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We're starting to look into chartering in Greece this summer. The plan is to go the first week of July and we're considering either the Ionian islands or the Dodecanese. We're not currently thinking of the Cyclades because the conditions can be pretty rough at times. Ideally we'd like an area where we can do some good sailing, but also drop the hook in a secluded bay for the kids to go swimming.

I'm looking for advice on itineraries that would work for a one-week cruise. Any pros and cons of either island group? Last year we spent a week in the Hisaronic Gulf along the Turkish coast (vicinity of Simi) - really nice - so I would assume sailing conditions there are not too different from the Dodecanese. Any info on local charter companies would be very helpful too. Any hints, advice, tidbits of information would be much appreciated!
 

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I'll be following this thread with interest-we're chartering in Turkey this May for two weeks through Sunsail. I'd like to learn a bit more about the area around Greece for a future trip.
 

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We're starting to look into chartering in Greece this summer. The plan is to go the first week of July and we're considering either the Ionian islands or the Dodecanese. We're not currently thinking of the Cyclades because the conditions can be pretty rough at times. Ideally we'd like an area where we can do some good sailing, but also drop the hook in a secluded bay for the kids to go swimming.

I'm looking for advice on itineraries that would work for a one-week cruise. Any pros and cons of either island group? Last year we spent a week in the Hisaronic Gulf along the Turkish coast (vicinity of Simi) - really nice - so I would assume sailing conditions there are not too different from the Dodecanese. Any info on local charter companies would be very helpful too. Any hints, advice, tidbits of information would be much appreciated!
On the Dodecanese Islands you will not get much less windy conditions in July than on the Cyclades. I will be there sailing this year for 3 or 4 months, I mean a bit all around Greece and Turkey and I had been there last year (Ionian, and Aegean).

If what you want, like your post subject, a tranquil kind of holidays with kids and not too much wind, Ionian its the place. You will have medium to strong wind also but normally only in the afternoon, dying at night (while on the Cyclades and Dodecanese in can blow strongly for days and nights). Not a problem if you are sailing there for a month or so: You just stay on a shelter and wait it to blow way, but in a week, if it is blowing hard at that time it can spoil a substantial part of your charter time.

Regarding beautiful places to stay on anchor, there are so many that it would be hard to make a route for a week only. Consider to Charter from Lefkas, go down the channel and them you would have an incredibly beautiful scenery with several green mountainous islands around at short distance. You will not have time to explore them all and if you can make it for 2 weeks I strongly advise you to do so. The Islands:

Lefkas, Meganizi, kalamos, Kastos, Skorpios, Itaka, Kefallonia, Zakinthos.

That's not by accident that Onassis chose one of those Islands for having his summer house, in fact he owned the entire Island:D

Instead of telling you about favorite sites (I have sailed there on two seasons anchoring every day and I am far from knowing all anchorages) I strongly suggest you to buy this Pilot book, it is inexpensive and very valuable:


Regards

Paulo
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Paulo,

Thanks for your feedback - I was hoping you might comment on my post :). Is there much difference between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese in terms of waves when the wind picks up? I'm not necessarily as much concerned about the wind, than about waves making things uncomfortable for my family. From what I've read, things can get fairly bad around the Cyclades once it blows for a while.

Thanks,
Joost
 

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HI Joost,

Last year I just went to the first Islands of the Dodecaneso, Donussa to be more precise. I had plans to make that area but 15 days lost on account of an accident and the not previewed need to get back to Rome (to repair the boat) at the end of the season, instead of living it on Greece, changed my plans.

Those small Islands (Little Cyclades and the smaller Dodecanese Islands) are a piece of the paradise with much less tourists then bigger Islands and also much less sailboats. They are protected by wind and some waves from the crowd of charter boats:D

But I see that you have a Pacific Seacraft 34 so probably it would not be a problem for you but off course, it can be for the others.

Regarding the sea and wind conditions, there are Dodecaneso islands near the Turkish coast and also others (the smaller ones) more exposed. On those ones the difference to the Cyclades is not significant. On that zone the normal wind in the summer is F4/F5, rarely is F3 and with some frequency is F6/7/8.

Contrary to what would be expected the stronger wind is near the Islands were strong gusts can be felt. The sea is not dangerous in the summer but can be uncomfortable since the type of wave is a short one and the Islands sometimes create waves from slightly different direction. The waves rarely are bigger than 3m but even 2m short period waves can create a lot of motion. In short, if you have on the crew people that gets seasick with sea motion probably it will not be a good idea and that Ionian zone that I had suggested will be much more indicated. You will have wind in the afternoon (less) on almost flat water.

