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Old 31-01-2020, 23:22   #1
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Spain to Greece starting in May?

We are wintering over in Sant Carles, Spain. We hope to move the boat east to Greece as early as possible to spend time with friends before we take the boat out of the water for the busy months of August and September.

We have sailed in Croatia and Greece previously, but have not done any extended passages around the Med. Is it reasonable to start moving east from Spain sometime in May? We will let the weather dictate our pace and course, to a large extent, but I'm interested in hearing from people experienced in making this trip at the start of a sailing season.

How long should we expect that move from Spain to Greece to take? It looks like we could take an entire summer if we spend any time exploring along the way, but we hope to meet up with friends who are wintering in Greece. Can we reasonably hope to arrive in the Aegean by mid-June or early July? Hug the French and Italian coasts, or jump from the Balearics to Sardinia to Sicily?

Most reliable weather resources?

As you can see, we have a lot of questions. But we also have several months to make plans. And the planning is sometimes almost as much fun as the journey, so any advice and insight will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Charlie
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Old 01-02-2020, 00:20   #2
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

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Originally Posted by cjenkins View Post
We are wintering over in Sant Carles, Spain. We hope to move the boat east to Greece as early as possible to spend time with friends before we take the boat out of the water for the busy months of August and September.

We have sailed in Croatia and Greece previously, but have not done any extended passages around the Med. Is it reasonable to start moving east from Spain sometime in May? We will let the weather dictate our pace and course, to a large extent, but I'm interested in hearing from people experienced in making this trip at the start of a sailing season.

How long should we expect that move from Spain to Greece to take? It looks like we could take an entire summer if we spend any time exploring along the way, but we hope to meet up with friends who are wintering in Greece. Can we reasonably hope to arrive in the Aegean by mid-June or early July? Hug the French and Italian coasts, or jump from the Balearics to Sardinia to Sicily?

Most reliable weather resources?

As you can see, we have a lot of questions. But we also have several months to make plans. And the planning is sometimes almost as much fun as the journey, so any advice and insight will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Charlie
Yah. I’ve done the trip countless times, all seasons


Menorca...Sardinia, straits of bonafacio
I’ve never had much luck passing south of Sardinia

Sardinia to mainland Italy to or Sardinia to Lipari depending on time and weather

You must stop Lipari. Straits of Messina is a choke point, weather window

The south or Italy . Bottom of the boot, is featureless . If the weather permits make the long shot to the Ionian , stick close the the coast of Italy until the straits of Otronto . That coast has powerful, ass kicking katabatic winds

In Ionian Greece I make landfall at Nidri

Italian weather. Wind-Sea model | Consorzio LaMMA
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Old 01-02-2020, 00:40   #3
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

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Originally Posted by cjenkins View Post
We are wintering over in Sant Carles, Spain. We hope to move the boat east to Greece as early as possible to spend time with friends before we take the boat out of the water for the busy months of August and September.

We have sailed in Croatia and Greece previously, but have not done any extended passages around the Med. Is it reasonable to start moving east from Spain sometime in May? We will let the weather dictate our pace and course, to a large extent, but I'm interested in hearing from people experienced in making this trip at the start of a sailing season.

How long should we expect that move from Spain to Greece to take? It looks like we could take an entire summer if we spend any time exploring along the way, but we hope to meet up with friends who are wintering in Greece. Can we reasonably hope to arrive in the Aegean by mid-June or early July? Hug the French and Italian coasts, or jump from the Balearics to Sardinia to Sicily?

Most reliable weather resources?

As you can see, we have a lot of questions. But we also have several months to make plans. And the planning is sometimes almost as much fun as the journey, so any advice and insight will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Charlie
Yah. I’ve done the trip countless times, all seasons


Menorca...Sardinia, straits of bonafacio
I’ve never had much luck passing south of Sardinia

Sardinia to mainland Italy to or Sardinia to Lipari depending on time and weather

You must stop Lipari. Straits of Messina is a choke point, weather window

The south or Italy . Bottom of the boot, is featureless . If the weather permits make the long shot to the Ionian , stick close the the coast of Italy until the straits of Otronto . That coast has powerful, ass kicking katabatic winds

In Ionian Greece I make landfall at Nidri

Italian weather. Wind-Sea model | Consorzio LaMMA
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Old 01-02-2020, 23:48   #4
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

I've done thiss route late April-early May. I was luck made it until hnaya in Crete with 10-15 knts of following winds mostly under spinneaker.
Med weather has no predictable winds but at this time of the year westerlies are more common.
Depending on the wind, you may decide where to stop and which way to take. Sardinia, south of Sicily, Malta, Crete could be an option. Otherwise, you take the north of Sicily, Messina, İonian sea. You may get strong winds on this passage of 350 nm but the wind will most likely be on yr port side aft quarter, there shouldn't be a problem. In may, you may occosionally get very strong southeasterlies which don't last more than a couple of days. Then, stay where you are, Catania is my favorite spot.

