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Old 11-10-2018, 08:44   #1
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Sailing the Peloponnese

Hello everybody,


My wife and I have chartered a 34' Beneteau Oceanis out of Athens for May and June in 2019 and we are working on firmly deciding where to go. We were originally set on going counter clockwise the Peloponnese. However I have many questions/issues/concerns that I hope your gathered experience and wisdom could greatly help.


First about us, I guess we are intermediate beginners I myself have skippered 6 bareboat tours 1-2 weeks. 3 of which my wife and myself have done just us two (last week Dodecanese North and last Xmas Whitsunday Australia [a must!]). Usually as two we have no problem with the sails, sailing, manouver, anchoring (as long as it holds and we find a spot, we are avid with digging in that anchor) and mooring balls. With going stern to at moles or in harbors, it proves some difficulty, help on land is practically necessary and if there is a side wind (as there was last week) nearly impossible... but doable. We always reff too early and we sail most comfortably in nice 10-15knot winds. We are not fans of anchoring in 40+ knot winds (Meltemi), lost a lot of sleep. Of course, I understand sooner or later a storm comes and this has to be done. Also have no major worries motoring if the winds are too strong (>25 knots for us).



Anywhoo, on to my questions and concerns:


1. I keep reading that the West and Southern Peloponnese is "advanced" sailing ground. What makes it advanced? Specifically in June? Is it the distances between harbors/anchorages? The weather? Also doing this in a 34 footer.



2. I'm getting mixed reviews about the wind at the West and South Peloponnese (we can leave out Cape Maleas for now, knowing that here it can be tough). Can anyone confirm that it is usually a NW to W wind around 3 BFT? With the occasional Gust coming off the mountains when in one of the two gulfs? Any further information to the wind here?


3. We love sailing the Ionian because there are always a million harbors or bays as a backup in case one turns out full or the wind is blowing in a "not-happy" direction for the anchorage or harbor. It appears the Peloponnese has really long sailing days with one stop, the next one not being closer than 20NM. However less visited, also in June. Do I have to be worried about getting to a harbor or an anchorage and not finding a spot? And then since the next place is so far away, making a huge sail or night sail?


Thanks in advance for any tips and advice you can give me. I've read so many blog posts on the internet and on this site and from Diederik from sailingissues and from jimb etc. Just looking for so more information.


Thanks!
Thomas



Similar Post:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...se-161723.html
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:34   #2
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

August is the worst month for the meltemi, that is probably your main concern, so May doesn't seem too bad to go down the cyclades, I would love to do that trip, I have done charters in the dodecanese and Athens as well.

Sorry not much advice, but I think you have enough experience and a great summer ahead
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:54   #3
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

Quote:
Originally Posted by otongtongo View Post
Hello everybody,


My wife and I have chartered a 34' Beneteau Oceanis out of Athens for May and June in 2019 and we are working on firmly deciding where to go. We were originally set on going counter clockwise the Peloponnese. However I have many questions/issues/concerns that I hope your gathered experience and wisdom could greatly help.


First about us, I guess we are intermediate beginners I myself have skippered 6 bareboat tours 1-2 weeks. 3 of which my wife and myself have done just us two (last week Dodecanese North and last Xmas Whitsunday Australia [a must!]). Usually as two we have no problem with the sails, sailing, manouver, anchoring (as long as it holds and we find a spot, we are avid with digging in that anchor) and mooring balls. With going stern to at moles or in harbors, it proves some difficulty, help on land is practically necessary and if there is a side wind (as there was last week) nearly impossible... but doable. We always reff too early and we sail most comfortably in nice 10-15knot winds. We are not fans of anchoring in 40+ knot winds (Meltemi), lost a lot of sleep. Of course, I understand sooner or later a storm comes and this has to be done. Also have no major worries motoring if the winds are too strong (>25 knots for us).



Anywhoo, on to my questions and concerns:


1. I keep reading that the West and Southern Peloponnese is "advanced" sailing ground. What makes it advanced? Specifically in June? Is it the distances between harbors/anchorages? The weather? Also doing this in a 34 footer.



2. I'm getting mixed reviews about the wind at the West and South Peloponnese (we can leave out Cape Maleas for now, knowing that here it can be tough). Can anyone confirm that it is usually a NW to W wind around 3 BFT? With the occasional Gust coming off the mountains when in one of the two gulfs? Any further information to the wind here?


