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Old 02-02-2014, 03:08   #1
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Rias of Galicia

The plan is to buy and take our boat to Spain next spring. Is there enough to see/do/learn around the Rias to keep us occupied for 1 season? We are a crew of 2 with Day Skippers.

I appreciate everything is personal and relates to one's own outlook and ambitions so this question relates more to the practicalities of Marinas? Are they safe to leave a boat at for a month at a time? I anticipate being able to be with boat for maybe 8 weeks during the season.

Can one plan challenging coastal day sails to build experience? Are the Rias distinctly different enough or a quite similar.

My questions are vague, sorry so any general guidance is appreciated. I have read JimB pages which are excellent.

So maybe to wrap up - can I safely and enjoyably keep a boat in this area for a season?

Thanks
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:27   #2
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Re: Rias of Galicia

We passed through there in 2000, so I have to defer to any more recent visitors. However, I would have loved to spend a season there - the Rias are all very different and most of them offer excellent shelter in virtually all weathers. There are secure marinas in (from S to N) Bayona, Vigo, Pontevedra (Sangenjo), Arosa (Vilagarcia), Muros (Portosin), A Coruna, Betanzos, Viveiro. A little further east there is another marina at Gijon. There are probably even more now since we visited.

In virtually all these Rias it is also possible (and in the others, necessary) to anchor. However, the marinas are useful if you want to explore the mountains of the Picos de Europa (from Gijon) or Santiago de Compostella (from Muros or Vilagarcia).

Most yachts sail straight down to A Coruna from the Brittany coast, which is a shame, since there are several lovely harbours sailing west from the French border such as Hendaye, San Sebastian (yacht club pontoon), Guetaria, Lequetio, Castro Urdiales, Ribadesella and Cudillero which are infrequently visited by foreign yachts. If you have a whole season, it's worth IMHO exploring this S. Biscay coast before you arrive at the Rias.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:47   #3
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pirate Re: Rias of Galicia

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Originally Posted by athene View Post
We passed through there in 2000, so I have to defer to any more recent visitors. However, I would have loved to spend a season there - the Rias are all very different and most of them offer excellent shelter in virtually all weathers. There are secure marinas in (from S to N) Bayona, Vigo, Pontevedra (Sangenjo), Arosa (Vilagarcia), Muros (Portosin), A Coruna, Betanzos, Viveiro. A little further east there is another marina at Gijon. There are probably even more now since we visited.

In virtually all these Rias it is also possible (and in the others, necessary) to anchor. However, the marinas are useful if you want to explore the mountains of the Picos de Europa (from Gijon) or Santiago de Compostella (from Muros or Vilagarcia).

Most yachts sail straight down to A Coruna from the Brittany coast, which is a shame, since there are several lovely harbours sailing west from the French border such as Hendaye, San Sebastian (yacht club pontoon), Guetaria, Lequetio, Castro Urdiales, Ribadesella and Cudillero which are infrequently visited by foreign yachts. If you have a whole season, it's worth IMHO exploring this S. Biscay coast before you arrive at the Rias.
+A1... its a great coastline with lovely people, the Galicians are distinctly different from the rest of Spain with their own traditions and lifestyles.. I love the area.
My favourite ports are Viveiro on the N coast and Baiona on the West.. but its all great cruising grounds..
Watch out for the sea fogs..
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:26   #4
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Re: Rias of Galicia

Agreed, you can easily keep yourself entertained for a season in Galicia. Baiona was our favourite stop. Ribadesella was our favourite entrance, kinda scary though. There's so much to see there, one season only gives you the highlights.

Cheers, and enjoy!
Paul.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:54   #5
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Re: Rias of Galicia

I'd say it'd be a mistake NOT to spend a season there. For me, having sailed from the UK to the Med, around the W Med and now over to the Caribbean Galicia remains my favourite area, hands down. The culture, in-landscape and coastline are all remarkable; be prepared for nowhere else to be quite as good.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:23   #6
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Re: Rias of Galicia

This is excellent all, thank you.

We are novice sailors, we need time on the water. Could this area be described as 'safe' for us to gain confidence in planning, pilotage etc. with safe places to run to if necessary?

