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Old 04-22-2008
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Xoxonis Xoxonis is offline
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Greek waters... can be tricky... but really nice...

For a novice sailor I would personally recommend to start in the Ionian sea. Plenty of beautiful beaches, distances between islands and harbours (forget marinas) reasonable requiring no night sailing... and most importantly light winds mostly in the afternoon (no meltemi in the Ionian). The problem is refuelling and getting water as most of the islands with the exception of Corfu and Lefkas and the town of Preveza have no facilities on the pier (personal experience two years ago). You may be boarded by Greek, Italian or US patrol vessels if you venture north of Corfu into international waters bordering Albania, as they might be searching for weapons and/or drugs. I was checked once by Italians and they were very courteous and professional. I don;t think a skipper will be essential in the Ionian, but joining a flotilla is advisable, as they will help with mooring and take care of diesel and water provisioning.

In the Sporades (less than in the Cyclades south or the Dodecanese further southeast) you will be affected by strong northerly winds (meltemi) often at 15-25 knots and sometimes reaching 30 or 35, force 8-9. It gets a bit hairy, but it is not dangerous as such provided you know how to deal with it (wait till dusk when wind dies down and find a harbour or cove for protection). I would advise getting a skipper at least for a couple of days.

The southern Aegean is a bit more tricky and there is at times quite some traffic especially as you cross sea lanes: be very careful, as most passenger ferries are deceptively quick and do not take kindly to changing course... I would definitely advise getting a skipper at least for the first week.

Get lots of practice in mooring "Med style", e.g. dropping anchor and reversing slowly into a (usually very cramped) position without damaging other boats... it's easy as long as there is no strong wind, since no charter boat has bow thrusters and you may find it difficult to reverse in a straight line... well as i said it takes some practice...

I would definitely avoid a catamaran because of mooring problems in harbours. I have personally witnessed cats being asked (politely) to anchor in the bay, as they take up too much space in the harbour (marinas have no particular problem, they just charge you extra...).

Having said all that I am sure that you will enjoy sailing Greek (or Turkish) waters tremendously. Let me know if you want any more info on locations...

Last edited by Xoxonis; 04-22-2008 at 05:17 PM.
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