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Old 02-12-2016, 08:24   #1
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Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

My wife and I are newbies who have bought the dream and a large Catamaran. We will pick her up in Feb in Croatia. Our plans have been to live aboard and sail the Caribbean and think we can do that within our budget, avoiding marinas most of the time. But I would love to explore Croatia, Greece etc and would like to stay one season. Wow marinas are expensive! I don't see life in Croatia working if we have to pay that much to stay every night. Can one find safe places to anchor or cheap mooring balls? Are marinas a choice like they are in other sailing areas or are you forced in due to the nature of the area? Would things get better in Greece or other areas within sailing range? If we love the Med we might stay two seasons. We will have a young skipper with us initially but would hope that as our experience increases we can sail on our own.

Our other choice and original plan is to hire an experienced Captain to take us to the Caribbean right away. Would be a shame to miss the wonders of Europe!

Any advice would be appreciated. I know your advice would be to buy small but since we intend to live on her it is too late for that!
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:43   #2
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

Are there any good books relating to this subject that would help?
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:09   #3
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timreyn View Post
My wife and I are newbies who have bought the dream and a large Catamaran. We will pick her up in Feb in Croatia. Our plans have been to live aboard and sail the Caribbean and think we can do that within our budget, avoiding marinas most of the time. But I would love to explore Croatia, Greece etc and would like to stay one season. Wow marinas are expensive! I don't see life in Croatia working if we have to pay that much to stay every night. Can one find safe places to anchor or cheap mooring balls? Are marinas a choice like they are in other sailing areas or are you forced in due to the nature of the area? Would things get better in Greece or other areas within sailing range? If we love the Med we might stay two seasons. We will have a young skipper with us initially but would hope that as our experience increases we can sail on our own.

Our other choice and original plan is to hire an experienced Captain to take us to the Caribbean right away. Would be a shame to miss the wonders of Europe!

Any advice would be appreciated. I know your advice would be to buy small but since we intend to live on her it is too late for that!
Marinas are expensive in Croatia (in relative terms)! But they well better (generally modern, well equipped with a lot of facilities) than what I have seen in North America (even some famous private clubs, like "National" in Toronto). Mooring buoys are rather common, but run 20-30 maybe 40 Euro per night. If you are concerned of this cost go to Greece: there are very few marinas, but you can stay on town quay pretty much free (onces I paid 1.67 Euro per night (per 39 feet boat) You don't get any services, but if your boat in live-aboard you probably don't care.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:13   #4
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

[Our other choice and original plan is to hire an experienced Captain to take us to the Caribbean right away. Would be a shame to miss the wonders of Europe!

You are right : it is a rare opportunity to cruise on your own boat in the Med ( I assume you are from North America), so use it! Turkey would be a great place to visit too, but maybe not the best time right now
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:29   #5
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

I would not miss the opportunity to sail and enjoy the Med. Yes most of the marinas can be very expensive, especially during the high season, but in Croatia, Greece, most part of Italian and spanish island you can stay at your anchor. Not always comfortable, but with a good dinghy and a bit of planning it is a very enjoyable and cheap way to cruise the Med.
A good skipper with local knowledge can guide you through your first steps and plan with you the followings ones.

Sent from my Nexus 10 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:37   #6
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

I would suggest you look at the Imray Pilot Books, the Croatia/Adriatic and Greece pilots are written by Rod Heikell.

We have sailed both areas and our cat is based in Greece now. If you have a good weather forecasting system and choose your anchorages carefully you can do it quite cheaply and you get to stay in some wonderful bays/anchorages for as long as the fancy (or weather) takes you.

IMHO Greece and Croatia are not to be missed.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:48   #7
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

I strongly recommend joining the Cruising Association. There is a fee but this gets you highly focussed reports on locations, a wide network of contacts with local knowledge and a newly refurbished app that gets you to the active reports.

They also have discounts. We joined last year. Money well spent!

http://www.theca.org.uk

Fair winds

Mark
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:52   #8
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

Franz Amussen have agreat podcast about sailing the med:

http://www.medsailor.com/

Lots of great information to here about.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:58   #9
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

We chartered in Croatia this summer and in early July we were able to secure mooring balls. The restaurants on the islands, south of Split, maintain mooring balls in exchange they request you eat at the restaurant. When there wasn't a ball available it wasn't particularly hard to find secure anchorage. This was during high season, during the low season a lot of the restaurants close and I'm not sure of the mooring ball situation but that should just open up space for anchoring. And yes the Marina's were shockingly expensive!

If interested, I will look for the title of the guide we had, it did a great job of listing anchorages with description of bottom and how exposed to wind direction etc..

Very envious Croatia, Greece and the Med on a large Cat, awesome!
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:58   #10
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

We've been sailing the last 3 years in the Med on our liveaboard catamaran and it would be a shame to skip the Med. Croatia is out of control expensive since it's completely built around the charter model. We only sailed a little further north than Split, so were only in southern Croatia, but loved it. We only went into a marina or mooring ball twice, both times to pick up or drop off visitors. The rest we stayed at anchor with the occasional town quay thrown in there. Plenty of places to anchor safely if you keep an eye on the weather. Greece even more so. You could anchor out every night if needed and as stated earlier the town quays are very inexpensive. Don't race out of the Med, southern Italy and Sicily are fantastic as are the Balearic islands and Spain. The Caribbean isn't going anywhere.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:10   #11
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