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Old 02-02-2020, 01:39   #5
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

I stay clear of the Sicilian straits and Malta

It looks like a shortcut but it’s infested with shipping, fishing boats , refugees and you get your ass kicked

Same with passing south of sardinia
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:03   #6
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pirate Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

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I stay clear of the Sicilian straits and Malta

It looks like a shortcut but it’s infested with shipping, fishing boats , refugees and you get your ass kicked

Same with passing south of sardinia
Its the way I come and go every time.. I detest the Staits of Messina..
Jump fro S Sardinia to W coast of Sicily then follow coastline to Syracuse where I anchor to rest up before jumping off for the Islands or Corinth.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:02   #7
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

I second Boatman's comment. Unless you face with Sirocco (strong south westerlies out of North African coast) avoid the north of Sicily and Messina strait. North of Sicilly is full of unlittered fishing nets everywhere and few good place to stop if the need be. Palermo is to avoid at all cost..

Cheers

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Old 02-02-2020, 10:56   #8
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

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Originally Posted by yeloya View Post
I second Boatman's comment. Unless you face with Sirocco (strong south westerlies out of North African coast) avoid the north of Sicily and Messina strait. North of Sicilly is full of unlittered fishing nets everywhere and few good place to stop if the need be. Palermo is to avoid at all cost..

Cheers

Yeloya
Having made the Sardinia to Greece also "countless" times (actually 14), starting late April. Here is my take. First, "avoid Palermo at all costs" is a grotesque recommendation. This is my winter mooring for the past four years. Talked to a lot of cruisers over the years and never heard anything but the joy of discovering one of the most beautiful cities in beautiful Italy. Secondly, the long passages recommended by many, above, are in no way necessary and deprive you of both sleep and wonderful experiences. You can do Sardinia, Palermo, possibly Cefalu or Capo Orlando, not Lipari but Vulcano (anchorage, not marinas !!), Reggio Calabria on the Straits, definitely not Catania (nightmare marina, beautiful city), then either across to Paxos (2 1/2 days), or along the Gulf of Taranto: Rocella ionica (12hrs from Reggio), then Maria di Leuca (24 hrs) and then a short hop to Corfu (jewel). Even with the long route, this takes two weeks, with rest days included. Still using only day passages and rest days, you can be in the Golf of Patras, on the way to the canal of Corinth, in another two weeks. Only place to avoid, except in very bad weather, is Nidri. By the way, the Straits are easy, provided you check the currents on the site Correnti dello Stretto - Valori e calcolo Correnti Stretto di Messina
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:14   #9
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

You have sailed lots, and know how to watch for weather windows. You will be great. We have friends who sail from April until November in the Med. We have staged out of Marina di Ragusa on the SE coast of Sicily for the past few years, and we have ranged from Gibraltar to Venice.

If I were doing it in your timeframe, I would sail the Balearics, go to Bonifacio, the Madelenas, down the east coast of Sardinia, along the south coast of Sicily, definitely not miss Malta, and then do a several day passage to the Ionian. Lots to see there, and usually not long passages except for the last one. A lot of it does depend on exactly where in Greece you want to end up. A good way to Aegean is head to northern Ionian, and use the Corinth Canal. We would probably head straight there, particularly if time were short, but you can hug the coast if you hop back up to Siracusa (an exceptional place) and go along the boot bottom of Italy. There is not much of interest or shelter there, though (although Gallipoli, a few hours up the east coast of the Gulf of Taranto, is nice and is sheltered). Depending on when you leave in May, you'll do some sailing, but a month or so should see you there. Good luck!
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Old 03-02-2020, 00:25   #10
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

I like the advice about the port hopping and enjoying the trip. However, I would like to point out that trip is not that far. We did a similar distance from Pantellaria off Tunisia to Zakinthos in four days - mostly motoring and some beam reach.

Zakinthos is a pleasant port of entry and much more attractive that Patras which is a commercial port.
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:48   #11
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

Gee

Good food in Italy. The west coast of Italy from Naples south has some great food stops

Sicilian people are particularly kind to foreigners

No need to haul ass

Besides, the trip contemplated is seldom completed in long legs . Mediterranean weather is fickle

With a good weather eye you can knock off 24-48 trips and not smash up your boat, not drain your fuel tank and eat plenty of good grub
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Old 04-02-2020, 20:37   #12
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

Thank you all for the responses. These are just the sorts of things I need to hear. It sounds like May is not too early to head east, weather permitting.

