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Old 31-12-2014, 08:56   #61
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
And this is the forecast nearby for Tuesday 6th Jan.
The whole field of single feather arrows look like 10 knots.
Its not 10 knots, it is 50 knots average predicted!

And the ones with a feather and a half are not 15 they are 55 knots.

We will be hanging onto our hats the next few days :
I'm always cautious of forecasts in the Med as they are wrong as much as right. Let us know after Tuesday what the wind does. Windfinder, which I use, shows the wind starting on Wednesday, but that's quite a long way off and certainly will change.
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Old 31-12-2014, 09:02   #62
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

Gday Cookies,

I would second just about everything seaworthylass has written on this post.

We left the med in 2010 but we spent 9 years there (mostly eastern med), loved it and we cruised during winter but only for four winters as unfortunately we had to stop and work the other winters.

Our best memories of the med are from these winters.

Yes you need to enjoy isolation as sometimes you will be stuck onboard due to gales. But you generally get more good days than bad in terms of being able to get out and sail or for excursions etc. We sometimes would wear just a t-shirt in the midday warmth but a week later we might be sitting out a gale watching the sleet come down. Or spend the day hiking the hills to summit a smaller one for the view to the not so distant range covered in snow.

Provisioning is pretty easy all year round except for the tourist stuff which you don't miss anyway.

Yes the weather can change rapidly but forecasts are good and widely available. We don't have any long range comms but relied on both greek and turkish marine vhf forecasts which we found worked well. Later this was combined with gmdss forecasts and grib files via cellular modem.
In winter we always knew where the next well protected anchorage was and we never did any passage without a clear forecast for the passage time plus a safety margin. There are well protected anchorages in most areas (not many sometimes but enough to enable prudent cruising) however in winter they must have close to 360 degree protection for the gales so plan ahead and you'll be fine.
Ground tackle must be oversized and prudent seamanship the rule.

The rewards are stunning coasts unspoilt by crowds with challenging and satisfying cruising. On the Turkish coast the harbour that in summer will charge a visitor the equivalent of 20 or 30 euro a night, in winter wont even have a harbour master and the reception from the locals is even more welcoming. The same goes for Greece where they have a respect for anyone who sails in winter.

Go forth and enjoy, just because very few do it just means the best is left for us to savour..
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Old 31-12-2014, 09:42   #63
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

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I'm always cautious of forecasts in the Med as they are wrong as much as right. Let us know after Tuesday what the wind does. Windfinder, which I use, shows the wind starting on Wednesday, but that's quite a long way off and certainly will change.
Yes, they are often wrong

When predictions are for stronger wind, we look at several models for the weather. Windfinder 3 day 'Superforecasts' tend to be reasonably good, the standard 7 day 'Forecast' less so. Grib files are useful (I currently use the PocketGrib app on the iPad). Poseidon gives a good averall image.

At the moment it is all extremely volatile, with the forecast varying from hour to hour and dramatically between sources, so all bets are off .

Early December 2010 we were anchored in Naoussa Bay in Paros during the storm which caused some problems for the cruise ship "Brilliance of the Seas" passing closeby on passage to Egypt.

A couple of videos showing conditions on board the ship:



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Old 31-12-2014, 10:07   #64
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

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......There are well protected anchorages in most areas (not many sometimes but enough to enable prudent cruising) however in winter they must have close to 360 degree protection for the gales so plan ahead and you'll be fine.

Ground tackle must be oversized and prudent seamanship the rule.

The rewards are stunning coasts unspoilt by crowds with challenging and satisfying cruising.
......
Go forth and enjoy, just because very few do it just means the best is left for us to savour..
+1 .

The reception from locals is particularly fantastic on the small Greek islands. We have been warmly welcomed into each community, not viewed as tourists, but guests. It is very different to summer. Everyone keeps an eye on us. I am recognised by what someone termed "my uniform" (crocs, pink shorts and Musto jacket ) and greeted by name. The main port is twenty odd km from where we are currently anchored, but each shopkeeper I encountered yesterday (and the 'Papa' I hitched a ride with) warned me of the weather as soon as I walked in, asking how we were doing. Even in isolated spots there is little real privacy .

