Itinerary & Planning Notes PYC Med Summer Cruise

2014 MSC itinerary – updated 31-01-14

Here is the latest update of the PYC Med Summer Cruise:

3rd – 10th May
Gosport to Paris Arsenal – The Seine
Handover at Paris Arsenal Marina, handy for the Metro and city centre. De-mast at Rouen, via Le Havre.
Portsmouth to Le Havre = 96M
Le Havre to Paris = 348km (188M); 6 Locks.
10th – 17th May
Paris Arsenal to Briare
Nominal handover at Briare, which has good rail and road connections.
Paris to Briare
= 205km (111M); 60 locks.
17th – 24th May
Briare to Digoin – the Loire Valley
Handover at Digoin which has rail connections to the mainline TGV stuff in the Rhone valley.
Briare to Digoin
= 196km (106M); 37 locks.
24th – 31st May
Digoin to Lyon – The Saone
Handover can be made at Chalons-sur-Saone, Macon or Lyon (location is not critical, as all are on main motorway and rail lines). Lyon has a fine new marina close to the Gare du Lyon and town centre.
Digion to Lyon = 255km (138M) and 63 locks.
(Chalons to Lyon is the River Saone = 143km and 3 large locks)
31st May – 7th June
Lyon to Marseille – The Rhone
After remasting at Port-st-Louis, handover at Marseille Vieux Port, smack in the town centre and a short taxi ride from the main station, with good airport connections.
Lyon to Port st. Louis = 310km (167M) and 12 very large locks.
7th – 14th June  
Marseille to Toulon
Inshore and island cruising – handover in Toulon.
Marseille to Toulon = 43M
14th – 21st June  
Toulon – Menton
An exotic inshore cruise – handover at Menton.
Toulon to Menton = 90M
21st – 28th  June  
Menton – Bastia (Corsica)
An offshore passage to Corsica with landfall at Calvi, before handing over at Bastia on the East coast, with good air connections to UK. The island has a good rail system, linking the northern towns and airports.
Menton to Calvi = 95M.
Calvi to Ajaccio = 54M
Calvi to Bastia = 62M
28th June – 5th July
Bastia to Bonifacio (or N. Sardinia Port)
Handover at Bonifacio, with the nearby airport of Figari.
Ajaccio to Bonifacio = 44M
Bastia to Bonifacio = 72M
5th – 12th July
Bonifacio to Olbia (Sardinia)
Inshore cruising in the Bonifacio Straight to handover at Olbia, with good air connections to UK.
The Bonifacio Straight is only about 8M wide
Bonifacio to Olbia = 30M.
12th – 19th July
Olbia to Cagliari (Sardinia)
Coastal Cruising around Sardinia. Handover at Cagliari, with flights to the UK.
The west coast route = 150M, east coast = 100M.
19th to 26th July
Cagliari to Palma (Majorca)
An offshore passage from Sardinia to Menorca and Mallorca (Majorca), with a handover at Palma.
SW tip of Sardinia to Mahon on Menorca = 200M.
70M Mahon to Palma
26th July – 2nd August
Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza
Cruising the islands as coastal, or Majorca as inshore. Changeover at Palma.
Approx 30M – 50M between the islands
2nd – 9th August
Palma to Barcelona – Offshore, but open to coastal skippers if an early landfall via Ibiza is selected. Handover at Barcelona, with good ferry or air connections to Palma.
Western tip of Majorca to Barcelona = 106M
9th – 16th August
Barcelona to Sete
Coastal cruising off the Spanish and French coasts to handover at Sete for de-masting. Handover at Sete benefits from Montpelier air, rail and motorway connections.
Barcelona to Sete = 135M
16th – 23rd August
Sete to Carcassonne
Back into canal mode for the idyllic, famous and very busy Canal du Midi, to the centre of Carcassonne for handover. Good rail and motorway connections and a nearby airport.
Sete to Carcassonne = 152km (82M); 31 locks
23rd – 30th August
Carcassonne to Toulouse
Continuing the Canal du Midi to handover at Toulouse, with excellent travel connections.
Carcassonne to Toulouse
 = 105km (57M); 37 locks
30th August – 6th Sept
Toulouse to Bordeaux, via the Canal Lat. á la Garonne and the lock free River Garonne. Re-mast and refit for sea at Bordeaux or Pauillac.
Toulouse to Bordeaux
 = 247km (134M); 53 locks
Bordeaux to Pauillac = 25M
6th – 13th September
Bordeaux – St Nazaire offshore/coastal passage.
