AN Gibraltar to Northern Europe

Directions to sail through the Strait of Gibraltar are given in routes AN31 and AN32. If strong westerly winds are encountered after the Strait has been negotiated, it is better to stay on the port tack and, if conditions deteriorate, one may seek shelter in one of the ports or marinas along the northern shore. The marinas at Lagos and Vilamoura, on the Algarve coast, are convenient places in which to wait for a change of weather. See also route AN35.

After the Strait and the shallows off Cape Trafalgar have been cleared, a course should be set for WP AN344, 5 miles WSW of Cape St Vincent. From there the course runs roughly parallel to the Portuguese coast. During summer the prevailing winds along the western shores of the Iberian peninsula are the Portuguese trades which make the task of reaching any northern destination extremely difficult. For those who are in a hurry it is better to head immediately offshore by sailing on the tack that makes most northing. Otherwise it might be easier to make short hops along the coast until better winds are found or Cape Finisterre is passed. Westerly winds may not be found until latitude 45 "N is reached. Occasionally in late summer SW winds reach gale force in the Bay of Biscay when conditions can be very rough, so it is advisable to make this passage before the middle of August.

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Cruising guides:

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