Cruiser Wiki Click Here to Login

Join Cruiser Log Today

Cruiser Log World Cruising & Sailing Forums

Cruiser Log World Cruising & Sailing Forums (
-   The Tavern | Welcome Aboard (
-   -   Back to the Med (

Munchi Mike 12-27-2015 12:43 AM

Back to the Med
as a boy I got to sail from Cadiz to Mallorca to Barcelona, on an aft cabin cutter and have been hooked ever since. It was 1959, I was 7.
My righteous sailing career really didn't start until I got to Australia in '64, where I lived on an Island and went to school by boat. I raced VJ's among other things and did a lot of living aboard and solo sailing up until '76 when I sold my Stella Folkboat and came back to S.F..(citizen) I've run my own boat business since then and have a vast portfolio of boat works and now find myself looking at retirement and a long trip around the Med with my wife. Our plan is to acquire an EU boat with prepaid VAT and do the rounds for as long as we can stand it lol.
Ideally we would find a wooden boat around Spain but UK seems to offer more choices, and would provide a canal trip south as a pleasurable necessity.
I am a good surfer and have located many wonderful craft under $50k US, and am building a website for my research at
(copy and paste this link, for some reason it won't load here.)

As a marine professional despite my bad knees my experience is wide enough to handle the Med and it's yachting demands as I have managed and operated vessels as long as 75', both employed and casual helmsmanship.
My concerns at this stage are twofold.
VAT and Schengen.:confused:
As far as I can figure out;
a boat purchased in the EU with VAT paid won't require further VAT unless I reside in Spain for over 183 days and become 'resident'.
As a non EU sailor I will have to be gone from Schengen half of the year; (but the boat wouldn't (?))
can that be six months in and six months out (Schengen) or is it strictly 90 days in 180 out, 90 in 180 out p.a.?
can that be in Gibraltar? Some say yes but am I able to go to visit in Spain during that time 'out' or must I stay OUT of Schengen the entire time?
I've read a fair bit about this and most people ignore the Schengen (or simply haven't had an issue) but I don't have nerves for that.

Wintering out of Schengen would then probably best be done in a region that offers something larger than Gibraltar for resources and options no?
Turkey is getting pretty hot politically so southern lands appear more advisable.

Local knowledge is greatly sought after in these instances since we have lead time, I'd like a good handle on this last international adventure of mine before I go brushing up my five languages.:lol:

redbopeep 12-30-2015 03:11 AM

Sorry I can't say a thing about the VAT situation--but welcome aboard :)

Munchi Mike 12-30-2015 03:30 AM

Hiya Red,
thanks anyway. It seems that with my lead time I'll be able to figure these things out before getting into hot water. AS the complications reveal themselves the VAT situation takes further turns.
I've found that f'rinstance if I stay in Spain too long they will charge me VAT again, so perhaps a boat from there to start would bypass the issue. That's another angle I'm considering. The thing that is becoming mo0st irksome is the 90 in 180 out thang because it's going to require constant attention and throws the cruising schedule into wintering in strange places with in the EU just to keep in rhythm, and then having to leave Schengen for summer. What a pain.
The quest continues.

haiqu 12-30-2015 11:07 AM

I've come to the conclusion that until the Schengen rules change, the Med is a no-go zone for residents of Australia & New Zealand wishing to cruise. It's just too far to go to be messing about by having to leave the region again after a mere 90 days.

From North America things are a bit easier, but it's still an issue.

As if dealing with multiple languages and cultures isn't enough of a problem, many Schengen members only partially implement the agreements. This is all in review but I fear it won't be resolved in my cruising lifetime.

Frankly, I'm planning on spending as much time in Asia as possible. After that, maybe South America via the Cape of Good Hope. These people appreciate visitors and have a far better attitude to them.

Munchi Mike 12-30-2015 08:22 PM

Yea I know what you mean about too far to mess around with for a mere 90 days.
I'm an ex Sydneysider myself; in fact did my first solo sails in '64 there when I lived on Scotland Island, and spent many years looking up and over at the rest of the world with vast oceans inbetween, but now having come back to the States, my European 'roots' are calling me and a lot of that has to do with the essence of culture and total lack of it in both our countries.
Asia is a great direction for yous blokes despite pirates in the Philippines, whereas my trip will actually START in the Med so I will bypass lengthy crossings and just get down to the business of jumping around dodging officialdom. The concept would be more daunting if I didn't already have five years in Europe and five languages up my sleeve.
I will figure this out I reckon and best of winds to you mate.

Auzzee 12-30-2015 10:19 PM

Australia and the US lack culture?
I disagree.

haiqu 12-30-2015 11:53 PM

Naah, he's right. There's more culture in yoghurt.

