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Old 17-12-2009, 12:41   #1
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Aegean to Caribbean (Again)

I posted before regarding this, and I thank everyone for their constructive replies. Unfortunately because of some documentation snafus our trip is severely delayed. If we leave, Jan 1 would be the earliest and likely even Jan 10 or so... Leaving from upper Aegean and headed to West Indies.

We've secured a 40 foot boat in very good condition and inspected it. Need a final rigging inspection again, but it should pass.

We plan a crew of 4. A professional blue water captain, another captain with lots of experience but no ocean crossings, plus 2 competent and experienced crew including myself.

We're still making final selection on the lead captain. Most say it will be wet and uncomfortable, but otherwise are unconcerned. One has raised concerns, but the other say he was just trying to ask for more money. Not sure what to think, but even before that I felt like that candidate was trying to milk it a bit.

Med
----
The Med crossing worries me the most. Ive sailed the Med before in winter in the East in some fairly gnarly close waves. Ive been watching the Med conditions over the last weeks and know it doesn't get any better Jan-Mar. But aside from wet, cold, uncomfortable and some large waves - anyone see any major dangers here?

Gibraltar
--------
Exiting here seems ok, just need to watch for the occasional storm from the North Atlantic that pushes down past the exit point. But they don't seem to last long and so long as we check the reports at worst we might have to wait one out a few days then exit and head south.

Atlantic
-------

Wont exit Gibraltar likely till early to mid Feb. Proposed route was south past Canaries and then a bit more, then head west pretty much straight at Antigua. This should clear us of the occasional south pushing storm, and pick up the trade winds. When I asked before I was told so long as we get here before hurricane season (much later than this time of course) we should be fine.

Any problems? The Med is my biggest concern, but certainly open to any constructive criticisms or warnings....
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Old 17-12-2009, 13:20   #2
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Check the weather, and be prepared to wait. There will be gales (or worse), but there will be fine weather in between. Check English, French, and German weather, and if they all agree then its pretty certain that things will be as forecast. You should be fine unless you leave on a bad forecast. Bring plenty of fuel, and be preapred to motor when the wind goes light--don't sit out and wait for the next storm.

Definitely go south of the storm tracks when you get into the Atlantic. The fronts lose much of their punch below 30N, and rarely penetrate below 20N.
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Old 17-12-2009, 13:33   #3
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Motoring won't be much of an option. There's never seemed to be a scarcity of wind in the Med in winter though. We will have to prepare to move away from some storms and ride out others. We won't always be able to safely make a harbour, or in other cases the closest will be a country not very friendly to all of our crew.
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Old 17-12-2009, 14:43   #4
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Use Poseidon System to check out weather windows in the weeks before you depart, and move to PassageWeather - Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers as you move west.
Remember plenty of others much less equipped have completed this journey before you. If you are really concerned then delay the trip and do it in the EU autumn so as to almost guarantee downhill sailing.
Good luck
John
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Old 17-12-2009, 14:46   #5
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Las Palmas, 17 Dec, midnight. Front passage. Wind SW 25, gusting 30, knots.

Avoid bad weather and you will be fine.

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Old 17-12-2009, 23:02   #6
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Originally Posted by swagman View Post
Use Poseidon System to check out weather windows in the weeks before you depart, and move to PassageWeather - Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers as you move west.
Remember plenty of others much less equipped have completed this journey before you. If you are really concerned then delay the trip and do it in the EU autumn so as to almost guarantee downhill sailing.
Good luck
John
I use PassageWeather a lot, I really love it. Wont have internet though along the way in most times. Will have to rely on VHF and other radio reports. Maybe I didnt state my concern about the Med well. I'm not "scared" of it (Ok, well scared as any sailor should be to always acknowledge the sea...), but Im a safety concerned sailor at all times. The Med right now to me is the part of the journey that requires the most skill and preparation. So I guess yes, concern is the right word.
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Old 18-12-2009, 00:22   #7
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As I recall, there is a way to get a spot marine forecast via SMS on your cell phone which works in Greek waters, and Italian forecasts are continuous on VHF ch68. If you think you are going to ride out a winter storm in the Med or the first 4 days out of Gib, you are going to learn a hard lesson. There are days when the big ships seek shelter.
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Old 18-12-2009, 02:08   #8
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The idea is not to challenge the storms out of Gib, but wait for it to be clear then go when there is adequate time to pass.

I've been looking for a good list of VHF and other sources in the Med, but all I found were outdated ones. Do you have any links?

