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Old 04-01-2007, 17:40   #1
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Winter in the Med?

My family and I will be taking delivery of a new boat in France sometime in 2007. I write "sometime" because the production schedule for our Lagoon 420 has been subject to some delays and uncertainties.

Our original plan was for a July delivery, a few months of sailing the Med, than an Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean for the cruising season in the islands. If our boat is delivered much later in the year, we are considering whether we want to stay in the Med. through the winter months and sail over to the Carib. sometime around April or May. There would be a lot more shore excursions, more time at marinas, more expense, etc., cruising in Europe and the Med., but the cultural advantages are very appealing, especially to my wife.

So, I am beginning the research. What kind of weather could we expect? How predictable/unpredictable will the sailing conditions be? How problematic will the Atlantic portion of the trip around Spain and Portugal be? (I don't even know if there is an option of having the boat launched from a Med. port.) Can we sail all the way to Greece (my wife's homeland) during the winter season? What's the southern/eastern Med. like in the winter? How about Italy?

Any advice on winter conditions in the Mediterranean would be very helpful. Any recommendations to other sources of information would be great.

Thanks,

Charlie
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Old 05-01-2007, 04:03   #2
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Charlie, there are a number of us from N America over in the Med right now and we're scattered about for the winter season. Depending on where you would like more info, I'm sure I can put you in touch with folks who are wintering nearby (from Lagos, Portugal to Barcelona, to Rome's suburbs, to Naples Bay, to Malta - where we're berthed - to Turkey). Here are a couple of initial thoughts that might be helpful to you.

1. If you launch and take delivery on France's Atlantic Coast - and assuming a delay from the July delivery date - just plan to stay put until next summer. If you want to use the boat, it will need to be delivered to a Med port as getting out of Biscay in the winter isn't a good idea, especially for a new/unproven boat & its systems. If getting the boat in the Fall, you could consider harbor-hopping around the Bay's edge - great cruising, especially from Gion, Spain westward, but the weather will be difficult at times. Once on Spain's Atlantic Coast, you may be tempted to stop and settle in up one of the Spanish Rias where protection and inland travel options exist (e.g. Villa Garcia or A Coruna).
2. If launching in the Med, your biggest initial schedule unknown may be when you will think the boat ready to begin cruising. Learning the systems, provisioning, the 101 things that you remember you need/want/wish you had aboard - all this can take some time, doubly so when in an area with which you are not familiar, with perhaps limited languague facility, and perhaps without a car.
3. Most cruising folks view winter in the Med as a time to settle in somewhere; very few actively cruise, especially W of Greece. And much of Greece is wet and cold. Depending on where one chooses to winter in Turkey, one can also get a cold, wet winter (e.g. Marmaris, a very popular wintering spot and chartering base). As you note, there is much inland travel opportunity if you base the boat in a suitable spot, and choosing a winter berth with that travel in mind might steeer you away from Greece's islands...and her mainland is pretty far North.
4. Right now would be a good time to begin monitoring daily weather conditions at a number of potential wintering locations - it will help you get a sense for the weather you'd see if trying to move the boat. (Try not to use inshore weather reporting locations - e.g. Rome - but rather locations that see the Med's sea weather. E.g. monitoring Valetta, Malta weather would be a good choice since it's small and stuck out there between Tunisia and Sicily. Personally, my hunch is that your family would find most of the sailing needed to get you past italy's Boot as unappealing once the Fall weather pattern sets in, and meanwhile you might be busy fixing things after each day's adventure (new boat, you being the test pilot, will you have th tool or part you need, etc.). OTOH perhaps you are hardier than some and/or eager for a bit of adventure. Be sure you have good onboard heat, independent from shore power.
5. Another thing to consider if remaining in Europe until its time to sail W from Gibraltar is the compatability of your boat's systems with the Euro infrastructure. You no doubt had the boat built with the N American infrastructure in mind, so e.g. consider how easy/hard it will be to accept 230V 50 Hz AC off the power stand, replenish your propane bottles, etc. We've written a series of articles on the reverse issue - adapting a N American yacht for Europe - which might still be of some use to you. You'll find them at Whoosh

Good luck to you on the construction & delivery process.

