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Old 23-05-2022, 00:10   #1
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How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

Weíve just got back from our first bareboat charter which was in the BVI and weíve already started talking about where next.

Looking at the SunSail website it states Greece and Croatia as requiring level 1 experience which surprised me. I always assumed they would be a more difficult bareboat experience not least because of med mooring which Iíve never actually done.

Iíve got a USSailing bareboat cruising certificate and Iíve got one bareboat charter under my belt which was in ideal winds and weather in the BVI. Iíve crewed as first mate on a couple of other charters with friends, have some mountain lake small 22ft keelboat experience but ultimately I donít have a lot of skipper experience.

Is Croatia or Greece really an easy charter experience for someone like me? Iíd make sure I had a competent first mate for this one but likely the rest of the crew would be even more inexperienced.

When is a good time to go? Late May early June 2023 would be our target dates.

Any recommendations on charter companies to look at other than SunSail or Moorings, Iím particularly keen on well managed local companies (we used TMM in the BVI).

Cheers,

Airfix
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Old 23-05-2022, 00:55   #2
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

Both Croatia and Greece are easy for relatively inexperienced skippers. RYA Day Skipper or ASA 104 are quite sufficient. Do practice Mediterranean mooring a couple of times in an empty harbour before doing it in crowded conditions. Most harbours are quiet from late morning to early afternoon while the charter fleet is out and about, so this is a good time to practice.

Late May and early June is a great time of year for Croatia and Greece. It's warm but not hot, and busy but not too busy. Do expect to do quite a bit of motoring due to light winds though, especially in Croatia and the Ionian Islands.
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Old 23-05-2022, 04:39   #3
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

Greece and Croatia are easy sailing grounds , hazards are few , the area is well charted , and the waters deep in general.

Afternoon winds can be boisterous circa 25 knots

Not sure why people freak out about med mooring, to me it’s simpler then coming along side , drop your hook 40 -50 metres out , preferably in line with the intended end position , and not over someone’s else ( are you listening, preveza town quay ), then back up stop a metre or two from the dock , throw the stern line ashore to the helpers , tie up and then adjust tensions and distance as you need.

If you like you can dig hook in as you back down , or simply dig it in with the windlass !!
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Old 23-05-2022, 07:42   #4
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

Is it likely that everything will be mooring or are their places to just anchor in quite secluded bays?

The med mooring concept I get and it seems easy enough on paper but add in a busy area, a tight spot, a cross wind
aiding prop walk and everyone watching it could be a very different story than on paper.

I'd need to practice a few times before I headed over there.

As far as certifications required will US Sailing 104 be accepted by the local authorities? Will I need to get an international proficiency certificate?

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Old 23-05-2022, 08:03   #5
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

I can't comment on the sailing there yet, but we are headed to Croatia for our first time in a few weeks. We've chartered many times throughout the Caribbean but this will be our first Med charter.



As far as requirements, we were told by our charter company our ASA Bareboat was enough, but I ordered the international proficiency certificate just to have. You also need a VHF license which is attainable from the FCC. It is pretty easy once you figure out how to manage the site and exactly which certificate to apply for. It's not actually called a VHF cert - I think it's called the RROP.


I checked out several charter companies including Dream, Pitter, Nava, and Ultra. In my research all were good companies but a few places recommended going with one of the home-grown companies. We ended up going with Ultra as they were very responsive and had the right boat for us.


I'm slightly concerned with Med-Mooring as well and intend to find a nice empty place to practice on our first day. Maybe even hire a captain for a few hours or the first day to give me some pointers. I've only done it once before and it wasn't the smoothest - but ultimately successful. My biggest take away is it is possible to go TOO slow when backing in. In Croatia many if not most of the moorings have lazy lines so no need to drop anchor. Check out The Boat Cheat on Youtube - he has a couple of good med-mooring videos.


I'll try to circle back after our trip and follow up.
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Old 23-05-2022, 08:55   #6
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How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

No itís not possible to go to ď too slow ď in most cases once she makes astern way , you can come in on fast idle. That way if you do contact you are going slow.

Secondly on cross winds itís pandemonium anyway so just stay up wind, itís almost inevitable you will cross anchors with at least one boat if not several.

( I carry a ď Greek hook ď, to hold up crossed chains )

You will end up with crossed chains by the way.

In Greece most moorings are anchor not lazy lines

Yes there are a zillion empty bays if thatís your thing.
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Old 23-05-2022, 10:02   #7
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

CaptnMatt, thanks for the tips. I'll be keen to hear how your trip goes. Are you going for 7 days or 14 days sailing?

I already have an FCC VHF license (airline pilot). Is the international proficiency cert just a paperwork exercise with some cash or is there an exam?

Having done some reading and talked to my wife I think we are going to target Croatia over Greece. It's a milestone birthday year for my wife and I think she would love the culture, scenery and onshore activities in Croatia.

Cheers,

Airfix
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Old 23-05-2022, 11:02   #8
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

We are going to be on the boat for three weeks - starting in Split and ending in Dubrovnik. We might try to get down to Montenegro as well for a couple days. Certainly a long charter but travelling that far we figure we might as well make the most of it. And like your wife, this year is a milestone for both my wife and myself with us both turning 50 and celebrating our 25th anniversary.

For the ASA international certificate I just had to complete the request online and then pay $50. I also had to rejoin the ASA which I think was another $20 or so. There is no additional testing or coursework that needs to be done to get it. As I said the charter company told me my Bareboat cert would suffice - I just don't want to leave anything to chance though and have a misunderstanding that ruins or puts a damper on our trip.

Matt
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Old 23-05-2022, 12:23   #9
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

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Originally Posted by Airfix View Post
Ö.
Having done some reading and talked to my wife I think we are going to target Croatia over Greece. It's a milestone birthday year for my wife and I think she would love the culture, scenery and onshore activities in Croatia.

