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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you are thinking about chartering in Greece, my advice is to stay away from GPSC, a chartering company based in Philadelphia.

We chartered with GPSc last year and were very disapointed. GPCS/US sells the packages and are very liberal with their promises. GPSC/Greece tries to deliver on the promises.

There were 12 in our group on two boats. The boats were dirty and not well equiped. We did not go to many of the Islands outlined in the package. We did not have tour quides as promised. Everyone in our group, plus another goup that we met, gave GPSC a poor rating in our evaluation.

In our first meeting with the GPSC/Greece representative, even before we got to the boats, we were told that regardless of what GPSC/US had in their brochure, only they would control what we would do and if we didn''t like it we were free to go back home. GPSC Philadelphia really did not care about our complaints.

Greece was wonderful! There are a number of Charter companies in Greeece including The Moorings. The best way to see Greece iis to take the ferry system from Island to Island which gives you more time to spend enjoying Greece. If you want to sail - stay away from GPSC
 

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We chartered from GPSC last week, out of Kalamaki. The boat was a mess, tattered sails, unsafe (domestic ungauged) wiring, top not attached to body of cooker, non-working outboard, dinghy leaked air out and water in. A genoa winch was seized, old charts, old, almost unreadable Heikel Pilot, standing rigging not properly set up, autopilot not working, heads backed up on port tack, boat stank. GPSC uninterested. Flashy web site but no substance. They seem much more interested in elaborate paperwork than in checking the boats.
We did a lot of repairs and left the boat in better shape than we found it, but this is not what charterers expect.
We''ve chartered in the Med for over 20 years and this is the worst experience by far... ah well, back to Vernicos/Cosmos/Kiriacoulis/Sunsail etc, people who know how it should be done.
 

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We also had a very disappointing charter with GPSC. Boat was in very poor condition. By all means do not charter from GPSC. Suggest the Moorings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
we chartered in Greece in the summer of 2000.
we used sunsail for two weeks.

i did a day by day at http://www.bryceandpalazzola.com/archtours/arch_tours.htm

scroll down to greece 2000

I had no complaints with sunsail. I thought the boats were fine, the staff really excelled and the people we met that also had sunsail boats were pleased and we still get together with some of them and email others.

august in greece was the wrong time to go, too hot, and greece on the Ionia side was not as pretty as we expected, but I would absolutely recommend sunsail.

bob
 

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Hi Sailor37, I was interested to see that you too had a bad experience with GPSC. Our boat was a shambles (it was the Custom Skipper 700, supposedly their top boat, called ''Bloom'') And they still haven''t returned our security deposit 9 weeks after the end of our charter. I feel inclined to put up a web site about our experiences to warn people who, like us, were misled by GPSC''s ''Award-Winning Web Site. Wensum
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
HELLO.......I AM VERY DISMAYED TO READ WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT GPSC CHARTERS. I WOULD LOVE TO FURTHER DISCUSS THIS WITH YOU AND CHECK THE FACTS MYSELF. OVER 50% OF OUR BUSINESS COMES FROM EITHER WORD OF MOUTH OR REPEAT BUSINESS. PLEASE CONTACT ME SO WE CAN DISCUSS WHAT WENT WRONG WITH YOUR CHARTER..........GEORGE @ GPSC CHARTERS
 

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I''m very surprised to read complaints about about GPSC. I just returned from my 2nd trip with them in Greece. Personally, I think they are excellent (or i would not have chosen them 2 times already). My last charter just ended this August and I have nothing but praise for them here in the States and in Greece. They were referred to me by my friends who used them 2 years ago and were also happy. The boats were excellent both times as were the staff and the knowledge of the staff. I am so satisfied with them, that I am going to sail with them again next year in Italy. Ask for Costas if you can for your skipper and his mate is Linda (the gal who used to work for Cruising World magazine). They were excellent and really showed us a great time. GPSC has not let us down in 2 charters that my family took, and the charter my friends who referred me to them took.
 