Jack
jack_patricia at yahoo.com
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Old 06-01-2007, 06:43   #3
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Location: Winters: UK, Southampton. Summers, Greece, Finikounda.
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Mediterranean Cruising

You'll find a lot of answers to your questions on my website, which compares the cruise areas of Europe with each other and rates them, giving the 'must sees' and the 'avoids' in each area. It just had a major update on 2 January

It also links to sites and pages giving more detail - for instance, sound advice to North Americans preparing to cruise Europe.

It's not a commercial site, and I'd welcome further questions . . . and criticisms.

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Old 06-01-2007, 08:44   #4
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Hi Charlie,
Welcome and good luck with the new yacht. We've spent the last two summers cruising from UK down Portuguese Caost, into Med and up to Balearics, then onward speeding past Italy / Greece to Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. Bit of a ramble but most of its on our blog.
Cheers
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Old 15-01-2007, 09:02   #5
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Charlie

The first thing you should do is get on to the Amazon web site and get yourself copies of Jimmy Cornells books 'World Cruising Handbook' and 'World Cruising Routes' and spend your winter evenings doing some useful reading.

These books will provide answers to most of the questions you already have and many that you havn't even thought about yet.

I'd lay odds that better than 90% of crusing sailors have these two books on board.

Take special note of the weather systems and the advice in the books on the best times to do particular passages. As others in this thread have said, you would be wise to get to know your new boat first with some coastal crusing in a place where spares and equipment can be found. The west coast of France is ideal for this.

In the summer of 2006 we crusied out Moody 471 from Southampton in the S coast of the UK to Portimao on the Algarve (S) coast of Portugal. It was a delightful trip which took us almost 6 weeks. We crusied down the W coast of France and N Spain and spent some time sightseeing in Lisbon and in anchorages but as we are both still working to build up our crusing chest we couldn't spend any more time exploring.

We are currently in the marina at Portimao for the winter.

I can recommend the N coast of Spain and the W coast of Spain and Portugal for scenery but be aware that the best time to do this trip is in mid summer and aim to be well tucked up to the east of cape St Vincent (S tip of Portugal) before the Autumn.

Make sure you get radar fitted. as fog can sometimes prove a problem on the W coast of Portugal.

Fair winds

Borden
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Old 28-03-2007, 07:44   #6
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We have also been doing extensive research on spending the winter 07-08 in the Med. Currently it looks like the Costa del Sol area La Bajadilla, marina in Marbella has the best rates. If you know what you are looking
for (ie want to stay at a marina close into a city...) try booting up Google
Earth. You can "surf" the entire coast of the med. in 30 minutes and pick out areas that appeal to you. From those choosings then you can begin to check out marina web sites and winter weather sites for
those areas.
I too, though would be happy to have any ideas from anyone who has been there, ...done that.
Currently we are in the Acores on the island of Terceira. We would
like to spend the summer on the east coast of Ireland if we can find a reasonable marina,
if not, I believe that we will stay right here for the summer and then
sail on to the med.
Max
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Old 28-03-2007, 08:28   #7
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Hi all.
Ours is in Porto Colom. Apparently been there a few years. The place has good write ups.

Rgds
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Old 28-03-2007, 09:42   #8
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csy and Jackstee, thanks for reviving this post.

Our "take delivery" date now looks to be right around the end of September/beginning of October in La Rochelle. I plan to hire a skipper to spend some time onboard educating us on the boat and systems. We will start the coatal hopping as soon as weather permits. Mallorca and Barcelona are early targets in the Med., Italy later, and then debate whether to get to Greece. My wife is half Greek, with relatives in Athens so I know she will want to try to get there. I also have a daughter who yearns to go to Egypt for some sightseeing. So we will probably be on the move, whenever possible, rather than settled into a single port.

