This season with be the third in a row that the Circuit has visited Portimão, on Portugal’s Algarve coast.
In 2007 and 2008, Portimão offered excellent racing from a venue which is challenging on the water and compact and self contained ashore.
On the water the predicted winds, when they blow, are usually brisk and but rarely too straightforward and venture to the Atlantic waters for the Audi MedCup Circuit add a welcomed, different dimension.
The extensive marina lies at the mouth of the river Arade which itself has been the key to Portimão's growth over the years. It forms an extended natural harbour.
The city dates back to an early life as a trading port for the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthagnians and indeed some historians maintain that Portimão was the original Portus Hannibalis, named after the Roman general Hannibal Barca. The river was the access to the ancient city of Silves, capital of the Algarve during Moorish occupation.
A new municipal museum is housed in an old sardine canning factory, a legacy of a fishing industry which was vital to Portimão for many years. Armacao de Pera offers a small 18th century fortress, the lovely beach village of Alvor, and on the other side of the river from the marina fishing village of Ferragudo, with the fort of St John of Arade built during the 17th and 18th centuries, a reminder of Portimão´s need to defend against pirates many years ago.
Portimão has developed as an important holiday destination on the Algarve coast, but has a lot of experience now in attracting and hosting big sporting events and the City Hall has invested in showcase events, making a big effort to host the Lisbon Dakar rally, the Formula 1 powerboat circuit, and ABN AMRO trained from Portimão leading in to winning the lastVolvo Ocean Race. And now Portimão also back a global round the world sailing race.
Portugal's leading Olympic Star sailor Afonso Domingos from "Bigamist 6" describes local winds:
"The statistics say that there is usually wind at that time of year, 10-20 knots, northerlies. The standard conditions are what we have late summer, with the anticyclone in the Atlantic (the Azores high pressure) and thermal low pressure systems in Spain, which generates a north wind. Usually this high and low produces a North Westerly for the Portuguese coast. Usually it starts light in the morning and it gets stronger as the day gets warmer."