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lucianog 11-11-2009 11:49 AM

Any ideas how one could live aboard and sail to spain from uk
Please could anyone tell me if it is possible to live aboard either a sailing or powered boat here in the uk in a marina and then sail to spain in the summer.

Please tell me what time it would take and if using a powered boat how much fuel/cost would be involved. I would probably be looking at a 40' boat.

Im completely new to sailing and appreciate any help, ill be lookin for training soon so will appreciate any suggestions as what to do to learn to be able to do the above.

sailingdog 11-11-2009 04:35 PM

I would highly recommend getting a fair bit more experience before trying that particular trip. Those waters aren't very forgiving and crossing the Bay of Biscay is one of the more challenging things you can do.

You don't need a 40' boat to do it either.

As for fuel costs, it really is very dependent on conditions, the type of boat, etc.

tdw 11-11-2009 05:41 PM

Have to agree with SD here. By reputation, Biscay can be a pretty nasty piece of work when it sets its mind to it. Experienced sailors have the greatest respect for the place, its no place for a novice.

While i've never sailed on the Bay of Biscay I have spent plenty of time sitting on the shore being mightily impressed by the power of an Atlantic swell. Even once you have passed the bay the coast of Atlantic Spain and Portugal can be pretty rugged.

Size of boat is of course up to you but if you are single handing and given that you have never sailed before then 40' is probably overkill.

TQA 11-11-2009 10:01 PM

Doable on the cheap in a mobo with a outboard via the French canal system to the Med. Pick your time carefully for the channel crossing and you might want to buddy up with somebody.

You can find something around 20 - 24 feet pretty cheap by watching ebay and prowling the cheaper canal marinas. 5 to 10k should get you something that would do, less if you get one that needs TLC. I might be tempted to get a 4 st Honda outboard either new or nearly new though. 3k

On a sailboat across the channel, round Brittany, across Biscay and down the Atlantic coast of Spain now that will be much more expensive and could be some real hairy chested sailing.

wind_magic 11-11-2009 11:59 PM

The 200 Millionaire - Weston Martyr, 1932

lucianog 11-12-2009 07:14 AM

Great advice. Realistically it seems crossing biscay bay would take a lot of yrs experience even if I was using a powered boat am I right?
So it seems tqa s idea of using frances canal sys would be more suitable, in this case would I stiil be able to sail down the west coast of england across the channel
and then through the canal sys to eventually sail around the belearics ? Can anyone suggest how long this
May take and the cost in fuel (roughly) and suggest any suitable boats also wher I could gain some training

tdw 11-12-2009 04:46 PM


Originally Posted by wind_magic (Post 541072)
The 200 Millionaire - Weston Martyr, 1932

Windy, that was wonderful. Thank you.

lucianog - You need a boat that draws less than around 1.5m and is either small enough that you can easily drop the mast or has a deck stepped mast set in a tabernacle. Alternative t the mast in tabernacle is to have the mast pulled as you enter the canal system , strap it on deck and then re step it at the other end. This of course precludes you from doing any sailing along the way but if you are simply going from the Channel to the Med then sailing is not really a practical option.

I'm afraid I can't help you with the shortest time it would take but there are plenty of web sites with information on the canals. This is one of the best I have seen.

French Canals

Cost ? About the same as a length of string. :)

Ref do not want to hurry. The trip would have to be one of the greats, if only for the food and the wine.

bb74 11-13-2009 04:22 PM

Jeez, worrying about fuel cost and time to go that far as the first concerns sounds like a major accident waiting to happen.

this reminds me of a time when a friend of mine suggested that he would be free at 1900 in Cannes and we could meet at 1915 to pick him up off the public dock to have dinner... only we were sailing from Marseilles that day and the wind was blowing out of the east F7-8.

Sailing and even open sea powerboating is not a deadline based activity, even less so for an inexperienced captain & crew.

Forget message boards for a few months. Go to the local yacht club and inquire about sailing training - coastal, offshore, get your wet weather gear and spend 6-8 weeks going thru the first steps of training to understand basic sailing, navigation, rules & security, and first aid.

THEN come back and get the details on such a trip.

Harsh, but someone with no sailing experience looking at such a trip is just asking for trouble, the type of trouble that can have more than just material consequences.

OldColumbia 11-13-2009 04:43 PM


Harsh, but someone with no sailing experience looking at such a trip is just asking for trouble, the type of trouble that can have more than just material consequences.
Well said and thanks for " putting the skunk on the table".

Reality is a cruel mistress and some of the dreamers need to put the pipe down once in a while to grasp the consequences of tempting fate.

Freedom to wander requires responsibility not to become someone else's problem.

mintcakekeith 11-20-2009 06:44 AM

Certainly possible to live aboard in some marina in uk (I do) dont like idea of crossing biscay in power boat ,the amount of fuel required usualy rules it out due to insufficent tankage.worth reading the power boat section in adlard coles heavyweather sailing.french canals are well worth while. I am probably crossing next year in my 44 ft ketch but will be going via cork to get a good offing then to norther spain ,portugal and Azores . then back to cork.Crew welcome if you want to try it K.

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