Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Raceboats 2016/17 RS Aero 728x90

Flotilla Cruise through the Greek Islands

by Capt. Valerie Weingrad on 23 Jan 2012
ASA flotilla - a group relaxing .. .
Our flotilla began on July 16th, a warm and sunny afternoon. My boat, Maya, known as 'the girlie boat,' was ready, as were the other 5 boats. We met in Alimos Marina in Athens at a café at the end of the pier. Alimos is one of the largest marinas in all of Greece and perhaps the Med, with hundreds of boats lined up Med moored on numerous piers.

There are several cafés and tavernas on the marina grounds as well as grocery shops and markets within walking distance. Announcements and introductions were made; questions were answered; now it was time to find our floating homes for the week.

Each group of sailors boarded their yachts which ranged in size from 41’ to 54’. Several of the boats opted to have a Greek skipper come along and take the stress out of sailing in an unfamiliar and challenging sea and really enjoy their holiday.

If you’ve never sailed in the Med before it can be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to Med mooring in the small ports. That’s when flotilla sailing and local expertise really comes in handy. As I was told on my first trip to Greece, 'This isn’t the Caribbean my dear!' Meaning it’s a bit more of a challenge than I was used to.

Everyone got settled in, and that evening we had a brief skipper’s meeting at the Skipper’s Yacht & Roll Bar and determined that we would sail to Epidaurus, which is in the Peloponnese and about a 4 to 5 hour sail from Athens. We would head out at 0900.

We awoke to light winds and a sunny day. Everyone was ready to go and we filed out one by one through the narrow exit of the marina. In Greece they are on the Lateral A buoyage system, red is on your starboard when leaving for sea, something to keep in mind for the week!

Epidaurus here we come, but first we stop for swimming in the clear turquoise water off the small green island of Angistri. We anchored and took a line ashore to an even smaller rocky island across the narrow channel from Angistri. Apo (short for Apostolles), one of our Greek skippers, arrived first. He was in the water and helped the other boats tie off their sterns to the rocks once they dropped the hook. This is a common practice in Greece and allows more boats to fit in limited space.

After a refreshing swim everyone devoured lunch. We had some brave swimmers come by to sample lunch on board 'the girlie boat.' Maria, my first mate and Greek chef makes the most wonderful dishes, and this was no exception. Everyone agreed that we were going to be spoiled this week! After lunch in the warm Greek sun it would have been easy to lounge about, but we had to get to Epidaurus and find a parking space!


Late afternoon we arrived in Epidaurus to find a small crowded port. Luckily we had called ahead and reserved a few spaces; it helps to know someone on the islands. The boats were moored, now it was time to do a little exploring. There are orange and lemon groves lining the north side of the bay. Several years ago a farmer was digging near his home when he uncovered the ruins of a small amphitheater. Currently there is a dig going on where they are excavating an amazing intact theater overlooking the bay. It’s a great hike up to the area to observe the dig and grab a few oranges off the tree!

In the port vendors were setting up booths along the quay for a festival that was taking place that evening. The Peloponnese with its rich volcanic soil is known for its fruits, veggies and wine. There were all kinds of food products produced and sold by the farmers in the area. We bought the most amazing olives, honey, and hand- made olive oil soap, local wine and more.

After strolling through the vendors stalls, we made our way to a nearby taverna where we dined on simple Greek food and homemade wine while listening to the sounds of live music wafting over us from the port. Watching as the townspeople young and old promenaded along the quay, the sun setting over the sea and the full moon rising, I heard someone say, 'This doesn’t suck.'

The next morning we all boarded an air conditioned coach and made our way to one of the most well-known and ancient amphitheaters in existence. The sanctuary of Asclepios (the God of healing) at Epidaurus is a spiritual place worth traveling around the world to visit! In fact the ancient Greeks did just that in order to pay tribute to their spiritual entities in the face of Asclepios, and to ask the gods for remedies for their physical ailments. It was a healing center as well as a cultural center in ancient times. Epidaurus was built around the third century BC and is adorned with a multitude of buildings most famous of which is the ancient Theater of Epidaurus.

This is one of the very few theaters that retains its original circular 'Orchestra' and it is a rare aesthetic sight. During Roman occupation of Greece, most theater 'Orchestras' were changed from a circle to a semicircle but luckily the theater at Epidaurus escaped intact. The view, aesthetics, and acoustics of the theater are breathtaking, as is the feeling I got when I sat on the ancient limestone stone seat–high up–and thought of all the ancients that might have shared this seat with me.

After roaming the grounds, the museum and taking turns speaking and/or singing on the ancient stage, we boarded the bus and headed back to port. We were headed around Methana a volcanic peninsula, to the island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf–a good 4 to 5 hour sail. Pame, let’s go!

Later that afternoon after sailing and then motoring in light winds Poros was dead ahead. Poros town faces the Peloponnese main land, separated by a narrow channel less than two hundred meters wide in some spots. It’s a tricky navigation. In ancient times it was home to an asylum dedicated to Poseidon, the ruins of which are still accessible on a hilltop close to the town.

As you enter through the channel and round the point and head towards Poros town the famous clock tower greets you and under it the whitewashed houses on the hillside which cascade down to meet the water. It’s a view that say, 'This is a Greek island!' We found space along the quay for all 6 boats and started with the Med mooring experience. Dinghies were deployed and I or one of the Greek skippers- Christos or Apo, would ride out to assist those who needed our help in docking their boat.


