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  #1  
Old 10-02-2013
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Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

Well, Evelyn and I are determined to charter a sailboat in Sicily this upcoming spring. We have found various chartering web sites for that area, but I was wondering if any of you happen to have experience chartering a sailboat in Europe?

One chartering site we found doing business in Sicily is:

Sicily sailing area - sailing around the Italian island in the Mediterranean | Yachtico.com

Does anyone have any experience using these folks, or can suggest a better one?

We are also still deciding whether to sail from Sicily, North, toward the island of Stromboli, or South, toward Malta.
There are numerous islands between those destinations, for us to stop at.

So, we were also wondering which of those islands would provide the "old world charm" along with historical sights, great food, etc., and fit into a prevailing wind pattern to visit by sailboat?

Any suggestions / advisements would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
Doug
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Old 10-02-2013
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
....

We are also still deciding whether to sail from Sicily, North, toward the island of Stromboli, or South, toward Malta.
There are numerous islands between those destinations, for us to stop at.

So, we were also wondering which of those islands would provide the "old world charm" along with historical sights, great food, etc., and fit into a prevailing wind pattern to visit by sailboat?

Any suggestions / advisements would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
Doug
I never been in Malta but I have heard it is great, specially out of Summer.

In Sicily I have been several times even if my knowledge is limited since I only know the Coast from Siracusa to Milazzo (a little bit more) but I was not very impressed. In all those miles you can only find three good anchorages: Siracusa, Taormina and Marinello (Oliveri). Siracusa and Taormina are great towns (you have to take a bus to Taormina) and Oliveri is just a small town were you can eat well by the beach in a very nice setting.

Regarding the Islands to the North (Eolien Islands) those I know well. Stromboli is to deep to anchor, they just offer you a lousy buoy for 35 euros (lot's of sea motion and not a decent shelter. You cannot stay there if the weather gets worse).

Vulcano has two nice anchorages and with nearby Lipari (one anchorage) you will get complete protection. The Islands are nice but nothing special. On Salina you will only stay in anchor in very settled weather. There is a Marina (about 70 euros).

I would say that if you want to sail in Italy Sardinia (and French Corsica) are much nicer, including the historical towns, I mean they are not big but they have that kind of charm that I think you are talking about. Elba is also very nice and very unjustifiably unknown. Ponza is also very nice, even if small, with lot's of good anchorages.

I hope it helps.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 10-02-2013 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 10-02-2013
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

Paulo - This is excellent information you shared! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

About the Sardinia / French Corsica / Ponza advise, would they be too cold in early March? That is when we are doing this. So, we thought the more southern area would be better - but it sounds like you would know a lot better than me!

I am about to paste a long quote right straight from the Sicilian chartering web site, would you review it and perhaps add your anchorage info, etc.???

And would we enjoy this itinerary - either the Northern one or the southern?

"Starting your cruise from our base in Palermo, a city of numerous monuments, you can sail East to Cefalu, a bustling tourist resort built about the original picturesque fishing village. Within 35 miles from the coast lies the Archipelago of the Aeolian Islands. There are 7 islands that are peaks of volcanoes and two remain active: Stromboli and Gran Cratere on Vulcano. Although there are no really secure harbours, there are sufficient harbours and anchorages sheltered from the prevailing summer winds to make it well worthwhile cruising around this magnificent archipelago. The normal summer winds are from the NW occasionally going around the W. There may also be winds from the NE. Choosing to sail North of Palermo at 36 miles there is Ustica island also an island of volcanic origin.

Our second base in Sicily is located in Marsala, a picturesque town, founded by the Carthaginians , well known from the popular wine. Marsala it's a pleasant relaxed place from where you can sail North West for visiting in a range of 25 miles the Egadi Islands that are three principal islands, Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo, or sailling South for visiting Pantelleria, an island of volcanic origin, and the barren rocky island of Lampedusa that has recently become popular for the good underwater fishing around the coast. Marsala is also ideal as a starting point to Malta (120 miles) and of course to Tunisia
."

Thank you!
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
Paulo - This is excellent information you shared! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

About the Sardinia / French Corsica / Ponza advise, would they be too cold in early March? That is when we are doing this. So, we thought the more southern area would be better - but it sounds like you would know a lot better than me!

I am about to paste a long quote right straight from the Sicilian chartering web site, would you review it and perhaps add your anchorage info, etc.???

And would we enjoy this itinerary - either the Northern one or the southern?

"Starting your cruise from our base in Palermo, a city of numerous monuments, you can sail East to Cefalu, a bustling tourist resort built about the original picturesque fishing village. Within 35 miles from the coast lies the Archipelago of the Aeolian Islands. There are 7 islands that are peaks of volcanoes and two remain active: Stromboli and Gran Cratere on Vulcano. Although there are no really secure harbours, there are sufficient harbours and anchorages sheltered from the prevailing summer winds to make it well worthwhile cruising around this magnificent archipelago. The normal summer winds are from the NW occasionally going around the W. There may also be winds from the NE. Choosing to sail North of Palermo at 36 miles there is Ustica island also an island of volcanic origin.

Our second base in Sicily is located in Marsala, a picturesque town, founded by the Carthaginians , well known from the popular wine. Marsala it's a pleasant relaxed place from where you can sail North West for visiting in a range of 25 miles the Egadi Islands that are three principal islands, Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo, or sailling South for visiting Pantelleria, an island of volcanic origin, and the barren rocky island of Lampedusa that has recently become popular for the good underwater fishing around the coast. Marsala is also ideal as a starting point to Malta (120 miles) and of course to Tunisia
."

