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Old 28-08-2015, 13:19   #1
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Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

We are a couple in our late fifties about to fly from Sydney Australia to Marseille France to hopefully complete the purchase of a Lagoon 450. We are new to the boat and new to the region and need some help from those of you with local knowledge of the Western Med to passage plan. The general 'concept' is to get some experience/confidence over September - November, leave the boat and return early March for and extended Med cruise in 2016 perhaps doing the ARC at the end of the year. In the short term I'm looking for advice on how to structure our first few months on the boat. I think hiring a skipper for a week or so initially would be a good idea. I have sailed all my life including from Sydney to the Med via Red Sea /delivered boats in the Eastern Med (20 years ago!!) / still race on Sydney Harbour / have owned various other boats etc but appreciate the challenges of being a newbie to local conditions and a new boat. In particular I don't want this to be be too stressful for my wife We are keen to tap into your experience, thoughts and recommendations. Thanks
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Old 28-08-2015, 13:49   #2
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Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

There's some nice cruising nearby. The callanques, the offshore islands nearby and la ciotat is a nice inexpensive port as well. Maybe head to Barcelona for a winter haul out and do the Balearics next year before heading to Gibraltar. Check out the Atlantic Odysseus for a good ARC alternative. Javier at. Catamarans Barcelona is very good for any lagoon servicing you may need on the way. Cheers and good luck with the boat.
Btw, May to October is decent weather generally but outside that time can be very hit and miss in your area.
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Old 28-08-2015, 14:55   #3
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

Please feel free to send me a pm anytime. We spent the past four seasons in the western Med and can offer assistance with marina and anchorage choices. With a catamaran, Cartegena, Spain offers very good prices in season and overwinter. I don't believe they charge extra for cats. Be careful, it's still winter in the Med in March and early April, you won't be doing much, if any sailing... But still a good time to go sightseeing inland.

Lots to see and do, you'll have a great time.
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Old 28-08-2015, 15:01   #4
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

In my opinion hiring a captain with your experience is a total waste. Just study and read. You will do well if your wife really wants to be there. If not she will leave with the captain after the first week
Just saying!
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Old 28-08-2015, 16:17   #5
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

Unless you can find someone who knows your particular boat well, with your experience I wouldn't bother with a captain. Maybe some crew if you want for overnight passages.

I haven't sailed up in the Gulf of Lyon, but the two places near you that we have cruised and would recommend for a relaxed low stress introduction to a new boat are the Balearics and the Maddalena Islands on the N end of Sardinia.

If you are up for an overnight passage, you should be able with the right weather to jump from Marseille to either. Depends what you are looking for though. Ballearics and Maddalena islands have lots of anchorages and will be quiet at that time of year, other areas along the coast tend to have more marinas.

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Old 29-08-2015, 03:04   #6
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, gstent.
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Old 29-08-2015, 03:58   #7
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

If you are looking for somewhere to park, Canet en Roussillon has a lot of parking for cats. There is also the Catana factory there.

Also I think Port Leucate has finally started putting in berths into one of its empty areas and these are mostly for catamarans.
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Old 29-08-2015, 10:30   #8
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

Quote:
Originally Posted by gstent View Post
We are a couple in our late fifties about to fly from Sydney Australia to Marseille France to hopefully complete the purchase of a Lagoon 450. We are new to the boat and new to the region and need some help from those of you with local knowledge of the Western Med to passage plan. The general 'concept' is to get some experience/confidence over September - November, leave the boat and return early March for and extended Med cruise in 2016 perhaps doing the ARC at the end of the year. In the short term I'm looking for advice on how to structure our first few months on the boat. I think hiring a skipper for a week or so initially would be a good idea. I have sailed all my life including from Sydney to the Med via Red Sea /delivered boats in the Eastern Med (20 years ago!!) / still race on Sydney Harbour / have owned various other boats etc but appreciate the challenges of being a newbie to local conditions and a new boat. In particular I don't want this to be be too stressful for my wife We are keen to tap into your experience, thoughts and recommendations. Thanks
If you are new to cats then personally I would recommend a few intensive sessions with a cat skipper who is familiar with your model. Like others have said I would suggest that November too late and March too early for sailing but good time for preparation / work on board.

