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Old 23-04-2014, 05:40   #1
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Surprising weather Western Med??

Three weeks ago I sailed my new yacht from Palma back to Falmouth UK. I was very aware of the sensitivity of the weather at this time of year, particularly the notorious Bay of Biscay and was very prepared to "hole up" when and where necessary. I had a solid crew on board and the yacht was very well prepared. The leg from Palma to Gibraltar I had imagined would be fairly benign and a good time to get to know the yacht well, handling characteristics and systems. The big surprise was that despite forecasts from numerous sources for winds in the range of F4-6 SW and moderate seas, twelve hours into our trip we had 50+knot SSW winds and big seas. We had few choices of refuge without running into a lee shore and rode it out under reefed stay sail and a handkerchief worth of main. This strength of wind continued for a full eight hours and we eventually managed to get into a Marina at Almeria where we waited out the storm. I am no meteorology expert, but I am baffled as to why this may have occurred and was virtually un reported. The pressure gradient throughout was very, very shallow. The conditions were wrong for the Levante and I assumed we were too far East for this phenomenon? I would be grateful to hear from anyone who has experience anything similar or can explain why this occurred. I would be keen to avoid it in the future! By the way, Biscay was a pussycat.
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Old 23-04-2014, 06:54   #2
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Re: Surprising weather Western Med??

unexpected strength of weather is not at all uncommon around the Balearics, with mean wind speeds often well in excess of forecast. It can be a nasty place to be


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Old 23-04-2014, 07:01   #3
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Re: Surprising weather Western Med??

It is not so strange there.
The weather in the area is not so unpredictable as in Golf du Lions for example, but still even west from Balearics You need to be prepared for several hours of Force 8, while Force 6 is forecasted.
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Old 23-04-2014, 07:08   #4
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Re: Surprising weather Western Med??

Quote:
Originally Posted by OysterDriver View Post
By the way, Biscay was a pussycat.
Sometime I wonder why so many people are just sure about Mediterranean being a kind of sheltered lake...
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Old 23-04-2014, 07:17   #5
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Re: Surprising weather Western Med??

Double Whisky, I am certainly guilty as charged. I hadn't even taken the bimini off and was planning to do that in Gibraltar along with extra straps on the tender. I am certainly wiser now and thank goodness nothing got broken.
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Old 23-04-2014, 12:37   #6
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Re: Surprising weather Western Med??

On the time of sailing ships French Navy sailors that new the waters of the Atlantic and the Med very well called the Med "La Garce" that in popular French means "the whore". You can imagine that they didn't found it very trustworthy on the wrong season
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Old 23-04-2014, 13:24   #7
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Re: Surprising weather Western Med??

I remember talking to the crew of an America cruising boat on the canaries. They had been around the world , up the Red Sea ( that was before it went sour). The only place the boat got best up and shredded a sail was off the Balearics !!!!

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