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Old 26-05-2019, 01:29   #1
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Smile Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

I'm trying to piece together a plan to get cruising (from zero) in a sabbatical year from my international teaching job. The best plan that I have so far is to do an RYA Competent Crew course and crew on other people's boats as much as possible through the summer, then buy a boat and get out there, or buy earlier if the crewing dries up. I think I had an ingenious idea and would like people to shoot it down if it's rubbish:

It looks like some people sail to the med and then sell boats fairly cheaply so that they can fly home, Greek waters are meant to be easier ground for learning than the UK, and the cost of living is low, with some free island marinas. So, how about if I fly out there and buy a cheap boat on the water (all set with PV, tiller pilot, bimini, etc) and cruise around that local area, basing myself at a cheap or free island marina until I get myself together? It seems like a great combination of a quick start, adventure, moderate cost, and low odds of dying.

The alternative is that I do the training and crewing, then buy a boat near home in East Yorkshire, spend time in the winter on a light refit, and cruise locally in the Spring.

My budget could go higher, but these are the sorts of boats I'm talking about. They've both just been sailed from northern Europe.

https://www.apolloduck.com/boat/marieholm-26/573806/3
https://www.apolloduck.com/boat/maxi-77/540614

All comments welcome!

Thanks
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Old 26-05-2019, 03:27   #2
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

Plan is workable, but the Greek Aegean is not an easy place to sail in summer due to the Meltemi. At least in a small boat. Ok though, if you have the patience to wait for weather windows. The Ionian is much more benign.

Basic rule for the Med. Wind is either too little or too much.
You need a good engine. I once sailed a 51' boat on a 1000' passage from Italy to Gibraltar. Took 3 weeks, we had no engine. Decided never to sail in the Med again. Am back there, have engine.

You learn more by sailing in UK waters, though.

The Marieholm 26 is a very sweet boat, btw. Not much space inside, but very balanced and easy to sail.
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Old 26-05-2019, 04:05   #3
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pirate Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

You will learn more crewing with a decent owner/skipper than on a Competent Crew course where its 1 instructor to 5+ students over one week.. and, you will learn even more if you buy a small boat locally and potter around in local waters getting the feel than you will crewing.
Buy something like the Glennans Manual and read and play and develop a sense of nature and common sense.
The Marieholm has a sitting headroom of around 4ft 9in in the salon.. fine for a flexible young guy but gets old quickly past a certain age as I found out when I revisited my youth a couple of years back on a Tiki 26..
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Old 26-05-2019, 04:21   #4
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

Thanks for the advice! I will have time to wait for weather if I do this, but wouldn't want to be somewhere where there is routinely insufficient wind. In my vision I'm parked for free at a little fishing town wharf somewhere, carting water to my boat in a jerry can, buying cheap feta, olives and tomatoes in the market, learning Greek, exploring the islands, and day sailing in less tidal waters; island hopping. Baking in 40c heat waiting for wind would spoil it.

If I want somewhere cheap and scenic with good sailing for a beginner, do you have any other ideas? Near home would always be plan B for logistical reasons, but an exotic option would be nice.

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Originally Posted by MartinR View Post
Plan is workable, but the Greek Aegean is not an easy place to sail in summer due to the Meltemi. At least in a small boat. Ok though, if you have the patience to wait for weather windows. The Ionian is much more benign.

Basic rule for the Med. Wind is either too little or too much.
You need a good engine. I once sailed a 51' boat on a 1000' passage from Italy to Gibraltar. Took 3 weeks, we had no engine. Decided never to sail in the Med again. Am back there, have engine.

You learn more by sailing in UK waters, though.

The Marieholm 26 is a very sweet boat, btw. Not much space inside, but very balanced and easy to sail.
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Old 26-05-2019, 04:30   #5
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

My thinking was that the competent crew could be leveraged to get crewing spots. In my mind, I would need less handholding and it would show commitment, but I'm also pretty confident that offering to help with boat maintenance in exchange for crewing spots would make me popular!

4'9" headroom in a Marieholm? I'm 6'3", so perhaps I would need to lie in the bilge to get dressed! Ha ha

What was the Tiki 26 like? They are on my radar. Cheap, fast, and positive buoyancy that gives a warm fuzzy feeling.

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
You will learn more crewing with a decent owner/skipper than on a Competent Crew course where its 1 instructor to 5+ students over one week.. and, you will learn even more if you buy a small boat locally and potter around in local waters getting the feel than you will crewing.
Buy something like the Glennans Manual and read and play and develop a sense of nature and common sense.
The Marieholm has a sitting headroom of around 4ft 9in in the salon.. fine for a flexible young guy but gets old quickly past a certain age as I found out when I revisited my youth a couple of years back on a Tiki 26..
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Old 26-05-2019, 04:37   #6
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

I would argue to not only do the Competent Crew but also the RYA Day Skipper. Between the two courses crewing on other boats if you find something.

While 1 instructor with 5+ students is correct, it is also - hopefully - a lot of fun and it is nice to be in a group as a beginner. More input, more diverse and you learn about tides (ok, with the right owner you'd learn this also, maybe even more so). IIUC the Day Skipper gives you the ICC (International Certificate of Competence) which may be helpful in the current legal/insurance requirements.

This said, your plan sounds great!
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Old 26-05-2019, 05:40   #7
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pirate Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

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My thinking was that the competent crew could be leveraged to get crewing spots. In my mind, I would need less handholding and it would show commitment, but I'm also pretty confident that offering to help with boat maintenance in exchange for crewing spots would make me popular!

