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Old 17-07-2012, 03:34   #1
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Cyclades in August

Hi,

We're a group of 6 men and we've planned a 14 day long sailtrip in the Cyclades this august. The boot we've rented is a Beneteau Oceanis 393.

We are not really experienced sailors. Our skipper is a friend of mine who has got his sailing license past year in Belgium (North Sea).
Last year he and I went on a 12 day long sailing trip in Croatia.
(Zadar - Kornati - Sibenik - Skradin and back via Vodice and Biograd).

From last years crew only he and I will be on this years Cyclades trip. The (4) other haven't sailed at all.

We are leaving from Athens and planned a route via Cape Sounion, Syros (or Mykonos) from where we'll be heading south towards Santorini. In Santorini were planning to stay 2 days to go scuba diving.
From Santorini we'll be going westwards en up to Athens.

We would like, where possible and if the wind allows us to, to us a gennaker.
A few weeks ago we've had a 1 day Spinnaker course. But mostly theoretical I have to see. Winds were to strong that day (on Ijsselmeer in Holland) so we couldn't really practice what we've learned.
I, myself, and readings some sail trimming books in order to be able to assist our skipper as much as possible.

I have read that the Cyclades our something for the more experienced sailor. As you can see we are not really experienced sailors.

So I would like to ask you if you can give me some advice. What are the do's and certainly the don'ts when sailing the Cyclades (as almost novices).
In short, everything that could be useful on our trip in august.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 17-07-2012, 15:01   #2
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Re: Cyclades in august

Hi!
1 = enjoy it !!!
2 = the weather will decide for you what to do or not. So, you need to examine the greek weather forecasts with attention...
3 = this year the Meltemi has been blowing since June 17 th... You can hope it will be less strong in August.. Who knows ?
4 =In the Aegean sea, most of the islands are mountains, it means that the wind (NW to NE) is quite always stronger on the South coast than on the North coast (that was the most discovery when I sailed the first time in the Aegean in 1978).... I am born in Brittany (West of France)....
5 = The Imray Pilot Book from Rod Heikell (whom I saw in Samos in June...) is the book you need before this sailing trip.
6-7-8... I hope you will have a lot of other responses !
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Old 17-07-2012, 20:16   #3
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The winds can be strong in the Cyclades , be aware of that.

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Old 20-07-2012, 06:55   #4
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Re: Cyclades in august

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Originally Posted by Petirrojo View Post
Hi,

We're a group of 6 men and we've planned a 14 day long sailtrip in the Cyclades this august. The boot we've rented is a Beneteau Oceanis 393.

We are not really experienced sailors. Our skipper is a friend of mine who has got his sailing license past year in Belgium (North Sea).
Last year he and I went on a 12 day long sailing trip in Croatia.
(Zadar - Kornati - Sibenik - Skradin and back via Vodice and Biograd).

From last years crew only he and I will be on this years Cyclades trip. The (4) other haven't sailed at all.

We are leaving from Athens and planned a route via Cape Sounion, Syros (or Mykonos) from where we'll be heading south towards Santorini. In Santorini were planning to stay 2 days to go scuba diving.
From Santorini we'll be going westwards en up to Athens.

We would like, where possible and if the wind allows us to, to us a gennaker.
A few weeks ago we've had a 1 day Spinnaker course. But mostly theoretical I have to see. Winds were to strong that day (on Ijsselmeer in Holland) so we couldn't really practice what we've learned.
I, myself, and readings some sail trimming books in order to be able to assist our skipper as much as possible.

I have read that the Cyclades our something for the more experienced sailor. As you can see we are not really experienced sailors.

So I would like to ask you if you can give me some advice. What are the do's and certainly the don'ts when sailing the Cyclades (as almost novices).
In short, everything that could be useful on our trip in august.

Thanks in advance!
I would avoid the Cycladic islands during August if I didn' t have an exprieced crew member. You can have other choices instead, alternative itineraries as, starting from the Saronic golf, Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, perhaps Naflion and Astros or across to Leonidio heading south to the secret bay of Fokiano, then Kyparissi and the castle town of Monemvasia and return.
The second alternative is south to Sounion then north to Marmari in the island of Evia, take all the west cost of the island through Khalkis and then continue north towards Rovies, Edipsos then Trikeri and final destination the North Sporades islands, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.
If you insist on sailing the Cyclades, (i can understand why) you have to expect strong winds N, NE or NW, called meltemi. During the day can easily be force 6+ (I experienced 8 and 9), calming down usually in the evening. If you sail early in the morning you can cover 10 to 20 nm before the pick of the winds.
Ports are usually very busy in the afternoon so avoid the late arrivals, especially Myconos, a difficult port to aproach for novices. You can go to Syros, easier port and more quiet.Santorini is difficult to. You can search other posts here, about the conditions in the ports. Whatever you decide, enjoy the trip.
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Old 21-07-2012, 06:12   #5
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Re: Cyclades in august

First, there will be quite a lot of wind from the northerly sector, at times over F6, so you need to plan the return journey from Santorini as windward work with reduced sail, maybe losing a couple of days when winds are too strong to sail. If any of your crew are seasick prone, they won't enjoy this experience.