Winter is a very special time here.
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Old 31-12-2014, 10:38   #65
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

Great videos, especially the second one with the tables and dishes crashing.


Where in Naousa where you? I anchored twice right behind the small church this year. Perfect sand and really good protection I thought.
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Old 31-12-2014, 11:00   #66
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

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Great videos, especially the second one with the tables and dishes crashing.


Where in Naousa where you? I anchored twice right behind the small church this year. Perfect sand and really good protection I thought.
It was a NWerly at the time, so in the NW corner (Monastiri) just north of the little island with church.

PS Isn't that church on the island stunning at night? . When lit, because of the slight elevation it seems to float above the water.

When you are there next, there is a little family run winery called Moraitis a couple of hundred metres east of the big church overlooking the township of Naoussa (head downhill after you reach the church and there is a signpost). The best Greek wine I have tasted . It is easy to walk to from the anchorage you were in and one of the owners sons is always happy to give you a lift back to the dinghy with any purchases too heavy to carry.

Monastiri anchorage:
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Old 31-12-2014, 11:37   #67
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

Pretty off topic but I LOVE NAOUSA !! I'll definatly check into the winery when I'm there next year. FWIW, we get pretty good Greek wines here in the States. Drank two bottles this week actually, though I can't remember the winery.


It's 9 degrees F here in Michigan today so naturally I'm spending my time dreaming of Greece. This morning I listened to Despina Vandi on the way to my office - it's that bad.


We had the best wind this year in the Aegean since I left the Caribbean. When leaving Katapola Harbor on Amorgos there was a 40 knot North wind and really big seas. We hit 11 knots on a close reach with a third reef and hanky of a jib heading to Koufonissia. Ended up sailing to Schionousa because I didn't want to stop. What a day, I'm still smiling about it. It made up for my crappy birthday on Santorini.


Next year I'm heading right back to the Cyclades for the summer, then on to Marmaris to leave Palarran with Yeloya for the winter. I hope we cross paths.




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Old 31-12-2014, 11:53   #68
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

I think we'll stay right where we are for the time being. Two other boats in sight and then likely several hundred miles before the next one. One of those we arranged a meet with months ago. There is a howling 8-15knots of breeze, the sea temperature is 29 degree's centigrade with 32 deg C air temp whilst the sea state is a bit rough at F1 - but we can see waves splashing on the reefs. I think we'll wait for calm weather before leaving. The fish are leaping on to the lures; the world is going good.
Our only issue is needing credit on our Iridium, pesky thing...............
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Old 31-12-2014, 12:50   #69
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
It was a NWerly at the time, so in the NW corner (Monastiri) just north of the little island with church.

PS Isn't that church on the island stunning at night? . When lit, because of the slight elevation it seems to float above the water.

When you are there next, there is a little family run winery called Moraitis just south of the big church overlooking the township of Naoussa. The best Greek wine I have tasted . It is easy to walk to from the anchorage you were in and one of the owners sons is always happy to give you a lift back to the dinghy with any purchases too heavy to carry.

Monastiri anchorage:
Nice information about the Wine. I will try to pass there last year. I don't share Palarran good impression regarding Greek wines that I find expensive (the not bad ones) and not that good. An exception for the white ones of Crete that without being really over the top are very agreeable and not too expensive.

I am used to French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish wines and that's with what I compare them but maybe I did not find the right ones so if someone can give information about good Greek wines at not more than 4/5 euros a bottle I would be interested.
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Old 31-12-2014, 15:48   #70
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

Here is a picture of the bottles. I don't expect much from cheap wine but some are good. These are between 15 - 20 usd. Click image for larger version

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Old 31-12-2014, 16:58   #71
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

Thank you all for your great accounts. They've been very helpful!

