Sail in Greece
“It was the first Greek word I learned : nero ( water) and a beautiful word it is. Night was coming on and the islands were looming up in the distance, always floating above the water, not resisting on it. The stars came out with magnificent brilliance and the wind was soft and cooling. I began to get the feel of it at once , what Greece was, what it had been , what it will always be.
” Extract from:” The Colossus of Maroussi” by Henry Miller
This is the best place to start your sailing experience of Greece. It is so close to Athens but you can have the feeling that you are alone in the world. It is so close to present life but also very close to a civilization of the ancient times. You can feel the history by sailing and seeing the Acropolis by sailing close to Salamis Island where the first documented sea battle took place between the Athenians and the Persian warships.
The first destination is Aegina Island 15 nm away and a good harbor during the week as not many sailboat from Athens are there. You have to taste the Aegina pistachios and also visit the wonderful ancient temple of Afaia. Very good tavernas around the harbor and always something to see.
From Aegina you can sail to Poros which is the best protected all round shelter in the area. This is our favorite place as it has a lot of pine trees very nice places for swimming and eating.
From Poros you can sail to Hydra which is one of the best places to be on a boat in Greece. Wonderful harbor fully packed with boats during the weekends and holidays. No cars are the island which is one of the best places to visit near to the Saronic gulf.
I do not like to disappoint you but when sailing in Cyclades you have to be flexible as the weather can be a problem especially the strong north east wind by name meltemi . Last weekend we sailed in Cyclades Kea and the forecast was 4-5 Beaufort and in the morning it was blowing 5-6 and the gusts 7 over 30 miles/hour. So in that case I advise you that it is better to stay in the harbor in order not to destroy your sailing.
You have to plan very well and normally in June the meltemi is not going to be very strong but you have to be prepared. The most difficult part of your trip is the first leg to Kea which is about 6-7 hours sailing distance. Afterwards the distances are not very long and if the direction is south so even when the meltemi is blowing you are sailing down wind. You can not stay overnight in Dilos but it is worth visiting and Rhina is as far as I know totally uninhabitant. Thira has no mooring facilities so you have to prepared for difficulties but it is worth visiting even for a few hours. The return leg Serifos- Hydra has to be well thought as even with the meltemi you are sailing with the wind on your side so it is not windward. Hydra is very nice and worth visiting. The last leg Hydra Kalamaki is not very difficult (5 Hours sailing) even with strong north wind as you are close to Saronicos bay and the waves are not very high.
Be prepared for adventure as the yachting facilities are very poor. Mooring facilities are rare so be prepared to anchor a lot. You can moor in Kea (Vourkari), Syros (I recommend Foinikas ) as the harbor is not very stable with north wind, in Mykonos is difficult to moor as the facilities are under construction, Paros (I recommend the main harbor for mooring not Naousa) Serifos is very pleasant and Hydra is normally very crowded especially on the week-ends.
Here the weather in the summer is much calmer. That’s why all the motorboats go there every summer. I recommend the smaller Islands like Kastos, Kalamos, Meganissi and ofcource Ithaki. The mooring facilities are also poor so be prepared for anchoring. Especially in Meganissi the harbors are very deep so be prepared. In the evening the north wind is blowing harder and dies around 8-9 o’clock. In the captain’s log you can find a lot of details about sailing in the Ionian.
After crossing from west the notorious Ikarion Pelagos you arrive in Patmos. This is my favorite Island. You can stay there for a few days as it is beautiful. You can sail in the protected bay and go swimming in the bay by boat and return back to the harbor in the evening. I recommend the small islands around Patmos and also a sail downwind to Kalymnos, Pserimos, Kos and Rhodes. My dream is to sail also to Kastelorizo 65 nm south of Rhodes.
I recommend that you try to find “Greek-Waters Pilot” by Rod Heikel and you start to study it. I hope that your wife loves sailing as much as you do.
If you need further assistance do not hesitate to contact me.