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George,
Thank you for your interest in our problems with GPSC. We believe our complaints about the boat both on safety and comfort grounds, were valid. We went through them with a member of the Greek staff in the company of the owner on our return.
We then wrote to GPSC Philadelphia detailing the boat''s faults and were told it was not their concern and to take up the matter with the GPSC Greece office. This we did in full.
In his reply Alex Kapsabelis said in effect that we had chartered an old boat and what did we expect. He addressed none of the problems we raised. But he made clear one thing:
"Please understand that we act as agents between you and the owner of the boat".
In other words GPSC accepts no responsibility for the boats it charters out. Unlike other charter companies it does not give the Year of Build of boats, but in a sense this is immaterial if the boats have been properly maintained and inspected. Clearly this does not happen with GPSC.
On reflection perhaps our problem lay in taking a bareboat charter for some sailing in the Cyclades. It seems GPSC are not comfortable with this and the paperwork hurdles were considerable. The company is perhaps more geared to skippered charters pottering round the Saronic Gulf?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi there,

I chartered the " Bloom " this year with GPSC and had George as our skipper. We had the time of our life and found the service provided by GPSC staff in Greece to be excellent. I am sorry to hear that your experience was so bad but I need to let everybody know that I would definitely use GPSC again and have many friends who have used them before and highly recommend them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Allen 19644,

I sailed with Wensum and can confirm that ‘Bloom’ was in appalling condition.

There is no question of whether or not to recommend GPSC: the boat they chartered was unsafe. PERIOD.

I think that if you knew how unsafe – you would not be so quick to charter from GPSC again. Just one example: the electrical wiring on ‘Bloom’ was in hazardous condition. We discovered sparking near fuel, in the engine room.

Allen, we’re sailors not whiners. Wensum is too modest to tell you his qualifications or just how many years experience he has sailing in Greece and elsewhere. But it may help you to know that three of our crew were yachtmaster qualified, and the remaining crew had dozens of years of sailing and chartering experience. Not one of us has ever complained about a charter before.

Stay away from GPSC – the boat they chartered to us was unsafe.

Best wishes,
North Sea
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dear North Sea,

I have used GPSC before, as have many friends of mine and stand by my recommendation. They have never let me down. It is unfortunate you feel the way you do and you are entitled to your opinion as I and my friends are entitled to ours. Our group felt very safe on the "Bloom" and will ask for the same boat again next year. Just because you had such a bad experience is no reason to try and bully other people into changing their mind.

Regards,

Allen Roberts
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dear Allen,

You might be interested to read the following letter that was just posted on sailing.com.

It''s from a woman who appears to edit a sailing guide - and doesn''t seem to be a bully:

"This is the third negative story I''ve heard about GPSC, and is virtually identical to the observations some friends of mine made after returning from a trip to the Med. I take their opinions seriously because he''s a licensed skipper under sail and worked those waters as a deckhand on the Sea Cloud. His said that next time he''d rather spend the extra money and go with the Moorings.

Kitty McKoon-Hennick
Sailing Guide
Sailing.About.Com"

I hope this is helpful,
Best wishes,
North Sea
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I also recommend staying away from GPSC. We chartered with them two years ago.After arriving in Athens, they informed us that that they had to let another customer take the boat that we had contracted to charter with them. We were told that the boat they had "swapped" us over to would be in the next morning. When we arrived at the docks, we were told the boat was on the way in from one of the islands. We were kept waiting for hours for the boat. Once the boat did arrive, they did a quick cleaning and we were sent off with out a briefing. The Greek islands are a great place to cruise, but not with GPSC!!
 

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Hi,

My friends and I chartered this summer a venus 18 from GPSC. Although some of us were experienced sailors we decided to take a professional skipper because it was the first time we visited the greek waters. Our experience with GPSC has been one of the best! and we have chartered with a lot of other companies all over the world. The boat was clean, in good working order and our skipper Spiros was outstanding. Also the service before and after our charter was personal and to the point! We will be back next year and ofcourse we will charter again from GPSC!
 

