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Old 02-05-2015, 01:20   #1
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Les Sables France to Gibraltar

I worked on cargo ships as an electrician in the early seventies, I have sailed on four Sydney to Hobarts as crew during the seventies, not as a Skipper or owner which is a whole different ball game.
I bought a 52 ft/ alloy ketch in 1989 and sailed the East coast of Australia from Adelaide to Lizard Island with my wife and son for two years. We ran out of money and settled in Port Stephens NSW. Went into partnership with a qualified master and bought a whale watching boat in 1990. Eventually bought my own boat and qualified as master of an 80 metre passenger vessel 200 NM off shore and began teaching Masters at TAFE.

When I tell people about my experience they say I must know what I am doing, well I have learnt enough to know that I really don't know much at all.

I am presently in the early stages of purchasing a new Lagoon 400 in La Rochelle France. Plan to sail the Med and head back slowly to Australia.
Need advice on the trip planning, firstly through the Bay of Biscay from Les Sable to Gibraltar. What is the best time of the year to do the trip.

Thanks
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Old 02-05-2015, 03:50   #2
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Re: Les Sables France to Gibraltar

Hi there,

Timing is important as Biscay can be a nasty place once you get to the Autumn, so, if you can get away before mid september that would be advisable. If you do leave it later, watch the weather and make sure you get a good window.

Winds tend to be SW or West and then once you get past Coruna they go into the north and the he current also flows from the North

I have usually made my first stop in Bayona, just a little way south of Coruna towards Cape Finnistaire - should be 3 days without pushing it. If you are planning to spend some time getting to Gibralter then the Spanish Rias are worth looking at. Lisbon is nice, there are several possible stops on the Algarve but don't head for Gibralter from the Algarve if Easterly winds are forecast.

Hope this helps

Ed
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:56   #3
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Re: Les Sables France to Gibraltar

Agree with Ed and although Bayona has grown mightily from the fishing village I first visited 40-odd years ago - its still well worth a visit. Also watch the weather down the Portuguese coast and stay well off in any sort of blow. Once round the corner, the Algarve etc etc is lovely. If a Levanter (strong Easterly wind) is blowing - wait for it to ease before trying to get through the Straits and take advantage of the tide/current tables for the Straits to help you through efficiently. Tony
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Old 02-05-2015, 19:30   #4
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Re: Les Sables France to Gibraltar

Hi Frankie. We've bought 2 new lagoons from les sables down the coast, into the med and currently in the Caribbean. Both boats we picked up mid May, which I think is the best delivery time, weather wise. It's just warming up and by the time you reach la coruna the Portuguese trades should be blowing from the N to make for good sailing all the way down the Atlantic coast. This will give you a full season of med sailing, or 6 months lazy sailing and exploring to the canaries. Both are good options. The Northern Spain Coast and rias are fantastic cruising grounds, and cheap compared to anywhere else nearby. Lots of great anchorages and local culture to keep you entertained. Portugal is also fantastic to sail and explore.
Both times we spent a month or more in La Rochelle after delivery to have solar, WM etc installed. Being stuck in La Rochelle for a month isn't bad, it's a beautiful town and lots of marine professionals around to help with fit outs, as well as the best chandlers in Europe.
Around June you will generally have weeks if weather windows to downwind to la coruna so you can pick the best opportunity for a downwind sail with minimum swell. Late July the opportunities become less regular and the Portuguese trades may dissipate as more Atlantic lows roll across the bay. Hopefully you will have the time to take it slow, pick good windows and enjoy the Spanish and Portuguese coasts as you go. Some like to head out to Madeira or the Azores on the way as well.
Just ask if you need any details on the lagoon delivery process, or les sables or La Rochelle, or anything..
There's a few details of our trips, anchorages along that coast etc on our blog from May 2012 and May 2014
www.sephinacat.blogspot.com
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Old 03-05-2015, 21:29   #5
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Re: Les Sables France to Gibraltar

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie46 View Post
I
When I tell people about my experience they say I must know what I am doing, well I have learnt enough to know that I really don't know much at all.

I am presently in the early stages of purchasing a new Lagoon 400 in La Rochelle France. Plan to sail the Med and head back slowly to Australia.
Need advice on the trip planning, firstly through the Bay of Biscay from Les Sable to Gibraltar. What is the best time of the year to do the trip.

Thanks
Have sent you a private message

TwT
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Old 04-05-2015, 04:25   #6
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Re: Les Sables France to Gibraltar

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Originally Posted by frankie46 View Post
I worked on cargo ships as an electrician in the early seventies, I have sailed on four Sydney to Hobarts as crew during the seventies, not as a Skipper or owner which is a whole different ball game.
I bought a 52 ft/ alloy ketch in 1989 and sailed the East coast of Australia from Adelaide to Lizard Island with my wife and son for two years. We ran out of money and settled in Port Stephens NSW. Went into partnership with a qualified master and bought a whale watching boat in 1990. Eventually bought my own boat and qualified as master of an 80 metre passenger vessel 200 NM off shore and began teaching Masters at TAFE.

When I tell people about my experience they say I must know what I am doing, well I have learnt enough to know that I really don't know much at all.

I am presently in the early stages of purchasing a new Lagoon 400 in La Rochelle France. Plan to sail the Med and head back slowly to Australia.
Need advice on the trip planning, firstly through the Bay of Biscay from Les Sable to Gibraltar. What is the best time of the year to do the trip.

Thanks
Congrats on the Lagoon.. I'd happily pay to give you a hand if you needed it (looking to mile build in Europe for more experience)... best of luck:smile
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:25   #7
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Re: Les Sables France to Gibraltar

Hi. First time I've posted/ replied to a topic. I have literally just returned (yesterday) from helping deliver. 50ft monohull from Falmouth, UK to Gibralter. Trip took 7days,15hours with one overnight stop in Cascais.
My advice would be to go before the end of sept....check the weather...you should get an accurate 48hour forecast before you go. You don't want to get stuck beating or motoring into strong south westerlies trying to round finesterre. Baiona is a great place to stop for refuel etc. Prevailing wind down the west coast of Portugal is northerly, if high pressure establishes itself over the Azores. Pick a weather system that looks like it is becoming more settled, rather than trying to sneak in between a series of lows, and it will be a great trip. Plenty of scope for day sailing, with lovely places to stop overnight if that is what you want, but not a huge passage if you want to do it in one go.
Hope this helps.


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