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Old 12-08-2015, 14:30   #1
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Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

Hi all!
Advice needed:
I'm thinking of sailing down from Koper to Gran Canaria, starting in the very beginning of October, this year.
my boat is a Bavaria Cruiser 33 (2015), me and my girlfriend have been sailing for 2 years, mostly on lake Balaton (Hungary).
I've experienced Beaufort 10 wind there, but generally I have not much experience of seas/swells.
I'd go mostly along the shores as often as possible, but sometimes we'd need to sail nonstop for a couple of days (from island to island - cca. 150-200 nm / occ.).
(not talking about from Gibraltar to Gran Canaria..)
my boat will equipped with everything from life raft to epirb, radar, autopilot, iridium, etc., and is in an excellent technical state. i'm learning weather and seas, using grib softwares, reading a lot, etc.. I understand that this is one of the most critical part.

we'd like to cruise safely by minimising the risk of getting caught in heavy weather, no hurry but safety..

I've read mixed experiences about the Med in fall/winter, seen kinda violent examples by the mother nature.

How predictable is the bad weather there? Can I possibly avoid it?

Would a route like this be too risky for someone like me, considering my background/knowledge?

I know my skills and weaknesses (especially the lack of sea practice), I don't fear, but I wanna make sure that I will not do anything that rather stupidly reckless than safely adventurous.

Can I rely on weather services, my boat, and my skills?
Advise me!
Thanks a lot,
gabor
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Old 15-08-2015, 15:39   #2
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

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Originally Posted by mgabor View Post
Hi all!
Advice needed:
I'm thinking of sailing down from Koper to Gran Canaria, starting in the very beginning of October, this year.
from Koper to brindisi via croatia island october is ideal time,but you dont have wind all days.you can expect 7-10 day whitout wind.when you open maria de leuca in italy you can expect strong wind.
in sicily siroco can be very strong.you can stop in Riposto marina.
when you cross streto di mesina must be day light,because heavy traffic.
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Old 15-08-2015, 16:56   #3
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

Hi Gabor,

It can be rough. If you do not think you can handle a full scale storm, do not go. Do it next year, in the easy (-ier) (I think this means less unstable) period. Make sure your boat is up to the job too. You do not want any equipment failures should you get caught in rough wx.

Making shorter inter port hops in weather windows MAY sound like the safer options BUT it will push you further into late autumn and you will spend more time inshore where demands on your skills and vigilance are higher.

IMHO, all other things equal, given you will go, I would try to take off as early as you can and pay huge amount of attention to the forecast. Also, prior to your trip, try to learn as much about Med wx patterns as you can. You will want to know not only what the wx is doing but also 'why', and play accordingly.

When departing Gibraltar for the Canaries, make sure there is no front approaching you within the first three to four days. I have seen skippers coming with big round eyes ... ;-)

If you are not certain when you are at Gibraltar, you can contact me to discuss wx on the Atlantic stretch from Gibraltar to Canary Islands. I cannot help you in the Med as this is beyond my day to day watch.

Good luck, see you in Las Palmas,
barnakiel
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Old 15-08-2015, 17:13   #4
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

It's doable, but personally I'd be making haste for Gibraltar and the canaries ASAP. The weather forecasts in the med become extremely unreliable from mid October onwards. It's common to see a forecast of 20K southerly, change to a forecast of 30k northerly and end up getting neither. The canaries is a great place to hang out and warm so the sooner you get there the sooner the fun begins
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Old 15-08-2015, 18:57   #5
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

You want to arrive in the Canarues much earlier than October. August is good. September not as good... Oct not at all good.
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Old 16-08-2015, 06:12   #6
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Gabor.
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Old 16-08-2015, 10:21   #7
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

hi all and thanks for your kind answers!
reading you guys I remained unsure, so will be doing more resource, and asking some more questions here, hoping that you don't mind

which one is the best grib source for the med? i'm feeling WRF europe a bit more accurate since i'm watching all of them day by day.
do you know any routing service, specialized in mediterranean? with some extra local knowledge over reading global gribs that i could do as well.
would a paid routing service make it safer, and worth it to pay?

talking to rough weather... is it even possible to face damaging breaking waves there? I think we can coop with the winds, colds and showers during the route, one thing i'm afraid is the swells.

or anyone knows any other location for wintering aboard? somewhere that would easily accessible from Koper?

thanks a lot, gabor
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Old 16-08-2015, 14:54   #8
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

Wintering aboard is possible everywhere. Some winter in Antarctica, some in Canary Islands.

Your question re hiring a router is a tricky one. A router does not make the weather, hence they cannot make your trip safer. It is the skipper that makes decisions, takes risks and faces responsibility. Hiring a sailing weather router (by this I understand a weather router who understands the challenges specific to sailing) makes sense or else we have to call people who do so ignorant. From my experience, they are not.

Sometimes even experienced routers in their playing field of choice get it wrong. The boat and the crew must be ready to take whatever conditions can be met with in the area and season they chose to make the passage.

If you understand the weather and fear that you may be unable to get updated wx data once underway, consider asking an experienced sailing friend of yours to provide you with wx updates to your sat phone. Messages to Iridium and Inmarsat networks are free of charge. I believe the same may apply to Thuraya.

b.
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Old 16-08-2015, 15:39   #9
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

The weather in the Med can be unpredictable at almost any time, but October to December it gets even more so. Round the world sailors have been taken by surprise on how vicous the Med can get.