Storms -of course we are not going to try to run through them on purpose. Of course we will plan to avoid them / wait them out as possible. But I expect that we are not always going to be able to reach a harbour and we need to prepare for some rough rides.....
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Old 18-12-2009, 05:16   #9
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The idea is not to challenge the storms out of Gib, but wait for it to be clear then go when there is adequate time to pass.

I've been looking for a good list of VHF and other sources in the Med, but all I found were outdated ones. Do you have any links?

Storms -of course we are not going to try to run through them on purpose. Of course we will plan to avoid them / wait them out as possible. But I expect that we are not always going to be able to reach a harbour and we need to prepare for some rough rides.....
Why the hurry at this point, why not hang out and in the spring take your time sailing thru the Med then getting to Gib towards the end of summer?
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Old 18-12-2009, 05:34   #10
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Unfortunately its not an option to wait. I really wish it was.
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Old 18-12-2009, 05:51   #11
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Unfortunately its not an option to wait. I really wish it was.
There is always a choice/options-- most people who get in trouble are the folks who are on a dead line, the very ones who say what you are saying-you take more risks, are the risks worth it ?if all goes well then some would say yes, if not and things go bad and this is often the case when you are in a hurry with a new to you boat and crew you may look back and say I should have waited, theres a lot at stake, you have a new to you boat, new crew, your traveling the worst time of the year in the Med and your in a hurry, theres a lot of risk here, If you dont make the trip this winter whats the worst that can happen??

If you do make this trip whats the worst that can happen>?? -there are always options...many times we dont know the best one until its too late--be careful and good luck on what ever you do!
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Old 18-12-2009, 06:00   #12
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I have many choices, none of them seem to be good. I have to weigh all the risks, and this seems to be the best of my options. So if that tells you how bad the other options are..

The boat is well known by 2 of the crew and has a proven record. So given that - give me your best input given my restrictions on the Med. We are stocking a lot of provisions and will avoid storms best we can. If we need to sail away and take longer routes, or sail around in circles in other areas waiting out a storm, thats perfectly acceptable. But even given this, it seems we will hit some turbulence as it will likely be unavoidable. We are not in a hurry to arrive, but we have to leave here soon. One of our crew had problems and now we are reaching the end of our legal right to stay. Unfortunately because not all passports are respected like the one you probably possess - we cannot enter Europe and so our only ports of refuge are places like Algeria and other North African countries... which uh - I dont need to explain much why we will avoid there if possible....
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Old 18-12-2009, 06:08   #13
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Can you tell us in some detail your planned route in the Med?
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Old 18-12-2009, 06:09   #14
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Maybe I didnt reply clearly. I see that now.

I appreciate your concern. I know its not an optimal time. But you'll have to take my word for it that the other options from what I can see are far worse and that we really do need to take this trip unless we believe there is a *very likely* danger of dying along the way. I've talked to a lot of sailors and most say it will be uncomfortable, wet, rough, challenging, etc.. But only a few seemed scared. Those ones typically were the less experienced ones, ones that I was already leaning away from. However, the sea is always to be respected. So my task is to try to put this in perspective, and make sure that my task is nothing like asking to go into the North Atlantic in winter....

We have spent a long time selecting a good boat, and are provisioning and preparing it the best possible with safety equipment, tools, spares, etc. We've narrowed it down to a few skippers all of whom have a LOT of experience in bad weather, many having sailed the Black Sea in winter storms, which would frighten me a whole lot more than the Med I would think...
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Old 18-12-2009, 06:15   #15
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Can you tell us in some detail your planned route in the Med?
Around the weather.

But that aside - Exiting Marmara, heading towards Athens (not stopping), then heading between Crete and the mainland. Due West from there towards Malta. Also considered going south a bit, but the weather patterns Ive been watching the last month dont seem to follow a pattern so getting any protection there seems just as likely as unlikely.

Passing between Italy and Tunis and generally staying to the southern side and heading towards Gib, but far enough away from the North African nations so as not to be harassed such as seen on Noonsite regarding Algeria and strange boardings even 20 miles out... Also considering going a bit closer to Sardinia and Mallorca as in some storms moving quickly behind them could provide some respite while a storm passes south.

Passing Gib depends on timing to make sure its clear past it and we have enough time to head down past Canaries and towards the 20.. From there depends on conditions, but around there catch trade winds and go West...

I really appreciate any advise you have given our situation (and resolve).
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