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Old 19-06-2017, 16:52   #1
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UK-Med in 2 months

Hi Forum,

We're going to head down to the Med, planning on hitting the straits of Gib mid-September.

So, for those of you who have gone before- if you had 2 months to make the trip from Falmouth to Gib, where would you spend more time? We prefer nice anchorages to loud marinas, but this is all new territory for us, so we really have no rules.

Our boat's relatively big/deep (17x3M), so I think that some of the most charming little harbors in France might be tough for us to swing.

Right now, we're probably leaning toward sailing direct for C. Finisterre, and spending most of the summer in Portugal, but I'd love to hear from others about alternatives we should consider, places not to be missed, etc.

I'm a little worried about getting pinned into Biscay if we go visit France/N Spain, but I haven't studied just how variable the winds typically are down there in the summer. We don't mind waiting for a fair wind and making miles when things are favorable, but I don't know if Biscay lends itself to that in the summer or not.

Thanks, looking forward to hearing some thoughts.
TJ
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Old 20-06-2017, 03:15   #2
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

Europe will be on holiday from 14 July. Relaxed cruising starts south of the Raz de Sein, in Biscay France, when tidal gateways no longer force un-timely departures and arrivals. Choose your en-route destinations from this page

North Spain is completely different; a coast of passage through a variety of fishing villages and towns which see relatively few passing yachts. A great opportunity to explore a very different culture. See this page

The Rias of Galicia provide excellent well sheltered cruising with good support for visiting yachts. A Coruna is a "must visit". You'll find more pages covering Portugal and southern Iberia on that site. They're written to help people planning cruise from UK to Gibraltar - or the reverse journey.

You're spoilt for choice.

In the end it took me three years of over 6 months a year to get to Gib. The first year France and the Rias. The second year filling in the gaps - Basque country and the ports I'd missed the first time around. Then finally setting off from Vannes via a couple of favourites to poke into all the harbours I could manage in Portugal and South Spain,finally wintering in Estepona.

Sorry, Gibraltar just didn't appeal to me after a couple of days! Too Anglicised! I'd fallen in love with the culture contrasts en route south.

JimB
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Old 20-06-2017, 03:36   #3
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

Howdy TJ!

I have not been there yet, but this video shows one of the places I would want to see. It also shows a famous annual sailing festival. That happened a few weeks ago. But, there are others along the coasts of France. I would want to see the old traditional boats like the luggers and sloops and other wooden boats (something I like) and would try to time it to see the festivals.

I wish I could be on your boat going where you are going.

It should be a marvelous trip, especially if you have the time to enjoy the places on shore too.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ts-185530.html

Bon Voyage!
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Old 20-06-2017, 03:58   #4
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

As already noted Northern Spain has lots to explore.
The Algarve is also a great place to spend some time.
Portimao harbour has plenty of room and you must
pay a visit to Culatra
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Old 20-06-2017, 03:58   #5
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

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Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
.........
So, for those of you who have gone before- if you had 2 months to make the trip from Falmouth to Gib, where would you spend more time?
.....
Well, based on the fact that all planning should be cast in sand and treated as a guess at what the future might bring as opposed to having any kind of control over events....

Be tempting to spend a few days in North Brittany as it's so lovely, even if just somewhere near the corner like L'aber W'rach then fill up with diesel and across - or if the wind is right just go for it. 2 months isn't very long so probably straight to A Coruna then spend some time around the Rias - good chance every village you anchor off will be having a festival that day so time can drift away easily.. straight to Camarinias would be another option bit further down. Then maybe straight don to Pavoa De Varzim and jump on the train for a look around Porto. Down to Cascais after that, anchor up and relax for a bit and a look around Lisbon. Then overnight round St Vincent, you could anchor up in Portimao or the Faro Lagoon. Guadiana river is lovely too though your mast might be a bit tall - about 21m airdraft under the bridge. Then round the coast to maybe Cadiz (wonderful city) , jump on a bus for a wander around Seville. Once in Gib you could pop across the straits to Ceuta and walk across the border into Morocco to grab a taxi down to Tetouan for the souk experience.
That lot is more than 2 months You'll run out of time, but so what, it's all lovely.
Wave on the way past, I'll probably still be drifting round the Algarve somewhere til mid Sept.

