Timing - UK to Morocco

Sy-Revolution

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Hi Folks,
Our plans for a liveaboard life are running head long. I've still got a bit of work to do on the boat, lots to sort out in terms of tying up loose ends and we have a date of 1st July to set off. A bit later than I'd have liked but unavoidable.

However, things could over run and I'd like to know what is the latest that it would be deemed safe to be sailing the west coast of Portugal/Spain and doing the Straits of Gib, bearing in mind that we're short handed with a 7 year-old lad? As such long passages must be kept to a minimum and so our progress will be slow (also by design). We had wanted to take in W. Coast France & N. Spain.


We plan to winter in Morrocco (smir) and do some overland travelling for a few months.

How long does the forum think we'd need for a leisurely cruise down there? Are we being too ambitious in the time we have?


Cheers,

Crispin
 

Richard10002

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Once you have crossed Biscay, you can more or less day sail the coast of N. Spain and Portugal, and onwards to Gib. Sines to Lagos may involve a long day as, IIRC, there is nowhere sensible in between.

If you day hop around France & Spain, you might only have a longish trip across the Channel.

At 5 knots, I calculated that I would need crew for 3 nights between Malta and Lagos, (Sicily to Sardinia, and Sardinia to Ibiza), then 3 or 4 nights across Biscay. The rest I could probably day sail single handed.

We left Falmouth in August 2006, and I think we took 14 days to Lagos, with 3 nights in Bayona, then dayhopping with me and one inexperienced crew, ( and no autohelm!!), apart from the overnight for the last leg, (Cascais to Lagos).

You can always winter on the Algarve if you dont get as far as you'd hoped, and Morocco isnt going anywhere .... It's not a race when you have all the time in the world /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

Borden

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I agree with Richard. It's not a race. We left Hamble in July 06 and by September were tucked up in Portimao in the Algarve. First stop was Guernsey (to set off for tide gates at the Raz and Four). Stop over in Camarert then Les Sables d'Olonne. Then 2 1/2 days to La Cournia. This leg was done with two of us on board. Next leg with my wife and I to Bayona, coast hopping to Portimao with lengthy stop over in Lisbon (Doca de Alcantara). Best time for crossing Biscay and getting the southerly Portuguese trades + current is July and August. You can press on for Morocco but you will miss a lot of good stuff on the way. The straits are no big deal as long as you choose good weather and read the 'Straits Sailing Handbook'. In June 2008 we tied up in Yasmine Hammamet marina in Tunisia having wintered in Almerimar.
Fair winds
Colin Moody 471 Solent Venture
 

BoyBlue49

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Hi Crispin, your planned passage to Morroco for the winter is to my mind OK. It just depends on how much time you take on your way down. It is very easy to find a port or anchorage that you like and spend a week or two taking in the local ambience.
I sailed to Gibraltar and back last year, leaving the UK at Brixham, straight across to A' Coruna which took 76 hours but you intend to visit West France, so day sailing from port to port will take as long as you wish. There are ports on average some 20 miles appart all down to La Rochelle, after that you may as well go to North Spain.
The West coast of Spain is a sailors delight with anchorages, ports and scenery in buckets. Bayona will be your last port of call in NW Spain, then into Portugal - Lexoes, Figueira da Foz, Peniche, Cascais, Sesimbra and Sines are all day sails.
From Sines to Cape St. Vincent there is nothing to call a port until you round the Cape then there is Sagres, a small port a few miles before Lagos (Lagosh) or Portimao. You must go into Calatra Island, enter at Cabo de Santa Maria, best at slack water, anchorage 2 miles past Life Boat station, go into the cafe with the yellow awning - cheap as chips.
From here you can follow coast line or cut across to Rota, Conil and Barbate, it is then a day sail to Gibraltar.

I can't quite work out where Malta comes into your journey that the previous poster has advised ???

Have a great sail and listen out for the weather forcasts as you go down the coasts.
Fair winds,
Barry.
 