Options are to handover anywhere on the French West Coast between La Rochelle and the Raz de Sein, according to crew travel preferences.
Bordeaux to St Nazaire is approximately 179M
13th – 20th September
St Nazaire to Gosport  an offshore passage, includes a return channel crossing from the Brest peninsular, possibly via the Channel Islands.
St Nazaire to L’Aber Wrac’h is approximately 120M.
L’Aber Wrac’h to Needles = 197M
Planning Notes (updated April 2014):
1.       On board Quartette at the chart table, there will be a blue canvas pouch with essential ships papers for presentation to port offices and officials.
2.       Also on board will be a ‘Mediterranean Cruise’ file (bright orange) which will contain essential information for skippers and crews, copies of forms and cruising information.
3.       Inshore and Coastal skippers may apply to the Sailing Committee for passage upgrades. Although there are negligible tides in the Med, winds are unpredictable and can be ‘interesting’ at times!
4.       Ships time will be as Local Time (LT) – i.e. in Europe, GMT +2 hours.
5.       On the rivers and canals, distances are in kilometres and Quartette will be recalibrated to suit.
6.       In ‘canal mode’ the boat will have folding bikes, deck chairs, over boom sun awning and a bimini, wind scoops, a very long boat hook, lots of serious fenders and long lines for lassoing bollards. When switching back to sea going mode, the ‘extra’s’ will get taken to a secure base at Martigues (near Marseille).
7.       For planning purposes, it is prudent to assume 8km an hour in canals and say 20 minutes a lock, but on the Rivers; 12km an hour and best to allow 30 minutes a lock, just because they are bigger and slower to fill/empty. Delays at locks are expected, to give way to commercial traffic.
8.       On the rivers and canals, it is not permitted to travel at night. Paris sunrise in early May is 0630LT, with sunset at 2100LT, so this restriction is not onerous, but watch out for lock and bridge operating times!! Most canal lock-keepers take lunch from 1300 to 1400 and we are expected to follow suit!
9.       Changeovers are nominally set as 1200hours local time on Saturday, but crews are encouraged to agree detailed arrangements between themselves, to suit individual travel arrangements.
10.    Most ports are fine to leave the boat locked for short periods, with the key left at the Port Office or in the gas locker (by arrangement with next crew).
11.    Quartette will be stocked with basic provisions and victualing, including lightweight, fully zippable and rectangular sleeping bags, pillows and slips. Crews are asked to bring a sheet sleeping bag, or double sheet, as a courtesy to the next berth occupant! The intention is to enable crews to travel light and just do essential fresh shopping on arrival. Go sailing as soon as you can!
12.    Skippers and crew are reminded that good hygiene is a priority, as most of the time it will be much warmer than we are used to. Quartette needs to be kept spotless and spills dealt with straight away. The heads need cleaning daily and the galley kept sparkling, with rubbish off the boat as soon as practicable.
13.    Be mindful of personal health care – do regard the marvellous Mediterranean sunshine as a mixed blessing and take care to keep hydrated, wear shades and a hat, avoid sunburn, but treat it straight away if you can’t.
14.    There will be club assistance on hand at the four mast operation docks, to ensure the boat is held for as short a time as possible. This ensures that the mast, forestay/furler and boom gets well packaged for its road journey and can be ‘dressed’ in anticipation of re-masting – an operation not to be hurried. When approaching the crane dock – look for directions from a fat bloke with a beer gut and a funny hat!

2 thoughts on “Itinerary & Planning Notes PYC Med Summer Cruise

  1. I think crew need to bring a pillowcase (unless built into their sleeping sheet) – we need to keep the PYC bedding wholesome!
    And skippers should make sure someone brings tea-towels and hand-towels (for the heads) as usual.

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