Sailing across Biscay isn’t something to be taken lightly. Firstly, shortly after leaving Camaret, there’s the Raz de Sein – a ferocious piece of water with very strong tides and dangerous overfalls. Timing is everything; you need to get through it at slack water. It’s a very scary place.
Distance: about 600 miles
Hazards: Big waves, big winds, big distances, only 1 or 2 ports – this leg is not for boys
The first leg is actually two legs:
- Part 1 – from Southampton to Roscoff, France – about 170 miles across La Manche (English Channel). Depending on the weather in North Biscay we either going to carry on into Biscay Bay or leave the boat at Roscoff marina, fly back home and wait for the right weather. The northern part of the Biscay has some rather dangerous areas, we are crossing them only at the right combination of tides and weather. The trickiest part are Chenal du Four and Raz de Sein
- Part 2 – from Roscoff to San Sebastian – again, depending on the weather we can either go straight to Spain (350 miles to Basque Country) or sail along the French coast and maybe make a couple of port calls (about 420 miles).
Can’t give you any dates for this trip – everything depends on the weather. The Kat should be ready to sail at the end of April. We can start as soon as we have 5-7 days good forecast for Biscay. The best days tide-wise to leave Roscoff and sail Chanel du Four and Raz de Sein are 4th and 20th of May 2017. If the weather is Ok we’ll be leaving Roscoff on the 3rd or 4th of May. It’s 3-5 days sailing to San Sebastian and we need to be there by the 3rd of June to start Leg 2 – across North Spain!
The North West coast of Spain, which extends from the Atlantic border with France round the NW corner and down as far as the harbour of Bayona, is one of the most neglected and therefore unspoiled cruising grounds in the whole of Europe.
Distance: about 300 miles
Hazards: Rapidly changing weather, the swell – long, high waves, tides, uneven bottom is some areas results in broken and dangerous seas
Highlights:Basque coast and cuisine, Galician coast and cuisine
The scheduler is very approximate in terms of the stops, but we need to be in La Coruna on the 12th. Weather along Basque country and Galicia can change very rapidly and without warnings. There is a few very nice anchorages where we won’t stay overnight but can stop for a lunch and a swim.
If we’re lucky with the weather it should be very relaxed sailing along rocky coast of Basque country and Galicia and high snowy mountains in the back
|05/06/17 – Bilbao – arriving, shopping, having some Basque food||map||wiki||wiki|
|06/06/17 – Bilbao – Santander (40 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|07/06/17 – Santander – Lastres (60 miles)||map|
|08/07/17 – Lastres – Gijon (20 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|09/06/17 – Gijon – Ribadeo (70 miles)||map||wiki|
|10/06/17 – Ribadeo – Viveiro (30 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|11/06/17 – Viveiro – Ares (50 miles)||map|
|12/06/17 – Ares – La Coruna (10 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|13/06/17 La Coruna – cleaning & washing & having Galician food|
The North West corner of Spain (between Ribadeo and Bayona), is Galicia, a wonderful cruising ground (8/10) comprising about 180nm of granite coastline deeply indented with steep sided ‘Rias’, each just a day sail from the next.
Distance: about 360 miles
Hazards: Rapidly changing weather, frequent fog, the swell – long, high waves, tides, strong west wind makes entrance into some rivers and marina dangerous or impossible
Highlights: Galician Rias, Cape Finisterre, Lisbon
If we have a good weather I’d like to spend a couple of days exploring Galician Rias – three big rivers north of La Coruna with a lot of nice anchorages, small marinas and fishing ports. After that we will need to make two overnight legs over 120-130 miles each or one 40 hours leg covering 250 miles.