The Balearics, around the north end of Sardinia, then the southern coast of Sicily (drop into Marina di Ragusa to check it out as a spot for next winter), and then . . .

We would love to get to Malta to visit friends, or back to Siracusa which we loved. We will see how it goes and what the weather permits.

This will be our first season in the Med and we're very excited. I'm certain we will have more questions and I sincerely appreciate everyone's willingness to share their experience and advice. Seeking advice on the internet can be a complete waste of time, but this forum seems to be an exception to that general rule.

Thanks,

Charlie
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Old 04-02-2020, 23:25   #13
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

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Thank you all for the responses. These are just the sorts of things I need to hear. It sounds like May is not too early to head east, weather permitting.

The Balearics, around the north end of Sardinia, then the southern coast of Sicily (drop into Marina di Ragusa to check it out as a spot for next winter), and then . . .

We would love to get to Malta to visit friends, or back to Siracusa which we loved. We will see how it goes and what the weather permits.

This will be our first season in the Med and we're very excited. I'm certain we will have more questions and I sincerely appreciate everyone's willingness to share their experience and advice. Seeking advice on the internet can be a complete waste of time, but this forum seems to be an exception to that general rule.

Thanks,

Charlie
In Spring and fall there is much less yacht traffic

Italians ports are almost impossible to use during high season
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Old 05-02-2020, 01:23   #14
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

We went from Mallorca to Italy (la spezia in the north) in February once. 8 days of nonstop weather. Found a little place to anchor in the mouth of bonifacio tho, that was fun Watch lyon, it'll belch 5 meter waves across the whole med north to south at the drop of a hat off season

More recently went along north sicily thru messina. Nothing wrong with north sicily, it's a short stretch. Stop off at filicudi, salina and vulcano if you like, and Cefalu on the main island is a gorgeous place with a crap marina but a very safe anchorage outside of it. Straits were crossed on a beautiful calm day with a forecast of 20kn. Went thru outside the TSS so no need to call in, then exiting we got hit with 50 knots in the face so hid out at reggio calabria. Ugliest town in the world, but safe from all weather.

Last bit of advice, the new greek tax, don't forget, I've seen them checking boats. If you want to make a short hop and not go all the way to corfu (where you can pay it), there is an EXCELLENT brand new marina at Erikoussa, which is about as close as you can get to italy. Nothing on the island, but the guy who runs everything is amazing, friendly, and you didn't hear it from me but won't turn you in if you stop a few days even before getting your taxes done. You can also anchor off here if the weather is okay, but northerlies come thru all the time and can hit 50kn. We weathered one while there inside the harbor, no problems.

You can pay the tax online (sort of) here: https://www1.aade.gr/aadeapps2/etepai/

Register your boat and take the papers they email you in a few days, and your passport, to any bank or post office in greece. They only take cash.

Anyway, I wouldn't miss the aeolian islands and cefalu. Palermo makes a great great stop as well. Look up Sitimar marina, Ben, friendliest dude in the world, and the best price by far, deep in the harbor on the right side, 3 min walk from old town.

Good luck!
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:33   #15
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Re: Spain to Greece starting in May?

Best weather forecast in Med is provided by Numerical Models adapted to local weather particularities.
European countries share weather data to feed Numerical Models to Metereological Offices in each country.
There is a EU project for Numerical Models named HIRLAM used by many EU countries for the forecast.
You should be able to locate the outcome products provided by these models seaching for the above mentioned premises: HIRLAM, numerical models.
In the case of Meteorological Office from Spain named AEMET, you may find normal and high resolution outcomes for different met variables including wind, but also for temp, press, %cloudiness, etc

El Tiempo. Modelos Numéricos. HARMONIE-AROME en Áreas de Península y Baleares y Canarias. - Agencia Estatal de Meteorología - AEMET. Gobierno de España


El Tiempo. Modelos Numéricos. HARMONIE-AROME CC. AA. en Áreas de Comunidades y Ciudades Autónomas. - Agencia Estatal de Meteorología - AEMET. Gobierno de España


this last link is for local high resolution close to Spanish Coastline

Also to check weather windows there is an interesting outcome available from an EU medium term forecast Center (CEPPM)

El Tiempo. Modelos Numéricos. CEPPM-Atlántico norte - Superficie - Presión - Agencia Estatal de Meteorología - AEMET. Gobierno de España

I am using these products from long time ago and found them quite good and far better that the "standard" marine forecast notices that cannot point out specific anomalies but average weather in a zone.

Hope this will help you
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