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Old 07-07-2010, 02:15   #1
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Anchoring Possibilities: Atlantic French, Portuguese and Spanish Coast ?

Greetings

Me and my fiancée along with our dog are in full preparation to embark on our one year voyage next Spring from Scandinavia to South Spain and then back home again.

I've read and studied maps and pilot books, but one general thing is left without an answer.

Could anyone give us an estimation, if there is possibilities to anchor in the French, Portuguese and Spanish Atlantic coast? I have located some good natural anchorages, but how is it in the actual marinas? This information seems to be missing from the books. Is there byous or possible anchoring areas in the marina areas?

I'm not really expecting a specific marina by marina list, but a general impression: Non-existing, poor, moderate or good possibilities to anchor.

My own estimation is, that in French coast it's poor, but Portuguese and Spanish coast it would be moderate?

We would prefer to anchor, as a way to save a bit money, even though the boat is not that big and thus the marina fees not that high. Also I'm trying to figure out, how hefty anchoring gear we would actually really need.
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:27   #2
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You need to buy pilot books and study them well before setting off. Imray publish one good set of them and most, if not all, of the berthing and anchoring possibilities are described there.

Another invaluable resource, maybe the primary resource for this purpose, is Reed's Almanac, which covers the entire Atlantic coast from Denmark to Gibraltar in very great detail, updated every year, and with current tide tables and tidal current maps to boot.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:14   #3
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You need to buy pilot books and study them well before setting off. Imray publish one good set of them and most, if not all, of the berthing and anchoring possibilities are described there.
Hello

Thank you for your answers. The Imray books are familiar and they are really good. However, I'm a bit confused, as I've also read several blogs from a similar trips, and their information about anchoring/berthing, does not really equal to the information in the Imray books. Some of the blogs seem to suggest that no anchoring anywhere and some suggest anchoring, where Imray books remain silent about such an option.

I'm just trying to get an general impression, but of course I will see when I'm there.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:15   #4
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I agree with dockhead - get yourself a copy of Reeds Almanac. There are many marinas but you can't anchor inside them, you would have to find an anchorage on the outside and then use a dinghy to get in.

There are harbours that have anchorages - and some may have visitors bouys. As far as the size of anchor you need, there are some threads on the forum which will point you in the right direction if you do a search for them. Without knowing the details of your boat it is not possible to be more specific.

The Spanish coast has many wonderful Rias(rather like fjiords) which are well worth exploring , the portugese atlantic coast is not very exciting - for the most part it is fairly flat, lots of fishing obstacles (pots and nets) inshore. The french coast in the bay of biscay has some nice places too.

Have fun!
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:42   #5
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Thank you for the answers. I have to get the Reeds Almanac as soon as possible. Haven't bought it yet, as it's not much use in Baltic and I'm waiting for the 2011 to be published, which will be used during the voyage.

The boat is an older construction, 30 footer old and retired ocean racer, which we have refitted in the past few years. Total weight with all equipment, supplies, gear etc, is somewhere between 3,5 to 4 tons. Current anchors are 15kg Danforth and a 7,5kg Bruce, which has worked well in Baltic. Anchor chain is on the shopping list, although I've been thinking also just a fully submersible lead rope, which would be more use, when we are back at home again. Also a third 10kg anchor is on the list. Also an outboard for the dinghy is on the list, but that really depends how much use we would have for that on this journey. Wouldn't want to buy it, if the actual use is near zero.

I know the boat by today's standard is a smaller one, but I trust the boat and have turned it upside down from the out and inside and I'm quite confident. And in any case, we will be doing short coastal hopping, as our dog will be going with us too.

This forum has been a really great reading and has given valuable information in the past year or two, as I've prepared for this voyage. Haven't registered though until now
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:52   #6
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Noonsite.com has some relevant info. The Guadiana river that separates Partugal and Spain is really well worth cruising - depending on you draft 50/60nm navigable.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:01   #7
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Lots of anchorages in the Brittany area and Gulf of Morbihan, indeed a location not to be missed and take your time.

Local marinas do vary in price considerably. Le Crouesty charged us 1.7 Euro per metre in 2007 whilst La Taballe was 3.5 Euro per metre.

No charge for using the lock into the river at Arzal and the huge flooded esturary above the lock was all free as was the town quay at Auray in the Morbihan.

The other nice thing about France is most marinas have a ciesta at lunchtime between 1200 and 1400 hrs. If you pop into a marina for a lunchtime stop they often can't be bothered to charge you, if you can find anyone to pay. So short stops for water and fuel, no problem. However do note that French fuel pumps in marinas only take French credit cards, so any other nationalities cards don't work. Normally resolved by talking to the marina office who activate the pumps and then you pay afterwards at the marina office.

Go, enjoy, you wont have a problem and lots of achoring available if you need. You also have the perfect size of yacht. What I mean by this is if you do decide to go onto a marina for a night, finding space for 30 feet is a log easier than trying to find space for 45 feet, so marinas like Crouesty can easily slot you in somewhere.

On your way down, lots of free moorings in the Channel islands too, some with free bouys (Sark).

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Old 07-07-2010, 07:16   #8
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Hello,

You can anchor in Oporto, .:::Marina Porto Atlantico:::. Leixoes, embarcações de recreio, portugal, www.lestedesign.net, porto, leca da palmeira, douro river, oporto, leixoes, maintenance, boats, apdl,iates, yates, vela ligeira, lanchas, preco amarracao, sailing, yachting, eu
Also you can anchor in isla de ons " http://www.isladeons.net/ ", and isla cies "http://www.riasbaixas.depo.es/cies/" ... good islands to visit, near Vigo, Spain.