3. We love sailing the Ionian because there are always a million harbors or bays as a backup in case one turns out full or the wind is blowing in a "not-happy" direction for the anchorage or harbor. It appears the Peloponnese has really long sailing days with one stop, the next one not being closer than 20NM. However less visited, also in June. Do I have to be worried about getting to a harbor or an anchorage and not finding a spot? And then since the next place is so far away, making a huge sail or night sail?


Thanks in advance for any tips and advice you can give me. I've read so many blog posts on the internet and on this site and from Diederik from sailingissues and from jimb etc. Just looking for so more information.


Thanks!
Thomas



Similar Post:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...se-161723.html
Thomas,

I have sailed the Cyclades during the Meltemi in August. You should have no problem in June. Also, there is a thermal component to it. In other words, as the day gets hotter, the winds build. So, on the off chance you are seeing high winds, leave early in the morning when the winds are leadt. As far as passage length goes, 20 NM is great. Assume an average speed of 5 knots, so you're looking at 4 to 6 hours passage time for the different spots on your trip. When you go, the days will be longest so you will have lots of daylight (14 or more hours).

Sounds like you have good sailing skills already, so follow your instincts about reefing and you will be fine. Also, since you're on charter and have to move the boat, if you fall below 3.5 knots speed, motor sail to get to your next Anchorage. It's not a failure.....it's a Captain's decision to keep the crew safe and happy, and enjoy your next destination.

I use Rod Heikels guide. It is awesome and get the paper charts for the region from Admiralty charts and review ahead of time and bring them with you.

Last thing, be prepated to throw your itinerary out that you have been planning for a year, when get there and find the wind opposite of the prediction. Ask me how I know that....

Seriously, last thing .....don't sail every day. Sail one day and stay put to enjoy the island one day. You're not going to see everything anyway, and the pace is more relaxing this way. Also, it builds in weather/wind delay time should you need it.

Ben
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:02   #4
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

Thanks Ben,
Yeah, I can't believe Rod doesn't have a Wiki page. I wish he would go to Comic-cons so I could go stand in line and hear him speak. Also well experienced in "planned Itinerary" vs. actual. And of course, we usually sail one day, next day is a land day to go for long hikes and check out the towns and some stones. Gotta soak up the culture.



I don't understand though why yourself and the previous poster wrote about the Cyclades. Maybe a misunderstanding, we are planning on going around the Peloponesse, not island hopping the Cyclades. Also there are some days with fat 40NM distances and that is what I meant, it would be another >20NM on top of that to the next stop if the anchorage/harbor deemed unsafe.


Thanks,
Thomas
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:16   #5
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

Quote:
Originally Posted by otongtongo View Post
Thanks Ben,
Yeah, I can't believe Rod doesn't have a Wiki page. I wish he would go to Comic-cons so I could go stand in line and hear him speak. Also well experienced in "planned Itinerary" vs. actual. And of course, we usually sail one day, next day is a land day to go for long hikes and check out the towns and some stones. Gotta soak up the culture.



I don't understand though why yourself and the previous poster wrote about the Cyclades. Maybe a misunderstanding, we are planning on going around the Peloponesse, not island hopping the Cyclades. Also there are some days with fat 40NM distances and that is what I meant, it would be another >20NM on top of that to the next stop if the anchorage/harbor deemed unsafe.


Thanks,
Thomas
Sorry for the confusion with my other post. The reason I mentioned the Cyclades was to give you a sense of my personal sailing experience in Greece during the Meltemi. My point about motorsailing was that in order to make the 40nm distance, you will have to maintain 5 knots average speed to get there in daylight, and safely. That motor sailing is not a failure, but a good decision. Leave at sun up. I'll tell a story about getting into Cape Sunion through the narrow passage at midnight some other time.

Also, it's a moderately difficult cruising ground because of the open water and navigation skills required as well as the rocks waiting for an unsuspecting hull.

Again, I'm sorry for the earlier confusion with my post.

Ben
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:32   #6
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

Ah, thanks for the clarification Ben. I was kinda guessing you were making a comparison to the Cyclades as they are the "windiest" sailing grounds of greece. Also thanks for the tips of Motor Sailing, we aren't shy to turn the thing on when it gets going slow, and we are brutal, brutal early starters and early arrives. We generally (even on 10NM days) start at 8, no later than 9 and like to be done for the day around 13 or 14 so we can enjoy the town etc.


Luckily the German Coastal Sailing License (what I have), the only advantage to it is the pound in your head advanced navigation abilities. I've got those down pat so I feel good there.



