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SeaCow 25-11-2009 10:51

Turkey to Antigua
Ok, some of you may have seen my other threads, so I wont repeat the background. Its not vital anyways....

I think I've secured a blue water ready boat for use and some crew. I'm shooting for a crew of 4 total including myself.

But we have to do some preparations and its not likely we can leave before Dec 20 or so.

From there we want to head straight to Antigua with only minimal stops.

I know the Med is "yucky" in winter, but storms aside its not dangerous is it? I've done a lot of sailing in some pretty uncomfortable, wet, and cold conditions in the East Med with high and close waves.

Assuming we don't stop a lot we can make Gibraltar in a few weeks, sometime in Jan. Then over to Antigua.

Any major problems with the timing and season? I can deal with cold and wet. Advice in this area welcome, but mostly I'm concerned about any safety issues?

Also advice on routing welcome....

And finally - if we cannot be ready by Dec 20... how late is this plan viable?

swagman 25-11-2009 10:57

Hi Ho Matey,
You'll not have issues right through January and despite the short sharp storms you'll see before popping out at Gib, suspect the whole trip will be a dream to remember for years to come.
We covered the same route albeit summer into winter 2007 - go see the blog for suggested ports of call.
Good luck and enjoy

SeaCow 25-11-2009 11:45


barnakiel 26-11-2009 12:05

Gonna be long, slow, cold and wet all the way to Canary Islands. Unless you are lucky. From there no problem to Antigua until June.


SeaCow 26-11-2009 12:14

I grew up in Canada, and spent time in Siberia. Can do cold and wet.

So long as its safe.. Thanks for the answer - really appreciate it.

barnakiel 26-11-2009 15:40

It will be safe if you sail between the passing fronts / lows and do not get caught by bad weather. Not easy but can be done. Just will take time.


Ram 26-11-2009 16:29

It can be quite nasty, 15 ft seas and 40 knots of cold wind at times, in winter i would make sure you shake down the boat for a month before you take off,good luck!

SeaCow 26-11-2009 22:59

You're referring to conditions in the Med, or as we pass out of Gibraltar? or both? :)

15ft seas I can deal with. I hate when their stacked up and really close so that the boat cannot even go over them, but ends up going through them... Been there done that! :(

40 knots... reef reef reef. :)

swagman 27-11-2009 01:19


Originally Posted by Ram (Post 366029)
It can be quite nasty, 15 ft seas and 40 knots of cold wind at times, in winter i would make sure you shake down the boat for a month before you take off,good luck!

There's safety..........and there's safety. Wasting a month if you've limited time just sailing in circles could be a bit over the top. Leave any later and you risk the winds really setting in as headwinds - and that will make the Med crossing slow and bouncy.

You can get from Turkey to Canaries virtually day hopping 'cept two overnights sailing Greece to Italy, one overnight sailing Siciliy to Sardinia, then one night sailing Sardinia to Balearics. Apart from these three short legs you add on two nights sailing Lagos to Canaries - and the rest is in sub 24 hour legs. Pick the right times to get the winds off the nose - they do arrive and can be predicted via good weather sites.

So IMHO do not waste the month shaking anything down, simply get going as soon as you can. If you do have a spare 30 days to waste then put that in the bank and use them when needed but on route. Check out the conditions ( is good) but if in doubt use one of those banked days to stop where you are until conditions get better.

With such a plan you'll slowly over the whole journey, gain confidence to challenge stronger and stronger conditions (if indeed you find any) but hopefully you and the crew will grow to feel 100% confident with the set up before you jump off from the Canaries towards Antigua.

Afraid I can do nothing to reduce the time or distance on that leg but as others have indicated - it should be the milk run part of your trip.

Sail safe, but enjoy.


Ram 27-11-2009 11:13

SeaCow those conditions can be and are in the Med- not to mention the Atlantic and can come up with not much warning-or predictability--or it could be smooth sailing or motor all the way- I would hop as much as possble along coastal ares like Swagman mentioned keeping an eye on all the little details of a new to you boat- getting caught offshore in a winter storm in or out of the Med aint no fun and less so if you have not spent some time onboard and know the yacht- For me safety is never a waste of time and is my #1 concern--and it takes time to "Know your yacht" I stand by the 1 month shake down, you need not be going in circles -
I expect its gonna take longer than you think to get to GIB -Good Luck

barnakiel 27-11-2009 14:32

There is some hope, but not certainty, that conditions Dec / Jan may be better than Oct / Nov. The atmosphere is more balanced by now, temp changes less dynamic. I too would not go for toughing anything out. Avoid bad weather and it may take time yet is doable.

Beyond Gibraltar it will be a longer jump but periods of fine weather may allow to find a weather window open wide enough to make it fine to the Canaries. A stop in Maroco is an option too.


SeaCow 29-11-2009 11:28

wow, thanks for the link. Its a wickedly cool site.

We are down to 3 boats... 2 cats, and one 42 foot racing monohull built like a tank (strength wise, not weight wise).

The racing boat came across North Atlantic in March (not sure this year or last). Crazy time if you ask me to cross there.. but they did.

Euro Cruiser 30-11-2009 07:16

Well, in part I'm with Ram (hi again, Ram...). December now looms, you have not yet picked a boat, every boat for sale is going to have some issues and be an unknown to you, and - in the near term - there is the as-of-yet unknown period needed to complete the sale before the boat is put in your hands. (Remember: This is Europe...even in Turkey. Bureaucracy is an industry and, sorry to say, an accepted offer is unlikely to be followed by the boat's sale in a few days). Summed up, my guess is that you will be leaving in January some time and, if you're smart about it, you'll start out slow with short distances through Greece while shaking down the boat and addressing nagging, niggly issues.

To the extent that's an accurate guestimate of the reality of your plan, that's not the end of the world but let's remember its ~2,000 miles as sailed between moving aboard the yacht and turning the corner off you're "doing" the Med in the winter. This isn't terribly uncommon but, as others have mentioned, you'll watch weather constantly and be making runs interspersed with periods where you won't want to be sailing even if you have a fair wind (which won't remain fair). Also keep in mind that the weather systems there are faster to change than we are accustomed to in the USA, and more complex & dynamic because the weather isn't just frontal in nature.

"Gonna be long, slow, cold and wet all the way to Canary Islands. Unless you are lucky. From there no problem to Antigua until June."
That strikes me as a fair summary except, even with luck, it isn't going to be warm. And the 700+ mile run from Gib (better, perhaps, if from Lagos) will require a special weather eye if you do it in Feb/March.

This will be the equivalent of 'work'. And plan on needing some time in Lanzarote or Gran Canaria or wherever, before departing for Antigua, to fix and service and modify the boat, as the boat will be giving you a list you won't want to ignore before then next 2700 miles.

Good luck to you. And worst case: You leave a boat you are looking forward to sailing over in the Med for a spell.


SeaCow 30-11-2009 07:54

I realize my situation is not optimal... the boats Im looking at all have good recent blue water sailings - and we are inspecting them heavily.

barnakiel 30-11-2009 14:05

Warning - if any re- or fitting necessary in Canary Islands, try to organize and bring along stuff from the continent. Local chandleries very expensive.

And in any case lets meet and have a cup of coffee when you get to here (Las Palmas, Gran Canaria).


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