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Old 22-08-2016, 07:42   #1
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pirate Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Due to time constraints we have to be on Teneriffa in April '17 and can't leave the meds (currently Corsica) until end of October.

To make this even more difficult we have a dog that, until then, we may or may not have trained to go on the boat. (so far we has little luck, any tips are appreciated)

I figured there are 2 routes, Madeira -> Canaries or hopping along the Moroccan coast and then hop over from Agadir.

The Madeira options seems to be better concerning the weather. The last leg is only some ~250nm... but there is the 600nm leg to get there in the first place. The doggy problem doesn't allow for that.

Hopping along the coast could work. Some marinas seem to be nice enough for us to stay, but I was reading about 5meter swells in winter... no joy.

Oh, and I have to work, so having some sort of internet connection would be very high on the list.

The good thing is that we have the full time between November until April to make the trip. So 6 months of travel time.

The crew is my girlfriend, our dog and me.

Most of the information I found on sailing in Morocco seems to be somewhat dated though, from 2013 or older, and with the recent changes in global politics and stuff, I wonder how safe this would be in general.

We did check our "World cruising routes" from Cornell, but that focuses on the best times to make passages, and we already know that we don't have that.
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Old 22-08-2016, 08:02   #2
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pirate Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Corsica, Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, Denia then follow the coast to Gib.. after that either follow the coast of Spain and Portugal to Portimao and wait for a good window then bite the bullet and head for the Canaries.. its a downwind run that keeps you safely off the African coast and takes 6-7 days.. depending on the boat.
Or.. bite the bullet at Gib and head straight to the Canaries from there.. done it in 6 days..
I'd skip Madeira and Morocco.. bad time of year for both..
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Old 22-08-2016, 10:23   #3
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

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Corsica, Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, Denia then follow the coast to Gib.. after that either follow the coast of Spain and Portugal to Portimao and wait for a good window then bite the bullet and head for the Canaries.. its a downwind run that keeps you safely off the African coast and takes 6-7 days.. depending on the boat.
Or.. bite the bullet at Gib and head straight to the Canaries from there.. done it in 6 days..
I'd skip Madeira and Morocco.. bad time of year for both..
Thanks, much appreciated. It would be our first passage, so obviously I am a bit worried.

What's the benefit of going over Portimao? The distance to Africa for the weather?

Any recommendations on what month between Nov and Apr we'd best go?
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Old 22-08-2016, 11:02   #4
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

I think you have left it too late.
There is no way on earth I would do that trip in the months you suggest. None of it.

Boatman61 is a very experienced delivery captain. I am merely a 40,000 nm chappy. He might do it fine but I would definitely not.

The Med in winter is notorious.

If I can't be on the Canaries by October 1st I would not go.

But that's me.
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Old 22-08-2016, 11:02   #5
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pirate Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

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Thanks, much appreciated. It would be our first passage, so obviously I am a bit worried.

What's the benefit of going over Portimao? The distance to Africa for the weather?

Any recommendations on what month between Nov and Apr we'd best go?
In the Central Med its pretty much a crap shoot September onwards with fronts sweeping down from the Gulf of Lyons..
Traumantana's or whatever the locals care to name them..
Hence my island hopping route.. a 3 day window to Minorca.. etc, etc..
The benefit of Portimao is just past Cabo San Vincente (St Vincent) you'll pick up the Gulf Stream heading S-SSE for the islands.. good for 20-30nm/day.. steady N'lies.. all good stuff.
Another reason is you want WiFi access.. that's the route with plenty of marina's to day hop along.. Gib to Barbate.. to Porto Sherry etc, etc... before taking time off for the big run South.
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Old 22-08-2016, 11:20   #6
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Everything Boatman said.

We usually sit in La Linea Marina Alcaidesa (Gibraltar) till December some time, usually xmas in Canaries, and tx Atlantic late December to early Jan. I think November is too early to cross the Atlantic, things have changed.

We usually make the West passage in the Med in November. You can sleep in a marina every night if you plan it right, we anchor out in a few places on the south coast of Spain.

Forget Morocco...
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Old 22-08-2016, 11:32   #7
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Yeah, I am not worried about the meds. We spend last winter here (Feb until now), so we know the **** show that this place can be.

Up to 200km/h winds, so forth and so on. We'd move slowly, looking for that safe window where there wasn't a storm in the last 48 hours and there won't be one in the next 2-3 days. I'll motor from here to Gibraltar if I have to

What's really my concern is getting from the mainland to the canaries.

The big atlantic crossing is then planned for the winter after that. So in Dec. 2017 we want to hop over to the Caribbean.

I was reading that the marinas in Morocco really picked up (at least a few of them) but the opinion here seems to be pretty clear.

Ok, so I'll look more into that Portugal - Canaries route.
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Old 22-08-2016, 12:07   #8
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pirate Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

True.. the marina's have improved greatly, however with the 300metre mark around 25miles off the coast then the 200m 5-7 miles in from that those Atlantic winter Norther's can build quite a swell along that coast.. pick your moments and listen to the Moroccan weather for fishermen you may do fine..