Thank you!
I cannot comment what I don't know but because I was sailing on that region I had a good look at google earth and Sicily does not look very good neither Pantelaria or Lampedusa.

Regarding climate I am not sure that Sardinia, at least from the middle to the south is colder than Sicily.

Click in animation on this site:

Regional Map | Weather Underground

and look for average temperatures on both places on those sites:

Sardinia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Weather in Sicily - average temperatures for Sicily, Italy from knowital.com

http://www.knowital.com/weather/sardinia/

Mars can be pretty cold unless you live in a cold climate, for one used to a Mediterranean climate it is cold and also quite unstable with a lot of rain and the weather can turn quite nasty on the Med at that time. The French old navy sailors called the Med "La Garce" that could be freely translated by "the bitch". You can get lucky...or not.

April is better and May a lot better.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 10-02-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 10-05-2013
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

So.... it looks like we have 3 choices:

1. Start the cruise at Palermo, Sicily and work our way NE toward Stromboli.

2. Start the cruise at Marsala, Sicily and work our way SW toward Malta.

3. Start our cruise at Cannigione, Sardinia and work our way N toward French Corsica.

Considering we are hoping to experience the romantic, historic sights, seaside cafes, with some high end / interesting shopping, great food, wine, natural beauty and good anchorages and, or, marinas, in the month of March, does anyone have any suggestions from their experience of those areas?

Thank you,
Doug
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

On the last number of vela :

Giornale Della Vela | Scopri il numero di Vela di ottobre in edicola e su iPad Ecco com il nostro Salone con oltre 130 barche appena varate o che scenderanno in acqua nei p

They have an article regarding sailing on the south coast of Sicily. It confirms what I had said, lots of places to stay (in ports or marinas) but few places sheltered for anchoring...and the places are expensive. They talk about having paid 70 euros for a buoy (prices for boats over 10m).

Maybe you can command the magazine...or send me your email on a PM and I will scan the article for you (I arrived yesterday from Rome and bought the magazine to read on the airplane).

For me Sardinia/Corsica easily beats Sicily. It is not by accident that the French call Corsica "the beautiful Island". In Sardinia and Corsica some marinas are also expensive but you gave a lot more nice places to stay safely on anchor (I have cruising all around both Islands).

Regards

Paulo

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 10-09-2013 at 01:58 PM.
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
On the last number of vela :

Giornale Della Vela | Scopri il numero di Vela di ottobre in edicola e su iPad Ecco com il nostro Salone con oltre 130 barche appena varate o che scenderanno in acqua nei p

They have an article regarding sailing on the south coast of Sicily. It confirms what I had said, lots of places to stay (in ports or marinas) but few places sheltered for anchoring...and the places are expensive. They talk about having paid 70 euros for a buoy (prices for boats over 10m).

Maybe you can command the magazine...or send me your email on a PM and I will scan the article for you (I arrived yesterday from Rome and bought the magazine to read on the airplane).

For me Sardinia/Corsica easily beats Sicily. It is not by accident that the French call Corsica "the beautiful Island". In Sardinia and Corsica some marinas are also expensive but you gave a lot more nice places to stay safely on anchor (I have cruising all around both Islands).

Regards

Paulo

Paulo
Paulo,

You (and others) are convincing Evelyn and I to do the Sardinian cruise.

On the "70 Euros for a mooring", while that is not cheap it is nevertheless, not a problem.

My email is: (all one word- without spaces) Doug Sabbag @ aol

Thank you very much!

Doug
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Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

Doug
I don't have any experience of the charter companies but we sailed our boat from Sardinia along the south coast of Sicily, through the straits of Messina, up to the aeolian islands and on to the amalfi coast of Italy. We have sailed all over the med but this was the best trip ever! Sicily is amazing with probably the best food in the world, friendly people and rich with culture. During the summer it is as hot as Hades but glorious. Too many names to mention here but Ortigia, the old town of Syracuse, has the best restaurants. Climb Stromboli in the aeolian islands and chill out in my favourite island of Panarea. Some more on our blog if you are interested. You will love it!
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

Obviously Yachtjuno and myself will not value things the same way. I do know some of the places that he consider very nice, like Siracusa or Amalfi were I have been this year and they are indeed nice even if only Siracusa offers a decent anchorage (I have been on anchor in Amalfi too but it is not really a good anchorage) and I agree with him that Sicily has fantastic food and wine even if one of my absolute preferences in wines is Cananau from Sardinia.

It seems Yachtjuno traveled a lot by car while leaving the boat at the marina and that may be a difference because I did not travel without being by boat and I prefer to have a boat on a nice anchorage and visit a town using the dinghy, maybe that is another difference too.

I would say that Sicily coast is much more densely populated than Corsica or Sardinia coast with many heavily industrialized ports and cities. Certainly Sicily has great towns and villages but it is difficult to find really nice anchorages and unspoiled places.

Maybe some pictures would help to explain what I mean:

Sardinia:



Yes you can take a buoy just in front in the same place Carthaginians and Romans use to anchor.















Corsica













All these photos were taken in July or August. I would say that in Mars you will find all those anchorages almost without boats even if they still offer excellent protection.
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Re: Chartering a sailboat in Sicily!

PCP, you are right we probably like to do different things. We do anchor whenever we can but then we like to occasionally travel inland and see the countries we are visiting such as the Roman Temples at Agrigento that date back to 500 BC or the sublime piazza in the hilltop town of La Ragusa or the fish market in Ortigia - and then its nice to get back to the comfort and of the boat. If you are always on the hook theres a danger that you never see the marvels of these European gems.
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