Unfortunately, the refugee and terrorism crisis has put this on a back burner----way back. The officials have more pressing things to think about than cruising yachtsmen.
We have been here in Europe
for the last four years and it has been very tedious to remain legal---impossible actually----IF you want to stay on board and travel at 4 knots.
We have reverted to the 90 days in Schengen and fly home scenario.
It has become virtually impossible to do much else, unless you want to "carry on as usual" and hope that no one notices the dates.
We were inspected four times last summer and each time it was only to see that the photos, names etc matched what was placed on the marinas
forms. No dates were checked(Spain) I suspect that, as always they preferred to not rock the tourist boat
. But, all it takes is ONE official (a newbie) on ONE day to turn the page and look at a stamp and then it starts. We saw that happen to someone last summer. It ended Ok but it was a bit tense. Normally, the Spanish are pretty mellow but the Portuguese are another matter entirely.
In 2005 we got nailed in the Azores---we had officially cleared out of the Azores
for our crossing to Panama
and stopped for 5 gal of fuel
in Ponta Delgada--only to be told that we were ONE DAY over the Schengen limit. It turned into a real scene---boat impounded at the dock
for two weeks while we TRIED to sort it out---unsuccessfully, eventually I gave up--I walked into the Immigration office and told them point blank--I'M leaving. Shoot if you want but I,m going. I was not trying to stay here, I was cleared out and trying to leave! It was maddening!
For the last 4 years we have been trying desperately to find a legal
solution that actually works but to no avail. Unless, of course, you don't mind hiding out in Morocco
for 90 days. That is the only solution we could find. Its a nice pace and very friendly but 90 days is a long time.
We wanted to sail back out the Azores
this summer but by the time you get out there, have a good time and try to sail back you have used your 90 days and, should your return landfall be in Portugal
, they count whatever time you are at sea as still being in country so---even if you decided to row back and take 90 days to do it--you still lose.
We have decided to just "call it a day" and as of now, we are planning to return home this season.
Maybe some day things will change but don't hold your breath.
It is too bad because Schengen was created to do this. It is actually a GOOD thing for people who live here. This was just something that happened because no one took "retired people who travel at 5 knots" into consideration. I mean, who would do such a thing?
If anyone out there finds a "workable, legal
solution" you would do all of us a great favor by telling us what you did. God knows, we certainly tried and failed.