4'9" headroom in a Marieholm? I'm 6'3", so perhaps I would need to lie in the bilge to get dressed! Ha ha

What was the Tiki 26 like? They are on my radar. Cheap, fast, and positive buoyancy that gives a warm fuzzy feeling.
They sail pretty well and can be pretty fast did 12kts plus on a few occasions on mine in favourable conditions.
A good boat for exploring places if you dont mind the basic lifestyle.. loved mine and my Tiki 21 but I was 30yrs younger..
Scott Brown has what looks to be a couple of nice ones for sale in the Channel Islands for 4K..
The one without the deck pod looks the better deal and then make the hatches watertight, rig up a tiller pilot system and your good to go.
The hatch way are the weak point as waves breaking over sweep up the cabin top and under the hatch into the cabin.. not a hard fix, also a sprayhood is a good idea.
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Old 26-05-2019, 05:57   #8
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

Meltemi is easy to predict , easy to sail and easy to hide from , I used to sail in Greece with my 26 footer you don't really need anything bigger.
In general Greece is a nice place to be better than Caribbean .
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Old 26-05-2019, 06:10   #9
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

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They sail pretty well and can be pretty fast did 12kts plus on a few occasions on mine in favourable conditions.
A good boat for exploring places if you dont mind the basic lifestyle.. loved mine and my Tiki 21 but I was 30yrs younger..
Scott Brown has what looks to be a couple of nice ones for sale in the Channel Islands for 4K..
The one without the deck pod looks the better deal and then make the hatches watertight, rig up a tiller pilot system and your good to go.
The hatch way are the weak point as waves breaking over sweep up the cabin top and under the hatch into the cabin.. not a hard fix, also a sprayhood is a good idea.
I'd seen both of those and was really annoyed that it's not the right time to buy either of them.

A big part of what I want to do is explore by boat and anchor or beach camp. Something like that might be ideal.
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Old 26-05-2019, 06:56   #10
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

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Meltemi is easy to predict , easy to sail and easy to hide from , I used to sail in Greece with my 26 footer you don't really need anything bigger.
In general Greece is a nice place to be better than Caribbean .
That's the spirit. Keep telling me what I want to hear. Now all I need to do is see out a two year contract without going mad, quit, and become a dirty sea hippy.

I've just googled the Meltemi and found it's a dry northerly force 4-7 wind off the east of Greece. Sounds ideal. Would sticking to that side of Greece avoid the oven-like/ no wind phenomenon that MartinR mentioned? That's a big enough area for an inexperienced sailor to spend months quite happily.
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Old 26-05-2019, 07:37   #11
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

A day skipper and ICC wouldn't hurt. If I buy a cheap boat it would be good to get it insured 3rd party at least so that when my appalling anchoring leaves me scraping up the side of someone's Lagoon 500 I'm not whipped through the streets for being unable to pay up.

Also, whilst I said that I would use training to help get crewing spots, it's also the case that I don't want to show up and beg to be spoon fed. It'd be a bit lame to turn up on someone else's boat and ask to be taught things that I could have learned in basic training.

Here's a big question: If I'm free every day through a summer, can get solo access to a sailing dinghy, and frequent crewing on keelboats, how long do we think it would be until I'm competent to take a keelboat on a day sail alone on tidal water? I feel like I could target doing it in a month, but I'm curious what others think.

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Originally Posted by blu3534 View Post
I would argue to not only do the Competent Crew but also the RYA Day Skipper. Between the two courses crewing on other boats if you find something.

While 1 instructor with 5+ students is correct, it is also - hopefully - a lot of fun and it is nice to be in a group as a beginner. More input, more diverse and you learn about tides (ok, with the right owner you'd learn this also, maybe even more so). IIUC the Day Skipper gives you the ICC (International Certificate of Competence) which may be helpful in the current legal/insurance requirements.

This said, your plan sounds great!
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Old 26-05-2019, 07:56   #12
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

3rd party insurance is obligatory to be allowed to sail in Greece. Also, you need to have a license.

Answer to your question: A few days to be able to sail the boat.
Then a lifetime to master. Sailing is both simple and complex at the same time;-)
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Old 26-05-2019, 07:59   #13
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

A month is more than enough I think. Sailing in fair conditions is not difficult.

Having access to a sailing dinghy is excellent, imo one gets a better 'sailing-feel' with small boats than with larger keelboats. Regarding license, I think a Marine Radio (SRC) license would also be very good to have!
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Old 26-05-2019, 08:15   #14
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

We found Greece a good place to buy a yacht, which we did. Bought ours in Lefkas through a British broker and used a British surveyor. The whole experience was positive. I like dealing with the British, they kinda wrote the book on how to do things properly and above board.
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Old 26-05-2019, 08:34   #15
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Re: Greece as a place to buy a boat and get experience?

Well, I don't have access to a dinghy, but I'll make it happen. How hard is it to join a club and buy an old dinghy?

I've done a lifetime of research and intend to be ready and do it right. Knowledgeable people recommend training, crewing on other's boats and dinghy sailing. If I do all three at every opportunity I should make the most rapid progress I'm capable of.

Home waters are The Humber with a 5 knot current, so it's not the easiest place to learn, but it will likely teach me to watch the tides!

Is the radio licence needed for VHF? That wasn't my first priority, but I just said I wa gonna be sailing solo on the Humber within a month, so maybe it needs to be pushed forwards!

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A month is more than enough I think. Sailing in fair conditions is not difficult.

Having access to a sailing dinghy is excellent, imo one gets a better 'sailing-feel' with small boats than with larger keelboats. Regarding license, I think a Marine Radio (SRC) license would also be very good to have!
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