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  1. #1
    anniebray is offline Registered User
    Location : Crowthorne,UK (returning to UK from Med via Canals)
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    Default Cruise UK to Canaries

    SWMBO has amazed & delighted me by proposing a 12 month cruise to the Canaries in our own boat. The plan is to depart from Southampton early2013, cruise West Brittany, Northern Spain, Portugal, & perhaps Morocco then make for Lanzarote Sep/Oct. I guess it would be advisable to keep clear of Gran Canaria until the departure of the ARC rally. There is much information on this forum as well as blogs by those who have cruised this route . There is even in the March YM an article on cruising the Canaries. What I haven't yet discovered is about the most favourable time for the return to UK & what routing. Does the prevailing wind dictate that the return route is via the Azores? I would be most grateful for all advice & suggestions including recommended pilots.

  2. #2
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    Timing for leaving the Carib is in some ways dictated by the hurricane season so May June is the time to leave.

    Our cruise on this route worked well leaving the UK late in the year being in the canaries for mid December and leaving for Barbados early January, I've done it twice at this time and there are a number of advantages. Christmas/New Year is a great time to be in the Canaries, lots of other cruisers also leave early Jan.

    Trade winds are established so crossing is steady wind and quite quick.

    Coming back the Azores are a must and I would give yourself a month (at least) to explore the islands it's a great cruising ground with some lovely islands people food and marinas!

    I wold go for the same timing next time, which was leave Falmouth Nov, Leave Canaries early Jan, leave northern Carib island like St Barts end May June/July in Azores and then Aug September Spanish Rias, Leave Britanny for summer hops from UK.
    quicKutter rope cutter, shaft and rudder bearings
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  3. #3
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    Liz_I is offline Registered User
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    I think Anniebray is only talking about cruise & back from the Canaries
    When the love of power becomes the power of love then there will be peace in the world.

  4. #4
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    We came back from Graciosa (Lanzarote) to Madeira then the Azores. If you have plenty of time to wait for the right weather it should not be too stressful, and the Azores are fantastic.

    To me this is a much better alternative than heading directly for Southern Portugal and battling North against the Portuguese trades. We left the Canaries at the end of the first week in May, spent three weeks in Madeira and arrived in Santa Maria, Azores at the beginning of June. We spent six weeks in the Azores then returned to Ireland via NW Spain, arriving in Ireland on the 31st July.

    You can read our blog of the trip http://www.znoy8.co.uk

    - W

  5. #5
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    I think you're right! Ignore the bit about trades and Carib, but Azores on the way back are a must.
    quicKutter rope cutter, shaft and rudder bearings
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  6. #6
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    The window for crossing Biscay is surprisingly early iirc. Generally you can expect to get Gales in mid July /August onwards so that might dictate either an early July return or a spring return the following year if you are going to come back that way. I was surprised how strong the Canary currrent was (It runs in a Southerly direction from just South of Finistere). You would of course have that current against you if you came back via a Biscay crossing - and that could be problematic given typical headwinds in a small(ish) twin keel boat (as bionic as your boat is :-)

    I dont know about pilot books but Reeds has some basic info about Biscay crossing I think and there is a NOAA buoy "Gascoigne" or similar that google will find historical data for

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt1 View Post
    The window for crossing Biscay is surprisingly early iirc. Generally you can expect to get Gales in mid July /August onwards so that might dictate either an early July return or a spring return the following year if you are going to come back that way.
    If you go direct from the Azores to Ireland you pretty much miss Biscay.

    The year we did it there was a constant sequence of gales off the South of Ireland during the latter half of June and early July, which is why we decided to return via NW Spain. This was an eight day passage for us. We used GRIBs for en-route weather routing, and were also talking to a boat that was talking to Herb. As a result we stayed off our direct route for three days and avoided some serious weather that boats ahead of us ran into. The worst we experienced was sustained winds of 30 knots for a few hours.

    From Galicia to Ireland ( 5 days) we again watched the weather carefully. We left in big seas and miserable conditions on the tail of one weather system and slowed down for a day and a half to avoid running into another one. Again, worst winds were 30 knots.

    We had always planned to be back in Ireland before August as there have historically been a few major storms in Biscay or the W, Approaches in August, but not many in July. We arrived in Waterford on the 31st July. I think t'before August' is a good policy, so if you are routing direct you want to leave the Azores by mid-July. Going via Galicia puts a day or so on the trip and means you are further into Biscay, but it is less stressful in a bad-weather year IMO. (Your mileage may vary). A satphone or SSB to get GRIBs en-route can be very reassuring.

    - W

  8. #8
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    Hi you may be interested to look at this site. http://www.sulmar.com/ This was the boat I previously owned and the new owners took her on a leisurely cruise to the Canaries before crossing on the ARC. As they done this 2001/2 some of the info on marinas will probably have changed. As the site is a bit old it seems to have got jumbled up a bit but think you will find interesting for as I say it was a leisurely cruise with lots of stop overs etc.

    Not often mentioned in sailing in Canaries is Fuerteventura. This is a lovely quieter island. One of the main ports Corralejo in the north has a marina but also a well sheltered harbour popular with anchoring yachts. It is a very pleasant town with either local or holidaymaker nights spots etc. Still considering it as a place to move to.
    Last edited by falkirkdan; 25-02-10 at 12:40.

  9. #9
    anniebray is offline Registered User
    Location : Crowthorne,UK (returning to UK from Med via Canals)
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    Thanks for all replies. I shall still seek more information on prevailing weather & routing not to mention preparing the boat. At the present time SWMBO is fearful of long passages having not made one longer than 15hrs but by the time we reach the Canaries perhaps she will have built up her confidence. Her enthusiasm for the trip is strong as ever , preparations for renting out our house already begun.

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