Sailing your boat in Bali will provide the work/life balance you’ve been longing for

Endless meetings, tighter deadlines and longer hours are having a significant impact on Australians. Many people are now spending more time at work and struggle to balance their work and personal lives.

For many, stress can be difficult to avoid, but there are positive steps that can be taken to help win the work/life battle and minimise stress by dedicating time to activities we enjoy, learning something new, or taking up a new hobby.Sailing-yacht-boat

With the majority of Australians residing along our beautiful coastline, it’s time to get off the highway and out onto the water to try boating!

Boating is an activity which can be taken up regardless of experience, age or gender and is a great way to relax, rejuvenate and blow those cobwebs away.

Here’s a list of just a few of the ways boating can benefit you and help you win back your work/life balance:

1/ Boating is great exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and is one of best ways to help manage stress. Whether you’re manning the sails, swimming, fishing, scuba diving, or exploring new beachfronts – there’s something for every age and every fitness level.

2/ Sailing is a great way to bond with family and friends. One of the best ways to maintain a proper work/life balance is by making sure you spend quality time with friends and family. Switch-off the TV and start reconnecting with those who are most important to you by enjoying a day or weekend on the water together.

3/ Boating is affordable. One of the biggest misconceptions about boating is that it’s expensive. What most people don’t know is that you can hire a boat for less than what it costs to take a family of four to the movies for the afternoon! Otherwise, if you’re looking to make a purchase, there are financing options available.

4/ Boating is relaxing. There’s something incredibly freeing about cruising on the open water – breathing in the fresh air, feeling the wind in your hair and the ocean beneath. Leave all your worries back on the shore and escape for the day.

5/ Boating is convenient. Another common misconception about boating is that it’s not easily accessible. Even if you don’t live near the ocean, Australia has many waterways to explore – from bays to rivers to lakes. Call your local council or do a quick Google search on water access points in your area.

6/ Boating gets you back in touch with nature. Jump into a sailboat and use nature’s power to travel. What better way to reconnect than spending time outside in the natural environment! Quality time away from noisy buses and trains and high-rise buildings is a perfect way to unwind.

7/ Boating is a rewarding activity. Whether you’re practicing the perfect cast, learning how to tack in a sailboat, or are exploring the amazing marine life with a snorkel and fins, boating provides a platform for a variety of activities and interests.

8/ Boating is a great alternative. If you’re tired of the same old weekend activities, try something new! Perhaps you’ve never been offshore fishing or you want to try your hand at water skiing – there is something for everyone.

9/ Boating is easy to learn. There are boating and water safety courses everywhere these days. There are classes for sailing, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and even water-skiing. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s a wide array of information available to interested boaters.

10/ Best of all, boating is FUN – all you need to do is remember to stick to the simple safety guidelines and enjoy yourself!

Sailing Superstitions

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From de-naming ceremonies to prohibitions of bananas onboard, it seems that sailors around the world have developed many superstitions. Guest blogger, Louise of Sandy Toes and Writer Woes shares some of superstitions she’s come to know after years of sailing. And while, according to sailing superstitions, setting sail on Fridays is a no go, we at Zizoo think everyday is good for sailing. Read on to learn more about some of the most popular sailing superstitions. 

Sailing Superstitions

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There’s an ocean of superstitions surrounding sailing and whether or not you choose to believe them they’re interesting and worth knowing about. I’ve met sailors that refuse to have bananas on their boats for fear of bad luck and even refuse to have anything that has been produced by a company that has banana in the name! We love bananas for snacks especially when we’re doing a passage and have never had a problem! It’s also widely believed that whistling will cause gales and storms.

