Trip on a yacht starting 2008-07-21 in BSAJuly08

Steve & Anita Freestone’s charter to the Saronic Gulf – report by Steve Freestone.

21st July - 7 Days Out of Kalamaki, Greece.

Done the theory and the practicals, time to put it into practice! Thought we would give it a try in some warmer waters, so where, when and how was the question. We decided that a boat of about 38 feet would be best for our intended purpose, giving good waterline length and reasonable room to move about on deck. With just two of us on board we need to be able to move quickly on deck without rigging and coamings impeding the mad dash in a moment of panic.

Approaching three yacht charter companies Nautilus came back with the best match to our spec and price. We agreed on a charter for 1 week of a Bavaria 38 owners version two cabin. This was an 08 model and came very well equipped including microwave oven on the domestic front and a full set of instruments and charts for navigation. New hull shape, so would be interesting to see how it performed.

KalamakiMap

Bus from airport is easy (96X) every twenty minutes stops right outside the Marina which is also where the supermarket is, but it is about a mile walk to the boats. Suggest just get some things for 24 hours and pick up rest on route. Food shops everywhere. Kalamaki has two all night discos so bring ear plugs. They finish at 4.30am, I can tell you! Very big marina, some five or six charter companies operate from here. Saronic Gulf is the most popular in Greece especialy with the Greeks and Europeans. Good sailing ground and winds light in the morning and 4 - 5 expected in the afternoons.

Kalamaki to Epidavros 25 Miles Approx.

Woke in the morning to a stiff breeze, not what was expected, some 15 - 18 knots and rising. Also a planned first stop in Aigina was going to be crowded with a Sunsail regatta. Change of plan, now use the wind to take us on to Epidavros. With 60% jib we motor- sailed out of the Marina and set course. Out of the lee of the shore the wind was steadily increasing as was the boat speed with gusts of up to 34Knots and an average of 27. Wind was on the quarter so felt quite secure.

Good progress was made and we were soon in sight of Epidavros. Mooring stern-to was to be the next adventure. After two attempts we made it and planned a run ashore., to be greeted by the Port Police who requested my presence to present the ships papers at 6.30 at the port office... oh what fun. It turns out they just wanted their 1.75 Euros for mooring. Poseidon Hotel on waterfront - great view, fairly good food.

Epidavros to Poros 15 Miles Approx.

A run all the way with light winds until about 2.30pm when it picked up to a 4. Run on the quarter and gybe.

Local information told us to aim for a mooring on the pontoon which is in the North section of the harbour. This proved good information, quiet and with less swell from ferries. Once again stern-to mooring proved interesting., with two attempts and an increasing wind abeam. So on the second attempt I placed the anchor somewhat to windward. Not a good idea, the next boat promptly place their anchor over it.

All was well in the end, with some pontoon instruction from a professional skipper.

Some good tips then on short handed stern-to mooring;

1Look at how much chain you think you need and add 25%

2Don’t start moving back, until the chain is on the sea bed. Move forward over the chain if you need to maintain steerage.

3Moving back on the anchor chain into position, stop letting chain out when stern is level with mast of boat alongside (assuming similar size). Bow person can see this as a marker. With engine one click in reverse anchor digs in and proves, boat stabilises about 2 -3 metres from harbour wall and you can come back on chain in a steady fashion and step ashore.

4If you recce. first and point at your intended berth, help would always appear to take your stern lines... and new friends made.

Poros to N. Soupia to Poros

Our lunchtime spot was to be N. Soupia a wonderful small bay around the tip of Ak Skillaion, it was planned to press on to Ydra in the afternoon but with a great anchorage we were late. So a change of plan, against local knowledge of a packed Ydra we decided to head pack to Poros. Back to the pontoon and this time a perfect mooring.

Poros to Perdika to Nisis Moni

This was our first leg back up into the prevailing North Easterlies with a pleasant beat in a 3 and then 4. We made it up to Perdika where we planned to stop for lunch but with water barge in and about to leave and a large German Power Boat hogging the very small harbour, we abandoned plans and made for Nisis Moni, which was planned as our overnight spot. Fantastic small bay to ourselves, and a Taverna ashore. Other yachts then began to join us and some interesting anchoring proceeded. Not much thought to swinging circles, luckily they all left before nightfall. We then relaid our anchor for the night to cope with the expected evening southwesterly and rowed ashore to have the island to ourselves.

Nisis Moni to Nisis Dhorousa

Written up in Rod Heikell’s Greek Waters Pilot and the Rough Guide as a must do, Nisis Dhorousa did not fail A blue water white sandy beach, and a little Taverna with spectacular food. You can choose you own live lobster in the morning and they cook it in the evening for you, to their own special recipe. Outstanding!

Anchored in a little bay to the south with 50 m of chain and a line ashore. Three other boats for company and some help to put our line ashore made for making some new friends from Prague; a great evening ensued.

Nisis Dhorousa to Aigina to Kalamaki-Leaving N. Dhorousa we motor sailed to Aigina around the shoal waters extending nothwards, for a quick visit to Aigina harbour and lunch, followed by a very enjoyable beat back up to Kalamaki in a freshening breeze.

Overall a very enjoyable and successful trip. The Bavaria handled better than I expected under sail and motor. Easily reefed on jib and main, motoring predictably at slow speeds and handled well in reverse. Equipped to a standard higher than I was expecting I would use Nautilus, Kiriacoullis and the Bavaria again.

We hope anyone intending to sail in the Saronic Gulf will find these ramblings useful and if anyone would like more information we are happy to oblige if we can.

Kalamaki  37.9126,23.7035