Planning is needed

Even though we haven’t been catamaran owners for long, we’ve already realized that it’s better to plan a little in advance these days. Not only was it not easy to find a berth in Germany, but finding a berth for our planned winter stopover also turned out to be more difficult than expected.

Of course, we first gave it some rough thought. Where would it make sense to spend the winter? It should be somewhere in the south, but not yet in the Mediterranean. Then we would have to „rush“ by our standards and we don’t want that. So somewhere on the Atlantic coast. Second aspect: accessibility. So preferably close to an airport that would allow us to visit home or enable our relatives and friends to visit us on board. Even though I would have loved La Rochelle in France, it is very difficult to get there and away. The same applies to the entire French Atlantic coast. What’s more, it’s probably not warm enough there to spend the winter comfortably on board.

How about Portugal instead? We’ve already been there several times to play golf in the winter months and found the climate to be very pleasant. Of course, there is also rain and bad weather. But on average it is definitely warmer than in northern Germany. We already knew some of the marinas from our blue water tour with Hello World, we researched a few and then wrote to all of them. After rejection after rejection, waiting lists that we could sign up to and no response at all, we managed to get a confirmation for Olhao. Upon detailed inquiry, however, the berth offered turned out to be unacceptable, as La Ola would be moored directly at the harbor entrance or would protrude a few meters into it. It would also be quite a long way from the outer pier to the toilets and showers in the marina buildings. We extend the search field to the Lisbon region, but here, too, we can only register on a waiting list. However, we don’t like the prices either. At € 6,500 for three months, the berth would have to be very, very luxurious!

Quo vadis?

So what now? Continue towards the Mediterranean? How about Gibraltar? Or maybe not quite so far and look for something somewhere in northern Spain? We continue our research and finally „fall in love“ with the idea of spending the winter in the region of Galicia and La Coruña (or A Coruña in Galician). We already liked La Coruña very much back then. In addition to the great old town, the countless tapas restaurants, numerous cultural attractions and the oldest still-operating lighthouse in the world, there are two marinas there where we enquire about berths. Marina Coruña gets back to us immediately and has berths ready. We don’t have to reserve, pre-book or even pay in advance, as is usual in the Algarve, but can simply „show up“ and choose a place. Our concerns about the risk of storms in winter are also dispelled, as we can simply change berths in such cases and move to the very sheltered Varadero marina. We can also have any necessary work carried out there if we feel the need for major modifications. Everything is perfect, right down to the price. It’s only a fraction of the price and we can stay for a whole six months for less than half the price in the Algarve. A Coruña also has an airport that can be reached several times a day from Germany with a stopover in Madrid or Barcelona.

Of course, the weather in Galicia is not quite as mild and beautiful as in the Algarve, but with average temperatures of 7 to 18° C, it is significantly warmer than Bremen, where temperatures in the comparative period from October to March range from 0 to 13° C. However, the long-term average rainfall is significantly higher, with rainfall in the winter of 2023/2024 in Bremen being significantly higher than in A Coruña in some cases! And with the money we save from the mooring fees, we can easily install heating on board.

As we also have to cover about 1/3 less distance this way than to the Algarve, we can cover the distance to A Coruña much better. We can enjoy all the harbors and anchorages along the way, give the weather a good chance to improve if necessary and maybe even sail all the way into the Bay of Biscay. What’s more, we can start early next spring and explore and enjoy the rias of northern Spain in comfort.

While we are still sitting in the cool temperatures and rainy weather in the Daverden mill, we are already looking forward to next winter in A Coruña! Pulpo Gallego, whole hams hanging from the ceiling, a great market hall, a golf course 10 minutes away by bike, friendly marina staff and the opportunity to sail the surrounding rias in good weather. What more could you want? And the first guests have already signed up, so hopefully it won’t be too lonely for us in the distance.