You can make life easier by leaving early in the morning when winds are lighter. Also, working up the east coast of the Peloponese helps, since winds approaching the Argolic gulf are southerlies - but that's a lot of miles. Better still, the gods may be with you, and light winds leave you motoring north! But that's uncommon.

Personally, I'd plan two days each for Syros, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, then a day each for Sifnos, Serifos, Kythnos, Athens. 2 days spare? Poros is a delightful stop, just a day trip from Athens. And then sail a completely different trip which would depend on the wind! If you're determined to do Santorini, get there within two days, and allow loads of time to beat back. Check if your charterer permits night sailing - some don't.

I wouldn't bother with a Genniker. Usually too windy. You'd only use it once or twice if you're lucky. Much better to ensure all your crew are well trained to reduce sail quickly, since the wind varies widely form one side of an island to the other, with some very big gusts downwind of some islands.

See Cyclades | JimB Sail for brief descriptions of the various islands. And http://jimbsail.info/mediterranean/greece/athens for the E Peloponese and Poros.
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Old 22-07-2012, 03:59   #6
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Re: Cyclades in august

What everyone said above (In particular, your float plan should be adjusted around the weather), plus I recommend that you use the available technology (smart phones etc) to regularly check what the weather is doing. Expect to sit out a day or two during a summer saiing trip to the Cyclades.
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Old 23-07-2012, 13:38   #7
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Re: Cyclades in august

I would endorse the above comments especially regarding the Meltemi wind which will be very strong in August .
We were in Santorini area in June this year and experienced 7 and 8 bfrs on several occasions.Also as you are a crew of 6, I assume that you will have a boat around 40' or more with around 2 metre draft. You will have great difficulty getting into the marina in Santorini with this boat as the depth is shallow. We touched bottom with a 1.4 m draft. There is no where else to moor in Santorini

From what you say you are not experienced and will have big problems if you are planning to sail this area at this time.You will not enjoy it.
Why not ,as Danaus suggests, plan your trip around the Saronic gulf,just south of Athens,there are some fabulous places to visit ,and the sailing is exciting enough without being too stressful.You will enjoy it!!,and will probably have a chance to use the genneker. My honest advice is ...forget the Cyclades and sail within your capabilities. Have a great time!!!!!!
(EDIT... I have noticed that you are in a Benetau 393 which has a 2 m draft..(my guess was good) You will have no chance of getting into Santorini marina.!!)
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Old 23-07-2012, 13:52   #8
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Re: Cyclades in august

That is good advice Fishtail.
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Old 23-07-2012, 14:09   #9
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Re: Cyclades in august

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That is good advice Fishtail.
It is based on genuine ,first hand... and sometimes bitter, experience!!!
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Old 24-07-2012, 02:08   #10
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Re: Cyclades in august

Fishtail,

2 or 3 charter boats of 2m draft were based in Vlichada, Santorini, when I was last there, and that was my draft too. Yes, there's a small shallow patch roughly in the centre of the inner harbour. And yes, in the outer channel, past the inner harbour entrance, the outer side of the channel is often shallow after winter storms, but it's often then dredged.

Unless something really dramatic has happened here in the last three years, the harbour is OK for 2m draft boats, which can, if it's crowded, moor alongside in the outer channel, stbd side, just past the harbour entrance.

Ref the meltemi. It's not continuous. There's a pretty accurate description of it (and the local variations caused by terrain) in the "weather" section of this page, honed after 15 years of operating charter vessels in Greek and Turkish waters. You would be very unlucky indeed to face 7 days continuous F5 to 7. For sure, going to windward in such conditions needs a robust and confident crew - a group with some offshore racing experience perhaps - probably too much for the OP.

I'll grant you, this year's June has been exceptional, with more meltemi than you shake a barometer at!
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Old 24-07-2012, 02:46   #11
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Re: Cyclades in august

JCKB (Jim) The channel has obviously really silted up since you were there ,friends of mine tried to enter with a 1.8 m draft and were firmly stuck overnight just at the entrance to the outer harbour (within the reef).
We had to moor,as you describe ,just past the inner entrance. Incidentally the harbour master chap was very helpful. He rafted us beside another boat.
I did not see many biggish yachts there,Catamarans seem to have taken over the charter business.

