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Old 30-06-2014, 04:42   #1
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Location: Huddersfield, UK & Stoupa, Greece
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Money-saving tips for keeping a small yacht in Greece?

I am in the process of buying a 1978 ex-flotilla sailboat. I have a chalet in Stoupa, Southern Peloponnese, and am hoping to base the boat near by so that I can look after her maintenance (and improvements) myself as much as possible.

I would welcome any money-saving tips on keeping a small sailboat in Greece.

To start the discussion off, my nearest commercial marina is Kalamata, an hour away on a mountainous roller-coaster ride of a bus ride. For an 8m sailboat, the annual fee is around €1500 + 23% VAT. This morning, I asked the port police at my nearest well-protected town harbour, 4km away, for the possibility and then cost of a permanent spot. Length, beam and draught taken, calculations made, "Around €70 to €80 for one year". "Come back in September and we will find you a good place". They could not have been more helpful. I was astonished. I have always thought of these small fishing harbours as 'closed shops' for the locals. Of course the skeptic in me says it hasn't happened yet. The believer in me says "just try it and see".

I asked a question on the 'Dollars and Cents' forum about whether it was better to obtain boat insurance locally, i.e. in Greece, or from one's home country, in my case the UK. Despite plenty of reads, no reply has so far been received. I have had two UK quotes and just requested a local quote. I will share the results here as and when.

Now that I have got you all fired up, what tips and advice would you like to share with the community from your experiences in Greece?

Any information/tips/advice would be much appreciated.

Tim.
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Old 01-07-2014, 13:13   #2
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Re: Money-saving tips for keeping a small yacht in Greece?

Go to a place like Benitses and you will see boats that have been tied up there for a year or maybe forever. No port fees because they built the port with power etc and then didn't have enough money to commission it. There are plenty of places where this happens.
However, noone to check mooring lines and boat security, exposure to theft and vandalism, not a good community reaction to your presence. Don't forget to include haul in/out costs for antifouling.

Check around for small scale marina service. €1500 all included a year with 9 months on thehard is a possibility.

We enjoy sailing in the Ionian. Low daily costs, good winds, plenty to see and do on land, easy communication as English is fairly common, chandlers in the bigger towns, accessible by inexpensive flights, plenty of sailors to talk to, but crowded in high season and hot. We liked George at Kalamos who helped us moor all gratis and when we said we were low on cash and couldn't go to his restaurant for the third time, said " don't worry, pay next year"
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:18   #3
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Re: Money-saving tips for keeping a small yacht in Greece?

Dlymn, many thanks.

Yes, the Ionian is special in many ways. I first visited Corfu as a boy in 1976. First it was Roda, then we stayed in Benitses in 1978 and 1980. The last time I was in Corfu was around 10 years later when I arrived in Corfu Town crewing on a Schooner and was given a rare half-day off. I rented a moped and set off for Benitses for old time's sake. Well, I passed through without recognising it. It was only when I saw the 'crossed out' Benitses sign that I turned back and had one of those 'you can never go back' moments. It was literally unrecognisable. To hear it now has an unfinished marina now takes some adjusting to. Then, to look at, it was just a small pebble beach with a few old buildings set back on the other side of the road.

From Benitses we had a boat trip to Kavos when the only way of getting to Kavos was by boat. There was no road there and no buildings, just three or four temporary shacks set up on the beach. There was also no jetty or pontoon - the only way between boat and beach was to wade through the water. Now I have seen that awful programme, 'Kavos', showing the awful drunken antics, vomiting in the street and the like, of young Brits staying there and even a hospital in Kavos to deal with them.

I now have a small house near Stoupa, on the Mani peninsular. They say the Mani is like Greece used to be 20-30 years ago. Certainly, it doesn't feel that different to me - apart from more cars, correspondingly fewer donkeys, and far higher prices. You won't find a 'club', music bar or any nightlife at all other than occasional live 'Greek night' put on by one of the tavernas. The tourists are mostly middle to old-aged, who have probably been visiting Greece for as long as I have, and it is all very laid back. There are also some younger Greeks from Kalamata and Athens in Summer so we get the benefit of a tiny 'gyros pitta' establishment to satisfy their needs.

I love it here, as I first loved Roda in Corfu almost 40 years ago, but on a hot day like today, when the sea is blue, the clearly visible opposite peninsular, with its unvisited ports and coves, is beckoning me to sail again. Hence the boat purchase. From here, over two weeks, I could also have a gentle roundtrip of the Southern Ionian.

It is not an established sailing area, only one yacht owner locally I have found, and there is so little information on the internet about sailing or keeping a sailing boat here. So I need to post these questions!

