Sailing Sister Cities: Sausalito, CA & Cascais, Portugal

Tourists and locals enjoy the clear blue water on a beach in the small town of Cascais on a hot summer day. © iStock.com/ gregobagel

In 2013, the city of Sausalito, California added its third sister city partnership — Cascais, Portugal. Their sizes, nautical heritages, waterfront communities, and artistic traditions make these two cities a true match!

With a history of Portuguese settlers in the area dating back to the late 1800s, Portuguese heritage and culture has been preserved and kept alive by an active Azorean community and the Sausalito Portuguese Cultural Center. The enthusiasm and community support for Cascais and the Portuguese culture have made this sister city partnership especially engaging.

Sausalito, San Francisco Bay © iStock.com/ tobiasjo

The mission of the Sausalito-Cascais sister city partnership is to promote educational and cultural exchanges between the two cities by leveraging their sailing heritage and seaport traditions. In July 2015, the Sausalito Yacht Club hosted students from the Clube Naval in Cascais. This summer, Sausalito Yacht Club student sailors and a delegation from Sausalito will travel to Portugal for competitive racing, on-the-water sail training, and cultural exchange.

This people-to-people exchange provides the opportunity for experienced sailing students to immerse themselves in a new rich culture while building Sausalito’s relationship with Cascais. Staying with Portuguese host families, the students will practice citizen diplomacy as they represent their clubs and cities as ambassadors — all while improving their sailing skills. The cities of Sausalito and Cascais hope that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will help the students become compassionate world citizens committed to peace, harmony, and understanding.

Along with the sailing programs, Sausalito has also introduced Portuguese wine, food, and music. Fado is a traditional form of urban folk music in Portugal, and Sausalito hosts fadistas and other musicians to further this relationship and exchange of culture. Sausalito also collaborated on the publication of a bilingual children’s book, Maria & Her Lost Calf, is a story about a Portuguese dairy farmer’s daughter at the turn of the century. In addition, Cascais donated a public art installation to Sausalito. This active partnership looks forward to continuing to engage their citizens through exchanges of art, music, food, sports, and youth — for many years to come!


This story is part of the #SisterCitySunday series on Medium. Each Sunday from October 2, 2016 to May 7, 2017, new stories from the 28 European Union Member States will be published. Stories will also be shared on social media using #SisterCitySunday.

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