Jon
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:57   #7
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Re: Rias of Galicia

Hi Outforaduck,

Would recommend the pilot below and the charts for the area for passage planning. Only you know yourself, boat and crew. Check the weather and swell. We use magicseaweed for the latter. We cruised the Northern Rias in 2007 and transited the Southern Rias last summer. From that experience the Southern Rias are warmer and sheltered from the prevailing winds by outlying islands.


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Galicia is most different to Southern/Mediterranean Spain. We loved Galicia and will go back - beautiful, dramatic landscape and friendly, helpful, smiley people. Highlights for me - Viveiro, Camarinas, Baiona, grilled sardines, albarino, Estrella de Galicia beer, Fiesta de Carmen, all seafood, day trip to Santiago de Compostela, seabirds, dolphins and whales.

Enjoy!
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Old 02-02-2014, 15:37   #8
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Re: Rias of Galicia

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Originally Posted by outforaduck View Post
This is excellent all, thank you.

We are novice sailors, we need time on the water. Could this area be described as 'safe' for us to gain confidence in planning, pilotage etc. with safe places to run to if necessary?

Jon
Yes, as long as you're sensible and get regular weather forecasts. Fog, as an earlier poster has mentioned, is a common problem and radar is an asset on this coast. Tides are less significant than in UK waters and effectively only become an issue when anchoring.

It's safer in many ways than the Solent or parts of the West Country - especially if you plan on being in a marina if there is a bad forecast.
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:18   #9
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Re: Rias of Galicia

I agree with all the points made above.

A couple of cautions.

The Portuguese trade winds (May to September) vary in strength from the NE off A Coruna, round to N off Finisterre. Land shelter ensures they don't produce big waves. But those winds sometimes reach 30kts or more. So working north can be hard work, and it's essential to posh up on your reefing!

And if there's a warning about swell (set off by distant N Atlantic storms) a 1 - 2m swell at sea off A Coruna can turn into 6m breaking giants on 10m depth shoals!

OK, so the following pic is off Nazare, in Portugal, but it gives you an clue that swell is something to think about when navigating Atlantic coasts which shoal steeply!



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Old 04-02-2014, 02:32   #10
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Re: Rias of Galicia

agreed, some great cruising grounds, marinas cheaper than the Med. The water can be a bit cool for swimming till after June. Some details of that coast on our blog from 2 years ago. Sephina
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:22   #11
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Re: Rias of Galicia

Hi, we sailed our Najad 460 from Lymington to Lagos last summer and spent 2 months in the Rias before heading to Portugal. My wife and I are both Day Skippers and until last year our experience was limited to chartering, mainly in the Med.
We found the Rias a perfect cruising ground: lots of interesting towns and villages, wonderful coastline and countryside, friendly people and great seafood. A trip to Santiago de Compostella is a must and is an easy train ride from many of the ports along the coast. Fog is an issue from time to time and is not well forecast so radar and AIS are more than useful.

The link to our blog may be of interest.

The Voyages of Lyra | a log of our sailing adventures
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:10   #12
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Re: Rias of Galicia

Hi, we spend the winter of 2010-11 in Vivero, and the spring of 2011 until late June 2011 (when we left for the Azores) in the Rias. There are no better cruising ground and it is highly recommended. You can find pictures and comments at: 's/y Troldand - Retirement cruise' or more comprehensively (if you use google translate from Danish) at 's/y Troldand - Tekst & billeder 2011'
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:49   #13
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Re: Rias of Galicia

Thanks to all for informative comments. Flights booked for May to visit La Coruna...let's see...
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:58   #14
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Re: Rias of Galicia

It is without doubt one of the best cruising grounds in Europe.
Don't forget that from there you can use the local buses which are very cheap to see inland Galicia. Santiago de Compostella is not to be missed.

We spent some amazing times there. We have a full blog and plenty of pictures on our website and I am still adding more.

Anything you need to know then just ask

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Old 10-02-2014, 13:08   #15
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Re: Rias of Galicia

Agreed with all said. The rias themselves are quite protected, but just outside it can be pretty snotty. So just 'cause you have a beautiful sail going inside doesn't mean it will be pleasant outside.

The biggest issue is getting there. Crossing Biscay can be quite challenging so be very patient waiting for a weather window to cross. Perhaps it would be better to coast hop down the French coast - others may comment, I haven't sailed there.

The seafood is excellent, the people are friendly, the waters protected.

Greg
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