Sailing in Greece - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-25-2006 Thread Starter
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Unhappy Sailing in Greece

Hi, I had a very bad experience on a yacht trip in the Greek Cyclades islands with Odyssey Sailing (based in Volos) and Escale Yachting (based in Ermoupolis on Syros).

Click here for details including my complaint letter, the complaint from my fellow passenger (Greek lady living in England), and the company's lame responses.

The captain (Eric Coppola from France) was very unpleasant and called me a "stupid American bastard" toward the end of the trip. Besides that little incident, the trip overall was far below expectations and absolutely not worth the 700 Euros I paid. I did a similar trip in Croatia and it was 100 times more fun.

The two companies are refusing to provide any refund or compensation. Be warned!

Aliza (USA)
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-25-2006
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If you had paid with a credit card, you can probably make an argument to your credit card company to dispute the charges, if the services offered weren't in line with what you feel they had promised.

Sailingdog

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #3 of 5 Old 10-25-2006
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I read through the whole documentation especially provided in the relevant odyssey-escale blogshot webpages. I was more interested in the details of the cruise than the row between the two unsatisfied female passengers and the French skipper, Eric Coppola, + the charter company/tour organizer by extension. My findings are the following:
1) Apparently, the skipper was tired and considered his two female sea companions a burden rather than clients assuring him a decent living. Moreover, he may have a drinking problem.
2) The two female crew members were partially incapacitated because of seasickness. This contrasts sharply with the claim of one of them (Aliza Geretz) that in the past she has enjoyed very successful cruises in other parts of the world.
3) The relation between the two female passengers and the skipper went sour mainly because of the way the latter handled the money collected to form the joint kitty, his reluctance to explain calmly the expenses and his preference for fancy (expensive) restaurants the other two could not afford. Normally, this money is managed by the member of the crew most familiar with accounting practices, not the skipper himself.
4) The responsibility of the charter company/tour organizer is limited to the selection of this particular skipper and their obligation for refund is rather questionable. The bad publicity they got will more than serve as the punishment they deserved for their bad choice.
In conclusion, this type of situations are more than common in the chartering/sailing business. I personally experienced a similar one, almost four years ago: a party of eight sailors + skipper were ready to start a two-week cruise out of the marina “le Marin” in Martinique, arranged by the company VPM through the well-known French tour operator “Nouvelles Frontičres”. Among the crew was a German young lady by the name of Petra … who had a disagreement with the skipper, a certain Umbaldo … of Venezuelan origin, about the scope of the cruise. Petra demanded a sports schedule, complete with sailing lessons, while Umbaldo insisted that there was no obligation for a strict training program. Fortunately, Petra was obliged to disembark right there on the dock and she didn't participate in the cruise, which proved a genuine success, in great part due to the skipper's entertaining skills. I regard Aliza as a kind of Petra and Umbaldo the opposite of the young Eric.
The morale of the story is that you need careful selection and good luck to form a successful sailing party and much depends on the skipper's (communication and not only sailing) skills.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-19-2008 Thread Starter
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Smile Happy Ending with Escale Yachting

Escale Yachting contacted me in early 2008, apologized, and gave me a full refund.

My warning about the captain Eric Coppola stands -- he was horrible. And I still have my reservations about the professionalism of Odyssey Sailing (Francesca Mansfield).

But Escale Yachting has made things right by me and I would recommend them for that!

Aliza (USA)
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-19-2008
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