One think to remember is that most of the weather forecasts come from a model with a 0.25 degree resolution. I.e. a grid of 15 miles or so. Now just remember at this scale the width of the Pyrenees mountain range where it goes down into the sea at the border between France and Spain is invisible! And these go up to over 11,000 feet. These mountains change the weather very significantly.

While sailing in this area we have experienced in the middle of August a change in wind strength from F1 to F7 in the space of about 3 minutes. Fortunately just before it hit I saw a suspicous line on the water and had already started to heave to.

Going into a F8 and into the very short sharp vicous waves (3m height is quite common) against the prevailing current is wet, cold, miserable and depressing (you make hardly any VMG towards your destination). You need to be able to organize thinks such that when (and you will - despite all the effort you make looking at weather forecasts and trying to interpret and guess) you do get caught out in such conditions you can lower all sail and run under bare poles to a suitable safe haven down wind.

I have passed Cap Bear once, when I overhead a radio conversation where a yacht about 3 miles north of there called them up and asked for the current weather forecast. Cap Bear Signal Station read out the recent Meteo France forecast for the area - F1 to F2 wind from the South, calm seas etc etc (which was what the yacht at the time was probably experiencing except the wind direction was all wrong). Then just before finishing, they said, by the way you might like to know that here at the moment it is blowing F7 from the North West with rough seas.

I have been sailing in this area 8 years now - and I still get caught.

Treat the Med with utmost respect and be well prepared.
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Old 16-08-2015, 16:46   #10
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

I forgot to say, this season is 2015-2016 year of el-nino. time will be unpredictable. Ocean in Peru/Equator is a lot warmer above the normal range, it will have impact globally on weather. Special caution is required.
weather on adriatic sea Croatia side you can expect By Christmas 2015 Spring weather.for other location on you voyage you must ask local.for italy ask sud italian,for spain ask spanish people.
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Old 18-08-2015, 03:53   #11
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

You will like Croatia in October. And in Greece. If you have time spend the winter in Turkey and proceed further in spring.
Good weather forcast for Croatia is: DHMZ
Aladin model takes GRIP files as input and adds local specifics to it.
It is much more relevant then plain Grip files, which ignores the islands.
Croatia is expensive to sail as you have to buy sailing permit and they only sell full calendar yer permits. So even if you only sppend a few days there it will cost you hundreds of EUR.
So, when you buy that expensive permit use it for some time as it is very nice there.
Another hint: many nice bays are full of mooring buoys with no space to anchor. Consessionists charge good money for it.
Anchorages in Croatia Use this link to find (and avoid) them if your budget does not allow it.
If you only want to go fast from Koper you can sail Italian coast as well. No checking in and out of Slovenia, Italy, Greese etc as it is all EU Schengen area. I did that once, but in summer.
As soon you are out of Adriatic you would wish it would still be summer.
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Old 18-08-2015, 04:15   #12
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Have not had an accurate forecast in the Med this year.. from Malta-Sicily-Sardinia-Balearics-Gibraltar.. and that was April through to July..
Have fun...
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Old 18-08-2015, 06:04   #13
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

considering all of your comments, and things i read elsewhere, i decided to go only to South Italy this year, have a wintering there afloat, and then continue on the next summer.
i think this step-by-step approach is the wisest i could do now.
i found this marina: MARINA - SIBARI - CASA BIANCA GROUP - CANTIERI NAUTICI LAGHI DI SIBARI - C.da Laghi di Sibari (Cs) - Il pi¨ grande porto turistico del Mediterraneo ...
seems good for wintering,
and i've read that this bay has a special -warmer- microclimate, that would be nice during wintering.
i'm glad i found this forum btw, very helpful.
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Old 18-08-2015, 13:11   #14
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

hi all,
I just realized that my prev post disappeared or just lost in space. so again:
I decided to sail from Koper to South-Italy, to the arch of the boot (Sibari).
I would go along the east-italian coast. I know it is not that rich by nature, but it will be the safest leap I can start with.
Then we'll winter there afloat. I've read that there is a warmer microclimate in the bay, so I'm hoping the best.
In settled periods we could sail around, and always go back to the marina..
And as winter passes, I could continue to the Canaries, according to your posts
Does it sound fair? Hope we won't freeze, altough we could come home for a couple of weeks or months.
Thanks for your help, this forum is a must. glad i found it.
cheers
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Old 19-08-2015, 16:25   #15
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Re: Oct-Nov-Dec in Mediterranean

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgabor View Post
hi all,
I just realized that my prev post disappeared or just lost in space. so again:
I decided to sail from Koper to South-Italy, to the arch of the boot (Sibari).
I would go along the east-italian coast. I know it is not that rich by nature, but it will be the safest leap I can start with.
Then we'll winter there afloat. I've read that there is a warmer microclimate in the bay, so I'm hoping the best.
In settled periods we could sail around, and always go back to the marina..
And as winter passes, I could continue to the Canaries, according to your posts
Does it sound fair? Hope we won't freeze, altough we could come home for a couple of weeks or months.
Thanks for your help, this forum is a must. glad i found it.
cheers
you route is not good. if you go for this side because dont wont pay croatia permit is not good choise.because you stay 2 night in italy marina and your advantage is gone.you can be on anchorage in voyage.and permit for your boat in croatia is only 143 €. and you can stay on safe anchorage gratis and also lot marina on island is sesonal in winter is free,all smal port on island out season is free no pay nothing.
in winter i like this marina
Adriatic Croatia International Club | ACI ┼Żut

for new year i go Adriatic Croatia International Club | ACI Palmi┼żana

also in italy you have free port usaly fishing,but 100% time you must be on boat because Italian fisherman love to cut boat rope.
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