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Old 25-11-2008, 16:06   #1
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Sailing in Crete

Crete is a spectacular island with lots of spots to spend the night, swim etc. Moreover, Cyclades, Dodecanese or Kythira and Peloponissos are realy far away. Why the chartering of sailing boats is so weak? or just don't exist. Anyone with previoys experience in sailing around the island of Crete?
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Old 25-11-2008, 16:07   #2
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Ok. all tahe destinations I've mentioned are not really far away.
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Old 26-11-2008, 11:08   #3
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I have not sailed Crete but I did spent a bit of time on the island in the mid 60's. Had a great time covering the island by car and hiking and some nice scuba dives. I would love to learn of any charter activity on the island. Would be nice to place in my "Dream List" and who knows, I may make it back yet! I still have a couple of really warm sweaters I had hand made in a small village near the air field.
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Old 28-11-2008, 14:17   #4
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Crete

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Originally Posted by Yiorgos View Post
...Why the chartering of sailing boats is so weak? or just don't exist...
When the Meltemi winds blow (sometimes for days on end) during the middle of summer, they hit the North Cretian coast quite hard, meanwhile there are some equally strong Katabatic winds blowing off the mountains along the south coast, finally the funnel effect between either end of the island and Rhodos/Pelopennes can at times result in some even stronger winds there.

Crete's a nice destination and offers some decent sailing provided you're not in a hurry; the inevitable time constraints of holiday chartering are likely to result in some nasty incidents.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:47   #5
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bobnlesley has presented some good points about the weather which is a good reason why chartering is practically non existent. The other reason in my opinion is the lack of harbours/marinas round the island.

Also in the head of the typical charter client, Crete is a single island destination, far from all others. Charter clients like to feel they see many islands.
Likewise for Rodos. Most people sailing to Rodos only visit Mandraki. They have "done" Rodos.

This is a misconception of course. One of my best sailing trips was a whole week spent round the island of Simi stopping at a different place each day.
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:34   #6
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:25   #7
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Re: Sailing in Crete

If you had to choose to sail one side of Crete, North or South, which would it be? Such as your going from Malta to Rhodes. I'm leaning towards South. Crete is fairly south of the wind pattern and I'll be going in June when the Meltemi isn't as strong. In looking at maps, it looks like there are more sites and harbors on the South also.
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:53   #8
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Re: Sailing in Crete

south crete not many stops,wind blows 35-45 knots in june,best bet for going west is stay well off shore s of crete or island hop north through cyclades to peloponese,wait for a window then malta or sicily
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:59   #9
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Re: Sailing in Crete

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Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
If you had to choose to sail one side of Crete, North or South, which would it be? Such as your going from Malta to Rhodes. I'm leaning towards South. Crete is fairly south of the wind pattern and I'll be going in June when the Meltemi isn't as strong. In looking at maps, it looks like there are more sites and harbors on the South also.
out of choice....NIETHER in either direction.....
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Old 23-02-2011, 21:04   #10
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Re: Sailing in Crete

Wow, thank you so much for that informative opinion. Maybe someone who isn't looking for post counts can give me some more details as to the question.
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Old 23-02-2011, 22:04   #11
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Re: Sailing in Crete

look up the word"gregale",
having stopped in khania,military/commercial port,very dirty
,iraclion very small,with waves breaking over the break water and lines to the other side of the port
,agious nikolas small marina,had to anchor out side in very bad holding,
the only place i can reccomend is the tiny harbour in sitia,that you may not find space in and the anchorage at vai,windy and poor holding,along way from the nerest village,on the north side.

on the south side kato zakros we sat at twin anchors 4 days,never managed to land as the wind was never under 45 knots,and juged it too dangerous to launch our 12 ft inflatable or leave the vessel un attended.

we then continued west,having to by pass ierapetra as also too small and no space inside for yachts over 35 ft.

to agia galini,beautiful hole in the wall though very poor holding,ended up on the very small ferry jetty,as no space,or very deep for anchoring further in,just had to move every time the ferry came in.
spent 10 days there weather bound in june,before we were able to leave for malta.

kithera island sheltered bay there on s side
,karpathos island,pigadia port,tie stern too to the outer wall,managed to bend a 100 pound rocna type anchor in the 50-60 knot squalls coming off the high ground whilst there.

mandraki main port,no space
,outer larger yacht dock,for 67 ft yacht 300 euro per night,plus 200 for agents fees .

since your catamaran is 56 ft and we are 63 have included the places you can go as well as where you wont get in.

happy sailing....