What I'm taking away from all of this is that cruising the Med in the winter is definitely doable. It's certainly not for everyone, but then neither is heli skiing in the rockies or mountain biking in Patagonia! Not that I would contemplate either of those!! But provided one, and one's boat, is prepared for the conditions there is absolutely no need to spend 4 or 5 months tied to a dock at the same place. Not that some of that couldn't be fun also - we recently spent 10 days doing a road trip through Tunisia that did nothing but wet our appetite for more land-based exploring in that part of the world!

So now we are even more unsure of what we'll do come next fall - so many options! Stay put in the Greek and Turkish islands... Head down the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean (That'll be a whole other thread!)... The Canaries... Transat to the Caribbean... Or find a reasonable marina to use as a base and explore south eastern, or for that matter south western Europe, and explore by land.

That's what you get when you ask! We'll probably decide next September!!

Happy New Year everyone!!!!
May 2015 take you safely all to all the ports you wish to go - even if you have no idea where they might be!!
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Old 31-12-2014, 17:35   #72
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

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Here is a picture of the bottles. I don't expect much from cheap wine but some are good. These are between 15 - 20 usd. Attachment 94631
.
That's out of my budget, me and my wife drank wine at almost all meals (some beer in the summer). I am also spoiled in what regards to have premium wine at low cost (4/5) euros.

On the Christmas meal with the family we drunk Herdade da Figueirinha (Alentejo) Reserve 2011, silver medal on this year's Brussels international contest, at dinner today I drunk one that won a gold medal at Mundus Vini (German international contest), Cabeça de toiro, reserva 2011 (Tejo), great wines, specially the first and none of them cost me more than 5 euros (the first one about 4).

I can find in Italy some great quality wine for about this price (but you have to know where to look for it) but not in Greece.
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Old 31-12-2014, 23:36   #73
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

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I am used to French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish wines and that's with what I compare them but maybe I did not find the right ones so if someone can give information about good Greek wines at not more than 4/5 euros a bottle I would be interested.
Greece has some world class produce: thyme honey, yoghurt, feta, olives, olive oil .... Wine is not on my list. As an Aussie lass I have a taste for full bodied Shiraz/Cab sav blends and Greek reds I've tasted fall well short of what I would call great reds.

In dim little grocery stores I stand struggling to decipher which bit of the label refers to the varietal and 99% of the time I am none the wiser. So I take pot luck and this has been more of a 'miss' than a 'hit' thing for me. On the odd occasion I find a bottle we like, we have moved on and I never see it again.

When it comes to cheap wine, the very best Greek stuff I've found comes from Liddl supermarkets. Wine from the Nemea region in the Peloponnese with a black label is their most expensive Greek red at around 4€ and it is decent cheap wine (better than most I have paid twice or three times more in groceries). I come across a Liddl a couple of times a year and stock up .

The Moraitis red I've enjoyed has been a bit more like the big gutsy Aussie reds we long for and I filled the dinghy with the last lot I bought:
Greek Wine, Winery Moraitis in Paros Greece
It was around 8€, so still a relatively cheap bottle.
I have never seen it for sale elsewhere. The other great thing is that this little gem can be found just a short walk from a good anchorage and boxes are delivered right into my dinghy .

Any other recommendations for Greek reds from anyone, including where they can be found?

(PS Cookies, before you leave Tunisia, if you are heading to Greece, stock up on wine. It is excellent value for a reasonable drop, at least it was several years ago when we were there. There is a winery about half an hour from Port Yasmine marina that is open by appointment only. The locals in the marina can give you all the info.)
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:30   #74
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

Here's an odd semi-OT question that I have never heard the answer to. Travelling between the US and Canada they are way sticky about transporting copious amounts of booze. Hell, technically they are sticky about travelling form province to province (everyone needs their cut of the tax revenue!).

But I can't imagine Europeans making a fuss about wine. Wine seem more of a staple than a luxury there... What are the laws regarding a lovley floating wine cellar?
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Old 01-01-2015, 23:15   #75
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Re: Cruising in the winter in the Southern Med – Doable or not?

To be frank, it has never been an issue for us, in any country. Even when we stopped in Saudi with mechanical 'issues' we were not asked about alchohol. Obviously, we keep it out of sight.......
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