Ed. Note: In July 2004, after crossing the Atlantic Ocean as part of the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Gibraltar, Scott and Mary Flanders on board Egret, spent three seasons cruising the Mediterranean. They visited touristy hot spots as well as lesser explored territories and, along the way, gained a wealth of information about the area. While winding down their warm-up cruise, they put together a three-part Mediterranean cruising guide specifically for participants in Medbound 2007, another rally-like effortwhich will duplicate the NAR’s route. But the Flanderses have agreed to share it with the readers of Voyage of Egret.
A Rough Itinerary
After the NAR, Egret had the advantage of doing most of this route by ourselves – some of what we did was not the most ideal so for his purpose, we’ll fine-tune our actual route. That said, the big plus is that we got to learn from the other NAR boats. That information, plus knowing how they think, is priceless.
Bottom line, you get the advantages of our cumulative plusses and minuses.
There are some early rules we learned from listening to and by observing others:
1. Make your guests come to you.
2. Allow yourself plenty of time to be at their arrival point before their arrival in a place YOU want to be waiting. Most anyone is thrilled to be anywhere here in the Med plus most anywhere can be made fun. Remember, you do this every day, they don't. (It's like having friends coming to Maine. You have your favorite spots but they are happy with anything Maine)
3.Try to encourage as many boats as possible to join you on the crossing. Most of our favorite memories are with people, not necessarily with location. Egret is currently anchored in the harbor of Santa Margherita Ligure, north on the Italian Riviera. What we see looking out the pilothouse door is breath taking beyond belief. As one person said "every picture is a post card". It is true. We would LOVE to share this with someone. We have found loose cruising with the NAR boats - meeting a couple of times duringthe season and wintering together - is a great mix of enabling us to be independent and social. We never feel very far from each other through e-mail and share experiences back and forth. The NAR will pay benefits for years to come. Bottom line, beat the Med ‘07 drum long and hard whether crossing on your own bottom (those boats will bond immediately) or via Dock Express. Just get boats there.
Picking your ports is the fun part. These ports and this course, worked for us but they can be mixed how anyone wishes.
2. Fast track along the Costa Del Sol's solid wall of condos (south of Spain) anchoring off the beach at night moving long days crossing to Majorca
4. Costa Brava off Spain (NE)
5. A bit of Med France
6. Winter in Barcelona (Marina Port Vell) (haul in Barcelona in the spring - April 1st or so)
7. Spring cross to Calvi, Corsica
9. Cross to Rome
10. South down SW Italy
11. Straits of Messina to Syracuse, Sicily
12. Malta for fuel, brief tour
13. Boot of Italy
15. Ionian Greek islands
16. Corinth Canal
17. Aegean Greek islands - not before Sept 1st - cruise until Oct 15th.
18. Winter Marmaris, Turkey (Netsel Marina if the group is together. If solo, Yacht Marine)
19. April 5th haul at Marti Marine (around the corner from Marmaris)
20. Aegean Greek islands - Crete if you wish then 3 days to Syracuse, Sicily.
21. Fast track north up the western Italian coast
22. North of Rome, slow down and enjoy EVERYTHING north to Genoa, around the corner going west, then the French Riviera.
23. This is open but if you need anything (as Egret did) to be flown in from the States without paying VAT, sail back to Barcelona and use Non Stop Yachts (next to Marina Port Vell) to coordinate the parts.
24. Fast track to Gib for fuel if crossing on your own bottom. If not, go to Palma de Majorca or wherever Dock Express is picking up the boat.
Using this itinerary, there are only a few overnighters: (1st season) Spain to Majorca, Menorca to Spain (2d season) Barcelona to Corsica, Sardinia to Rome, Syracuse to Boot of Italy, SE Italy to Croatia (3d season) Crete to Syracuse, Sicily, France to Barcelona.
Med cruising is simple day hops, good holding, clear water and predictable weather (by the season/location local weather by the hour). Weather forecasting is good if you are not too sensitive to an occasional bounce-spray on the windshield.