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Old 23-11-2014, 08:26   #1
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Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

Hi everyone

I'm looking for some advice from you experience skippers!

In April two friends and I obtained our Dayskipper qualification on a Jeanneau 45 in fairly light winds in Gibraltar (max 15 knots). Since then, we've been sailing Dinghies in the UK in all weathers, but we're all essentially new to yachting.

In the first week of June 2015 we plan to take our first Bareboat charter and Greece seems like a great location. We've chosen the Cyclades as there seems to be little chance of having to motor and a fairly low chance of the Meltemi catching us.

There will be 7 of us on the crew and we plan to get something around 45ft.

Here's the question: are we being too gung-ho in choosing the Cyclades? Or, given that we were confident in our Dayskipper course and that we understand the fundamentals well through dinghy sailing is it just an opportunity for us to collect some experience?

Ultimately we want a week's sailing and not a week's motoring!

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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Old 23-11-2014, 09:57   #2
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

I don't think you can be accused of being too hung ho about choosing the Cyclades.

Heres a quick run down of what to expect wind wise:

The prevailing wind in the summer is the one coming from North and is well known as the Meltemi "Meltemi".
It begins to blow in mid June, gets strongest in July and most in August and fades out by the begining of September. In July and August the wind blows at force 5-6 and may reach force 7-8. It may blow for 1-3 days or sometimes blow for 4-5 days in a row. During the rest of the months of the year the wind force is less (around force 3-4 Beaufort scale).
TIP: In the Northern Cyclades (islands of Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Kea, Syros etc.) it blows from North East.
In the Middle Cyclades (islands of Paros, Naxos, Kthnos, Serifos, Donousa, Amorgos etc.) from the North.
In the Southern Cyclades (islands of Ios, Milos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Santorini, etc.) it blows from the North West.
In the South West Cycladic islands (Sifnos, Milos, Folegandros islands) it is significantly less strong.

For some more info check out Yacht Charter Greece | Sailing Holidays Greece

Hope this helps
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Old 23-11-2014, 18:37   #3
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

Dont sweat it. Early june is not july in terms of the meltemi - you could still end up doing alot of motoring or likewise end up stuck in or near port for the first few days but your odds of fair winds in early June are pretty good.

We spent a few weeks in Lavrio near Athens one of the main charter hubs rekitting this year (maybe thats where you are starting?) and it was kinda fun to watch the charter fleet head out and back each week come hell or high water. Ghost town one day and thousands about the next.

Some motored out on dark (with professional crew) first day to get ahead of the weather, others reefed down and headed out into 30 knots on the nose the next day, some stayed put and waited.

You will get a weather forecast when your there and plan a circuit accordingly. the real issue is 1 week will not get you very far given that gives you 3 days out and 3 back with 1 changeover day lost.

Of course you can get some bad weather anytime and 1 week would only barely see the other side of a bad pattern if it comes but thats chartering anywhere not just Aegean.

If you can manage it 10 days would be better for weather windows and distances traveled.
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Old 23-11-2014, 20:40   #4
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

Personally, I think the sailing will be the easy part. What I'd be more worried about is anchoring skills and med mooring. It's highly unlikely you will have a catastrophic wind event in June so just be smart about your sheet handling.
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Old 24-11-2014, 07:25   #5
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

I have been to Milos and Santorini in May and we already had Meltemi's.

Believe me being out in one is no fun nor is anchoring on the south side of one of the islands looking for protection from the wind. Anchor watch is mandatory but with 7 onboard that should be no problem. Towns seem to shut down during the storm. Locals shutter their houses.

This was a boat delivery so was not meant to be much fun but it sure wasn't. One cycle came right after the next with barely a day in between.

The further west we got (we were headed to Malta) the better it got.
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Old 24-11-2014, 08:45   #6
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

Sounds like a great trip, Steve, but be prepared for any eventuality. When we chartered in May one year, the entire fleet was stuck in Rhodes due to the Meltimi but the charter company flew us there to meet the boat and skipper. I elected to have the skipper as we chartered for 6 weeks and wanted someone familiar with some of the smaller islands and ports in the Cyclades and Sporades island chains. The northerners hit early that year so it was an unusual event. At the time, I had a USCG 100 Ton Masters license but wanted someone with local knowledge to get us in and out of the less known island spots. It turned out to be a great move because we saw a part of the Greek maritime life we would never have found by hitting these out of the way places. We chartered an Alba 55 and my old Dad joined us for a couple of the weeks so we had heaps of room.
We did the trip in 1989 so it was some time ago, old Dad is long since passed and I have a new wife now but still have wonderful memories of both island chains. If time is limited, choose one island chain or the other... Too much to cover if you have only a couple of weeks.
Enjoy! Cheers, Phil
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Old 24-11-2014, 15:12   #7
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

For starting Cyclades can be a bit too much. Requires some experience. On the Ionian you have wind (specially on the afternoon) but a less strong one. Probably it would be a better choice for the first time.
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Old 24-11-2014, 15:55   #8
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

I'd be inclined to charter in the Dodecanese - maybe Kos. In a week you can cruise north as far as Arki or Marathi, the distances between islands are not too great and if you do get an early meltemi it's not so strong as in the Cyclades. Also, assuming you've chartered out of Kos, the winds are behind you returning to base.
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Old 25-11-2014, 00:05   #9
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

Really beautiful Islands, Also I would not completely count the Meltemi out. As a cruiser we saw a lot of charter boats with insufficient ground tackle, meaning they would blow into an anchorage looking whipped at dusk and try and try and try to anchor in small anchorages and not get a hook. The city docks and moorages are pretty reasonable but some of the best places are full and you will really get in trouble if you just give up and tie up at the ferry docks. Hammer your charter company for a big hook and a lot of chain and rode I think the Greeks made their mark with a lot of oars in the water, because sailing can be a test. but the Cyclades are beautiful and people are wonderful Except Mykinos Fair winds
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Old 25-11-2014, 03:08   #10
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re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

I spent 15 summers living in the Cyclades and in June you generally see no rain after about the 10th. Before that though there is probably a one in three chance of a significant storm passing through. Best to go from mid June onwards.

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Old 02-12-2014, 02:36   #11
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Re: Cyclades in June 2015 For First Bareboat Charter - Advice Please!

I have been sailing for 8 years (from april to july) in the Aegean sea. What I can say is you cannot know in advance what kind of weather you will have. The first week of june, one year we were motoring from Samos to Kythnos, another one, it was wonderful sailing and bathing, another one, it was 5 days in Andros without moving : rain, thunderstorms, and gutss at 50 knots (we rented a car !)…
So i would consider one week is too short to be sure to have a «*good sailing weather*», moreover with little experience of sailing and of this specific area ?
The Saronic gulf (from Athens to Poros, Hydra, Aegina islands) or the Ionian would be IMHO a better choice.
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