UK to Galicia

bromleybysea

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Me and my mate are discussing a trip in company to NW Spain this summer. I visited Galicia 20 years ago at the start of an Atlantic circuit and have always wanted to return- now about to be retired it seems the time is ripe. We are discussing merits of going for the "outside" route and getting there in one hit, or the alternative of going through the Raz and having a few days in southern Brittany, which means the longest leg is only 3 days rather than 5 or 6. I favour this option because I’ve always wanted to go to southern Brittany and quite fancy the challenge of a trip through the Chanel du Four and the Raz, but matey reckons that it would be better to do it in one. Of course I could always do it on the return trip, or indeed save it for another year, now that I will shortly be a man of infinite leisure. Any thoughts pro or con?
 
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We did it down the french coat to the Gironde and then across the bay to Bilbao. This makes it a 30 hours trip and weather forecasts are reliable for that long. Every one of my pals who has done the long trip from Falmouth to La Curunna has had a pasting even in mid summer.

In any case, Bilbao is a lovely city as is San Sebastian. I enjoyed trundling along that coast.
 

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We did it down the french coat to the Gironde and then across the bay to Bilbao. This makes it a 30 hours trip and weather forecasts are reliable for that long. Every one of my pals who has done the long trip from Falmouth to La Curunna has had a pasting even in mid summer.

In any case, Bilbao is a lovely city as is San Sebastian. I enjoyed trundling along that coast.

I didn't get pasted . . . oh no, must mean we are not mates :eek:

- W
 

snowleopard

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Every one of my pals who has done the long trip from Falmouth to La Curunna has had a pasting even in mid summer.

It ain't necessarily so. First time I did it I motored from 50M S of Ushant in flat calm and the second time, in October, had a nice sunny broad reach in a F5 Easterly.
 

Little Five

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Dublin to Rias de Muros in June last year, 5 days 2 hrs and 15 mins of which we motored for half the time. Its much better to sail to 9-10 degrees west then turn south as this gets you over the continental shelf so easier seas if it does blow up a bit
 

SHUG

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Weather windows can be the key.
The get to Brittany you need a two-day weather window and to cross Biscay from there you need a three-day window.
The prospect of a 5 to 6 day weather window is almost nil except if there is a monster high in Biscay.
The distance to La Coruna from almost anywhere from Cameret to La Rochelle is about 350 miles so it doesn't really matter where you are when you find that vital weather window.
 
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macd

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It' a question that can attract very dogmatic responses and to be frank I'd distrust anyone who says categorically that there is one "right" way to cross Biscay. If the "stay deep" school are to be believed, it's folly for anyone based in, say, La Rochelle, to aspire to sailing to La Corunna, which is clearly absurd.

I'd advocate your preferred route south -- South Brittany's lovely, but not from 100 miles offshore. And two-day forecasting is a sight more reliable than five-day. But then I do like French food and bars. I'd have thought the biggest factor might be your time frame. Brittany's an easy place to dawdle.

Whichever option you choose, I'd urge you not to make your Spanish landfall (or the opposite coming back) as far west as La Corunna: that would mean missing out on the northern rias (Rias Altas), which I'm sure you'd enjoy.

Incidentally, if there's just two of you aboard, your insurer may have a view about the route you should take. Some stupulate three on board for longer Biscay passages, some not. Suggest you check.
 
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jimbaerselman

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It' a question that can attract very dogmatic responses and to be frank I'd distrust anyone who says categorically that there is one "right" way to cross Biscay. If the "stay deep" school are to be believed, it's folly for anyone based in, say, La Rochelle, to aspire to sailing to La Corunna, which is clearly absurd.
Absolutely right. In fact, the "stay deep" crowd would appear to believe that cruising any part of the coast lines between Ushant and A Coruna was folly.

France, west and south of L'Aberwrach, is a delightful cruising area, but rather busy between July 14 and the last weekend of August, when half Paris goes to holiday there. And south of Raz de Sein, tidal streams no longer dominate your passage planning. Great day sails along the coast, with many anchorages, moorings and marinas, some quiet, some busy, some in the middle of little half timbered towns. Easy to spend two week pootling along here.

Spain, from the French border westwards, is on holiday during the peak French season. And that includes a lot of the commercial fishing fleets, which dominate the facilities along this coast line. Yachts are very much second fiddle here - with relatively few cruising the coast - but there's usually plenty of room. What a pleasure to become part of a world not dominated by marinas and the evening rush to secure a berth. Thanks to the "deep water" enthusiasts! Snags? Yes, there are days when swell blocks access to some harbours. And it does rain - about the same amount as Cornwall, but 5C warmer.

The whole coast can be pottered with day sails (weather/suitable swell window needed for some hops) taking about two weeks for a thorough job. And there are some good, economic spots to leave the boat, either over winter or just for a month while you return to UK (ferries or flights). A great cruising ground if you like the idea of exploring Spanish Celtic Fringes, unaffected by mass tourism and boating.

Ideal for someone not dedicated to long voyages, who has time on their hands, and enjoys a very different cultural environment. Absolute c**p for people who prefer long voyages, Fray Bentos pies and Marmite.
 

bromleybysea

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Absolutely right. In fact, the "stay deep" crowd would appear to believe that cruising any part of the coast lines between Ushant and A Coruna was folly.

France, west and south of L'Aberwrach, is a delightful cruising area, but rather busy between July 14 and the last weekend of August, when half Paris goes to holiday there. And south of Raz de Sein, tidal streams no longer dominate your passage planning. Great day sails along the coast, with many anchorages, moorings and marinas, some quiet, some busy, some in the middle of little half timbered towns. Easy to spend two week pootling along here.

Spain, from the French border westwards, is on holiday during the peak French season. And that includes a lot of the commercial fishing fleets, which dominate the facilities along this coast line. Yachts are very much second fiddle here - with relatively few cruising the coast - but there's usually plenty of room. What a pleasure to become part of a world not dominated by marinas and the evening rush to secure a berth. Thanks to the "deep water" enthusiasts! Snags? Yes, there are days when swell blocks access to some harbours. And it does rain - about the same amount as Cornwall, but 5C warmer.

The whole coast can be pottered with day sails (weather/suitable swell window needed for some hops) taking about two weeks for a thorough job. And there are some good, economic spots to leave the boat, either over winter or just for a month while you return to UK (ferries or flights). A great cruising ground if you like the idea of exploring Spanish Celtic Fringes, unaffected by mass tourism and boating.

Ideal for someone not dedicated to long voyages, who has time on their hands, and enjoys a very different cultural environment. Absolute c**p for people who prefer long voyages, Fray Bentos pies and Marmite.

Jim’s post is delightful and encouraging. Still not quite decided on stopping over in Brittany or not. Probably decide nearer the time. Hopefully, now I am about to enter the world of unlimited leisure I will have plenty of time to explore Brittany in years to come, if I decide to give it a miss this time.

I was planning a landfall at Cediera as it’s an easy entrance, well lit and a spacious and sheltered anchorage off a pleasant town- it’s also not too far “round the corner” to discourage exploration of the Ria Altas. If I did go via Brittany I might think about a landfall further east. Jim’s description of the area is as I remember it from 20 years ago, and my Spanish office manager tells me it richly deserves the appellation A Costa do Marisco- the seafood coast. When we did it 20 years ago we were on a very tight budget so didn’t get to explore the shore facilities much. She also says it never stops raining but then she is from Madrid so is probably biased. Not liking long passages, liking good food and different cultures, having Celtic roots myself I think I fit Jim’s criteria. Though I do like steak pies and Marmite as well! I might also mention that I remember some of the best-looking women in the world. I can’t wait!
 
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