Sailing from the UK into the Mediterranean
Hi, first time post:
I'm wanting to organise a trip from England and ending up in Mallorca, I would rent the boat, and was wanting to sail with 3 other passengers on a boat around 37ft. My sailing experience: as a junior I raced laser 3000 dingies and did a bit of part time instructing but that was 7 years ago and I have little to no experience on larger sail boats but have experience on motor boats up to 40ft.
Its a dream of mine to sail to Mallorca and climb the cliffs. Im in the initial stages of organisation now but would apperciate any views on what kind of traning, courses, preparation I should go through before setting off. Or am I just being naive thinking I can do this in the next year.
thanks for any thoughts...
You are aware you will be sailing in the gulf of Biscay aren't you??
Do some searching about it..then re-think the going...
You will also be sailing the Portuguese trades wich blow south from Vigo to around the Cape of Roca in Sintra Portugal...that alone will also grow some hair in your chest. We're talking about downwind runs in 30 plus knot winds..for 3 days
Now...it is not impossible and you will get a lot of fun and unforgetable experiences when you do.
I just think that all the sailing you made in dinghies is good and will allow you safely handle the boat, but also highly recommend you do some larger boat sailing, some real bad weather sailing and above all read and learn how to cope and proceed in rough weather...it will be there waiting for you, and believe me, it's not pretty, strikes un-anounced, and you will be forced to sail along the coast of France where sometimes finding a stop over marina is hard..
But again..I think you will like it...
Also..read about sailing in the staright of Gibraltar...
Or fly there and charter in the med...
Yes , Giulietta is totally right, its not just Biscay but the passages at Ushant, Cape Finesterre and Gib that can all be tricky on occasion. You've enough experience to hack this, but not yet as skipper.
Can you find an experienced skipper to help get you there? Or is there someone else you could sail with down to Spain for the experience, do an RYA Coastal Skipper course for the navigation and boat handling, take time to build up yacht management expertise, then go next year?
Another possibility, if your yacht is not above 5ft draft and the engine is reliable, is to take the mast down and motor through the French canals to the Med. Slow, but safer and interesting in its own right.
You've got a year to prepare, and an aggressive, ambitious and focused goal is not a bad thing. But what you need is experience, experience, experience.
My advice to you would be to crew as much as possible on passages as long as possible, including at least one Biscay crossing. Get some skippering experience - especially in entering unfamiliar ports by day and night. Do the Yachtmaster theory course over the winter and read as much as you can about extended cruising and especially about heavy weather sailing (I'd recommend Fastnet Force 10 and a book about the Hobart's disaster). And pick your crew carefully - have as much experience onboard as possible.
Of course, in order to rent a boat you'll probably need a certain level of qualifiations in order to rent a boat - and the ICC propably won't cut it. That likely means getting 1,500 miles under your belt and doing the Coastal Skipper exam at least.
You're not naive thinking you can do this in the next year, but you've got a lot of study, training and, most importantly, seatime ahead of you if you want to make it happen (responsibly at least).
Bottom line: Setting ambitious and challenging goals is good. Being stupid is bad.
Are there really any charter companies that would rent out a boat for a trip like that??
Seems doubtful to me.
I'm sure there are some private charters who would jump at the chance to have their boat chartered for 6 weeks minimum - although I can't imagine them agreeing to such a trip without the skipper being YM Offshore qualified at least.
Then again, who knows what kind of informal arrangements are possible with boat-owners, especially for older, smaller or less-desirable boats?
Have a look at the Cruising Associations web site. The often have skippers looking for crew. Like this one from Ian Griffiths:-
"I am taking Simbaroo our Beneteau 411 from the Uk (poole) to Croatia (Zadar) starting May 24th 2008. I hope to be somewhere in the Balearics probably Palma Majorca by 2nd week of July and am offering crew positions to take Simbaroo from there to Croatia via Sardinia, Scicilly, and Italy. The trip to take 2 - 3 weeks."
UK to Majorica
All of the above are excellent. The journey in May or June is really easy. Cross the Channel, spend the first night in France, sail to the Channel Islands, down the west coast of France, pull in at San Moritz, north coast of Spain, head for La Cederia, then down the Portugese coast to Lisbon. Not a very nice place, poor harbour, but one night to stock up is OK. Sail to the south coast of Portugal, really nice, the Algarve, good golf coursee, head for Gibraltar and spend as much time as you can. If you can stay in the destroyer pens, this is next to the town. The new marine is OK also. Head for the south of Spain and harbour hop until you get to where you can jump off for Ibitza, stay at El Tora marine and then head for Palma and find a place on the queside. Always room or drop the hook in the anchor. alfredjones88
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