You can anchor in bays in Croatia and Greece. People often anchor and tie stern to rock of tree ashore - so have a long mooring line - preferable one that does not float.
I also very strongly recommend joining the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally for 3 months of fabulous cruising staying in marinas all for a very cheap joining fee. You will be with sailors from round the world to newbies who will all be most helpful. I did it in 2012 and it was an amazing unmissable experience. Google EMYR. The organisers are experienced and careful to avoid areas that could be dangerous. The fellow sailors will be from every country you can think of.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:33   #12
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

I think you are right in that it would a shame bordering on criminal not to explore the Med for a year or so
We have a 38ft cat in Croatia and its a wonderful cruising area. However, marinas are very expensive on a casual basis but more affordable by the year or season, particularly for wintering, and particularly on the islands. Marina berths on the mainland and nearish to airports are twice the price of those on the islands. To give you some idea, we pay 5300 Euro for an annual berth in Milna on Brac just a few miles from Split. A 6 month winter berth is less than 50% of that, and very negotiable.
During April through to end October, there are very many safe anchorages you can weather pretty well anything at anchor, you are rarely more than 5 miles from a safe haven, so unless you need to come alongside for water, you are not forced to. All you need is a really good new generation anchor and ground tackle. You can often anchor within yards of a marina or town quay free of charge to go ashore for provisions. I am sure it is possible to anchor all year round, but there are 2 issues with that. First, when it blows hard, particularly the Bora during late Autumn, Winter and early Spring it can easily reach 50+kts. We have recorded 60+ kts twice in 3 years in a sheltered marina in March. Second, there is not a lot going on in the islands, very few restaurants, lots of unoccupied 2nd homes. For any life at all you need to be adjacent to a community with more than 1000 inhabitants. My personal view would be you have a winter berth from November - March in a very sheltered marina and then go cruising from April - Oct using anchor mainly, and a sprinkling of buoys and town quays as you see fit and can afford. (This has the advantage that in the winter the boat is very safe and you can travel to see friends and family or living aboard you can take advantage of the many nice periods during the winter and go for a mini cruise between spells of bad weather.) To give you some idea, for our boat buoys vary from 150-300 kuna, town quays 400-650 kuna and god forbid marinas 700-1000+ kuna. Paying for water and power alongside can be expensive up to 200 kuna usually on top, but if you can stay at anchor you should and must have ample solar or other generation means, so you can save there.
As has been said, marinas and town quays are of high quality, the marinas in particular are well maintained and the boats well monitored. The buoys however are more variable, being concessions to private operators and in some cases blocks are too small and header ropes chafed. To be safe in bad weather, you need to snorkel the mooring yourself!
The only 'pilot' we use is 777 Harbours and anchorages, covers Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania and very efficiently covers pretty well every harbour and cove there is. Not much pilotage required as mostly, everything you see is navigable, unlike Brittany or the Channel Isles.
The other thing to be aware of is the weather. Even in summer there can be strong winds and torrential thunderstorms. Typically, every 2 weeks there will be a Yugo SE or less frequently Bora NE winds. They are normally much less strong and of shorter duration than in winter but need to be respected. Fortunately, the Croatian and Italian forecasts are very good and broadcast/web in english.
Good luck
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:38   #13
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

Don't miss Montenegro, Albania, the Ionians the Golf of Patras and Corinth as well as the Corinth canal, the wonderful Greek islands and the coasts of Turkey. You can spend years of fantastic sailing and discoveries, even choose not to cross the big blue! Greece and Turkey are safe sailing grounds and significantly cheaper to sail. You can anchor free in most places. Cost of living is also very cheap. Always keep track of the weather forecast, plan accordingly and get an Imray pilot book. Enjoy!
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:48   #14
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

Timreyn, you have not mentioned where you are located, but unless you have EU citizenship your stay (not your boat) in EU zone (Greece, Croatia..) might be limited to 90 days. Just keep it in mind if it applies to you. There is a number of treads which discuss those issues in details.
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:00   #15
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Re: Advice on Sailing the Mediterranean Undo Re

Please don't kill the messenger. This is just an FYI.

I googled EMYR and this is what I found at:
http://www.emyr.org/eng/2016_iptal.htm

EMYR – MARCH 2016 EMYR NEWSLETTER

XXVIIth EMYR (EASTERN MEDITERREANEAN YACHT RALLY) 2016



The 2015 ' Mini' EMYR was considered a great success despite the small number of participants (14 yachts) and the shortened route. The yachts were hosted by Turkish and North Cyprus marinas and social and cultural activities were attended with great gusto.
The EMYR Committee had decided in principle to organize an EMYR in 2016 and announced this on the web site E M Y R and also at the Boat Shows in Paris December 2015, London January 2016, Düsseldorf 2016 and İstanbul February 2016.
However, due to the political turbulences on the Eastern Mediterranean waters, a final decision has been made as not to organize the EMYR2016 and keep tracking all the developments for EMYR2017.
We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by this but we feel that under current circumstances this is the most appropriate decision. We wish and hope to have a better political climate for 2017 and we also wish and hope a peaceful and safe future for the Eastern Mediterranean countries' people including Turkey.
Further details and entry forms can be found for EMYR2017at E M Y R The EMYR will remain as non-profit making organization that has as its main objective to promote yachting tourism in the Eastern Mediterranean, besides being of a major sporting event.

THE EMYR' 2016 COMMITTEE Kath & David Gerrard
SY Mashona, UK Sue & Lammert Zwagaastra
SYMakena, NL Gönül & Hasan Kaçmaz
SY IBIS II, Turkey
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