Even if everybody is not prone to get seasick if you get the bad luck to have at the time of the charter F7/F8 or if you arrive immediately after some days of meltemi, the sea will be quite rough and disorganized. Even downwind with a F7 or F8 is very uncomfortable.

To give you an idea I will post a video that I made last summer, the wind is F5 conditions (the forecast was for F4). Remember that on a movie the waves seem smaller and I was going downwind.


Regards

Paulo
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Paulo,

Thanks for the advice - I loved the video. It looks like real nice sailing, but choppy and a bit reminiscent of our trip to Knidos last year. Maybe we should look into chartering in the Ionian Islands, the kids will enjoy that better.

Cheers,
Joost
 

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I suggest that you look at my answer & analysis (no. 3) at the thread "Departing from KOS island...North or South?" dating back in 2007.
South Dodecanese wind pattern is very much similar to the one in Hisaronu bay, Turkey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Chrondi - thanks for the reference. We decided to charter out of Kos, so this advice is very welcome indeed. I have a preference for going north, but that will depend in part on the wind conditions once we get there.
 

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If you go North of Kos you may find the rather unknown anchorage of Palionisos on the eastern coast of Kalymnos very useful. Remember that the highlight should be Patmos island, visiting the monastery of St John on the top of the hill and in midway the cave where he dictated the Book of Revelation (St John was blind by that time).
You may also watch the video I filmed two years ago:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Chrondi, thanks so much for sharing the video - we're so looking forward to out trip this summer. Last year we sailed on the Turkish side, I can't wait to check out the Greek side as well. Patmos is high on our list of destinations, so we would definitely prefer a northbound departure - Joost
 

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I was very pleased to find this post as I'm currently considering a charter from Kos or Lefkas. We are a group of seven adults, three with sailing experience. Our experience includes cruising and racing in the San Juan Islands in the US and a charter in Croatia a few years ago. I'd like to hear about your experience from Kos and see what will be most appropriate for us.

Our trip is planned for the week of August 22 - 29. We are considering boats such as a Jeanneau 469 or 509 or Hanse 505. We'd like some spirited sailing but don't want to end up at anchor for days in a row because of the meltemi.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We chartered from Kos in early July last summer - we had three boats for three families. The winds were quite strong, but the sailing was fun and spirited. Most of the time, winds were in the 18-30 knots range, occasionally higher. We did have to go back to Kos one day because of force 8 winds.

About 2-3 hours out of the charter base, we had a mishap where the mast of our boat came down as we were sailing to windward (wind ~22 knots) in the channel between Kos and Pserimos. The cause was the headstay, which parted at the swage. When I inspected the fracture surface, it looked like a fatigue failure. The charter company blamed us and wouldn't replace the boat. So we continued our trip on one of the other two boats - a longer version of the event is at http://www.sailnet.com/forums/chartering/162065-dismasted-aegean-lessons-learn.html.

Bottom line - it' a fun area to sail, but be careful whom you charter from.
 

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Interesting read...

My family owns a house on Cepholonia, where my father spent some of his childhood. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a family dispute over ownership. It is my hope we can keep the house in the family. It sits on a hill, overlooking the harbor by Antipata.

Sailing dreams...

Skywalker
 

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hi paolo, looking forward to one week holiday sailing in greece, As I`ve seen you realy know the place. We like little,sailing prts, small places, bays en beautifull scenery not much crowds. We are thinking in sailing either JONIC islands , (corfu,lefkas etc) or the SARONICAS (Idra,Poros,Egina....)
What is important to us is: weather conditions not too windy, and beautiful places en small villages.
which is your recomendation for us in this trip.?
thans so much!
 

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Summer weather in Greece is fairly easy to understand.
The Southeastern Med is surrounded by deserts. As they heat up, they draw in cooler air from north of Greece and through the Aegean Sea. You can get up to 50-knot winds from noon to midnight (roughly) when the conditions are right. The Meltemi winds can set in and upset this cycle, and then you can get stuck for days.
When I ran a charter boat there, we were anchored up in a nice sheltered bay in the daytime and did our moving in the early morning hours. Our guests got to spend the days playing in the water and touring the islands and slept through the travel time.
I'm not saying it's a bad place to go for a vacation or sail, but it may require a whole new method of cruising to get the most out of the experience.
 
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