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  #1  
Old 09-03-2003
Req Req is offline
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Greece charter complete!

Hey chums.

So I returned this weekend from my first chartering experience, with Mythos Yachts out of Athens. I chartered a Jeanneau Sun Oddessey 36.2 for two weeks, Athens->Syros, with four other folks, all of whom were novice sailors. It was, for the most part, a very dramatic success, though it''s clear that at the beginning I wasn''t really as prepared as I could have been.

Mythos was fairly good, and with a few exceptions their service was topnotch. The boat was not delivered at the agreed time - we''d planned to pick it up at 5pm and it wasn''t ready until 7, forcing us to spend the first night in Athens instead of setting off for the islands. That was really an inconvenience rather than a major problem and I didn''t really bother with it. A few things weren''t fully functional, nothing major - the boatspeed indicator never showed anything other than 0 knots (except when travelling backwards, then it showed 0.5!) but I had a handheld GPS to use instead. A few other trivial problems though - we had to disassemble and fix the dinghy outboard on the quay in Paros - there''s the real cruising experience! ONly problem that actually bothered us was the jib halyard snapped the first time we tried to furl the jib, preventing us from ever getting our spinnaker up as we had to use the spin halyard to work the roller furler. I would have appreciated seeing the extra money we paid for the spinnaker back since the boat was clearly unable to fly it, but such is life. We were also instructed to go to a certain port for repairs when the outboard failed (Naousa, on Paros) and when arriving there were told (after several hours of waiting) that actually we needed to go somewhere else - difficult to do when the meltemi''s blowing. There are more but unless anyone actually cares I won''t list the issues we had.

Some of these problems may have been miscommunications between Mythos, who we contracted with, and the Moorings, who were the actual owners of the boat, something else I wasn''t expecting, but either way it did put some extra stress into the vacation. Not certain whether I''d use Mythos again - the problems certainly weren''t major, but all the same they were somewhat frustrating. Opinions on whether these are the sort of things that typically happen on charter cruises would be welcome - I''ve really got no idea whether we made out wonderfully or whether we got cheated, having never tried anyone else.

The meltemi certainly made itself known to us. We had some very rough days and some changes of itinerary when we found that we could only go south - even east was impossible. It also blew for the vast majority of the time, we had one day of southerly and two days of calm, if I remember right. I guess I wasn''t fully prepared for that part. The crew was also very unprepared, having only sailed in the relatively light winds of a Seattle summer. All the same they adapted admirably and by the end were fine with beating into the teeth of a strong blow. The islands were lovely and the food wonderful, and the vast majority of the people we met were wonderful and friendly. I feel much more confidant in my sailing abilities now than I did when we started, and my girlfriend and I are already planning our second for next summer.

If anyone''s interested I''ll post a more detailed trip report, and will of course answer any questions you folks have.

Thanks lots - keep sailing!

-Req
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2003
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carib99 is on a distinguished road
Greece charter complete!

Actually I''ve never had that many problems with any two boats in the BVI - from second and third tier companies.
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Old 09-04-2003
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dljefferson is on a distinguished road
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Req-
I would love to hear more about yor trip; where you went, what you might do differently, etc. I had heard you needed two qualified salors on a Greek charter. Is that not correct? When do the meltemi really start blowing? Is June or early July a better time to avoid the bigger winds? Thanks,
-Dave
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Old 09-06-2003
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Hi there:

I am considering a family sailing holiday in Greece. We are planning a 10 day trip in June 2004 with either SunSail or Moorings. I have had positive experience with both companies. I have personally cruised in Carib, Tahiti, and Hawaii.

Location considered are Athens, Ionian or Sporades.

Does anyone have experience sailing in these locations for a family cruise.

Ideally I want relatively easy and short jumps, less crowded venues, and some interesting history and sites in route.

Any thoughts would be really appreciated.

Sincerely,

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Old 09-06-2003
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Greece charter complete!

Hi there:

I am considering a family sailing holiday in Greece. We are planning a 10 day trip in June 2004 with either SunSail or Moorings. I have had positive experience with both companies. I have personally cruised in Carib, Tahiti, and Hawaii.

Location considered are Athens, Ionian or Sporades.

Does anyone have experience sailing in these locations for a family cruise.

Ideally I want relatively easy and short jumps, less crowded venues, and some interesting history and sites in route.

Any thoughts would be really appreciated.

Sincerely,

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Old 09-06-2003
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I agree that you experienced more problems then I have had in 5 different cruising experiences in Carib and South Pacific. Did you consider any other locations in greece other then Mythos? Is Mythos near Athens? Sail on!
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2003
Req Req is offline
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OK, more assorted info.

Mythos is a charter company based in Athens. That said, I met the Mythos representative at Alimos Marina and he handed me over to the Moorings, who owned the boat. The Moorings people did the systems briefing and boat checkout and the Mythos dude disappeared, we left again without seeing him. When we returned the boat to him in Syros *we* had to give *him* the briefing before he could take the boat over again. I wish we''d dealt with only one company, it would have been much easier!

After the comments I''ve read here it seems that I oughtn''t go with Mythos again. ''Cause I''m definitely going back.

Technically you do need two qualified sailors to charter in Greece. But the Greek government appears to accept a signed form that says you can sail rather than any certification. I got a signed letter from my yacht club saying that I''d passed their keelboat skipper class, and my first mate just signed the "I know how to sail" form and it worked out fine. Actually no-one ever checked or anything, and there was certainly no skills assessment before they turned the boat over to me...

