The Aegean sailing area and the Northern Sporades Islands are a sailor's paradise.
There are probably few places in the world which offer a better sailing holiday environment than MAGNESIA in Greece. If you also consider the glorious summer sunshine, the crystal-clear turquoise seas, golden beaches and a constant summer wind, you will have the ideal sailing holiday.
The Sporades Cruising Area - Sailing in the Aegean
This map shows all the main Islands and local sailing area - Volos, Pagasitikos Gulf, Evia & the Sporades Islands: Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos and all the rest, Pelagos, Yioura, Pelagos, Psathoura, Adelfi, Peristera, Skantzoura, Piperi and Skiros - Magnesia, Greece.
From an Aegean sailing holidays perspective you have access to 4 excellent sailing areas/adventures:
1 - The Pagasitikos Gulf of Volos - Trikeri & Orei Channels - Northern Evia
2 - The Sporades Islands of Skiathos, Skopelos & Alonnisos & many more
3 - Evia and the adjacent mainland coast - Round Evia Challenge (2 weeks)
4 - Sporades Islands and north to the Chalkidiki fingers (Mount Athos, Macedonia)
Pilots Guides & Cruising Companions
The Sporades Sailing Pilot eBook - West Aegean Cruising Companion - Rod Heikell Greek Waters Pilot - Northern Sporades Imray Chart G25
The Wind and Weather - NW Aegean Area 47
The Pagasitikos Gulf and the Northern Sporades Islands get the 'Meltemi' from the NNE during the summer months and this provides a predictable strong breeze, normally between force 3 & 6 on the Beaufort scale which makes for excellent sailing for all levels. Generally the wind blows from a NNE direction in the Sporades, although the direction can be altered as it channels through the islands. On the lee side of the islands there are flat seas, which combined with wind make for an exhilarating sail. In the spring and the autumn the wind continues to be mainly from the north (NE-NW) but with regular winds from the south with local variations. In the height of summer you can expect average temperatures of 26 degrees, with July and August being the hottest months.
General & sailing forecasts for Volos and the Sporades Islands area
General Forecast: AccuWeather Volos (5 day) - AccuWeather Volos Greece
Sailing Forecast: Windfinder Sporades area (1 week) - www.windfinder.com - Skiathos
Sailing Forecast: National Observatory of Athens (3 day) - www.meteo.gr
Tides & Currents
With the exception of the tidal phenomenon at the bridge of Halkida and to a lesser extent the gulfs and channels surrounding Evia, tidal streams are practically non-existent in this region. Tidal rise and fall is less than 0.1m in most of the area but should not be ignored altogether, particularly in the Evian Gulfs. It should be noted that the prevailing wind direction may have a bigger effect on sea levels in the gulfs than tides do. With southerly winds tending to slightly increase levels and northerly winds may reduce levels up to 1m.
Emergency Rescue Services
Rescue Services are available in Greece from many locations as you would expect. There are usually fast coastguard patrol service and all weather lifeboats. Hellas Radio monitors Ch 16 and 2182MHz. The SAR co-ordinating centre is Piraeus. JRCC MMSI 237670000, VHF DSC HF DSC, Tel: 010 411 2500, Fax: 010 411 5798.
These are normally found in the chart table or held by the skipper. They contain a number of very important documents including the boat's nationality, specification, insurance and safety certificates, your crew list and charter contract. These papers are for Port Police eyes only and should be presented when you go to the port office to pay Harbour fees. Please do not remove papers from this folder.
Before you leave, shop around for a comprehensive insurance policy covering the eastern Mediterranean which should cover all Greek waters. This should cover you and your crew for any liabilities, thefts or accidents, which may occur independently of the yacht. According to Greek law, the yacht you charter should be covered for death or injury for anyone on board and any third party, for damage to the yacht or total loss. The local Port Police check the ship's papers every time a charter contract and crew list is presented before providing authorisation stamps therefore confirming your papers are in order. The refundable security deposit is taken against smaller losses or damages to the yacht, resulting from yours or the skipper's negligence (applies to Bareboat charter only.
Passports, Visas & Sailing Certificates
Passports are required for all crew including EU nationals and for non-EU nationals, passports are required and probably a visa. If you are skippering a yacht yourself you will need a RYA Yachtmaster or I.C.C. certificate (or similar qualification from other countries). Basically you must prove sailing competance (may be a copy of your log book) to the yacht owner or charter company, as they have the right to assign a skipper to you, at your own expense, if they feel you are not properly qualified. Having one or more competent crew certificates or day skipper sailing certificates for the crew will also be an advantage.
You will need to master yacht reversing as Greek yachts normally berth stern-to with anchor, although bows-to is also quite common. Bows-to is useful sometimes as the yacht is more protected from the sudden swell often brought in by fast ferries and you have more privacy. When berthing stern-to, make sure you have all your fenders down and leave enough anchor chain to hold you against ferry swell and fix at least two strong mooring lines from the stern to the wall leaving a big enough gap between your boat and the wall so that the swell does not push the boat into the wall (maybe at night). You will not find many organised marinas with laid moorings so mostly it's DIY. If ballasting extends a short distance underwater go bow-to. Greeks are very protective about their mooring space (even if it is not theirs!) so it is better (more relaxing) if the harbour is busy to anchor off and dinghy in and maybe quieter at night. Watch out for areas where there are local fishing boats, as it is easy for a rudder or propeller to get caught around the floating mooring lines they tend to use. Many places provide berthing alongside so check your Greek Waters Pilot for details.
Harbours & Marinas - Fees
Depending on where you moor your boat you may be asked to pay harbour/marina fees normally where there is a Port Police office or someone who has been appointed to collect fees. These are not usually expensive and in smaller harbours it is unlikely that anyone will even bother to charge you.
Facilities - Fuel, Gas, Water & Ice
Fuel: Unless you are berthed at a marina it is unlikely that fuel will be readily available on the quay. At most small island harbours there is a mini-tanker which delivers fuel (diesel) to your yacht. This will pass by at peak hours, but if you do not see one, the phone number is usually located somewhere on the quay, or at the Port Police offices. Otherwise enquire locally and someone will help you out.
Gas: If you run out of gas you should be able to get a refill in most of the main island towns. Just exchange the empty gas bottle for a full one and you will only be charged for the gas.<br>
Water: Whenever you have access to 'free' water always take the opportunity to top-up your tanks. In the hot summer months there is likely to be a shortage on many islands and therefore respect its use. In some harbours you will have a 'water man' or there will be a mini-tanker, check prices in advance. Tap water is normally safe to drink in Greece unless otherwise stated, always carry some bottled water.
Ice: You can buy blocks of ice or bags of ice cubes from many villages and it is useful to get this when you can to minimise the need to drain batteries or run the engine to cool the fridge. Ask other yachtsmen or locals for further information.
We will organise a shopping trip in Volos so you can provision your boat prior to departure at one of the local supermarkets where prices are good. Thereafter you will find most villages will have small supermarket, greengrocers and bakers so you can top up. Shops are usually open from 8am through to 1pm and open again at 4.30 until 8pm at night, or longer in some places. Half-days in some areas are Mondays and Wednesdays when shops remain closed in the afternoon. Always check sell-by dates.
All the usual rules apply. There are laws protecting the seas so please dispose of your garbage thoughtfully to maintain the beauty of this area. Do not dispose of any non biodegradable rubbish in the sea. All quays and harbours have rubbish disposal.