Enjoy!
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Old 20-06-2017, 08:26   #6
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

We will start a similar journey leaving La Rochelle in early July. We plan on la Corunna July 22 but no other plans. Keep in touch and we will share what we learn, paullmaloney@bellsouth.net
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Old 20-06-2017, 11:46   #7
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

Conachair has that spot on. We left Uk on 02 May and are now in Figueria da Foz - 20 Jun; halfway down Portugal. We have not lingered long but we want to get to Gib by early Jul so about 2 months.

We crossed Biscay in 2 days Audiene to Gijon; recommend this route. Good anchoring in Spain; not many anchorages for you in Portugal.

Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 20-06-2017, 12:19   #8
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

Thanks, everyone. Great info here as usual. I wish we had more time to just laze around and take forever to get places, but we're still of working age, so we get what we get for time off. A couple/few months off at a whack is still pretty nice.

Any thoughts on weather for getting around C. Finisterre if we spend time in N. Spain? It seems like it would be a nasty beat a lot of the time, but maybe there are plenty of chances to get around without getting thumped.

CF comes through again.

TJ
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Old 20-06-2017, 12:44   #9
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Howdy TJ!

I have not been there yet, but this video shows one of the places I would want to see. It also shows a famous annual sailing festival. That happened a few weeks ago. But, there are others along the coasts of France. I would want to see the old traditional boats like the luggers and sloops and other wooden boats (something I like) and would try to time it to see the festivals.

I wish I could be on your boat going where you are going.

It should be a marvelous trip, especially if you have the time to enjoy the places on shore too.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ts-185530.html

Bon Voyage!
Thanks, Steady. We like to have a look at the traditional boats too. We sometimes wind up right by some old schooner or something of the kind, and it's fun to talk to their crews and compare boats/philosophies, etc, since Rocket Science is just about as far opposite these boats as you can get and still be on a 'cruising' boat.

Perhaps you'll find a ride over on this side of the pond in your quest for crewing. If we were making any longer passages, I'd probably take you up on it, but we just don't need any help for getting across Biscay.

TJ
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Old 20-06-2017, 12:47   #10
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

I have lived in respect of Finisterre for years came past there in May in 2.3 kts; you just have to plan and take the view of a number of differently based forecasts.

However keep well offshore - several miles to avoid the back swells and importantly the lobster pots and occasional nets.
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Old 20-06-2017, 13:31   #11
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

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Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
Any thoughts on weather for getting around C. Finisterre if we spend time in N. Spain? It seems like it would be a nasty beat a lot of the time, but maybe there are plenty of chances to get around without getting thumped.
I've only done it 3 times in the past decade or so and Finisterre has been no probs each time. The winds there seem quite localised and maybe up a force or 2 from the forecast - doesn't seem to be any live reports from that neck of the woods though. It does have that big cape "sleeping dragon" feel about it though (St Vincent too) , don't think I'd like to be out there if the dragon was awake and in a foul mood..

What might be more likely to bite you on the bum is fog down the Portuguese coast, I have memories from Pavoa De Varzim of days on end setting the alarm every night for an early start then turning it off again in the morning and going back to sleep with the fog horn blasting away at the end of the breakwater.
So if there is some good winds there's a strong argument to go for and do a day/night/day or more then hole up somewhere for a while an get to know a place a bit better, also nice getting offshore a bit away from all the pots and little open fishing boats. I think there's a tendency to try and see everything but you just end up day sailing and taking ages to eat up the miles without really seeing that much anyway.
JimB who posted above keeps a great site, ybw.com forums can be great as well if you need to source some local info or find a broken part locally etc.
Also marine traffic density maps can be handy to see where the worst of the traffic is.
https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais...ry:42.7/zoom:7

Happy sailing
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Old 20-06-2017, 17:02   #12
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

