The ports along the Spanish and French coasts have been selected at between 50-100M apart. On both coasts there are very many more ports at shorter distances apart which could be equally suitable.
Gibraltar to Balearics
Wind blows either E or W in the Straits of Gibraltar and this feature will be noticed as far W as Cabo de Gata. From here to Balearics and beyond, wind direction and strength become unpredictable especially in the summer, but are predominantly from the NW.
Land and sea breezes will be apparent within 10M of coast and are worth making use of in fine weather. Periods of 9-10 days of fine summer weather often end in a day or two of gales or strong winds.
Balearics to France and Italy
Winds blow most frequently from the W and N quadrants and gales and strong winds will almost certainly come from the NW (mistral) or N (tramontana).
Although prediction of these winds has got better, they can still arrive without warning and tend to blow for 3 days, sometimes longer. Strongest at W end of the region.
Seas in Med tend to be shorter than Atlantic but can be no less unpleasant. Tend to become irregular and higher off headlands but, except in Straits of Gib, there are not significant tidal streams or currents to run in opposition.
Swell is created by strong winds, either a mistral/tramontana or a depression passing near the area. Feature of Spring and late Autumn in the Med is a low and confused swell resulting from various disturbances, which is present until a long spell of settled summer weather has been established.
Sea temp in summer 23°C inthe N and 25-26°C in the S. Fog is rare, although early morning mist may appear near the coasts, and the southern sirocco brings sand from the Sahara and reduces visibility while it blows.
Surface flow in Med reaches peak in Straits of Gib at up to 2 knots easterly. NE of Cabo de Gata up to French coast, a SW-going counter-current exists of up to 1 know, which may be more round headlands and is a consideration in choosing between Balearics or inshore route.
Tides and tidal streams
Must be reckoned with in the Straits of Gib and Messina but not in rest of the Med.
By RCC PILOTAGE FOUNDATION