Aha! Rocks! That can make it more advanced sailing. I've read about these unsuspecting rocks in anchorages in both the Greek Water Pilot and at the Cruiserswiki. Worse of all, I have specifically told my friends that my confidence is getting up there so the next mistake will be a big one, probably a rock. My exact words, fate has been written.


Thanks a million man, I feel better already
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Old 11-10-2018, 12:09   #7
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

Quote:
Originally Posted by otongtongo View Post
Ah, thanks for the clarification Ben. I was kinda guessing you were making a comparison to the Cyclades as they are the "windiest" sailing grounds of greece. Also thanks for the tips of Motor Sailing, we aren't shy to turn the thing on when it gets going slow, and we are brutal, brutal early starters and early arrives. We generally (even on 10NM days) start at 8, no later than 9 and like to be done for the day around 13 or 14 so we can enjoy the town etc.


Luckily the German Coastal Sailing License (what I have), the only advantage to it is the pound in your head advanced navigation abilities. I've got those down pat so I feel good there.



Aha! Rocks! That can make it more advanced sailing. I've read about these unsuspecting rocks in anchorages in both the Greek Water Pilot and at the Cruiserswiki. Worse of all, I have specifically told my friends that my confidence is getting up there so the next mistake will be a big one, probably a rock. My exact words, fate has been written.


Thanks a million man, I feel better already
My wife and I cruise extensively and when we were in greece we always had a joke that there's a rock in the Fairway no matter what anchorage in Greece. The story about cape sounion is that when I originally read rods book he talked about a rock in the Fairway at Cape sounion. But since I totally screwed up and we were entering that Harbor at 11 p.m., I was on the bow of the boat with a spotlight looking for a rock just under the water surface. My wife was at the helm and I was guiding her. I guided her through a passage where there was a mountain to port and a mountain to starboard. I couldn't see and I had no idea where we were until I saw anchor lights in the distance. So we dropped the hook and passed out. When we got up in the morning, the mountain to my right was actually the rock in the fairway and I had come to the Anchorage through the more treacherous route. Seriously, every anchorage had two passes with a giant "rock" in the fairway.

Also, be mindful that on some quays, there are mooring lines and you don't need to drop the anchor when your med Mooring. I learned that after the fact on more than one occasion.

The other trick I've adopted is to bring a handheld VHF so that when one of us is on the bow anchoring and the other one is at the helm we don't have to yell at each other while it's windy and across the boat. I set the VHF channel on both to 68 or 67, or whatever you want, so that we have communication from the bow to the helm.

Send pictures!!

Ben
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Old 20-10-2018, 13:24   #8
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

We circumnavigated the Peloponnese last year. Following Heikel we decided on the clockwise route, which I think was right, because, as others say, of the strong winds that blow down the east coast in the Aegean. The most difficult spot was Cape Maleas on the SE corner. We thought we would be moving into shelter rounding the cape, but there were some wicked gusts coming down the mountains. Although the meltemi hasn't usually got going in June, you must be prepared to cope with Bft 6 in this area.

The rest should be relatively easy, light in the mornings rising to at most Bft 5 by mid-afternoon, dying off in the evening. But keep a very close eye on the forecast as occasionally storms do occur, though rarely as bad as the recent 'Medicane' which went through the Peloponnese, causing much damage to yachts in Kalamata and Epidavros. There are enough good refuge harbours around the coast should you get warning of bad weather.

Be warned the Corinth canal is expensive (170 for my 38' boat), and is closed on Tuesdays.

We aimed at day-sailing passages of 30 or so miles: the maximum was 45. It took us 25 days, plenty of stopovers necessary in fascinating ports along the way, and two short breaks for bad weather. Logged a total distance of 520 miles.
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Old 21-10-2018, 22:53   #9
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

