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Old 17-07-2009, 13:37   #1
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Winter in Northern Spain?

My wife and I are presently preparing for a multi year cruise, sailing during summer and each year staying more permanently at one place during the winter (early November- mid March). The first year we plan to go (from Copenhagen) via North and South Brittany to Northern Spain. The question is weather it will be possible to find a place in the Rias (Vigo, Bayona or somewhere else) where we could realistically lay up for the winter.

Most people continue further down along the coast and stay at the Algarve coast in which case we have considered to stay in either Sevilla or somewhere else on the Spanish South coast west of Gibraltar (we want to keep our options open for the following year). However, we are in no hurry and I'm a bit afraid that we will not have enough time to explore Brittany and Galicia if we have to continue that far before laying up for the winter.

Ideally we need a place where they are used to yachts and where we can safely leave the boat unattended when we for instance go back to Denmark for Christmas (ie. is there have to be somebody in the marina who will and can look after it in case of severe weather). We also would like to be at a place where there are a nice town close by so that we may enjoy that during our stay and where we might find a place to take a language course to improve our (presently rudimentary) Spanish.

I'm sure that this is possible, but I am concerned about the weather. In have heard that climate changes quite a lot once you are south of Capo Finis terre but honestly: What is the temperature during the coldest month, how much rain do you get and is there a lot of fog. Also how often do you encounter stormy conditions.

All points of view and suggestions will be greatly appreceated.
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Old 18-07-2009, 04:56   #2
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Hi Sten,
I read an article about six months back in a UK sailing magazine about a couple who found a good spot on the Spanish north west coast where they had their yacht hauled and stored for the winter. Great value I recall.
Trouble is I can't recall the name of the place - so guess this is not much help to you unless you've a stock of last years Brit sailing mags to check out....
But clearly it is possible.
We've come down that coast twice in May - once was super sun and good Northerly winds. Two years later light south westerlies and fog almost the whole way.
Good luck
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Old 18-07-2009, 05:29   #3
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Greetings and welcome aboard Sten.
It sounds like you and your wife are embarking upon a wondderful adventure.

Check out Jim Baerselman’s “Cruising in North Spain”
Cruising in North Spain

Also see the Noonsite entries for Spain:

Including North West Spain:
Noonsite: Spain
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Old 18-07-2009, 07:34   #4
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Hello sten, after some down trips across Biscay Bay to the Med and Caribbean , i dont recommend stay in any harbour in winter from La Coruña Up to the North Coast of Spain,this include Gijon , Santander .
I made a mistake one time sailing from La Rochelle France to Bayona and in the end of the trip make a stop in Gijon with rigging problems, surfing down to gijon ok, but try to leave the north coast of spain in winter is a suicide, we have for 42 days seas in the entrance of the harbour between 10 to 40 ft breaking in the entrance, very long wait for weather, off course not all the winters all the same , and some people dont have this kind of weather all the time.
Ok iff i want to leave the boat in a safe place with a boatyard nearby, this is my choices, 1 Sada Marina in Bayona , nice marina and nice boatyard , lots of fun ashore but in winter not to many people, close to Cap Finisterre.
2, Cascais Harbour Lisboa in Portugal, another nice marina with a i think 40 ton travelift, chandlerys and boats services in the same marina , very good protection from weather, nice staff and close to Lisboa, not soo cold in winter.
I have bad experiences in Oporto with Customs and Inmigrations, and the marina is in poor condition.
3 Cadiz in Spain , Nice and funy people, a boatyard with good services include a sailmaker, good protection from W and E in winter , best food .
4 La coruña , nice town , nice marina staff , excelent food, but winter gales is a isue in winter.
5 Bayona , the same to Sada, one off the best places close to finisterre .
In all this places is posible leave the boat and fly back home , the more south you hare the better weather in winter, Vigo Rias is a wonderfull place and the food is really excelent.
And for weather ??
Many people say that crossing Biscay Bay is finish when you reach Spanis Coast ,
I tell you that Crossing Biscay Bay in winter is finish when you round Cape Finisterre, and after Finisterre the weather usually improve.
And wacht to sail close to Portuguese Coast, lots of fishing vessels and a infested fishing traps waters close to the coast, i made the trip down always 30 to 40 miles off the coast.
Hey enjoy the trip and have wonderfull time .
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Old 19-07-2009, 05:24   #5
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I's second the previous poster on wintering north of Finnisterre, The spainish Austrian coastline is a no no. The inner harbour in La Coruna might be possible, it does suffer from swell , but its right in the city. ( and theres good air connections etc)

Even Bayona I wouldnt reccomend, though the Yacht club there is very welcoming.

My tuppence would be Lagos in Portugal, right beside the town, cheap out of season accomadation ( good boatyard), restaurants etc.

Other wise its east of GIB really
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Old 22-07-2009, 01:09   #6
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Thank you for your comments even if I'm not sure that they makes things easyer for me :-) From what I read, Sada or Bayona are both realistic possibilities and Bayona should be preferred as weather in general is better. I do take the point about going further south however, our Spanish language capabilities (even if rudimentary) does make Spain more attractive alternative to us (i.e. for a longer stay).... and we would like to explore the 'Rias Bajas' in the spring.

PS: anybody have any experiences with Vigo?
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Old 22-07-2009, 02:18   #7
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Read this thread!
On the way back to Sweden.
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Old 22-07-2009, 03:22   #8
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My first recommendation would be the excellently sheltered Villa-Garcia marina in Ria De Arosa. Good rail connections to the airport at Santiago de Compostela. But yacht support in Villa-Garcia, if you need work, is limited, and the town is quiet.

My second recommendation, if there's space, would be the town marina in A Coruna. Yacht support is good, and the city is delightful, a pleasure to live in. But the weather factor is a little worse than in Villa-Garcia. There's good rail connection to Santiago de Compostela.

Winter temperatures are some 7C average warmer than the Danish west coast, frost is rare. Big swells affect the entrances to all north coast ports from time to time.

You'll find that the Cruising Association in UK is a great source of help if you're travelling south to the Mediterranean, with some 500 or so members who have travelled the routes to share experiences with.

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galicia, winter, Spain

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