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We chartered with GPSC in October and had a very similar experience as Wensum. This was a bare boat charter. I expect that if we had a captain he would have made sure the boat was in good condition. As it turned out when we checked out the boat, a Beneteau 45 named Alexandra, the batteries were dead, the water tanks had not been topped off and the only flashlight on the boat did not work. The batteries took a half-gallon of water. The boat was clearly not ready for a charter. Further inspection of the boat revealed that the steering pedestal had a very worn bearing as the top of the wheel could be moved fore and aft an inch or two, life line stanchions were not secure, the backstay turnbuckle was badly bent and the boat showed poor maintenance. We obviously were not happy with the boat but were told there was no other boat available, take it or leave it!

Once under way we discovered that the roller furling jammed as the lead to the drum was incorrect, navigation and anchor lights did not work, engine hour meter did not work and forward shower sump pump switch was faulty. When we went to use the inflatable we found the oars had been replaced with short paddles, the seat was missing from the inflatable and the outboard engine ran but over heated, as it did not pump cooling water. The most dangerous problem however was the windless installation. There was less than 90 degree of chain engagement with the drum, which meant you, had to keep your foot on the chain or the chain would run free. As the chain was brought onboard it would pile up and fowl the drum unless you manually swept the chain forward into the lower part of the locker.

In spite of the disappointment with the boat we had a great vacation as the weather was near perfect and the islands were most interesting.

The worst aspect of the charter was GPSC’s attitude upon our return. They said it was our responsibility to make sure everything on the boat worked before we left the dock, as the boat owner was responsible for maintenance, not GPSC. They stated that we must have been expecting a new boat. No, but we did expect a boat that was maintained as described in the literature. We were then disturbed to learn that the damage deposit was not immediately returned but would be returned by mail from the office in Philadelphia. We were told it would probably be there when we returned. It took four weeks before we received the deposit.

By the way we chartered with GPSC based on a recommendation. Unfortunately GPSC isn’t what it use to be.
 

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Took my first ever charter on "Bloom" through GPSC. From a layman''s perspective it was "interesting". For the first few days the continual,almost comical at times, challenges reminded us of why we didn''t own a boat! Luckily we had not one but four qualified sailors aboard so improvisation coped with most challenges - my wife even found it funny when I ended up on my back in the bottom of the dinghy when the rollock didn''t work- you guessed it, we were trying to row because the outboard didn''t work. Greece can be hot but Bloom has airconditioning, or at least it would have if the generator charged the battery. I can tolerate trivial problems like a broken rollock but non-functioning navigation equipment and problems* with the generator''s wiring are serious issues. Surely GPSC should be held responsible for not assuring themselves that this boat was properly maintained?
Hopefully GPSC will get its act together before next season so that all their clients get the rewarding experience described by others. Personally, I wouldn''t have missed it for the world but I''m glad I was a "passenger" and not expected to cope with Bloom''s little challenges!

*I can vouch for the fact that we didn''t have power. I rely on a colleague who crawled into the engine compartment for comments on the condition of the wiring.
 

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Hello George,
It is over three weeks since your SHOUTED DISMAY about the adverse comments on the way GPSC Charters does business. You asked me to reply, which I did with an attachment of the letter addressed to Cynthia Orr detailing our complaints.
Since then, SILENCE.
You have not responded, nor has Ginny Heyer replied to our not unreasonable request for receipts accounting for deductions made from our security deposit that were not agreed by us.
Has GPSC gone into silent mode?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good point. Is it possible to change the topic title from ''Chartering in Greece'' to ''Sailing or Not with GPSC''?

A number of contributors seem to have strong views on this subject, and the new title would better reflect this on-going discussion.
 
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