Cheers,

Airfix


Just bring a lot more money then youíd need in Greece !!

Ps I would argue the Greek scenery better but hey I biased
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Old 23-05-2022, 13:35   #10
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

We chartered with Danielis Yachting in Croatia and were pleased. I have only skippered bareboats 6 times and most were in the BVI. I consider the BVI somewhat of a playground, as the sailing is so easy. I did not find Med mooring that challenging, but we only did it twice. There are a lot of bays to anchor in, as well as mooring balls.

I found that planning was very important, because some bays have very steep rocky bottoms. You may find yourself trying to anchor but you can only find spots shallow enough, too close to shore. Not like the shallow sandy bottoms of the BVI.

My other concern was the Bora and Jugo winds. I think you will be OK in May/June but one thing I was not used to was the fact that winds can be strongest where you are in the lee of high lands because winds blow hard down from the mountains. I think I explained that poorly but do your due diligence on that aspect.

My best advice is to get the MySea app, which will allow you to check on the availability of mooring balls at your next overnight spot. Thank me later. We were often able to call a number and basically reserve a ball while en route.
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Old 23-05-2022, 14:49   #11
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

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Not sure why people freak out about med mooring, to me it’s simpler then coming along side , drop your hook 40 -50 metres out , preferably in line with the intended end position , and not over someone’s else ( are you listening, preveza town quay ), then back up stop a metre or two from the dock , throw the stern line ashore to the helpers , tie up and then adjust tensions and distance as you need.

If you like you can dig hook in as you back down , or simply dig it in with the windlass !!
The "proper" way is to go toward the shore at speed, drop the anchor and secure the chain, put engine in neutral. The anchor will grab, the boat will turn around on its bow and if everything goes according to plan you will be 3 feet from the dock. No backing required. This is by far the fastest docking method.

Sailing is generally easy but you either get too little wind (hot) or too much wind. Not to worry, if there is too much wind, you just stay ashore, eat and drink.
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Old 24-05-2022, 01:24   #12
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How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

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The "proper" way is to go toward the shore at speed, drop the anchor and secure the chain, put engine in neutral. The anchor will grab, the boat will turn around on its bow and if everything goes according to plan you will be 3 feet from the dock. No backing required. This is by far the fastest docking method.

Sailing is generally easy but you either get too little wind (hot) or too much wind. Not to worry, if there is too much wind, you just stay ashore, eat and drink.


Thatís a sure fire way to screw up a med mooring

Firstly you never set an anchor ď at speed ď absolutely not correct

Secondly In Greece you could start dropping in 10m of water by the time the anchor bites and you swing youíll be gaily taking out pulpits galore. Thereís is almost no room on most quay walks to swing within ď3 feet of the dock ď or anything like it. Usually you are squeezing in between two boats.

Donít do what suggested above

In my view donít stop the stop to snug the anchor on the way in as this throws you off the line of approach ( especially if your dealing with wind or are not perpendicular to the intended berth place. ) run out the chain and stop within the required distance of the wall, get a line ashore and tension up using the windlass. If you canít you can release the shore lines , to their max extent and back up under power to dig in the anchor and snug back up the line ashore.

Praxtice spotting the anchor chain runs of the boats either side of you and drop between them of at all possible , even if not perpendicular to the berth , remember if you lay across another chain itís your problem not theirs. ( a point missed by too many in my experience )

If you do ( or when ) foul a chain , carry a means to hook the chain up so as to drop your hook and release it. You will not do this with a boat hook , and please ( unlike the idiot yesterday ) drop the other persons anchor back roughly in the same spot , they will have to re anchor as well.

Donít retrieve your anchor by dragging it to the boat , get right over it or slightly ahead of it and do a straight lift.

Be careful to drop the hook out as far as your chain allows irrespective of the depth , there is often debris on the bottom closer into the quay walls etc , putting out 50-70 metres is common
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Old 24-05-2022, 07:12   #13
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

If you want to go late May, Croatia will not be crowded for a good reason: it may be damned cold.. And unless you want to swim at 17 degrees water, you can forget it..

Greece at this time of the year (or even Turkey) will be warmer but not hot. If you don't like hard sailing stay away from Mikanos, Santorini . Ionian sea or South of Athens would be OK.

Mooring also is much cheaper in Grece and Turkey vs. Croatia. There are couple of problematic islands that you might want to skip, that's all.

Good luck..

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Old 24-05-2022, 07:42   #14
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

My only suggestion is to stay away from Dream Yacht. They are the worst! Check Yelp if you don't believe me.
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Old 24-05-2022, 08:32   #15
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Re: How is Greece or Croatia for new bareboat skippers?

With respect to Med mooring, stay away from Pizzazz's advice. I've chartered in Greece 14 times since 2000, mostly 3 to 4 week jaunts. I've seen that style once in all the years, and it was horrendous. Goboatiingnow has it right on! Since he's located in Greece, perhaps you should consider contacting him and hiring him out to show you the ropes.



As for me, I learned to Med moor via the "trial by fire" method and got good through experience and learning from my mistakes as well as observing others once I was on the quay. We also devoted time in the late afternoon to watching the other boats come in. It's an education. You see both good and bad. Check out the professional captains on the charter boats and the skippers who know what they're doing and talk to them. There are plenty of poor dockings by those who have no clue, and you can learn from their errors and mishaps as well.



As for when to go to Greece, most of our trips have been in June and early July in the Cyclades. There are good winds, but you can get some calm days when you have to motor. If you wait until late July and all of August, it's way too hot. There are also the Meltemi (strong winds) that can keep you in port for days at a time. Additionally, most Greeks holiday in August and the marinas are way too crowded.
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