In the run up to a recent charter
I was disconcerted to find the only comment on the charter
company, Hellenic Charters, found via Gioogle was a very negative one in this forum.
In the light of the excellent cruise
I had last week I felt duty-bound to post a report of my experience with this company, which tells a different story.
I started the booking process in Autumn 2012 for a one-week charter of a Bavaria
37 - Alexandra - in May 2013. I was given very clear instructions on when the payments were due and what they covered. I was told to pay with PayPal and found that quite convenient to use.
As flights were booked it became clear that we would arrive on Corfu early on the Saturday morning. I mentioned this to Hellenic Charters and asked if it would be possible to bring forward the handover so that we could leave around midday.
In the event, we arrived at Gouvia Marina at 09:30 and were greeted by Spiros with a welcoming smile and a cup of espresso. When all the provisioning
, formalities and handover were completed, we cast off at 13:15 for Mourtos.
The week proceeded wonderfully. The weather
was cooler than usual, around the 20 mark. But the winds were stronger and we got in much more sailing than on previous holidays. We had two incidents on the way which are relevant. The first was in Mourtos where we could not pull the anchor
up. It was caught on something on the bottom in about 10m depth
. I contacted Spiros who immediately arranged for a local diver to attend. But before he arrived, a knight in shining diving gear
dived off his UK registered boat and freed our anchor
from under a heavy mooring
chain. Many thanks to this anonymous benefactor at this point. As we then motored out of the harbour, we saw Spiros's diver arrive and called Spiros to apologize for wasting his time. It must have taken all of 10 minutes for him to turn up. No complaints there.
The other incident was one of the irresistible force meets the unfortunately very movable object type, when, in a lively force 5 sail, my bum met the toilet seat at speed and shattered the toilet seat fittings. The next morning I texted Spiros to report the breakage and allow him to obtain a replacement seat before we arrived back at Gouvia. He called back immediately, concerned about my health
and told me he had a guy in the next harbour who would pop by and fix it. It turned our later that he thought I had shattered the toilet and wondered why I was not in hospital at this time. Anyway we said the help was not necessary and just avoided needing the toilet seat for the last two days.
On arrival back in Gouvia at around 16:00 on the Friday, Spiros helped us tie up and made a quick inspection
of the boat. He suggested that I accompany him to the chandler to pay for a new seat and that we could tear up the VISA slip for the security
deposit if I did so. This seemed like an excellently pragmatic solution to which I rapidly agreed. On the walk to the chandler he took another look at the seat and said we didn't need a new one, just a set of fittings. So my total bill was €11.50
A word on the boat, it was kitted out better than any charter boat I have had before. There was a mains power system which can be using in an increasing number of Ionian
harbours. It had a GPS
Sat-Nav system which was too complex for me to bother with, especially when all the sailing was visual. There was a full set of Greek charts
provided and some pilotage books
. The Volvo Penta engine
was spotless and behaved perfectly on the trip. The boat was presented in a clean and well maintained condition.
So that's my experience with a Hellenic Charters boat. They will be my first contact when I next plan a Greek Charter.