, apparently more careful to this than to the needs of the boaters. After spending a nice evening we return for the night, the following morning we pay the mooring which seems to us frankly exaggerated for the state of the harborage (40 euros which grow up to 53 during high season) and sail again. A positive note goes to the staff, very kind and helpful.

For any other data or information we refer to the tab of the port on our pilot book, getting more richer day by day in ports and anchorages.

Sanremo, Portosole

Schermata-2016-01-01-alle-22.12.31-300x188About 35 miles separates us from Sanremo. A nice SW brings us by sail to the pearl of the “Riviera di Levante”, which we find after have rounded Capo dell’Arma. Approaching here is simple and bare of perils, two very long breakwater dams enclose both Public Port and Portosole, they are respectively separated by an outer harbor at West and East of the entrance.

While we enter the bottom is never below 6,5 meters. Two arms, internal to the dam, further shut Portosole making it free of troubles, the control tower is located entering on the left, a rapid VHF (channel 9) communication directs us to the moorage.

o_60-300x200Within the port there is plenty of space to maneuver, the docks reserved for transit are the first entering, the man who moors the boat awaits us and even extends us the right line (windward). Sign of experience and competence.

No interrogatory here, the harbor office is open, we’re told to take our time, so we tidy up the cockpit, we have a coffee in a nice cafe in the quay and then we set out towards the office where we are welcomed by the kind and competent staff members whom greets us and provides instructions for the use of the comforts offered by the marina.

The environment in this harbor is perfect, everything is clean and in order, at each pier-head there are some very comfortable carts for the transportation of luggage and shopping towards the boats.

thumb_IMG_8093_1024-300x225The access to the services is possible with a card, they are numerous and, most of all, clean. Along the port there are cafes, restaurants, a laundromat, a nautical accessories shop and many other activities.

In conclusion, a lovely harbor immersed into the city, from which portrays lifeblood, we really liked this port, also excellent for leaving the boat for a few time.

The daily transit price for the editorial staff’s boat (13 meters sailing) amounts to 41 euros which grow up to 66 during high season, a more than correct amount for the service offered.

Port card on our pilot book

Mentone, Port Vieux

From Sanremo to Menton there are almost 15 miles to tread, a wonderful distance to sail leisurely. After a few hours sailing we double Capo della Mortola and sight Menton.

Arriving from East on starboard is clearley recognized the profile of the overwave dam of Port Garavan, half a mile further is visible the tower (where also the harbor office lies) which delimits the old port’s entrance on the left.

It’s hard not be fascinated by Menton’s view coming from the sea..


Even this entrance doesn’t present any depth problems, we call on channel 9 and we are greeted by qualified personnel whom indicates the mooring assigned to us.

The old port of Menton is managed by pleasant and helpful staff, at our arrival (31 December) we are provided of clear indications about the use of the port and it’s ameneties, also two free wi-fi access codes of the marina are given to us and finally also a map of the town with indications for museums and things to see. Really excellent service.

The only flaw of this beautiful marina, practically absorbed in the Old Town, is the undertow. Here it quite shakes when the wind blows southerly, especially in places reserved for transit which are the closest to the entrance.

The daily transit price for the editorial staff’s boat (13 meters sailing) amounts to 30 euros which grow up to 46 in high season.

Also in this case it is possible to read the board on our pilot book for technical info.

Marina degli Aregai


It is about time to start coming back and we head toward one of the biggest west Ligurian harbors, Marina degli Aregai, with it’s 800 meters of overwave dam it’s a foolproof port, able to receive little less than a thousand of boats with a length between 6 and 40 meters.

Arriving from West we skirt up to detect Mount Santo Stefano, leaving on the left Riva Ligure, we travel through the overwave dam until reaching the entrance of the port, located on a backdrop of quite abundant depth.

ingresso-aregai-300x200Over here kindness is of the house too, we are welcomed at the VHF with all the necessary indications and the control tower makes sure we find there a mooring operator ready to grab our mooring lines. The operating space, which usually is mostly unprovided in ports, in this marina is overabundant, there’s always enough water to make the necessary evolutions to moor in safeness.

The fuel distributor has a much more longer wharf and it’s situated in the middle of the harbor, right in front of the harbor office .

After completing the formalities of the case, we are kindly taught for the availment of the structures, overabundant. In the overall of the marina there are all kind of shops (40!) which you could need, we even count three ship chandlers!!!

Hither assistance is provided 24 hour a day, the weather service is continuously updated and the bathrooms are always clean and efficient, a five star service which, fortunately, is given to an absolutely average price, this structure is the one we preferred in terms of value for money.

The daily transit price for the editorial staff’s boat (13 meters sailing) amounts to 33 euros which grow to 51 in high season, an absolutely right price for the services provided.

Imperia Porto Maurizio


We arrive from West in a day characterized of high and long big waves coming from South-West, sign that the Gulf of Lion is giving its best, fortunately the entrance of Porto Maurizio is oriented to East, so as soon as we enter into the outer harbor we immediately stop furling and we can finally position the fenders.

We already called channel 9, thus find a mooring operator waiting for us onboard of a rubber dinghy which guides us to the transit place, located along the overwave dam on the west of the structure, there we find another mooring operator which extends us the staircase and receives our mooring lines.

Imperia-300x200Porto Maurizio is huge in the historic village of Imperia, just a few steps there is really anything, being moored in the city has always it’s benefits…

The harbor office is very far from the moorings thus the structure invented a check-in onboard, a really nice initiative. After giving us the time to relax, an employee reaches us onboard and we quickly complete all the formalities, including the payment considering they are even endowed of portable POS.

Porto Maurizio offers to yachtsmen more than 1.200 berths from 5 to 90 meters and it’s one of the biggest equipped areas of the Mediterranean, more detailed information are shown in the specific page of our pilot book.

Marina di Porto Antico


So it is, this cruise is coming to an end, and while returning we feel like visiting one last port, so we stop in Genoa at Marina di Porto Antico which, although no longer in the West, is worth the effort to describe.

marina-porto-antico-3-300x88Marina of Porto Antico is a jewel nettled in the pulsating core of Genoa, directly in the homonymous village, a lovely example of land revaluation. The position of this port is enviable, just a stroll there are the best attractions of all Liguria, including the Aquarium. The station of Piazza Principe is just 600 meters away, the airport is 20 minutes drive by taxi, by car we are just 10 minutes from West Genoa’s tollbooth and, on top of that, a stone’s throw away from Genoa International Boat Show.

Crossing the street we enter directly in the Genoese caruggi, in other times defined as “the tight spaces of an oblique city” and the landscape becomes immediately medieval.

GENOVA-PORTO-ANTICO-300x217The marina has 265 boat spaces from 10 to 65 meters, it’s definitely a “5 star” location but, we can assure you, the numbers don’t reflect this concept, a further reason to go see personally how it is.

The daily transit price for the editorial staff’s boat (13 meters sailing) amounts to 60 euros which grow up to 70 in high season.

Also in this case our pilot book has a very detailed tab.


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