You must agree though that the OP is being a bit ambitious in his planned route with a novice crew. They will have a much better time around the Saronic without any additional worry about the weather. There are good diving areas there.
Your website is excellent.Keep up the good work!!
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Old 24-07-2012, 04:14   #12
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Re: Cyclades in august

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petirrojo View Post
Hi,

We're a group of 6 men and we've planned a 14 day long sailtrip in the Cyclades this august. The boot we've rented is a Beneteau Oceanis 393.

We are not really experienced sailors. Our skipper is a friend of mine who has got his sailing license past year in Belgium (North Sea).
Last year he and I went on a 12 day long sailing trip in Croatia.
(Zadar - Kornati - Sibenik - Skradin and back via Vodice and Biograd).

From last years crew only he and I will be on this years Cyclades trip. The (4) other haven't sailed at all.

We are leaving from Athens and planned a route via Cape Sounion, Syros (or Mykonos) from where we'll be heading south towards Santorini. In Santorini were planning to stay 2 days to go scuba diving.
From Santorini we'll be going westwards en up to Athens.

We would like, where possible and if the wind allows us to, to us a gennaker.
A few weeks ago we've had a 1 day Spinnaker course. But mostly theoretical I have to see. Winds were to strong that day (on Ijsselmeer in Holland) so we couldn't really practice what we've learned.
I, myself, and readings some sail trimming books in order to be able to assist our skipper as much as possible.

I have read that the Cyclades our something for the more experienced sailor. As you can see we are not really experienced sailors.

So I would like to ask you if you can give me some advice. What are the do's and certainly the don'ts when sailing the Cyclades (as almost novices).
In short, everything that could be useful on our trip in august.

Thanks in advance!
I also agree with what Fishtail and others said.

I would not do this trip with the level of experience on this boat.
There is a very high chance that you will get into trouble with big waves , strong winds, sick crew, mechanical failures and decisions being made without the level of experience needed to make them.

The Dodecanese would be a better choice. Islands closer together, less wind and less overall distance travelled.
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Old 25-07-2012, 10:05   #13
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Re: Cyclades in august

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Originally Posted by fishtail View Post
Jim,
The channel has obviously really silted up since you were there ,friends of mine tried to enter with a 1.8 m draft and were firmly stuck overnight just at the entrance to the outer harbour (within the reef)
.
Thanks for that. I'll add a "comment" the page noting the silting pending editing the page. I'm in Athens ariport at the mo - not the ideal spot . . .
Quote:
You must agree though that the OP is being a bit ambitious in his planned route with a novice crew. They will have a much better time around the Saronic without any additional worry about the weather. There are good diving areas there.
I agree. Even with a robust and experienced crew (my wife, though she wouldn't like the connotation of "robust"!) I wouldn't go further south than Paros/Naxos on a charter in that area over 12 days. Too much chance of a late return, and loads to see closer to base.

Thanks for the nice comment about the site!
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Old 26-07-2012, 02:38   #14
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Re: Cyclades in august

Hi thanks all for your advice. I am aware that it won't be easy.

We originally planned to do the trip clockwise (Athens - Sounion - Mykones - Naxos - Santorini - Milos - Athens) but our captain thinks about doing it counterclockwise and trying to reach Santorini within 3 days. We know we will have to sail al lot to be able to reach Santorini on just 3 days, but we will be sailing at night as well.

Once again, it won't be easy and I've read somewhere that sailing the Cyclades clockwise is better than the opposite but if we can reach Santorini in 3 days we have 10 days left to get back.
We'll see what the weather is like, but maybe on our way back we can cancel Mykonos and Naxos and choose a more westerly route.
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Old 26-07-2012, 02:54   #15
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Re: Cyclades in august

Remember as the only 2 with experience in the group you are also making decisions for the other 4 that have never sailed before. It's important everyone has the same goals. The other 4 will have no concept of what a long tough upwind sail is like. They may relish these conditions or they may hate them, it's very difficult to tell when they have not been sailing.
I remember one very tough, but totally inexperienced, crew member who had seen lots of action in the army begging for us to turn back on a short offshore race. Before we set off he had climbed up the mast (with no saftey harness or even mast steps) and slid down the forestay just for fun. He was tough, but seasickness and a strange environment took there toll.
Monitor the other crew carefully and make sure they will be happy with the trip back. Be prepared to modify your plans based on their reaction and the weather.
Good luck and enjoy yourself it's a wonderful crusing ground.
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