Munchi Mike 01-03-2016 06:44 PM

Well I am getting through this somewhat, and am developing a plan which may be a good enough for now.
It seems that a guy can get residence in a place like Italy after staying long enough, and showing income or finances to support himself. With that the whole 'Sailing for Schengen' goes out the window and a guy, such as myself, could then come and go as he pleased, but likely needing to keep a berth or at least an address to continue as a resident on holiday somewhere else in Italy.
Spain offers this too but there seems to be a costly certification required above and beyond the ICC and then VAT too if the vessel isn't already Spanish registered.
When I mention culture, I'm looking for more than Hot Dogs and Meat Pies as icons. Europe is what I mean. Things older than 'God' himself. Essence and spirit dripping from ancient creations, soaked in the eons and oozing character and persona. The United States of Australia and our mutual 200 some years hardly qualifies, but Asia sure does.
Funny thing. I spent 13 years in Sydney as a kid, and got a whole lot of "GO Home Bloody Yank" and such,
but when I returned to the US after an 18 year absence I discovered that I AM NOT a yank at all, and was considered to be a dumb Aussie by the socially conscious and pretentious Americans.
HA! Can't win for losing lol.

Auzzee 01-03-2016 10:55 PM

I am from the Northern Territory in Australia and was referring mainly to the oldest surviving culture on Earth. 80,000 years of continuous cultural evolution would generally be thought to trump the relatively recent cultures of Europe.

I understand how the European cultures developed through migration and the desire of inquisitive people to seek greener pastures and, at the same time, adding their cultural history to the melting pot. Fortunately, there is an abundance of Europeans who continue to indicate their preference to leave Europe for Australia. This of course leaves a void which is being filled by expats who can then continue the export of the American/Australian/Kiwi/Canadian culture to Europe as they, in turn, quest for greener pastures.

I'm a proud Aussie (currently in the USA, who has lived for extended periods in England, Switzerland, Japan, Thailand, Laos and Mexico) and I don't mean to sound like a pain in the ar*e...but c'mon...Straya mate...It positively reeks of culture with a capital K.

Our plans include the canals in Europe and the Middle Sea Race out of Malta. Perhaps we can catch up and share a few glasses of culture.
Best wishes.

haiqu 01-04-2016 05:22 AM


Originally Posted by Munchi Mike (Post 43926)
Well I am getting through this somewhat, and am developing a plan which may be a good enough for now.
It seems that a guy can get residence in a place like Italy after staying long enough, and showing income or finances to support himself. With that the whole 'Sailing for Schengen' goes out the window and a guy, such as myself, could then come and go as he pleased, but likely needing to keep a berth or at least an address to continue as a resident on holiday somewhere else in Italy.

There are problems with this approach. The official assumption in any country is that you wish to PERMANENTLY set up residence. Thus the hoops are numerous and painful. In all cases I've investigated so far one first needs to apply for a "Permit To Stay" (in addition to the initial Visa) and remain in country continuously for a minimum of five years before applying for a permanent Residence Permit. Only then are you free to wander about Schengen. Meanwhile you have to be able to prove that you can provide for yourself. i.e. You need to be cashed up very well indeed.

I don't know about you but I'm too old for that stuff.


Spain offers this too but there seems to be a costly certification required above and beyond the ICC and then VAT too if the vessel isn't already Spanish registered.
In Spain you can buy residency, they have a glut of housing and are desperate to get it sold. But the cost is prohibitive for me, it's a real estate investment of €500,000 minimum for the Golden Visa. It used to be a lot cheaper initially but the place was being overrun by the Russian mafia so the rules were revised.

At this stage I'm considering buying a small unit or farmhouse in a non-Schengen country so as to have a fallback for the 3 months when I can't be in "Europe". For under $20,000 there are a lot of Baltic countries where this would be as easy as doing your ABC's. e.g. Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia.

Yes, I know these are unattractive countries but the girls are cute and I could learn to like cabbage and gothic architecture. Certainly cheaper than keeping a home in the US or Oz or NZ and flying out every three months.

In fact a smart group of sailors could buy a very nice beachside unit in Burgas or Durrės - but no longer in Mykolaivka, unfortunately - and timeshare it. Don't know about you but I'd love to sail around the Black Sea, it's accessible via Istanbul.

The only other real option to see the Med is to base oneself in North Africa, which is "Tiger Country" as we say in aviation. i.e. Somewhere you just don't want to land unless it's an emergency.

haiqu 01-04-2016 07:03 AM

Of course, you could also marry a European citizen. But that's a hell of a price to pay ...

Auzzee 01-04-2016 04:32 PM

I have heard westerners (men and women who were staying in my guesthouse on the Thai Burma border) speak glowingly about Bratislava and Ukraine. One Brit told me he couldn't afford to stay long in Thailand because it was too expensive compared to Bratislava where he owns a home.

