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Old 01-16-2010, 12:17 AM   #1
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I am being proposed a Transat from France to Caribeans starting late January and I was wondering how the weather typically looks like at this time of the year?

Thank you!

Vincent
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:58 AM   #2
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Hello Vince,

The vast majority of sailors from Scandinavia and Northern Europe who intend crossing the Atlantic outside the hurricane "season" generally make their way South in our summer months and from the end of September onwards tend to gather in places like Southern Portugal and the Canary Islands. One illustration of this is the ARC Rally which leaves the Canary Islands in late November. Very, very few of those boats are not South of about Lisbon by October.

There's good reason for this fact..

The proposed voyage from France in late January is of course possible but I would say you will almost invariably meet bad weather and if you do, you should expect it to be severe. I don't put too much faith in statistics, but some show the incidence of a severe gale (force 9+) off Cape Finisterre in July is 1 to 2 %. In January/February it is 17 to 20%. Once you are South of about Lisbon the weather tends to be slightly more benign, even in the winter. I type this in Southern Portugal at the moment, and in the past week a depression with winds of 50 knots + has run up the Portugese coast Northwards towards Biscay.

Can I suggest you make sure the skipper and crew of the yacht are experienced sailors and that the vessel itself is well maintained, before you agree to such a trip? It can be done, of that there's no doubt, and French ocean sailors are usually fine seamen, but as an old Cornish fisherman will tell you.

" Only fools and fishermen go west of the Lizard after September".. Regards Saxon.
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:33 PM   #4
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That's pretty much what I tought. Skipper is very experienced and the boat is new... and from my experience, new does not necessarily mean well equiped! I will think carefully about it.

Thanks to both of you.

Vince
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:28 PM   #5
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Vince, I think the fates were aware of our postings re the weather. In the early hours of this morning a training vessel was towed into the Cornish port of Newlyn, which is less than 20 miles from the Lizard (headland) which I mentioned. She got into trouble and had all her sails blown out during a storm in the Bay of Biscay. She's the "Pacific Swift" about 70 tons and she's Canadian registered out of Victoria BC with a crew of four. All safe, thanks to the RNLI lifeboat stationed at Penlee in Cornwall.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:42 PM   #6
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For two years I was second mate on a ship transiting the North Atlantic. We took cars fromSweden to Canada and the US and brought cars back from the US to the Netherlands and Germany.

I also sailed on other ships transiting the North Atlantic on a less regular basis.

My experience tells me that you really want to avoid that area in February. Enough said. It is not just a bit copy but can be exceptionly violent at this time of year. My advice: don't do it.

Aye / Stephen
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:10 AM   #7
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Thanks for your advices. I will not be part of the trip, partly because of weather, partly because other options that fit more my expectations for the next months.

Keep up the good postings... I really enjoy the quality of info on this website and the input from experienced sailors.

Vince
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:07 AM   #8
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Here is today's WX 18 Jan for the Bay of Biscay

Bay_of_Biscay_1.jpg

And is the WX for the seas a little to the WSW of the B of B (Also 18 Jan 2010)

Bay_Biscay_West.jpg
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