I don´t have a sailboat and did not anchor in the islands, but went there on vacations and saw alot of anchored boats there.

In oporto is near where i live, and i usually see boats anchored there.

A litle info, hope it´s helpfull.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:25   #9
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Hi Kimmo,

Good luck with the trip and enjoy studying the Reeds when it arrives.

I'd suggest a third anchor is maybe overkill but if you could maybe trade the lighter Bruce for a heavier CQR type then IMHO do it. Also maybe forget the leaded line and go with chain.

I presume you know Sweden and Danish Baltic waters, but if you slide down the Keil Canal and then come down via Holland inland waters (mast up route) it will cost you next to nothing to moor alongside most nights.

Belgium and N French Channel coast not a lot of convenient anchoring anchoring spots but it gets easier through Channel Islands into N and S Brittany.

N Spain lots of places to drop the hook, same down the NW Spanish and then up rivers and a few protected bays down the Portuguese coast and then lots when on S Portuguese Algave and back around S Spain.

It is usually best to only cruise 30 / 40 miles a day (or you risk not seeing much of the world) and there will be days when you need to exceed this to find the next safe haven - but IMHO totally possible to complete the route to the Med.

Cheers
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:31   #10
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Remember most of the places you are going will be tidal. Apart from the tidal range, there will be a change of tide every six hours to test the holding of your anchor.

Just south of Cadiz on the Spanish coast is a lovely lagoon called Sancti-Petri. Sand dunes and turquoise water. The local yacht club has some inexpensive moorings.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:34   #11
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No quarantine problems taking a dog along that route?
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:49   #12
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No quarantine problems taking a dog along that route?
Well spotted and the answer is many, the UK and Channel Islands customs will throw a track if you try to bring a dog in via a privately owned boat.

The rules for UK:

Defra, UK - Wildlife and pets - Pets and horses - Travelling with pets

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Old 07-07-2010, 13:50   #13
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Brittany coast

Kimmo,
As Pete7 wrote, there are many marinas and anchorages on the coast of Brittany. There are also some fishing ports being converted into marinas. The Reeds Nautical Almanac mentions many of them, but not all. For example, it is now possible to berth alongside in Lesconil (SW Brittany), it should be again soon in Le Guilvinec when the construction of a new quay is finished.

To get an idea of what is possible, I suggest that you look at Google Earth: the moored or berthed yachts are fairly conspicuous.

Depending on the season, you might find some anchorages really crowded. For accessing some of them, you will need detailed nautical charts, either from SHOM (French Navy hydrographic office) or from UK hydrographic office, or a good chart plotter.

As the tidal range exceeds 10 meters on a large part of northern Brittany and Channel islands, you will need a fairly long anchor rode, maybe 2 if you intend to anchor in some deep but narrow rivers. The size of my yacht is similar to yours and I have one 10kg Rocna and one 12kg CQR knock-off, each with 20m of 8mm chain + 50m of rope (plus 100m hawser in locker, just in case).

IME, the bottom is generally good for anchoring (mud or sand). Of course, the tidal streams are powerful too, so I find my 2.2HP outboard handy.

PM me before you leave Scandinavia, I could give you more details, such as the list of charts that I use.

Alain
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Old 08-07-2010, 00:08   #14
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Thanks for the many replies.

Our general route will go through the Baltic sea, on to the Kiel channel, from where we will head to Delfzij and into the channels of Holland through Groningen and exiting from Harligen into the Ijsselmeer and from there to Amsterdam. From Amsterdam we plan to continue to follow the channels via Rotterdam and on to Vlissingen and then we are back at the ocean again. I know, it's a lot of channels to cover, but I like to see those at least once. When we sail back, we can take the ocean route, if the channels seemed too much work.

After the Dutch channels, we will follow the Belgian and French coastline, as we cannot visit UK or the Channel Islands unfortunately, due to our dog. The fact that Channel Islands are also out of the question, does worry me a bit, as they are located so conveniently in the middle of the route, when sailing from Cherbourg to North Brittany.

For Biscay, we are planning to cross it from the shortest possible distance. I've been thinking of L'lle-d'Yeu to Gijon. Or if time permits, we will go around following the coastline.

After reaching North Spain, there is no more plans, other than to slowly sail down towards Gibraltar. We have reached our destination. For wintering it will be somewhere East or West of Gibraltar. Although Ceuta and Melilla also would seem like an interesting places. We are not planning to head deeper into the Mediterranean Sea. Gibraltar I do want to see and to say, that the boat has been in Mediterranean Sea, but other than that, I don't think we have the time.

For charts I planned to use mostly if not only Admiralty charts, added with some local Dutch and German charts. We also have a very good chart plotter, but as it's unknown waters for us, I rather rely heavily to the paper ones. I'll check with you Alain about needed charts, before I start buying those.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:51   #15
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Given your route, I wouldn't worry about the Channel Islands, indeed plan the route right and use the very strong tides to go from Cherburg through the Alderney race and down to Guernsey. If you need to stop there are sheltered anchorages just south of St Peters Port harbour, Guernsey, which you could anchor to catch some sleep without landing the dog.

St Malo is nice and worth the minor detour. Plus if you have a shallow draft and like canals then how about the River Rance, Canal De I'llle all the way down to Arzal and back into the sea. You need the mast down but obat ayrds at each end can do this. Takes 5 days through very pretty French countryside. Don't miss Dinan

Misses Ushant out and puts you into Brittany, probably Frances premier sailing area, so don't rush down and do explore including the islands like Belle Ile and houat plus Gulf of Morbihan. This sets you up for sailing along the coast to La Rochelle and on to Spain.

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