Portimao to Canaries is a downhill sleigh ride..
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Old 22-08-2016, 13:09   #9
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

You are not doing the Madeira route in the winter. You are day-sailing towards the Gibraltar then from there you hop the coast.

This is so because of the winter weather from Gibraltar towards Madeira.

If you get lucky and you get a longer window, you simply pass one hole and sail towards the next one.

Make sure you have all the holes sorted out before each stage - not all ports are safe to enter in iffy weather.

You can PM me if you feel so inclined.

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Old 23-08-2016, 08:50   #10
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Did you sail the boat to the med, perhaps across biscay?

If yes then as usual boatman s advice is spot on, if you bought the boat in the med , then i am with markj.

The run to the canaries is a good one in the right season, outside that you need a good, and i mean very good window and stay well away from any land. Even then , its a crap shoot.

Why not take a bit more time, get the boat to a med marina for winter, cartagena is great, then take your time later next year and if you go in the right season you can then visit morocco etc, btw check out the situation regards dogs there too.

Best of luck.
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:52   #11
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

About 15 - 20 years ago I did a delivery trip from the Med to the Canaries in November/December with Sunsail. The boats had come down from Mallorca and we joined them in Gibraltar. We went straight from Gibraltar to the Canaries - no port hopping. Our first port of call was La Graciosa - a small island just before Lanzarote and well worth visiting.

Apart from a spectacular thunderstorm as we left Gibraltar, my recollection is that the winds were F4 - 5 and it was a comparatively easy sail that took about 3 days.

We may, however, just have been lucky.
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Old 23-08-2016, 09:50   #12
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Have taken a yacht from Madeira to Teneriffe end of October some 12 years ago. This was a pleasant trip though did hit a gale just before Porto Santo. Twice I have sailed down the Moroccan coast each time going either from Spain or Tangier straight to Mohammedia. Tangier is not particularly yacht friendly initially turning me away till I returned as the wind was so bad, they reluctantly put me alongside a fishing boat. Mohammedia is a very yaxht friendly as is Agadir where the weather on both occasions was beautiful though fog hit us for the last 100 miles. Both times further north there was a strong swell so kept at leat 5 to 10 miles off shore, but still beware of local fishermen who pop up from swells and are in little more than rowing boats. Both times were in October/November. Both times had a mixture of thunder and lightening around the Mohammedia area. If going into Rabat and an off shore storm brews expect to be in there a while as the swell and entrance can be lethal. Mohammedia is the only safe entrance in bad weather along with Agadir further south.

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Old 24-08-2016, 00:42   #13
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Lots of great info here, though none of it makes it really easier. The Portimao -> Canaries passage also seems like a good option. The bad thing is that we really should be there come April, the good thing is that between that we're not pressured for time.

So right now I am thinking of getting to Portimao ASAP and then just wait weeks, months if we have to, for the perfect window. If that doesn't come by April, then we just keep on waiting there.

The Moroccan coast really sounds like a gamble. Fog, dangerous port entrances... But still doable.

Maybe some more background on us. We actually are still pretty new to all of this and moved on the boat this Feb. So while we don't have a lot of experience and have not done any multi day passages yet, we did spend winter here in the meds. That didn't make us better sailors, I think, but we do have lot of respect for the weather and the local pattern here. So what we have going for us, I think, is that we're very prudent in planing our trips and timing them safely.
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Old 24-08-2016, 02:15   #14
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pirate Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Sounds like a plan MJ..
For example starting tomorrow you've a 4 day window of light favourable winds that will get you to the Balearics before the next blow comes from the NW.. use these moments to get you across the Med.. once past Cabo de Gato things change and its either flat calm or mainly E and S winds to get you to Gib.
Only do the Straits with an E'ly..
Another area to watch if coast hopping is the corner around Cadiz and the Guadalquiver river.. there's a tendency for gales to spring up unannounced.. been caught out a few times.. and so have the weather services..
For example.. this July a forecast 20-25kts was 40-45 kts which had the boat down to 1kt in spite of 62ft of boat and a huge Mercedes V6 engine..
Alternatively 30-40hrs motoring from Gib will have you in Portimao where you've a choice of the anchorage on the E side of the river.. or the marina on the opposite banks.
Its very much a 'Boat' area with just about all one needs service wise and WiFi in every bar/restaurant.
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Old 24-08-2016, 07:23   #15
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Re: Route Planing, Meds to Canary Islands... in winter

Or else, when you are in Portimao, look at what the weather is doing and, should there be a fine long weather spell forecast, sail down to say Lanzarote and spend the winter here?

A friend who runs charters in the Med brings one of his boats to Canary Islands for a Xmass charter every year. He coasts making charters from Morocco then he crosses from Agadir to here. He is sailing two boats - a B37 and a B43.

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