1500 Euros for a marina is not out of the question but it is the absolute limit of what I am prepared to pay. I think it would be cheaper to 1) pay for a local harbour to be dredged for my spot, 2) lay a new sound mooring there and 3) pay someone locally with boat skills an annual fee to ensure she is OK when I a not here. We shall see.

All ideas welcome.

Tim.
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Old 03-07-2014, 17:17   #4
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Re: Money-saving tips for keeping a small yacht in Greece?

this site sums up Benitses marina fairly well
Benitses port - Benitses yacht Marina - Shelter of tourist boats
It doesn't include details of the string of tavernas on the mountain side of the road nor does it detail the rather run down southern area which looks like it is well hungover from a long night of revelry. Even so we did enjoy a nice Stifado at an absolutely waterside cafe right in the middle of the empty bars and cafes and run by a British/Greek lady.

We have been sailing in the Ionian for a couple of years but don't get much below Meganisi. The lure of an afternoon sail in the inland sea is too great. Port Spilia was a feature this year. It's great to head into a place and see the lad in a RIB come out to greet you, guide you into a mooring with laid lines and even shunt you around with the RIB to assist you into position. Power (<10a) and water free with the expectation that you'll eat at the adjacent restaurant. The food was great and the prices were much the same as elsewhere. The 100+ diners each night attested to the benefits of such a stay. We spent one night tied up to the town quay and paid 5 euros for power and water. It was good to have a secure mooring as one of those unexpected Ionian storms came over, blew for an hour and then passed on.

We got hit by the same weather when we were anchored near Parga the next day. Our anchor held fast in 30 knots of easterlies but a couple of expensive 50 footers had a bingle as they tried to manage their poor hold by motoring.
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:12   #5
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Re: Money-saving tips for keeping a small yacht in Greece?

the 1500 marina vs the cheap local harbour ?
Make sure the swell in a storm is bearable - remember , if you have a secure mooring , when your neighbours mooring breaks in a storm , he will tie off on you ??? and plenty of fenders is always a good idea - + a fenderboard !
the cost of transport and hassle factor is also measurable in EUs. As is the cost of a boat minder... Haulouts - well , that does not happen often , so can be cost justified accordingly.
I am moored in a harbour/port/fishing village at a "cheaper" rate.
It is critical to stay friendly with the locals - and that means spending money at the tavernas - not contributing is frowned upon - and buying the local harbour master his dinner is always recommended ....
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Old 13-08-2014, 03:46   #6
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Re: Money-saving tips for keeping a small yacht in Greece?

Quote:
Originally Posted by krissteyn View Post
the 1500 marina vs the cheap local harbour ?
Make sure the swell in a storm is bearable - remember , if you have a secure mooring , when your neighbours mooring breaks in a storm , he will tie off on you ??? and plenty of fenders is always a good idea - + a fenderboard !
the cost of transport and hassle factor is also measurable in EUs. As is the cost of a boat minder... Haulouts - well , that does not happen often , so can be cost justified accordingly.
I am moored in a harbour/port/fishing village at a "cheaper" rate.
It is critical to stay friendly with the locals - and that means spending money at the tavernas - not contributing is frowned upon - and buying the local harbour master his dinner is always recommended ....
Many thanks to all who replied.

Kalamata Marina offered me a small discount so in the end I have taken out an annual contract with them. I see this as putting off the decision for a year more than anything. A year is a long time in boat ownership! I should have time to investigate more local options as well as get any necessary work done on the boat. Besides, there are not that many marinas less than five miles from an international airport with direct flights from the UK. Until I live in Greece, a marina is probably a cost worth bearing.

Tim.
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Old 17-08-2014, 12:31   #7
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Re: Money-saving tips for keeping a small yacht in Greece?

I presume you're referring to Kardamili, rather than Karavostasi.
My cousin (much removed) retired to Kardamili and I know the harbour.
Though having a lift-keel which allows getting around in <1m I've never risked Kardamili harbour though I've looked at it. No water, electricity and you'll need to lay your own mooring.
I suspect we met @ Finikounda 2/3 years ago.
I've spent one winter in Kalamata (well the boat did), expense really lies in lifting the boat, pressure washing and anti-fouling. The two operations are totally separate in Kalamata and work out quite expensive.
Since then I've been @ Messologgi (about 70% of Kalamata's cost) and now up in Nea Perama, in Makedonia, @ 50% of Kalamata. This latter only has hard standing, the cost includes lift, pressure wash and launch.
On the whole the Aegean strikes me as being far less expensive than the Ionian, less crowded (well if you're well away from Turkey) and with lots more working breezes.
Greece is still well priced, costs have dropped during the recession (it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good) and it probably offers the best, most cost-effective sailing in the Mediterranean.
I'm paying considerably less than €1500 cited, for a 9.5m boat.
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