The cape is really the only issue and even that can be easy enough if you have the right window. Loads of folks wait for that window at Monemvasia and I couldn't think of a nicer spot to be stuck in. We have been fortunate to not have had a bad rounding. If you want to miss out on windy Sounion (the temple is quite spectacular), head across to Poros, then through to Spetses, Leonidion, And down the coast. Easy day sails. The Argolic offers either Southerly or Northerly winds so relatively easy to work your way to Monemvasia. Once round the cape you can hold up in Elophonisos. Gythion, Porto Kayio are ok for NE but not so nice with anything from the South but at that time of year, the Southerly winds are not so vicious anyway. The West coast of the Mani peninsula has a few anchorage. Mestapos has loads of flat rocks that look like sand but there are enough patches to be able to have a secure night. Kalamata is a popular stop and I would opt for it over Gythion if I wanted to visit Mystras/Sparta again. Methoni is lovely. Navarinou bay has a nice anchorage in the North if you aren't keen on Pylos. Kaparisi is a working town with a very secure harbour that was free when we were there. Katakolon was a good stopping point for Olympia. By the sounds of it you are familiar with the Ionion, so for the Corinth, I would recommend Trizonia and Galaxadhi (rent a car to drive to Delphi). Once through the canal, there are a few nice anchorages near Salamis and if you still have time, sail past Athens for Sounion before giving the boat back.
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Old 28-10-2018, 15:24   #10
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

When I went around clockwise we stopped in Monemvasia first. It is beautiful but you will likely be hard pressed to get a spot in the harbor. The outside anchorage area is on hard pan and rocks, very poor holding. The wind changed on us and we started to drag so up anchor and headed to Elafonisos. The wind coming off the mountains was blowing at up to 55 knots and making the water explode around us. Crazy sailing.

It was too windy to do anything on Elafonisos so we left in the morning and made for Porto Kagio. While the bay is big, it's also very deep and the shallow spots were filled with boats. I went deep - 70', and let out almost all my chain - 300'. We didn't drag but probably 50% of the boats in the harbor did. We had an excellent dinner on shore.

The next day we wanted to just go a short distance so went around the cape and made for Limeni, which is supposed to be beautiful. It also was a tough anchorage and we ended up getting the anchor fouled in an old chain so we had to dive on it to clear it. The dinner was again excellent.

The next stop was Methoni, which was nice. The wind had died down so we toured the castle and enjoyed the water. This is more of a city not a village so inshore was not exciting. Around the corner is Pilos. It's an abandoned marina and a goat rodeo. I had to take pictures of the crap boats that were permanent residences there. We ended up leaving the "marina" and headed across the bay to anchor off a beach. It was great with a capital G.

From Pilos we headed to Zakinthos. I've spend a lot of time in Messolonghi - don't go there. Or Patras. Once your in the bay of Cornth, head to Trizonia. I had one of my best nights in Greece there as it was their once per year festival night. Probably the next stop is Galaxidi. We couldn't get a spot on the quay so anchored. It's quite picturesque. You can stop in Corinth but it's not great. Then your through the canal and heading back to Athens.

Most of the trip will be motoring or contrary winds. I kept my boat for 3 years in Messolonghi which is why I made the trip. My recommendation is to not do it as there are better places. If you don't want to go to the Cyclades, stay in the Saronic islands.
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:37   #11
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Re: Sailing the Peloponnese

Hi,

I just wanted to give you my opinion of the Peloponnese, what my wife and I found. We really enjoyed our trip however like everything the weather is a huge factor and can really change, for us it was great but predicting it is impossible. I think it's an easier destination to sail compared to the cyclades, much quieter which makes anchorages a lot easier to find and mostly less windy. I will link what we did over a couple of weeks,

We started our trip at Zakynthos, a great spot to visit if you are rounding the Peloponnese. We anchored in Kerri which was a pretty good anchorage at the Southern end, near the turtle sanctuary. I would definately recommend Shipwreck bay for a day stop, not to stay overnight however. I will link our video to help.

We also stopped at Katakolon to check our Olympia, not for everyone, but a great day trip with a huge safe anchorage about 20nm from Zakynthos. You catch a train to the site.

Sailed to Navarino Bay, anchored at the Northern end. We hiked the Old Navarino castle, Nestor's cave and swam at the Voidokilia beach. Beach bar at the northern end with basics.

Methoni - Beautiful bay anchored in sand, castle at the head, chilled, beautiful town, 10nm from Navarino Bay. Great restaurant called Sapientza, family run where you head out back and choose your meal from the stove, fun experience.

Kalamata - Stayed in the marina, not a bad place if you want to check out markets (Wed or Sat), lively cafe/bar scene. 13.4 metre mono 27 euro a night with electricity (water 4 euro unlimited).

We have also sailed through the Corinth, great experience, beware of strong gusts through corinth channel.

Hope some of this helps, will link some of the video's we made if you want extra assistance, good luck

Jase and Trace
Sailing Kawai

Zakynthos -

Katakolan (Olympia nad Navarino Bay -

Methoni and Kalamata -

Corinth -
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