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Old 13-09-2013, 00:45   #1
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Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

we will be launching a 60ft catamaran in Gdansk , Poland in mid Oct and possibly delivering it on her own bottom to Florida.

I have not had any experience yet in the colder waters of the Baltic and the passage in the North sea through the channel and over the Bay of Biscay.

Can anyone shed any light from experience on this first leg of my passage?

Thank you kindly
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Old 13-09-2013, 00:57   #2
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Re: Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

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Originally Posted by daryndalton View Post
we will be launching a 60ft catamaran in Gdansk , Poland in mid Oct and possibly delivering it on her own bottom to Florida.

I have not had any experience yet in the colder waters of the Baltic and the passage in the North sea through the channel and over the Bay of Biscay.

Can anyone shed any light from experience on this first leg of my passage?

Thank you kindly
Generally, your BAltic passage should not give you a multitude of problems, although you will almost certainly run into several autumn storms (winds from the west/southwest at or above gale force , Beaufort 8/9). There are lots of harbors along the way to hide though, so if you keep a wary eye on the forecast, this will give you no problems.

The same is true for the trip down the through the English channel. Expect the same kind of weather, although a bit rougher, since you'll be in november at that point. AGain, lots of harbors - stay inside and wait for the weather window.

The Biscay, is another story. At that time of year, the cyclone families of gales come across the Atlantic every 3rd or 4 th day or so. A good weather window will be hard to find. You are also faced with the choice of crossing the bay, or going off-shore (beyond the continental shelf), and thereby avoiding the wave action.

Personally, I would not want to attempt the crossing in November, Conventional wisdom is that you need to get across before the end of september. However, you apparently have no choice. I would sail all the way over to Ireland and cross out beyond the continental shelf. It will still be a sh*t crossing, but probably better than across the bay

Good luck
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Old 13-09-2013, 04:14   #3
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Re: Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

agree with Carsten. If itīs able to let it in Poland for winter, do it.
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Old 13-09-2013, 04:28   #4
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Re: Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

Lots of good advise from CARSTENB. I would not argue with any of it. Planning and timing is the solution.
Cross the English channel as soon as it is safe to do so. THe majority of the weather will be coming from the west so this would give you a windward shore to shelter behind. Once you are around Dover you can almost day sail to Falmouth. It is very possible to make a crossing of Biscay from here. As Carstenb said, you must have the right weather window. Biscay is a very big lee shore with the prevailing winds and currents push you into it all the time. From Falmouth head no less than 200 degrees true. Make Vigo on the Atlantic coast of Spain or Porto in Portugal your first port of call after Biscay. this will keep you well away from Biscay.
From here you can day sail down towards Sines. From Sines you can sail directly to the Canaries.

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Old 13-09-2013, 05:10   #5
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Re: Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

Totally agree with all said above.
It was tough enough in September when I did it a few years ago.
Definitely wouldn't do it after.
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Old 13-09-2013, 05:21   #6
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pirate Re: Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

The English Channel should pose no great problem to you with good weather planning however the Biscay is something else...
I sailed it in Nov/Dec 2008 in a Hurley 22 and had consistant 50+kt NW gales and 8-10 metre sea's the whole way with windows of 8-12hrs between fronts... sailed most of it backwards hove to... 3+ weeks to cover the 300 odd miles from Ushant to Viveiro where I ducked in and sheltered for 10 days waiting for a window to jump round to La Coruna.. then round Finisterre to Baiona.
You do have the advantage of greater speed however...
Get to Falmouth then wait for a window and head SW till your at least 50-100 miles W of the Shelf then run down for Finisterre..
The sea's on and E from the shelf are not to be played on in a Multi.
Windows 'may' seem like 4+ days on the forecasts but take anything more than 24-36hrs with a pinch of salt.. its a very active area late Autumn onwards... if forced into La Coruna for shelter be careful as the N approach can be dodgey with the shoal area building a nasty sea... even ships enter from the WNW in weather... maybe better to hole up in Falmouth or maybe N France or Brest for the winter then head across in the Spring...
Have a GOOD drogue... all the best..
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Old 13-09-2013, 06:04   #7
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Re: Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

Id echo what other s have had. I have done three crossing of Biscay , ( all south going) in November, one quite late.

The trip from Poland will be no piece of cake though, You need time and you have the advantage of plenty of harbours and good weather forecasting.

With Biscay, at that time, 3-4 day weather windows are a myth and something always build off Finnisterre and wacks you . Ive always got wacked in November and one of them was a big wack

I agree with Boatie on Coruna, dont like it at all in a big blow, Ive used Gijon commercial port in real emergencies as the fairway to the marina is too shallow in big wave trains. ( The commercial port police do get real uptight though!). Note this was where I started from Brest, Other wise banana way out to the west and stay well well offshore, depart from Killmore Quay ,Ireland is better then Falmouth IMHO,

I would suggest a single straight run from Ireland to the Canaries with Maderia as a interesting diversion. Leave Ireland right after the warm front of a low goes and catch the NWs, then a period of calm, hopefully you can get south before anything really nasty boils in ( again) . ( 8-10 day trip)

Be aware that in strong onshore blows the whole atlantic coats of spain and Portugal can be inaccessible.

You must be confident of handling the vessel in heavy weather and be happy she's up for it and all the systems etc are in good nick, You WILL meet a gale or several.


The trouble with a mid Oct depart is that with a few delays most likely due to weather and you could be very late entering biscay and or a transit of Portuguese coasts. Its a classic delivery skipper type of trip. ie pay someone else to get beat up.

Given time I would stage the boat so as to be in southern portugal by end of Aug/early Sept. Then run to the canaries and accross in Nov.Dec.

Can be done , be careful, dont push it.

dave
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Old 13-09-2013, 06:23   #8
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Re: Sailing the Baltic and North sea in mid Oct

For a reliable forecast get in contact with Startseite - WetterWelt
itīs chief , Meeno Schrader, is sailor as well and provides individual trip forcast on grib data. Heīs our local ( baltic) tv weatherfrog too. GRIB Data - WetterWelt

"Meeno has worked with Ellen MacArthur over five years in all her big races, record attempts and records including her single hand nonstop world record round the world. He serves Olympic teams since 1988 with China as his 4th campaign with a number of 5 nations to be given over there! Weather support during the Americas Cup, worldchampion ships and long distance routing are his favorites of personal experiences as a sailor and meteorologist giving to all teams."

Tellus

btw.: last winter began here October 2012 and was long and cold..
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