Some great information / suggestions there , but one glaring ( to me ) omission is the cost of marinas / mooring etc in all these fantastic places , I did the opposite trip few years back but only stopped the twice ( Alvor and Bayona , both beautiful places ) but hope to be doing it again " soon " and would love some idea of how much marinas etc will cost , and Bon - voyage OP
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Old 20-06-2017, 23:15   #13
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

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Some great information / suggestions there , but one glaring ( to me ) omission is the cost of marinas / mooring etc in all these fantastic places , I did the opposite trip few years back but only stopped the twice ( Alvor and Bayona , both beautiful places ) but hope to be doing it again " soon " and would love some idea of how much marinas etc will cost , and Bon - voyage OP
Easy to do without going near a marina, anchor all the way. Hundreds of spots in the Rias, then Cascais, Sines if you want to break up the trip round St Vincent, alvor maybe a bit shallow for the op but Portimao no problem, Faro, Tavira, the Guadiana, isla Christina, after that can't remember but certainly Cadiz, sancti per, La Linea next to Gib - nicer and free to anchor all the way. Algarve marinas aren't too pricey til end of May when they tend to treble in price.
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Old 21-06-2017, 00:04   #14
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

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Easy to do without going near a marina, anchor all the way. Hundreds of spots in the Rias, then Cascais, Sines if you want to break up the trip round St Vincent, alvor maybe a bit shallow for the op but Portimao no problem, Faro, Tavira, the Guadiana, isla Christina, after that can't remember but certainly Cadiz, sancti per, La Linea next to Gib - nicer and free to anchor all the way. Algarve marinas aren't too pricey til end of May when they tend to treble in price.
Yeah , sounds good , I was up the Guadiana at Alcoutim a couple of years back lovely
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Old 21-06-2017, 05:12   #15
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Re: UK-Med in 2 months

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
Hi Forum,

We're going to head down to the Med, planning on hitting the straits of Gib mid-September.

So, for those of you who have gone before- if you had 2 months to make the trip from Falmouth to Gib, where would you spend more time? We prefer nice anchorages to loud marinas, but this is all new territory for us, so we really have no rules.

Our boat's relatively big/deep (17x3M), so I think that some of the most charming little harbors in France might be tough for us to swing.

Right now, we're probably leaning toward sailing direct for C. Finisterre, and spending most of the summer in Portugal, but I'd love to hear from others about alternatives we should consider, places not to be missed, etc.

I'm a little worried about getting pinned into Biscay if we go visit France/N Spain, but I haven't studied just how variable the winds typically are down there in the summer. We don't mind waiting for a fair wind and making miles when things are favorable, but I don't know if Biscay lends itself to that in the summer or not.

Thanks, looking forward to hearing some thoughts.
TJ
Biscay in the summer is no problem for a boat like yours, TJ. Gales are infrequent and foretold far enough ahead for you to work out perfectly comfortable weather windows. The prevailing wind is W with Northerlies usually setting in towards late summer. The nastiest gales are generally NW. So crossing towards Gib is the "downhill" way and really no problem for a fast boat like yours. You won't get "pinned" down anywhere, because there is no extended bad weather in summer. That starts in October.

In summer Biscay is a beach paradise, with water warm enough to swim, sunshine, beach bars, etc. If you go around the coast, rather than crossing straight to Galicia, stop at Belle Isle and by all means at the Isles Glenans, France's sailing mecca. You'll think you are in the Caribbean.

You are spoiled for choice as the entire Atlantic coast of France from the Cotenin Peninsula to the Galician Border is absolutely lovely -- a cruising paradise. Too bad you only have two months. But you can hit some of the high points. If you are already in Ireland (?) then it makes no sense to go back into the Channel. Which is too bad, because North Brittany is absolutely fantastic. But you could start with Ushant (very cool and highly recommended) and work your way down from there. We did a Biscay cruise five years ago and really loved Ushant, Audierne, Douarnenez, just to name a few, but that is only a small sample. You could spend a few years cruising that coast and not see everything. I actually find the Atlantic coasts of France far more interesting than the Med coasts of France.

You will have no trouble with your draft as these are tidal waters -- you will just be restricted a little more in time, but you should be able to get into more or less all the harbors.

Send photos!
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