Sy-Revolution

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Thanks for the replies, sounds like we should have enough time. Our reasoning for trying to make Morocco is 1. Non Euro zone 2. Cheaper berthing (budget is going to be on the tight side , I think) & 3. Had enough of the UK summers, it's damn hot down in Zagora! Plus I wanted to show my son the Sahara and introduce him to an old friend, Mochtar..........

Just to clarify though, what would be the latest you'd want to be laying up, October, November or December? Or sooner?

Cheers,

Crispin
 

Richard10002

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[ QUOTE ]
I can't quite work out where Malta comes into your journey that the previous poster has advised ???


[/ QUOTE ]

It doesnt /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif (yet /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I was merely saying that from Malta to the UK, (which includes all the ports from UK to Morocco), most of it can be done by day sailing.
 

PlanB

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I agree with what other posters have said, but would add that your insurers may require you to be clear of the Bay of Biscay by 30 September, and the coast of Portugal can have bad weather and serious swells October onwards.
 

chasroberts

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Just a point re Smir Marina as a winter layup destination. The Marina itself is fine and pretty much deserted for most of the year. Staff are friendly, rates good etc. However (and there always seems to a 'however') there is absolutely nothing there in the way of supplies or chandlery and I mean nothing. So if you're planning to stay onboard you need to be self sufficient. Worth bearing in mind come spring and getting ready.

Would agree with Lagos as an option, especially if you're leaving the boat for some time. Have her hauled out at the boatyard. They don't mind you living on board for a while, showers etc were good, great chandlery in the port. Prices were not excessive either and security was excellent.

PS If you can afford it take at least one years extra antifouling with you. When you see the prices out there compared to the UK it will make your eyes water....

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Chas
 

Richard10002

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[ QUOTE ]
Would agree with Lagos as an option, especially if you're leaving the boat for some time.

PS If you can afford it take at least one years extra antifouling with you. When you see the prices out there compared to the UK it will make your eyes water...

[/ QUOTE ]

Agree on both fronts!!

I never felt uncomfortable leaving the boat in Lagos, with noone keeping an eye on her. Still a reasonably busy town throughout the winter,with most places open. Also an active liveaboard scene if you want that kind of thing.

Here in Portomaso, Malta, I have paid guardage for 18 months or so, and still feel uncomfortable when I leave her.
 

Abigail

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We agree that Smir would not appeal as a winter port if you are living aboard. There is v little there. Also when we were there (July 2007) it was no cheaper than the Spanish coast eg Almerimar. There are loads of more fun places to be living aboard, especially with a 7yo. If you chose Cadiz, Rota, Barbate (we were in Rota one winter) you could easily sail to Tanger to visit Morocco for a month or two. We left the boat there for a few days no problem at all. Again not cheap really.

In terms of laying up - depends whether you mean - stopping sailing for several months, living aboard and doing boat work that stops you going out; or stopping cruising but still day sailing while living aboard; or leaving the boat to go somewhere else to eg earn money or travel inland for more than a few days. The answers about both timing and place vary depending on the plan!

And absolutely it's not a rush. Galicia is lovely and we could easily have spent much longer there.
 

Borden

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You ask about laying up. Like most folks in the Med we stay afloat. Gone are the days of hauling out in September/October onto a Yacht club hard as is expected in the UK. In the Med. if the weather is good at Christmas and New Year or at any other time go sailing.
We have been afloat for three seasons now, the only difficulty is to find time to haul out to antifoul. Having done so get back in as soon as poss.
As others have said get around Cape St Vincent before mid September to be safe as the Portuguese west coast can become unpleasant.
For reference, the ports on the N (Biscay)coast of Spain often close for months during the winter due to sea/wind conditions.
Fair winds
Colin
 

jeremyshaw

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I should warn you that Smir is pretty dead in winter. Practically all the restaurants close and there are not many liveaboards.

But if you are set on it and want to save money, you can rent one of my two berths (pm me). Oh dear that's probably not allowed. They will be free until summer '10.

Smir seems very well protected and I think is a good place to winter from all aspects apart from those I mentioned. If you want company, Almerimar in Spain is generally more popular with liveaboards.
 
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