Great chartering service and excellent vacation - Visited August 2017
We just got back from a week sailing with YachtSailing.gr and had a wonderful time. We were on the Beneteau Oceanis 473, "Poker Star" with Panos as our captain and made port on Aegina, Hydra, Spetses, Milos and Serifos. Everything was handled professionally and efficiently and Panos was an excellent captain. But here are a few things you might want to know:
- July is hot in Greece and most of the less expensive boats do not have AC. If you are from a cooler/moderate climate you might have a hard time sleeping in your cabin. People told us that September is the best month - cooler, still beautiful, and just slightly after peak season the people are nicer (although they were plenty nice in July from my perspective) Or, you can spend a lot more for a boat with AC and generator.
- Speed matters, whether motoring or sailing. The faster the boat the more you can see and the better time you'll have. Fast boats can sail with less wind and you want to sail because motoring is listening to the droning of the engine for hours on end while sailing is wonderful and quiet and even thrilling. Poker Star is a very stable boat but is not fast, and at 6-6.5 mph it takes quite a while to get anywhere. In our week we might have sailed for 6 hours and motored the rest. Of course it is all about the weather you encounter and there is some luck in that.
- I'd only provision groceries for breakfast and lunch for the most part - each town has countless tavernas with inexpensive food and drink. (I really miss those 6 Euro liters of white wine). Provision PLENTY of ice - the fridge in our boat was never really that cold and you'll want plenty of cold drinks at hand. I will say that Panos cooked us a great meal the one night we decided to anchor away from towns - you might consider doing that for one or two nights as the town food is quite similar from place to place.
- This is not a beachy vacation - we spent almost no time on a beach. Every day we stopped for swimming along the way, but if there was a beach it was a long paddle or swim or tender and we stopped for maybe an hour. Evenings were generally at a village docked at a pier. Of course you can change that if you want - you can skip the village, anchor in a cove and spend the night on a beach because the beauty of this kind of trip is that you can do exactly what you want. But if you don't ask for it it won't happen automatically. So take control and decide up front what you want to do: isolated cove or bustling village? If you haven't been to Greece before you may not know that the villages don't get hopping until after 9pm, and then are lively for a good part of the night. When we left Spetses at 5am the disco was still going strong.
- Cyclades or Saronic? We did a bit of both. Distances matter and 10 hours of motoring a day is not fun nor is 35 knot wind that will scare the heck out of you. The conventional wisdom is see Mykonos and Santorini by high speed ferry and sail the Saronic and western Aegean. We did the conventional and were very happy. But it did take 10 hours to get from Spetses to Milos - that was a long day.
- Best island? That is a tough call, as there is a similarity to the towns - we loved them all. Spetses, the island sans cars, was special. But so was Hydra and Adamantas, the port on Milos. The Temple of Aphaia on Egina was almost the best preserved temple we saw in Greece - at the same level as the Temple of Hephaestus at the Ancient Agora of Athens.
- Costs - there were no unexpected fees. Fuel was 207 Euros for the week - 125 liters of diesel. Obviously the more you sail the less fuel you will use, and we motored 85% of the time and the Poker Star is not a light boat. We had the yacht initially provisioned and then bought more in the inexpensive grocery stores on each island.
Have fun! (We did)
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