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Old 30-09-2005, 06:59   #1
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The Med from Ireland by Christmas ?

Hi Bill,

I've not done that trip in December but locals advise an expectation of stronger SW'lies in that month - even west of the Ireland to Finisterre rhumb line - and also beyond down to Lagos.

Of course with a fortunate weather window you may find this section of the trip to be easier, but In December I'd be planning for a bit more than ten days of heavy weather almost on the nose for the whole leg. And I'd do some advance planning for bolt holes on the N. Spanish / Portugese Atlantic / Algave coast.

Sadly, some of the harbours from Galicia down have dangerous entries in stronger SW'lies.

IMHO the only ones I'd really count on 100% in any weather are Bayona (N.Spain), Cascais (Lisbon), and Sines - with Lagos or Portimao on the Algave a good spot before onward to Gibraltar.

Good luck with the advanced trip - keep us posted as you go.


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Old 30-09-2005, 12:44   #2
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Ireland to Med - via French Canals

It's been suggested that I consider getting to the med by going through the French rivers/canals. Does anyone have such experience? Is it navigable with a 5ft draft? Certainly provides an opportunity to get there without hitting the nasty weather west of France/Portugal late in the year...

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Old 30-09-2005, 17:54   #3
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Bill, you can add La Coruna to John's list of truly all-weather ports, especially if the ride is hard enough to break things and stopping sooner (for repairs or rest) makes more sense than later.

OTOH those SW'ly gales are what make Cascais untenable, tho' it's otherwise an easy entrance when winds have any N in them at all.

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Old 27-10-2005, 06:48   #4
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french canals

I have crossed France from the North sea to the Med in 1988 with a 32ft sailboat, drawing 1.5m. It can be done with boats having 2m keel and even more, if you choose your path carefully. The minor canals might pose a problem but there are always alternative "highways" which commercial vessels incl. 800 ton barges take.
In springtime the rivers are said to have strong flow - up to 8 knots - but otherwise it should not be a problem.
Since you'll have to adjust your sailing to lock-keepers working hours it will take around 4 weeks, perhaps 3 in summer.
And ofcourse, you'll have to take your mast off, support it on deck and get plenty of fenders and mooring lines. I believe there are books on the subject - mine (Waterways of Europe) is some 20 years old but new ones can be obtained. For my crossing I bought a set of "pilot books" - each about 50 pages thick, including charts and touristic information, in addition to a single chart covering all the waterways in France. At the time they could be obtained in most sportshops, nowadays naturally the web should be the source.
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