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Old 18-11-2015, 13:54   #1
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Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

Hi there,

As some of you may already know from my previous posts, my friend and I just bought a Beneteau Oceanis 40. She is currently moored in Holland and we are waiting to head to the Med.

We plan to depart at the beginning of April. We want to be in Greece by August/September. We are not experienced sailors so we will be coast hopping most of the way. At least thatís the plan.

We are just getting really bored here in Holland. Itís really cold and crappy weather.

Would you set sail now and make some headway south or would you wait until spring for better weather? The big elephant in the room is obviously Biscay.
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Old 18-11-2015, 14:08   #2
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

Without a lot of experience I would avoid Biscay now unless there is the unlikely event of a real good weather window.Daysail along the coast towards Biscay might allow you to grab an opportunity from Falmouth or the like.

Have you considered going through canals?
It's lengthy and burns a lot of fuel, but might be interesting too.
At least you are on the move than and feel not like waiting.

Good 🍀 from Harlingen.

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Old 18-11-2015, 14:20   #3
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

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Without a lot of experience I would avoid Biscay now unless there is the unlikely event of a real good weather window.Daysail along the coast towards Biscay might allow you to grab an opportunity from Falmouth or the like.

Have you considered going through canals?
It's lengthy and burns a lot of fuel, but might be interesting too.
At least you are on the move than and feel not like waiting.

Good 🍀 from Harlingen.

Welcome to the Woods Mira 35 - Catamaran Lady Rovers Website!
Hi,

Regarding the canals, we draw 1.95m which based on my research is too deep. Otherwise we would have done so.

Regarding Biscay, our plan at this stage is to go down to La Rochelle and then along the North coast of Spain. We are keen to see that region of Spain. I do understand that many of the ports are inaccessible when there is a swell which I expect is more prevalent in the winter months.
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Old 18-11-2015, 14:38   #4
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

Be careful not to be trapped between ports with an onshore wind/swell.
Watch out for shallow patches inshore which might cause breaking seas/swell.

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Old 18-11-2015, 14:45   #5
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

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I do understand that many of the ports are inaccessibility when there is a swell which I expect is more prevalent in the winter months.
Now, there's an understatement. The shore, especially when it's a lee shore, is not your friend. It is much like the ground is to the airplane. I'm just an old dinghy sailor, but I think if you decide to harbor hop down the coast of Europe in the winter, you won't be bored any more!

Paul
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Old 18-11-2015, 14:46   #6
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

It seems to me to be the wrong time of year. Stay put and live to sail another day. Cold air and cold water are not much fun.

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Old 18-11-2015, 14:46   #7
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

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Hi,

Regarding the canals, we draw 1.95m which based on my research is too deep. Otherwise we would have done so.

Regarding Biscay, our plan at this stage is to go down to La Rochelle and then along the North coast of Spain. We are keen to see that region of Spain. I do understand that many of the ports are inaccessible when there is a swell which I expect is more prevalent in the winter months.
the deeper in you go the more dangerous the biscay becomes at this time of the year
i would prefer a straight run across towards Finesterre / A Coruna in a favorable weather window.
when we went through in December 97 in the other direction we made sure not to mess around.
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Old 18-11-2015, 15:06   #8
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

Boatman61 would probably have the best insight into winter travel across the Bay of Bicay.
Good luck with your passage... The Med is beautiful in the spring. Phil
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Old 19-11-2015, 09:25   #9
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

Do the canals! We had a great time last year - with 2M draft... bumped a few times but nothing bad - go the "mast-up" route and then the IJsselmeer to Amsterdam which is a fantastic place to stop.

I'd say you can coastal hop as and when a weather window appears - but since you don't have much experience, do not go out when the wind is going to be within 60 degrees of your intended path - by the time you hit the direction you want to go, you'll be close to close hauled with a high apparent wind in cold conditions - not nice.

Unfortunately, you'll be going against the prevailing wind direction, so it's likely you'll get to enjoy your stops along the way for quite a time - but maybe you'd be able to make it to Normandy, France?

A very experienced sailor, Eric Forsyth on Yacht Fiona - is currently crossing Biscay - he's 6 days into a 5 day route and only half way there! If he'd waited another week, he'd have had strong winds behind him rather than strong winds on the nose... Even the most experienced sailors get caught out...
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Old 19-11-2015, 09:35   #10
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

Well, go over the channels to Vlissingen. Visit the beautiffull towns like Veere, Amsterdam, Middelburg, Bruges, Antwerpen, Dover, Londen, ... Stuf for a few mounts. Ga eassy farter to France over England and by bad wether are there trains how connect you to all the towns. You wiĺl find a window to cross it or you can do it in daytrips. If you like to see all the interesting towns than will you run out in time.
O from Muxia can you walk in 3 days to santiago De Compostella.

Go slowley farther and you will have a wonderfuĺ trip.
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Old 19-11-2015, 09:48   #11
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

From Amsterdam might be a good idea to make the Danube tour to Black Sea now.
Currently Rhine, Main are good to go upward because of low water. Later on RMD (Rhein, Main, Donau - Kanal) to Danube you 'll get less problems than in spring when snow melts.
There' s no need for night sailing, you can allways stop and have fun.
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Old 19-11-2015, 09:52   #12
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

In my days as a pilot, we always said, "Better to be down there wishing you were up here, that up here wishing you were down there.
I suppose the sailing equivalent would be, "Better at harbour wishing you were underway, than underway wishing you were in harbour."
It doesn't help, I know especially as I am in 22 degree Crete right now, but I'd rather say hello to you in Agios Nikolaos than read here... Regards
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Old 19-11-2015, 09:59   #13
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

The French canals are wonderful.
The Rhone is certainly deep enough for a 2 mtr draught.
What I'm not sure about is , is it possible to sail the Rhine to the Rhone ?
Have you checked that out ?
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Old 19-11-2015, 10:15   #14
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

Worth checking insurance will cover you in Biscay with just two of you aboard. Some won't.
From Holland you can daysail easily down as far as the Lorient/Quiberon area and on to La Rochelle and so pick weather windows better. Also if the wind comes in from the east and you are on the canals, a hard freeze is no fun.
Very much a personal choice of what sort of suffering you prefer!
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Old 19-11-2015, 10:32   #15
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Re: Would you sail now or wait until Spring 2016? Holland to the Med

I prefer to have three experts on board for Biscay. Captain Eric Forsyth of Fiona, crossing now, has two newbies. Take the canals. Fair winds.
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