The Winds of The Mediterranean & Balearics.

The Winds of The Mediterranean & Balearics.

The picture is an informative table cover found in the restaurant  at “Club Nautico”  Porto Cristo, Mallorca. A popular port & a good stop when chartering a yacht in Mallorca or sailing the Balearic islands. The restaurant Sa Cantina is on the ground floor, panelled & cosy inside with solid wood tables;  a more modern layout  spills out onto the quay 5 foot from the pantalan.  Nice place, very friendly everyone seems to know everybody – food good, quite traditional with enough variation for young children & the staid if that’s what they want. Beware the odd car passing down the quay at speed though.  This is September a favourite month for sailing holidays in Mallorca & Menorca temperature in mid 20s water still warm & usually enough wind, other sails to be seen but not too many in the anchorages.

The winds of the Mediterranean & Balearics.

The daddy  that can make the rocky Northern coast a lee shore is the Tramontana, Tramontane, Mestral, Maestral in Spanish & Mistral in French. Blowing from the North North East it gives the Lions in the Golfe de Lions their roar. Funnelled by the Pyranees & the Alps strong, dry & comparatively cold. Mallorca is perhaps further from the jaws than Menorca but the swift rise in windstrength & the fact that it can blow for a week seal its reputation.

Passing the North Easterly Gregal more frequently known in the Eastern Med from the East comes A Levanter, Levante, Levantade. Sometimes seen as a gentle breeze others at gale force, usually bringing a swell, cloud & rain. The name derives from French “lever” to lift/raise ~ the East rising sun.  Particularly strong near Tarifa & the entrance to the Med where from the West comes the Poniente, Ponente or Catalan Ponent. English sailors may recognise depression driven South & South Westerly winds funnelled through the straights of Gib, not quite so much of an influence the further East you progress.

From the South we have the Sirocco & Xaloc, warm & dry emanating from Africa. Further East towards Italy the Southerly wind is known Mighorn.  A more interesting Xaloc starts warm & dry in the deserts as it crosses the Med temperature changes, picking up cooler, moist air it arrives humid and carrying sand. This is generally on a Friday or Saturday morning when all the boats need to be washed again prior to our charter guests on our Alcudia boats.