Madeira - Profile
- Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal but has a culture of its own. The madeira wine produced here is world famous.
- The majority of yachts arrive in Madeira during October and November on their way to the Canary Islands and the Caribbean, while some leave direct from the main port Funchal to cross the Atlantic.
- There has also been an increase in the number of American boats cruising the Atlantic circle of Bermuda, Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands during the summer, while Madeira has also become a popular port of call in the spring, for yachts returning to Europe after wintering in the Canaries.
- Only two islands of this volcanic archipelago are inhabited, the largest, Madeira Grande, which gives its name to the whole group, and Porto Santo, 28 NM to the northeast. The smaller islands of the main group are Ilha Chao, Ilha Deserta Grande, and Ilheu de Bugio.
- There are only basic repair facilities in Porto Santo and for any work it is best to sail over to Funchal. There are no facilities or provisioning on any of the other adjacent islands.
- The Ilhas Selvagem, a small group of islands about 180 miles north of the Canary Islands, are a wildlife refuge administered by Madeira. Yachts wishing to visit them can now acquire a permit on site, from the guards, however the Madeira Natural Park recommends that yachts should ask for the permit prior to their arrival. The marinas in Madeira can all assist with this.
The islands have a pleasant and mild climate all year round, the air temperature rarely falling below 60°F (16°C) in winter or rising above 72°F (22°C) in summer. Due to the influence of the Gulf Stream the water temperature similarly varies only between 17° and 21°C (63-70°F). The prevailing winds are north-easterly and all the ports and anchorages are sheltered from this direction. Only the more variable winds of winter and the passage of lows across the North Atlantic can cause problems, otherwise Madeira can be visited virtually all year round.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.