Our first landfall in the Azores was Horta, Faial, Azores. This tiny harbor is actually the 4th busiest marina in the world!
We passed through after peak season and were amazed at how packed the place still was. Yachts tie up to the piers rafted up to 4 deep, but luckily we were only 2 deep when we first arrived, and shortly thereafter, we were the ones up alongside the pier.
The pier is a massive concrete sea wall which is murder on your hull, so be sure you have plenty of really strong fenders. We deployed our rope fenders and were safely protected from the rough concrete, but a few air fenders did pop on other yachts while we were there.
An important point to ponder when you tie up is that your mooring warps will not only need to support your yacht, but the weight of three additional yachts that are tied up to you. As yachts come and go, a dockline shuffle will take place where the yacht up at the sea wall wil leave and all the other yachts will move around it to let it slip out.
While we were there, mini-transat yachts arrived from mainland Europe and were going to be leaving in a few days for the start of their race.
If you are concerned about costs, it is worth tying up because they charge you to anchor at a similar rate as tying up. The holding is less than ideal, so you might as well tie up and have the convenience.
After we tied up, Maddie and I went for a hike up into the mountains around the town, and at one point, we had this great view of the marina.