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Old 24-02-2011, 00:36   #12
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Re: Sailing in Crete

The South part of Crete is less organised but more interesting if the purpose is a less "civilised" itinerary. Starting from the West side, Palaiochora is the first port you can stay during the night with nice night life. Very close to the amazing Elafonisi where you can also anchor but is not so safe during the night (and nothing to eat, drink etc)
Then Loutro has no pier but you can safely anchor almost in any weather. In Loutro there is no connection by car, very pictoresque. Very close is Sfakia, a new small "marina" is built the last couple years, also a nice stay.
Then is Plakias, one mile to the West of the village, a new small port is finished last year.
Agia Galini, is the next place. Even if there is not a lot of free space the port is safe and the locals will help you find a spot and stay during the night. Alternatively is Kokkinos Pirgos 2,5 n.m. to the East. However, a lot of local fishing boats.
Next good shelter but not ideal to spend the night is Kali Limenes. There is no pier and it is a tanker station but if something happens... a food shelter. (the quality of the sea is perfect to swim by the way)
Then is Tsoutsouras, small place, side dock just after the lighthouse in the entrance. As in most of those places, during the winter the sand coming from the sea streams changes dramatically the depth but they drag it out just before the season starts. However, always check.
Same style is Keratokambos & Arvi.
Ierapetra (watch your depth meter) is also a place but rather busy.
The distance from Ierapetra to the South East edge of Crete cannot give you a port-kind place for the night. Atherinolakkos is a shelter, a small port for the night but there is nothing to eat/drink and it's next to the Electricity Plan.
The South part of Crete has a lot of great bays to anchor and enjoy a night stay & of course, swim. However you should always keep your mind to possible reefs (close to the coast), the depth in the bays and the ports and finally, the gusts. You may sail with 10 knots of North wind and suddenly goes to 35-40 knots. As a result, sail during the daytime is safer or during the night avoid the use of the sails. The reason why are the high mountains that exist very close the coastline.
Finally, visit Gavdos island, Chrissi island and Koufonisi island. Amazing waters...
Remember that the West Crete & East Crete have no fishing harbors to stay during the night (exc. of E, Kouremenos but not for your boat) However, according to the weather, they can give you nice places to swim or anchor (esp. E Crete)
During June the prevailing wind is N, NW which means no wave to the S part of the island but definitely some gusty places. In the case of a strong N wind (rather impossible) think of waiting in a good shelter.
The North part of the island is more "civilised" with main city ports but in general, in Crete you won't find the classic marina. From the West side we have Kissamos, safe (maybe a little swell) small port for the night. Before you MUST visit Gramvouse island. Thenis Kolimvari and after that Chania city, amazing old port and great night life. Always enter during daytime due to the numerous reefs in the entrance of the port. Also contact via VHF or phone the port police authorities for a birth at least one day earlier. After is Souda, a small marina without interest but in the physical bay of Souda, there are places to anchor and enjoy the sea like Marathi. Some talk about Georgioupolis but don't try to enter, it's impossible.
Your next station is Rethimno city. There, you'll find a marina with some facilities which is 5 min. walk from the old town, a beautiful place to see. The marina is very safe. Panormos & Bali are two villages before the next main city of Heraklion where you can stay overnight. Panormos more risky while a small pier open to the NE but Bali bay (even gusty) will give you a place for night stay and night life. Then is Heraklion, the biggest city of the island with the less mooring facilities. You'l find space in the pier outside of the Venecian port, the dock is two meters high and there is a swell esp. from the night ferries. However, people will help you and worths visiting the capital of the island. Around 7 n.m. from Heraklion, there is Gouvies marina, a small shelter for the night in a hotel resort place but enter only during the daylight. Panormos & Sissi are nice but very tiny for your boat. Also the depth is close to 1,8 - 2m. Hersonissos fishing harbor very noisy, a lot of fishing mooring lines and reefs to watch. Malia, an abandoned try for a safe small port, from 3m depth goes to 1m and then 3m again, due to the sand. I think that the physical gulf of Agios Nicolaos will be perfect. The small island of Spinalonga and Plakias village, Elounda, Agios Nicolaos marina and the small bays around will give you a nice stay for the day and the night.
More to the East, there is a pier in Pachia Ammos but nothing to see and not so safe if the N wind blows a lot. In Mochlos you'l find a shelter from the prevailing winds behind the small island opposite to the village. Don't try to enter the new fishing harbor, your boat is too wide. Next stop is Sitia, it is a town with a big fishing port, well protected and you'll probably find a spot. Don't get confused with the strange "architecture" of the port. Most of time side docking in the right side of the port. Check for mooring ropes in your propellers.
In General, if you want to combine the visit in some archeological places, museums etc, the North part of the island is ideal. Crete needs a lot of marine infrastructure to become an ideal and safe destination for all sailors. However, now it gives you the feeling of exploration which is great, when you wisely sail.
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Old 24-02-2011, 06:10   #13
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Re: Sailing in Crete

Thank you both, those are very informative posts. I appreciate it.
I'm nearing finalizing my route and will be posting it soon if your interested.
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Old 27-02-2011, 07:01   #14
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Re: Sailing in Crete

We moved aboard "Brilliant" and started cruising in Chania, Crete in 2002. Our first season included a Crete counter-clockwise circumnavigation and our travels through the Cycladies, Dodecones and Turkey then a return to Chania for the winter. Here is a link to our sailblog. Underway! Chania - Sitia, Crete, Greece 1 – 20 May 2002 | BRILLIANT'S LOG

Crete is absolutely worth the trip. Great people, great food. Uncrowded anchorages with clear water. Don't miss Gramvousa on the west coast; Loutro on the south, Vai on west and Spinalonga Lagoon (land of the lotus eaters, you'll never want to leave). For towns, our favorites were Chania and Sitia.

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