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Old 17-04-2012, 03:54   #1
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Wintering in the Mediterranean

Two questions for those experienced Mediterranean cruisers out there:

1. Assuming one isn't joining the exodus to the Caribbean in November, are there pleasant (read warm) areas of the Med/North Africa to keep sailing through the winter months?

2. Is there a 'must have' cruisers reference book detailing marinas, anchorages, etc. across the Mediterranean?

Thanks in advance.

Dom
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Old 17-04-2012, 04:11   #2
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

Dom

We spent 3 1/2 years in SE Asia before moving the boat to the Med last year. We wintered over in N Cyprus and almost froze to death, or so it seemed anyway. We intend to stay in the Med five years so we need to better plan next winter. One of the things we are considering is the Vasco Da Gama down into the Red Sea in the future. They leave Turkey in September and return in May.
Also I might mention there seemed to be one storm after the other coming from the west. I don't think the Med lends itself to winter cruising but my experience here is certainly limited.
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Old 17-04-2012, 04:11   #3
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

Interested to hear responses Dom, we've just bought pilots and chart sets for Croatia, funnily enough Viv picked up 'Marina's of Croatia' and that has heaps of info for this country.....Cheers mate.
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Old 17-04-2012, 04:57   #4
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

Ive been in the Med since 06 and the winters are no fun, cold,wet & sometimes quite nasty with some very bad winter storms-not really a great place to sail in the winter, you can sail if you have a good eye on the weather and a place to duck into-I leave the boat fly back to Miami for the winter-
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Old 17-04-2012, 06:10   #5
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

The Red Sea - now there's a thought Randal. The rally website for those who are interested: Vasco da Gama Yacht Rally - 2012/2013 .

Another thought - what about the Canary Islands? I know the temperatures are ok as the Canaries are advertised in the UK as a 'winter sun' location - no idea if they make sailing sense at this time of year though.
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Old 17-04-2012, 06:22   #6
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

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Originally Posted by dominiccc View Post
The Red Sea - now there's a thought Randal. The rally website for those who are interested: Vasco da Gama Yacht Rally - 2012/2013 .

Another thought - what about the Canary Islands? I know the temperatures are ok as the Canaries are advertised in the UK as a 'winter sun' location - no idea if they make sailing sense at this time of year though.
The Canarys are a long way from the Med- ! 700 miles about --
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Old 17-04-2012, 06:48   #7
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

I winter at anchor in the Med. For the worst few months, when storms are common, i usually divide my time between a couple of well protected anchorages rather than moving about From island to island once a week like I do in summer.

It's a great time to catch up with boat maintenance, take long walks ashore and see friends, but it can be cold unless you go a long way south. You need good ground tackle to be safe.(The forcast for tonight is 44 knots with gusts to 51 for example and its now spring)
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Old 17-04-2012, 07:05   #8
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

To answer the second part the most common pilot guides are written by Rob Heikell. There is one for each country. This combined with the vast information from the web,google earth etc, is usually adequate. The guides are often out of date, or just wrong, but the water is clear enough you can still see detail on the bottom 10 m, or more, down in most places you would want to visit, so eyeball navigation works well.
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Old 17-04-2012, 07:08   #9
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
To answer the second part the most common pilot guides are written by Rob Heikell. There is one for each country. This combined with the vast information from the web,google earth etc, is usually adequate. The guides are often out of date, or just wrong, but the water is clear enough you can still see detail on the bottom 10 m, or more, down in most places you would want to visit
Wow you must freeze your ass off on the hook all winter!!
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Old 17-04-2012, 07:22   #10
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

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Wow you must freeze your ass off on the hook all winter!!
The worst month is January. In Crete where we spent last winter the average low in Jan is 8C (48F) with an average high of 14C (58F). The boat stays warmer because the sea temperature is higher and we have a few inches of foam insulation which also means no condensation.
Friends have wood or desel heaters which are very appealing, but they do tend to keep you indoors, when the waterfront view from the cockpit is wonderfull at least on he milder days.
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Old 17-04-2012, 08:47   #11
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

On question one, I think you have your answer (although I know Tunisia is popular as a wintering spot and you could check the winter temperatures there). Basically, most yachts in the Med layup for the winter rather than continuing cruising because the weather is so unpredictable.

On question two, it's also worth checking out the World Cruising and Sailing Wiki (see link at top of page), which is often more up to date than most of the pilot books since it's updated by cruisers as they go. Indeed, you might register and help update it yourself as you cruise. Undying fame awaits ....
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Old 17-04-2012, 08:55   #12
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

Tunisia is great although I have not been for a few years. The main drawback is there are very few anchorages that are safe during winter, so you need to spend winter in a marina. Many people prefer this, but I like to be anchored rather than tied up.

Most crusers that winter on board in the Med do so in a marina, often because they consider anchoring unsafe during the winter months. I do not agree and believe that with modern anchoring gear it is feasable, but try and build up in little steps. Some yachts are very put off by their first storm at anchor.
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Old 17-04-2012, 09:22   #13
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

I've just completed my second winter in the Med' so think I can dispel a few myths. General statements like 'winter in the med is cold and wet' is a bit missleading, the Med' as a whole is a BIG place with a wide varity of temps and conditions.

Personaly, i'm right down in southern Spain near Gibraltar (Puerto De La Duquesa) and although the nights can get pretty chilly (+4 deg C is the lowest i've seen), overall it's not been bad at all. If the wind dies down and the clouds part, it's easily warm enough to wear shorts and a T shirt in December or even January as being so far south, the sun is still pretty high in the sky even in mid winter and only stronger north easterly winds bringing cold air of the continent will make you unpack warmer clothing.

The further East and North you go in the Med', the colder and wetter it will be (there was SNOW on the beach in Marseille this year!), but Southern Spain and Gibraltar's climate is more like Northern Africa than the rest of Europe so is never that bad.

If you're looking for the best value and especially if you're going to be staying on board all the time, i'd say give Gibraltar a look. You'll have a decent WIFI connection in Marina Bay or Ocean Village marinas and some berths even have UK satalite TV hook up included, a great luxury for those colder nights! You also have the advantage of being in a VAT and duty free zone so you can stock up on luxuries or even items for the boat and save money there too as the bonus of it being English speaking as well.

If i'm still down here next winter, that's where i'll be going. Duquesa and the rest of the Costa Del Sol is nice but Gib' is SO much cheaper these days and you'll get a discount on top for longer stays.
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Old 17-04-2012, 09:50   #14
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

It all boils down to what your used to--I spent 2 winters in Tunisia and I suppose if your from some place where 4-5c in the winter is not bad,at times its fine- - I also spent time in Gib-about the same weather- The Greek Islands are getting snow as far south as Crete some times, and Cypress is cold and lots of nasty wind- For me I now leave for the winter come back in the spring- Im heading for the Crib this year after 6 years
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Old 17-04-2012, 11:22   #15
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Re: Wintering in the Mediterranean

Some yachties I have met prefer to settle into a marina over winter (October to March/April) and don't venture out at all!

If you are in an area such as Lefkas (Greek Island - Ionian Sea) there is a large cruising area so if you keep an eye on the weather you can go sailing throughout the winter months for short or longer voyages.

I prefer to keep on the move throughout the year - this year for the first time I shall have an annual berth, but it is positioned between Israel/Lebanon/Egypt and the Aegean so there's plenty of opportunity to keep sailing throughout the year.
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