There is an abundance of expat forum sites on the internet where one could get first hand accounts and benefit from local knowledge from people who are there and who, presumably, have gone through the bureaucratic workings to get there. Take a look at the following which contains a wealth of advice and resources.
and on the same site:

Best of luck. The whole immigration thing never appears easy.

Munchi Mike 01-04-2016 09:51 PM

G'Day Auzzee,
I agree that the Aboriginals would be the oldest surviving stone age culture on the earth next to those in New Guinea who had never had any contact with whites till recently, but excuse me while I have a little laugh; "80,000 years of continuous cultural evolution". Really mate, you are kidding aren't you?!
AS far as I knew/know, the attempts to 'update ' the Abo's have been a disaster and their ability or interest at living in a house just failed miserably. And I have yet to find the Great Pyramids of the Nullabor, or the Mighty Halls Of Wandjina carved out of the side of Ayers Rock, or the incredible painting ceiling of the Sandstone Chapel. "80,000 years of continuous cultural evolution"....sorry, but WHERE exactly is it????? I had a couple of Abo friends, something not many Aussies can even say, and although they had integrated well as actor and activist, sadly their brothers were still under the bottle in the shady lanes of Redfern.
And yes, many Europeans seek asylum and such in the 'new country', they are not well received and end up in satellite cities comprised of their own race and some go home. From 'out there' as you know, Oz looks like a giant playground safely away from the horrors of poor old Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but the truth is different , again as you know, so immigrants can't be blamed for being disappointed and isolated.
Meanwhile it's really the old art, buildings, statuary and fountains in the town squares, cobble stoned streets and diverse culinary attractions that lead me back to Europe. Sorry again but Goanna and witchity grub pie ain't gonna cut it despite the 80,000 years they've had to perfect their 'recipes' LOLLOLOLOL.
Dreamtime is alive and well and STILL living in the outback, safely tucked away from gubbo. And yes mate, long tall glasses of ice cold culture welcome any time. (Can't believe KB went outta biz)

Munchi Mike 01-05-2016 01:20 AM

while it may look like a good idea, actually, I haven't got any interest in the Balkans or anywhere else beyond the actual European Med, partly because of my languages and also because when it gets down to it I'm not really going to have more than four or five years before my wrists, knees and hip go out permanently.
During this European transition period I have also considered just getting a canal worthy vessel and scooting up to UK when it's get outta Schengen time.
Six months in Gibraltar might make me crazy since it's such a small place, but like someone said, day or weekend trips to Tangier add something to that, potentially.
Turkey is becoming too hot would be my guess at the moment though they have been offering resident status thus far. Only thing there is I don';t speak it and I'm not really into it, but I could adjust I s'ppose.
You cite a small cottage to fall back on for the three months when you can't be in Schengen , but I believe it's six months out and three months in, and from what I see a guy is going to end up in the Med in winter sooner or later, and Tunisia in the summer. I think the permit to reside in Italy might be the easiest though I'm still sussing it out. Have emails from folks who are there claiming no Schengen, no ICC, no problem, but I don't have nerves for that and my wife wouldn't go for it either.
I'll keep looking and thanks for your feed back gents.

haiqu 01-05-2016 05:46 AM

You can't be in the Schengen region for more than 90 days in any 180 day period, so it's actually 90 in then 90 out. Schengen Visa - information about Schengen visa

I agree that if you can prove Italian heritage then moving to Italy would be an ideal choice, but it's not a cheap place to live generally. Sicily is far cheaper, but there are obvious complications with that choice.

Hopping up to the UK is a very expensive option, their cost of living is astronomical and the food is attrocious. And warm beer? Bloody savages, the lot of them.

For an option that isn't as severe as the Balkans you could try Hungary. Buying a unit or farmhouse there (for about USD20,000 or less) gains you residence as long as you can prove you have an income and health insurance. If one of your languages is German then the area near Lake Balaton puts you within 50km of the Austrian border, as well as being close to seaside countries of Slovenia and Croatia. It's also only 250km to Venice which, for an Aussie at least, is a mere trip to the shops. English is widely spoken in Hungary as well (16% of population per Wikipedia).

Don't discount Albania too quickly either, it's right between Italy and Greece and would be a fairly good starting point for a cruise of either the Med or the Black Sea.

I'll be interested in how this progresses, keep in touch.

Munchi Mike 01-07-2016 08:30 PM

Thanks for clarifying that 90 in 90 out thing, I was obviously confused about that. In a way it makes it worse. At least I thought I'd be forced to stop for six months at a time before lol.
Although I don't have Italian heritage, I found a thread somewhere telling about residence permits which I will study up on. Why pray tell is Sicily obviously complicated?
UK isn't necessarily one of my destinations but it may need to be and three months of warm beer in winter; well the beer would be pretty cold if it's snowing outside eh?
We already have five acres on the southern Oregon coast so more property really isn't in the cards and with a boat in tow we'd have to live aboard, especially if it was accruing marina fees, but you mention Albania and that does sound like a good venue, again to research. That would make a convenient location for an in between stop.
I s'pppose my progress will go onto this thread. Thanks gents.

haiqu 01-08-2016 02:40 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's the skinny on Italian residence permits.