Would also recommend more than 1 season in the Med. Once you head West is a long way back and the Greek Islands for instance offer fantastic cruising grounds but are a long way from Marseille. We planned 2 years in the Med then were going to head back towards Oz - 5 seasons later we are still here and loving it (and it's a lot less crowded here than Sydney harbour on a Saturday).

TwT
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Old 29-08-2015, 11:58   #9
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

From Marseille, I would head west. Heading east makes for more expensive marinas.

There are many small marinas on the passage west, many would be too small for a multihull. although this is just my unresearched opinion, based on having sailed a 38 ft monhull there.
The 3000. berth marina in Port Camargue is suitable for overwintering but there are others
A pilot book of the Med. is published by Bloc Marine, available on Amazon.
BLOC MARINE - Bloc Marine Méditerranée 2015

The coast SW and S from there to the Spanish border is interesting, but facilities for a Lagoon 450 should be investigated.
From mid September there is very little activity (you may struggle to find a bar open, midweek, adjacent to a marina) on this predominantly holiday coast.

The weather is generally light Force 2 or less, but when the wind blows, it honks.
I have seen it stay at a steady Force 8 from the North for 2 days continuously in September .

The Gulf of Lions is noted for its tramontane wind system.
French weather forecasts are reliable. (meteo.fr)

I do not think it would be wise to sail too far from easily accessible shelter in October - March.

Fair winds and bon voyage!
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Old 29-08-2015, 16:32   #10
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

Hi Toys with Time, we are going to do similar to you shortly, just purchased a Bene 473 currently near Athens, and will be moving it to Turkey. Will will leave Melbourne mid Feb to start preparing the yacht as it will be our home. Plan is to sail for 2 (or more seasons in the Med) then considering the ARC and seeing how we like the Caribbean. As we are both on Aussie passports we have some difficulty with visa restrictions in Europe, how do you do it?
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Old 30-08-2015, 01:34   #11
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

Quote:
Originally Posted by gstent View Post
We are a couple in our late fifties about to fly from Sydney Australia to Marseille France to hopefully complete the purchase of a Lagoon 450. We are new to the boat and new to the region and need some help from those of you with local knowledge of the Western Med to passage plan. The general 'concept' is to get some experience/confidence over September - November, leave the boat and return early March for and extended Med cruise in 2016 perhaps doing the ARC at the end of the year. In the short term I'm looking for advice on how to structure our first few months on the boat. I think hiring a skipper for a week or so initially would be a good idea. I have sailed all my life including from Sydney to the Med via Red Sea /delivered boats in the Eastern Med (20 years ago!!) / still race on Sydney Harbour / have owned various other boats etc but appreciate the challenges of being a newbie to local conditions and a new boat. In particular I don't want this to be be too stressful for my wife We are keen to tap into your experience, thoughts and recommendations. Thanks
These are two separate issues: boat and area of cruising.
As to the boat, you can ask the seller, as part of the deal, to instruct you in the finer points of catamaran sailing. As you are experienced sailor, two-three short sails will suffice (issues like anchoring with bridle, mooring in a marina, getting used to the sheer size of the boat etc.)
As to the area of cruising, you may use a knowledgeable local for help, be it a paid skipper, Pilot books and other local sailors.
Check this site as well (I believe that Mr. Heikell is one of the better information sources with regard to the Med):
http://www.mediterraneansailing.info
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Old 30-08-2015, 08:05   #12
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

I'll leave the passage plan for those with more experience, but do research Schengen (visa) restrictions before making your passage plan. Another Aussie member here totally missed that, and only learned of their mistake long after their 90 days in the Schengen region.
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Old 30-08-2015, 08:50   #13
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

There are legal ways around Schengen for non residents who live on a boat.
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Old 31-08-2015, 05:53   #14
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

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There are legal ways around Schengen for non residents who live on a boat.
Please explain???

Sent from my GT-N7105T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 31-08-2015, 06:40   #15
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Re: Western Med Passage Plan for Newbies

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Please explain???

Sent from my GT-N7105T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
Send me a pm if interested. Do you plan on cruising the Med or just curious?
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