|15/06/17 – La Coruna – arriving, shopping, having some Basque food||map||wiki||wiki|
|16/06/17 – La Coruna – Camarina (50 miles) (lunch break at anchor at Laxe if we have time)||map||Noonsite|
|17/06/17 – Camarina – Ria de Muros (40 miles)||map||Noonsite|
|18/06/17 – Ria de Muros – Ria de Arousa (30 miles)||map||Noonsite|
|19/06/17 – Ria de Arousa – Ria de Pontevedra (25 miles)||map||Noonsite|
|20/06/17 – Ria de Pontevedra – Vigo (25 miles)||map||wiki|
|21/06/17 – 22/06/17 – Vigo – Figueira da Foz , Portugal (130 miles)||map||wiki|
|23/06/17 – 24/06/17 – Figueira da Foz – Lisbon (120 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|25/06/17 – Cleaning, washing, exploring Lisbon|
Once east of Cap St Vincent (the SW corner of Portugal), there’s a marked change to a sunny climate. Good communications and mild winters make this a popular region for winter layup or live-aboard. Otherwise, this is a 190nm coast of transit to Gibraltar, with two interesting rivers for a diversion. There are a few delightful anchorages among sand dunes, some other-worldly villages, and plenty of marinas. It’s easy to transit this coast just visiting Lagos and Cadiz, but much more fun to allow a few days each “up the rivers”. Maybe add a day or three to wait for the easterly “Levanter” to subside.
Distance: about 350 miles
Hazards: Strong current and winds in Gibraltar, fish nets and cages along the coast, monkeys!!!
Highlights: Faro, Cadiz, Gibraltar
Straightforward sailing – weather is getting better and warmer, big waves should be in the past. The only challenges are negotiating the entrance into Gibraltar straight and finding available mooring space for The Kat at one of the Gibraltar’s marinas. One night sailing between Vilamoura and Cadiz (100 miles)
|12/07/17 – Lisbon – preparing, shopping, walking||map||wiki||wiki|
|13/07/17 – Lisbon – Troia(50 miles)||map||Noonsite|
|14/07/17 – Troia – Sines (40 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|15/07/17 – Sines – Portimao (85 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|16/07/17 – Portimao – Vilamoura (25 miles)||map||wiki|
|17/07/17 – 18/07/17 – Vilamoura – Cadiz, Spain (100 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|19/07/17 – Cadiz- Barbate (50 miles)||map||wiki|
|20/07/17 – Barbate – Gibraltar (40 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|21/07/17 – Cleaning, washing, exploring Gibraltar|
If you’re looking for a lively culture, sail down the Costa del Sol in the province of Malaga, a major gastronomic center of Spain that hosts a vibrant contemporary arts scene. On the mainland, you’ll find many museums, restaurants and cultural centers worth exploring while the coast offers some of Spain’s best beaches. Take in some of the 3000 hours of sunshine that shed light while relaxing on the shore.
Among one of the most popular destinations in Spain is Costa Blanca where you’ll find a long stretch (200 km) of pristine beaches, quaint, but lively fishing villages and legendary nightlife. Costa Blanca’s calm waters also make it a great place for a leisurely cruise.
Distance: about 330 miles
Hazards: Strong afternoon sea breezes reaching 40 knots. Lot’s of tiny fish nets. Too much sun, too much sangria!
Highlights: Marbella, Cartagena, Mar Menor, Isla de Tabarca, Alicante
No tides finally! We’re in the Mediterranean Sea! The winds are typically light in the morning and breezy in the afternoon. Lot’s of places for anchorage, lots of very nice marinas. The final destination isn’t really Alicante – it’s town of Santa Pola just north of Alicante. If the time allows would like to spend a day in Men Mare – beautiful lagoon.
|22/07/17 – Gibraltar – preparing, shopping, walking||map||wiki||wiki|
|23/07/17 – Gibraltar – Marbella (40 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|24/07/17 – Marbella – Velez-Malaga (45 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|25/07/17 – Velez-Malaga – Almerimar (65 miles)||map||Noonsite|
|26/07/17 – Almerimar – San Jose (40 miles)||map||wiki|
|27/07/17 – San Jose – Cartagena (70 miles)||map||wiki||wiki|
|28/07/17 – Cartagena – Mar Menor (La Manga) (30 miles)||map||Noonsite|
|29/07/17 – Mar Menor – Santa Pola (40 miles)||map||wiki|
|30/07/17 – Santa Pola – cleaning, washing, walking|