Originally Posted by Deepblue
Biscay crossing still good until end of October.... ¬* :-)
Wow, that's brave!
To reduce the chance to get caught by a passing depression bringing fresh to strong southwesterly winds, finally veering NW, the crossing sould be best done during the summer months - some say, not after beginning of September.¬*
As the Biscay is situated well in the climate regime of westerly winds with its passing frontal systems, the chance to get caught by a low pressure storm system rises conciderably later in the year.¬*
We always try to get the Biscay behind us before the end of August, but still then we encounered everything between calm and force 8.
But as weather forcasts are today quite predictable for the next 3 days, the chance is good to find a "slot" for going, as it takes not more than 3 days to get it over with. ¬*So, it can be done later in the year too, if watching the shipping forecatst closely.
What is so nasty about the Biscay? ¬*The changing wind direction when a frontal system is passing, building up a sea from Southwest, then soon after from Northwest with the wind veering to Northwest as the cold front is passing , picking up, becoming ghusty... ¬*
not easy for the crew. Then even a "small" depression with winds up to force 8 is enough to cope with. We had it, it was terrible on a 32ft boat, but at least we were fast, averaging nearly 6 knots between Falmouth and La Coruna.
But the Biscay can not just be terrible - it can be dangerous! The ¬*continental shelf ¬* (here is more on this)
reaches quite some way into the Biscay, creating the worst sea conditions imaginable as its edges are well offshore off the french coast - so you can not count on enough leeway, when a stormy westerly blows for days... ¬*Once over deep water, better not decide to go east - stay away from the edge.
And there are not so many safe harbours along the very rocky northern Spanish coastline under severe wind conditions.
Besides that it's nice to sail the Biscay¬* - it gets warmer with every mile going south!¬*¬*