So. We departed from Athens, after accidentally meeting the guy who''d chartered the same boat for the previous week. He looked like he hadn''t slept the whole week, was jittery and disturbed. He told us horror stories about the meltemi, which we dismissed, being young and immortal and stupidly competant in our sailing prowess. We had originally planned to spend the first few days sailing south into the Saronic Gulf, which is much more sheltered from the meltemi and hence calmer, but is also packed with other boaters and vacationers. We decided at the last minute that we were more unhappy about crowded waters than we were afraid of the meltemi, and just went east along the coast toward the Cyclades.

We sailed east toward Cape Sounion in maybe 5-8 knots, complaining about the lack of wind and hoping that we''d get more. (Note - ironic foreshadowing here.) The instant we cleared Cape Sounion and were exposed to the northerly winds, they built from 5-8 to maybe 20 knots in the space of about a quarter mile, and kept on building as we headed east toward Kea. We anchored there the first night and I went up the mast to try and re-rig the spinnaker halyard. It is truly terrifying to go up on the one remaining halyard when the problem you''re trying to fix is that the first halyard has snapped under not much load at all...and you''re afraid that the second might do the same thing with you 55'' off the deck. Luckily no problem there, or I probably wouldn''t be writing.

Over the next few days we ran south-southeast, with the meltemi at our backs, and saw Kithnos, Serifos, and Sifnos. We made phenomenal time under triply-reefed headsail alone, the wind was so high. GPS said speed over ground was a sustained 11 knots at one point! The wind basically built over those 5 days to a pretty reasonable Force 7. It was extreme conditions for my crew and definitely the strongest winds I''d been out in.

The next day we were to cross around the south end of Sifnos and turn northeast, making for Parokia on Paros. We got a late start trying to find diesel when we realized that the fuel gauge was non-functional and we had no idea how much was left in the tank. Got out around 1130 and realized that, after hours of trying, we were not going to be able to make our destination as we were being blown down by the wind & waves. I wasn''t thrilled at coasting along a lee shore in Force 7-8 conditions so we aborted and headed south around the western corner of Dhespotiko, a tiny island immediately west of Antiparos. We were ruined with fatigue and so dropped anchor in the very first anchorage we could find, a deserted bay on Dhespotiko described only as "good shelter from the meltemi" in the Greek Waters Pilot.

That anchorage was the high point of the whole trip - a tiny bay, absolutely beautiful and completly deserted. We stayed there the whole enxt day snorkeling, exploring, and relaxing. If that''s your thing, I would recommend this anchorage to anyone. I don''t have my GPS here but I do have a waypoint for it, I''ll post it when I get home.

The next day was actually calm, light winds from the south, which seemed almost like blasphemy at this point. We ghosted along the south coast of Paros and north up the Paros-Naxos channel, ported in Naousa on the north side of Paros. From there one more day of calm let us motor north to Mykonos, where we stayed for one more day, then west (again in calm) to Syros, our final destination. We anchored in a small bay on the south side of the island.

Our last day we motored north the few miles to Hermopolis to return the boat, motoring into the meltemi which had come back up to force 6-7. We could only make about 2-3 knots into that wind so it took a long time to get there. Ported in the main harbor (a very uncomfortable place, I recommend the new yacht harbor at the south end of the bay instead) and returned the boat the following morning to Mythos'' representative, who ferried in from Athens.

The longest passage we ever made was about 30nm, with most in the 15-20 mile range. If the wind had been a bit lighter it would have been a wonderful and relaxing trip, perfect for a family cruise. I''d recommend not going in July/August though, the meltemi just isn''t messing around at all. I hear it''s a lot lighter in June or late September. Alternately the saronic gulf would be a good place to cruise, the wind is incredibly lighter down there.

Do not do this in a small boat. We were originally intending a 30'' or 32'' and a smaller crew, and one of the companies we talked to strongly warned us against taking such a boat into the Cyclades. The waves were very difficult to handle in a relatively heavy 36'' boat and I would not have wanted to take anything lighter and smaller in these conditions.

Anyway, despite the problems it was a great trip and a great learning experience for me as skipper! Really helps put my cruising dreams into perspective - and makes me want to go even more.

As usual, ask if you''d like any clarification or more info. These boards helped me out before I went, and I''d like to give some of that back if I can.

Thanks lots - keep sailing!

-Req
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Old 11-29-2003
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paabboud is on a distinguished road
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Hi there--

I am putting together a bareboat charter with some friends of mine who have all sailed together in the Caribbean over the past decade. We''ve decided on Greece for this summer and I am presently trying to find a larger catamaran to take us around (we''ve decided on the cat b/c of its relative stability and more personal space now that wives and girlfriends are along...)

It sounds like you might not have chosen to sail the Cyclades region in retrospect. We are looking primarily for beautiful beaches and some nightlife/restaurants, and would love to avoid the ''riffraff'' (which of course WE are). While we would love a challenging sail with some open passages, we don''t want to scare our women away from sailing forever and we DO want to be able to make it back on time for our returning flights.

Would you mind sharing your thoughts about how you might do it all over?
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Old 12-24-2003
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Hi paabboud!
Four of us sailed from Rhodos harbour to Lindos on the eastern side of Rhodos and discovered a beautiful little town with a great night life. Lots of riffraff there, but fun nonetheless. There are lots of nice beaches on the eastern side of Rhodos as well. We happened on Lindos as they were having an open-air concert in a ravine just on the sea-side of the village. It was sensational. Don''t know if you are interested in the Dodecanese Islands, there is alot of water between islands.
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