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Old 05-01-2020, 11:44   #31
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Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)

Hello Sr Haas, maybe I'm a bit more of a glass is half full kind of bloke, but this is perfectly do-able. As long as you put the time in, and take your time, there's no reason why this cannot be accomplished safely in a 12 month period. We are currently cruising in Galicia, anchored off Isla Ons actually. Lovely day here today, full sun, flat seas. A bit chilly at night but you dress for it and all is fine. We crossed Biscay on the 1st December, copped a blow but we were prepared for it and no problems, hit a new speed record for the 1983 Moody 41 we have so that was a highlight that we didn't need. But a safe and well planned trip. We shall be making our way down to the Med over the coming 6-8 weeks, depending on weather. Again, if you have time, use it carefully and don't put to sea if the weather is unfavourable. Sorting your boat out will be the big bit, but once you have that sorted, easy tickets. Safe travels mate.
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Old 05-01-2020, 14:51   #32
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Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)

Ouch! I understand people being concerned about your safety but you've had a bit of a harsh pushback.
Firstly, three fundamentals that folk are right about
1. The Med in winter is no place to learn to sail. You might be fine, but your other half might not have such a good time. The western Med is 10 to 20 degrees Celcius, so not horribly cold, but the winds feel chilly. They certainly did today as I sat doing some cutting and filing on the dockside in Southern Spain, under grey skies and a 20kn Easterly in 3 layers of clothes.
2. The weather in winter can be quite boisterous. There are the odd week at a time of lovely mild weather, especially by April. Earlier in the year the weather is more boisterous, especially with very cold winds blasting down from the Alps or Atlantic storms funneling through the Straits of Gibraltar. That said, I go out sailing all winter long from my marina just north of Gibraltar. Just pick the weather window.
3. The Portugese coast can be a real challenge, especially heading north against the prevailing winds. In strong onshore winds many, sometimes almost all, of the harbours are closed because of breaking seas in the entrances. And Biscay in Winter, Spring and Autumn is fearsome even to very experienced sailors. I've met plenty of inexperienced sailors who crossed it in very settled summer weather ( well, most went the long coastal route rather than straight across). I've also met one who was capsized and had to abandon her boat.
The good news is that there are tons of very cheap boats in the Med. Most harbours will have three or four boats that have essentally been dumped there by someone who could afford to buy a nice boat but not the fees and running costs to keep it. Or who got too old to manage the boat. Or had a dream about sailing but changed their minds after the first year. I had a Swedish neighbour who picked up a 30' cruiser for 3000€, spent about the same again on some gear and basic improvements, and then headed off to the Canaries in it three months later. It can be done. Maybe you could spend the first few months of your sabbatical on a road trip looking for a half decent boat. That would be a great adventure in itself. Buy a boat cheaply enough and you won't need to worry about getting your money back at the end of your adventure.
The Western Med in winter and spring isn't crazy expensive.
Marinas are mostly under 30€ a night for a 30-35' boat like my current one, and there are tons of free anchorages in Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics to while away the days once the weather turns warm. People will tell you there aren't, or anchoring is forbidden, but last summer I anchored for free in 47 bays and harbours on our 5 month cruise in Southern Spain and the Balearics, and used only 12 marinas. Use Navily to do some research on where you plan to go and be sceptical of internet naysayers!
Portugal is nice but difficult for sailing once you are north of the Algarve. But if you manage that you've got the Galician Rias to look forward to. They are beautiful fjords in Northern Spain. I'd be surprised if you even bother to go further north!
If you buy a boat in the Med, buy one that is registered in The Netherlands or Belgium. I understand that, like my homeland of Britain, they are exempt from the licensing and qualifications required by other European nations (Spain and Portugal to my certain knowledge France and Italy too, I think). I know Spanish boat owners that own boats registered elsewhere for that very reason. But do your own research first.
Apologies for such a long post. I don't disagree with a lot of the cautionary posts you've had, just to say that there's hundreds, if not thousands, of people knocking around that have done what you want to do (usually travelling North to South though). Very few died. Some had horrible experiences that they never want to repeat. The rest of us had, or are still having the adventure of a lifetime. Good luck.
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Old 05-01-2020, 21:07   #33
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Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)

As previous posters said it can not be done. Biggest hurdle is visa, you only get 90 days in, then it's 90 days out. Combine that with weather windows and you understand why.
If you want to see Europe buy a train pass and use the 90 days sightseeing. Enjoy the absence of huge tourists crowds (small crowds only) and tour the Med countries. It's also cheaper in winter.

If you want to spend the sabbatical sailing there are two good destinations, the west coast of Mexico and the Caribbean. Simplest for you is Mexico and I'll tell you why.
1. You are already on the west coast. This means you can hunt for a craigslist bargain boat and get her prepped before sabbatical actually begins.
2. It is a more or less easy ride downhill.
3. There is infrastructure and a community to support you in your own language.
4. It's in season. When season ends there are places geared to store the boat and brokers to sell her if you don't want to go back uphill.
5. You could still see Europe in summer after the season ends.
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Old 06-01-2020, 16:30   #34
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Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)


You had me alarmed. My wife and I are planning on buying a boat to travel the canals of Europe and the Med over several years. Currently US citizens can travel to the EU, or Schengen area (26 EU countries) without a visa for a period of 90 days within a 180 day period. However, US residents can apply for a Schengen visa which will allow us to stay for longer periods.


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Old 06-01-2020, 16:48   #35
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pirate Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)

I registered my Hunter SSR when I bought her in Oriental NC in 2004.. got her back to the UK August 1st so fell in the CE trap which I was not aware of till I got home.. no proof I was in the UK before that date, if only I had pulled into Falmouth instead of heading straight to Poole..
Anyway, the VAT and CE only became an issue when time came to sell as prior to that she was my home.
Ended up selling her as a 'Project Boat' cheap and warned the buyer of the CE and VAT issue.. we both left the pub happy..

Born to be Wild.
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Old 06-01-2020, 17:25   #36
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Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)

Andy, you confuse things. Schengen visas are of one type only, the 90 days one that US citizens are extempt from. Every other visa is a national one, granted by the individual states by their own rules. Yes a holder of a residency visa can travel freely in the Schengen area, but you can not get a "long term Schengen visa".

As for the others please keep in mind that registration, importation, CE compliance and VAT are separate things. Some countries link some or all of them, meaning you can not register a boat if you don't have all the documents, and others don't. You can have a EU flagged, non CE marked, no duty and VAT paid boat, but it's not legal inside the EU borders and if the taxman finds out you will have a hard time.

Anyway the UK SSR has decided to enforce it's "residents only " rule and is no longer the cheap and simple safe heaven for everyone.
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Old 10-01-2020, 16:50   #37
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Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)

Another sad outcome in N. Atlantic off France yesterday: 51 foot Beneteau from Portugal lost power & nav eqpt in storm. One of five crew dead, another seriously injured, all taken to hospital. Details not yet available, but winds in 40+ knot range and seas to match. Winter is not to be messed with there.
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Old 11-01-2020, 13:09   #38
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Re: Advice For Noobies (Sailing the Med in the Winter)

Adtl details: the 51’ Beneteau, near the island of Groix, was rolled over, twice, and dismasted. Towed to port by rescue vessel.
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