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Old 02-05-2014, 18:50   #1
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The Big Question about Cruising the Greek Islands in early September

Hello,

I am chartering three monohulls (36-41ft) in Lavrion (Athens) and planning to cruise
the Greek islands for a week in early September with a group of friends.
Most of the crew is highly inexperienced - some have never stepped on a sail boat before...

The big question - is it wise to go to the Cyclades?

I have never sailed the Greek islands before, but have heard that they are the most interesting islands to sail and visit and are really what Greece is known for.
My original plan was to head East / Southeast from Lavrion and spend the week visiting places like Kea, Kythos - going as far as Mikonos, before heading back.

On the other hand, I keep hearing how windy and rough it can be. And that the weather in early September can be quite unpredictable in the Cyclades...

I'm wondering if this is a little too ambitious an agenda with our inexperienced group, and if it wouldn't be wiser to head East to places like Hydra and Poros instead. The problem with Hydra and Poros, etc seems to be that they get overcrowded with lots of charter boat traffic...

Any ideas and suggestions would be most welcome!

Thanks in advance.
-ilya
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Old 02-05-2014, 20:49   #2
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Re: The big question about cruising the Greek islands in early September

Go! I cruised the Cyclades that time of year and it was beautiful. Kea, Kithnos, Milos. Just great sailing and visiting. The chartering company asked, "You're Americans aren't you?" He said that Americans always paid to have skippers, they never sailed themselves! Ha ha! No skipper was needed, though he did tell us what to do if the Meltemis started to blow, "just head West, and radio us that you're okay." Take me with you!
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:04   #3
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Re: The big question about cruising the Greek islands in early September

Thank you Ryon,

What charter company did you use? what size boat and what base did you charter from? What were the typical winds like and your favorite harbors? Lot's of questions, I know… sorry…
We are a very inexperienced group as a whole. So I would prefer to do no more that 30 miles a day and would prefer not to sail in winds stronger than 20/25 knots… and would love to look for well protected harbors…
I wonder why they told you to go West? Don't Meltemis blow from Northwest? Or was that a way to get out of the windy area?

Thanks a lot!!
-ilya
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:18   #4
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Re: The big question about cruising the Greek islands in early September

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Originally Posted by ilya t View Post
Thank you Ryon,

What charter company did you use? what size boat and what base did you charter from? What were the typical winds like and your favorite harbors? Lot's of questions, I know… sorry…
We are a very inexperienced group as a whole. So I would prefer to do no more that 30 miles a day and would prefer not to sail in winds stronger than 20/25 knots… and would love to look for well protected harbors…
I wonder why they told you to go West? Don't Meltemis blow from Northwest? Or was that a way to get out of the windy area?

Thanks a lot!!
-ilya
I can't think of a more protected harbor than Adamas on Milos, and it's a great island to rent a car and explore. The walk thru the villages to see the Lion of Kea are must-sees. And we sailed up to an anchorage at the foot of the temple of Poseidon and paid our respects.

We were only there for about a week, and I'm sure someone else here can give you better advice from a local perspective. All I can say is it was one of the greatest things I've done in my life, and everything went fine. The Greeks have been sailing since there was water, and I'm sure they'll make sure that you and your boat will be okay.

As for your landlubber friends, you're on your own with that!

It was my buddy that set up the charter. Give me a day or two to email him, and I'll get back to you with those details.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:51   #5
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Re: The big question about cruising the Greek islands in early September

Thanks a lot Ryon.

Any information would be great! Was it not too crowded in any of the islands you visited? Were you mostly under anchor at night time?

Where do you sail in Southern Cali?

thanks,
-ilya
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Old 05-05-2014, 19:09   #6
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Re: The big question about cruising the Greek islands in early September

It was Olympic Charters. We had a Bavaria 36, out of Lavrio. Everything was great, the boats were fine, it's a nice port, and the people were helpful. None of the islands were crowded. In fact, you don't see many Greeks at all during the daytime, just at night. Half the time we anchored, and half we docked, depending on where we were. No problems again. I remember one busy little harbor where we had to set an anchor and back to the dock, but there was someone there directing traffic. No problems. Something to consider for your less-boatworthy friends is to have them take the ferries between the islands and meet them at a hotel. Just a thought. Take me with you!
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Old 05-05-2014, 19:33   #7
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Re: The big question about cruising the Greek islands in early September

With inexperienced sailors (captains?) I would recommend the Ionian Sea in Greece. It's more like lake sailing with very short distances between the islands and anchorages. No waves and some wind from noon to 1800, easy sailing. There are some charter fleets in Lefkas.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:09   #8
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Re: The big question about cruising the Greek islands in early September

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Originally Posted by ilya t View Post
Most of the crew is highly inexperienced - some have never stepped on a sail boat before...

The big question - is it wise to go to the Cyclades?

<snip> and if it wouldn't be wiser to head East to places like Hydra and Poros instead. The problem with Hydra and Poros, etc seems to be that they get overcrowded with lots of charter boat traffic...
The easy places to sail to are crowded. The more windy places are less crowded. Early September will still provide some windy conditions in the Cyclades.

There are plenty of excellent places to visit in the Saronic and Argolic gulfs, south and east of Athens, certainly enough to fill two weeks. Have a look at E Peloponnese and around Athens | JimB Sail . This area is generally suitable for crews with less experience.

Mikonos and back you'll probably hit a couple of day of F6 in early September. That will earn you bad points for making novice crews seasick.

For real easy sailing (and still pretty crowded in early September) go to Sailing the Inland Ionian | JimB Sail

Large numbers of novices get their first taste of sailing in that area - and their first taste of ouzo . . .

JimB
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:33   #9
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Re: The Big Question about Cruising the Greek Islands in early September

The other area - if you're still undecided - is the Dodecanese. You can hire from Kos or Samos and the sailing is beautiful - lots of islands close together, not so much wind as the Cyclades (last year was a real bumper year for wind!) and far less crowded than the Ionian. There are loads of relatively uncrowded anchorages and some very safe ports if it does blow up.
We're based in Leros, by the way, and have been cruising in the Aegean for more than 20 years.
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