I already have the Cornell books and I suspect I will be learning more and more about Mediterranean weather as the adventure progresses. The good news is that we have no set schedule so we can wait for favorable weather windows. The down side may be that marinas/anchorages may be full of boats that aren't moving around as much.

Charlie
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Old 28-03-2007, 10:28   #9
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Hi Charlie,
Think you'll be pleasantly suprised just how many safe anchorages you'll be able to use in the Med and as for weather forecasts, well summer months = light winds, period.
We went down to Egypt last year linking up with the East Med Rally to ensure help with officialdom - it proved to be an extremely cheap way to secure marina berths just about every night for two months.
We kep details on our blog so if you want to check out some places go look back around June / July 2006.
Enjoy
JOHN
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Old 29-03-2007, 04:32   #10
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Ireland, Spain

Hi Max,

Sorry, my site had been down for four or five days last week - overloaded. It's up and running again now.

You mention E Coast of Ireland for the summer - there are good marinas at Howth, near Dublin. However, I'd strongly recommend cruising the SW of Ireland first, lovely area, plenty of good marinas and good communications.

Your recommendation to scan the coasts with Google earth is very sound. Slight problem in S Spain is that many of the commercial marinas are filled with private berths, and have little space for visitors. The most flexible marinas are those run by the local town councils: the 'Junta' marinas. There are links to them on my web site. Booking with them is chaotic. It is four years since I sailed this coast, so I hesitate to give a direct recommendation for any particular marina.

By the way, 'cold' (referred to earlier in the thread) in the Mediterranean is relative. Frost is very rare, except in the Adriatic and around the N Aegean.

JimB
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:20   #11
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Charlie,

Congrats on the 420. I am currently in the Med on a Lagoon 440, picked up in La Rochelle May 2006.

FYI - check with your dealer about exporting your boat - if you will be flying a non EU flag. We were not told about it before hand, it changed our plans a bit. We were told that after Lagoon does the export paperwork, the boat must leave the EU (just briefly). We went with the Chanel Islands, where some other people we met went with Morocco.

Cathy
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:19   #12
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Jack and others,

We are also looking for a place to spend the winter in south Spain. I have contacted a few marinas (only by email so far) and have either been told there is no available space or have had no reply. Any ideas or suggestions or others to contact would be appreciated. We would like to be near a city with good train service and a safe location to leave the boat for a month or so.

We are currently in the Netherlands and will follow the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain and Portugal slowly, exploring as many towns as possible. We plan to arrive in the Med in Fall.

JimB, I have not looked at your website yet, but will as soon as I have WiFi again.

Charlie,
If you have any questions about purchasing a boat in Europe under an American flag (and not paying the VAT) last year we purchased a Hallberg-Rassy 40 in the Netherlands and registered with Dutch customs. We need to leave the EU within 18 months and will stop in Morocco when we enter the Med. Jack's (WHOOSH) website has some of the best and most up to date information on VAT rules.

Jim
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Old 11-04-2007, 03:56   #13
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Hi Jim,
And Others...
(Jim I have sent you an email this a.m.) Again I say use your Google Earth
if you have internet service. It has been a world of help to us. I enabled
the "metro", "train", and "bus" buttons under the 'transportation'' section. I was then able to -cruise - all of spain, in short order looking for exactly
what you are looking for. After finding those places of interest - I have been writing them.
Now I have a question?? Has anyone been to the Gexto / Bilboa Spain marina? Do you have any contact information? Any experiences there
you' share? Thanks Max & Lucette csy33delight@gmail.com
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Old 17-04-2007, 10:34   #14
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Getxo, Bilbao etc . . .

Yes. They're written up on my site. The old yacht club/marina is much cheaper than the new marina, more welcoming, but less POSH. There is a large and safe anchoring area NE of the old yacht club.

For things to do and an evaluation of what's nice etc - try my site . .

JimB, Google 'jimb europe' or go:
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:11   #15
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Hey Charlie
Did you manage to get away on time. We were out at Poto Colom at Christmas. It was great.
Will be there again first week of September.

Good luck

Jack
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