We were positioned in front of the Yachting Café which made it convenient for picking up wifi from onboard and having an afternoon frappe and ice cream!

Poros is a great island with everything you need, from lovely beaches, scooter rentals, cafés, tavernas, shops, etc. It’s also where my friends, Michalis and Sakis, are proprietors of a fabulous fresh fish taverna aptly named Oasis. It’s right on the water and we had reservations for a group dinner.

We dined on abundant appetizers or meza, Greek salads, a grilled whole fish complete with head and tail for everyone. Fresh carpoozi and peponia (water melon and melon) with semolina (a Greek sweet) completed the feast. Dinner was wonderful and the atmosphere festive.

After dinner some of the girls from my boat led the way for dancing at Club Malibu, while others slowly meandered back to the boats. The nice thing about sailing in Greece and Med mooring is that you don’t need the dinghy to go back to the boat, you simply cross the passarella (gang way) and you’re home!

For information on ASA’s 2012 flotillas, including Greece June 9-16, http://asa.com/news/news2012.html!click_here.

About the American Sailing Association:
Driven by a clear need for uniform sailing teaching standards and increased access to sailing activities, the American Sailing Association (ASA) has been the leader in U.S. sailing education for nearly two decades.
The association has grown to include an international network of 300 plus professionally accredited sailing schools. More than 260,000 students have graduated from ASA schools and clubs since 1983. The ASA has formed a strategic partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary which also uses ASA educational material. We were instrumental in establishing national sailing education standards through our work on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrator's Education Committee. The ASA has also consulted with the Department of Transportation and the National Parks Service. Join now and assist us with our mission to help make your lifestyle safer and more enjoyable!

X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 2Musto 2016 660x82 3Abell Point Marina Splash 660x82

Related Articles

Ayr, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays to meet Cyclone Debbie
Having intensified to a Cat4 TC now, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday mornin Having intensified to a Cat3 TC now and Cat4 when it will make landfall, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday morning (0400hrs). Thus far, there have been police enforced evacuations around Ayr, as it is expected that this will be the biggest event since the all-powerful TC5 Yasi hit back in 2011. There are also reports of residents refusing to leave
Posted today at 11:07 am
X-Yachts advisory board announces ambitious strategy plan
X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined. Catering for a complete cross section of sailors prioritising Superb Sailing Pleasure, X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined.
Posted on 24 Mar
South African sailors rescued off WA coast
Three South African sailors have been winched to safety in the remote Indian Ocean Three South African sailors have been winched to safety in the remote Indian Ocean, after their mast broke on the way to New Zealand. The stricken yacht was 1300km off the Australian mainland's most south westerly point. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says the men had been sailing from South Africa to New Zealand
Posted on 19 Mar
Securely moored to the quay, or cast adrift?
With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. However, when it comes to your insurer, you kind of expect that they’re going to be as bound to you as the standing rigging is to the mast, the ring frames to the hull, or the engine mounts to the runners, and the propellers to the shafts, skegs and cutlass bearings. Whom would you rather be insured with?
Posted on 15 Mar
Clipper Race crew safety brief
Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has prepared the following safety update for all Clipper 2017-18 Race crew Ocean yacht racing has its risks. But by far the best way to minimise those risks is a culture of safety and constant vigilance amongst all ocean yachtsmen, including Clipper Race Crews. Staying safe must be a paranoia.
Posted on 14 Mar
Lisa Blair crosses Cape Horn on 50th day of Antarctic circumnavigation
Day 49 was marked with Lisa's first sighting of land - the snow capped mountains of Chile - since departing Albany Sydney-based sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair 32, has today reached 50 days at sea and successfully crossed Cape Horn in her attempt to be the first woman in history to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted.
Posted on 13 Mar
Thirteenth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Well I am anchored off Jamestown Saint Helena. Good place to be. So it is. Jon is at St Helena in the Atlantic - British ilse after some of the French ones he has been to. He's off seeing the island and catching up with his friends from the little Swarbrick, Liberdade. As usual, full of beans and living life, remembering heaps and always factual, given how much he reads on board. Yet another great tale, so dive right in...
Posted on 9 Mar
Twelfth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Jon's steady progress sees him arrives in St Helena in the South Atlantic I am on the ocean as I type. By the time you read I should be tied to a mooring Jamestown, British island of Saint Helena, South Atlantic. Since last writing it has been mild. Wind behind pushing me. My mainsail - always 1 reef & wee jib. Progress good and comfortable. One can get squalls, often more to the west than where I am. Night time squalls.
Posted on 2 Mar
Immortal
Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. The former music video producer’s first feature film was a cult star before going on to become a wee bit immortal, as per its main characters. The principal thrust of it all was a gathering of immortal souls, and in the end, there could be only one.
Posted on 28 Feb
A rare opportunity to sail in Canada!
Sail the fabulous Vancouver Island, Georgia Straights and The Desolation Sound. Sail the fabulous Vancouver Island, Georgia Straights and The Desolation Sound. This area regarded as the greatest wilderness and picturesque area in the world is open to a 16 day cruise with Sailing Adventures.
Posted on 27 Feb