They're the same as any other Schengen country in that you need to apply for a visa before arriving if you're planning to stay longer than three months. But if you're coming and going every three months it could be complicated to justify. Honestly, this is a MAJOR bugbear for yachting tourists from non-EU nations, and shouldn't be taken lightly.

Re: Sicily - they might make you an offer you can't refuse. :-)

Five acres in Oregon? Nice. Although with that recent siege I wouldn't want to be living there right now. My sister-in-law is from Gilroy, CA but lived and raised kids in Bend, OR for a long time. Here's a joke she likes:

Q: How many Californians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: 20. One to change the bulb and 19 to "share the experience."
Q: How many Oregonians does it take?
A: 20. One to change the bulb and 19 to chase away the Californians.

All-righty then. So, you're planning to spend the off-permit time on the yacht and don't want to buy property. That limits things severely.

Options are (refer to map below):

UK (you knew that), Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina (uh-oh), Montenegro or Turkey. And of course Norway and Iceland, but that's quite a trip, it's bloody cold and the seas are rough up there.

Apart from these, you'd have to either go through to the Black Sea (which you've indicated no interest in), schlep over to North Africa (which sucks), or completely leave the med via Gibraltar.

I'd definitely try Croatia for one three-month stretch, it's a beautiful coast, but watch out for scammers. Wouldn't go near B-H due to politics, and it has almost no coastline. Montenegro and Albania are also possibilities and you get 90 days without a visa in both.

The single biggest issue with all these options is that it's undetermined what facilities there are for yacht repairs and marinas in any of these countries. Our sister site should have some details but if you have an issue with the yacht and need to stay longer there may be problems with officials. The one guy to ask on this site is Istioploos who has sailed this region extensively.

One option that you might find interesting (well I find it interesting anyhow) is Georgia on the Black Sea coast. It's far closer than the UK, you get to see the Turkish coast on the way (which is out of the Schengen region) and you can stay for up to a year. That's right, one whole year. Oh but wait, it gets better ... the cost of living is cheaper than Cambodia.

You could also visit Romania and Bulgaria on the return trip, both of which are close to joining the Schengen treaty. Honestly, that route is far more interesting than the tired, expensive old med countries and there would be no hurry at all if you used Georgia as a staging area.

Back at ya.

haiqu 01-08-2016 04:09 AM

Correction: Norway and Iceland are part of Schengen.

Munchi Mike 01-10-2016 01:20 AM

Hey Thanks Haiqu,
your input is exemplary.
I'll respond in order to your various pieces of material.
Firstly as a sailor with residence permit for Italy surely wouldn't mean I'd have to stay put?!! But your point is noted since clearly there is a grey area and frankly, I admit, I AM trying to beat the system. Mostly because it's a biased farkup, but also because I want the trip MY way, (just like anyone else eh?!) Because of this three months in Italy and three months in the Baltics may be a great way to do this.
Siege in Oregon?! Hell I'm armed let 'em come lol. But really, about that. Oregon is a huge state sparsely populated and that thing going on is so far I don't even know where it is or care, so once again we're safe.
Now Californians. Having spent the last 35 years or so there, and then transplanting to here, well, we have a joke too.

"Be sure to screw your head on extra tight when you cross the border because the idiot zone starts at Crescent City."

The only people around here with brains ARE Californians; so that light bulb joke would go something like this.
"How many Oregonians does it take to change a light bulb?"
"Can't be done"
I will continue to review the suggestions about the Baltics since you are SO convinced that's the way to go; even if I/we have zip for interest in those areas. Reminder; we aren't looking for a way to piss away the next five years as cheaply as we can in some obscure backwater middle Eastern territory. We have specific interest in tired old Europe for the cultural reasons of OUR evolution and growth and a trip up the canals of France and back one year won't be as unpleasant as you would have us believe, though your bias is noted and appreciated.

haiqu 01-10-2016 02:01 AM

Thanks for the props, bro. Nice to be appreciated.

Here's a link to that siege.

If you're planning a trip up the canals, you'll need ICC plus CEVNI. Yacht will need a tabernacle and folding mast most likely, to get under bridges. There's a great e-book around about an English doctor who retired on £200 a year in the 1930s and did exactly that, but times have changed a lot.

I don't have any preference for the Eastern bloc particularly, except for cost. Well, the women are pretty hot too, and being single that's important I guess. :-)

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

RV & Travel Trailer Communities

Our RV & Travel Trailer sites encompasses virtually all types of Recreational Vehicles, from brand-specific to general RV communities.

» More about our RV Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0