Lots of mariners believe that it’s bad luck to leave port on a Friday, especially Friday the 13th! I think this is mainly due to the belief that the crucifixion took place on a Friday. We set sail when we have time off work and the weather is good. We don’t consider the day of the week and so far, fingers crossed, have never had a problem.

sailing superstitions

Like lots of other things, it’s considered bad luck to change the name of a boat. According to legend, every vessel is recorded by name and is known personally to Neptune, the god of the sea. If you do rename a boat it’s believed you must have a de-naming ceremony. All traces of the old boat name must be stripped from the boat and then the ceremony can be performed. It’s a fairly simple ceremony conducted by writing the current boat name on a piece of paper, folding the paper and placing it in a wooden box which you should then burn. The ashes have to be gathered and thrown into the sea. To rename the boat you should have plenty of champagne (or a good bottle of rum) to pour over the bow of the boat whilst asking Neptune to bless the boat and all who sail aboard her. Crew and guests should also drink some of the offering. Our boat Nocturne has been renamed, she was previously known as ‘Encore’ but the previous owners decided to rename her. We don’t know if the renaming ceremony was followed but we did find a binder with the name ‘Encore’ on it buried in a cubby! Nothing bad has happened to us as a result in the five years we’ve been sailing her! We love the name ‘Nocturne’ and are happy with it, but if one day we happen to have a boat with a dreadful name we wouldn’t hesitate to change it.

sailing superstitions
One of the funniest superstitions, in my opinion, is that it’s bad luck to have women on boats! Some salty sailors thought that women aboard would anger the seas. However, it was also said that a naked women would calm the sea, this is why many older boats have a figurehead with a bare-breasted women with her eyes open to help them find their way through the seas. Since I’m a female sailor, I think this one is complete nonsense!

There are many more superstitions of course but these are the most talked about. We’ve disobeyed all of them and ‘touch wood’ we’ve never had any troubles. Wishing you all fair winds!

 

Our Favourite Destinations for Sailing in Northern Europe

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Exploring the tranquil and unspoiled landscapes of Northern Europe by boat is an experience not to be missed. From the gorgeous fjords of Norway to the Northern Lights, what the northern lands and seas lack in warmth, they make up for in stunning natural beauty. We offer a variety of boats in some of the most incredible locations that border the North and Baltic Seas including Norway, Finland, Sweden,Germany and the Netherlands. 

Our favourite destinations for sailing in Northern Europe

Lidingo, Sweeden

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Explore the marvels of the Stockholm archipelago while experiencing Sweden’s natural beauty and experiencing Swedish culture while sailing on your private yacht from Lidingo. Sailing around the 24,000 islands and inlets that make up the Stockholm archipelago is an experience like no other. Situated close to Sweden’s capital, Lidingo is an ideal place to start your holiday. Lidingo is also famed for the Lidingo Regetta, an event highly esteemed by yachtsmen across the globe.

Rostock

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Rostock is a charming Hanseatic city, famous for historical treasures and its ideal location by the Baltic Sea. The low current and ideal wind conditions beckons sailors from all over the world to enjoy the long coastline around Rostock. The city is also home to Hanse Sail, the largest maritime festival in Mecklenburg, Germany and one of the largest in Europe. Check out the event on your own private yacht. We’ve got a lovely Vilm 41 Cruiser that’s perfect for your next sailing trip in Rostock.

Jyväskylä, Finland

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Jyväskylä is located in the western part of the Finnish Lakeland, an alluring labyrinth of rivers, lakes, canals and islands. It’s the largest lake district in Europe and boasts some of the cleanest and most pure bodies of water in the world. Get to know the lively city of Jyväskylä, known for its vast cultural offerings, including an intriguing wooden church that has been included on the List of World Heritage Sites then get ready to cruise gently on the placid waters of Finland while taking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape aboard a Bellamare Deluxe houseboat.

Tromsø, Norway

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Most famed as wonderful destination to see the Northern Lights, Tromsø is also an excellent place for a sailing holiday. This amazing city is only 350 km from the Arctic Circle, making it an ideal location to start expeditions to the Arctic. Outdoor and nature enthusiasts will love Tromsø’s diverse offerings of activities including hiking, fishing, dogsledding and of course, sailing. Tromsø is an ideal location to witness the wonders of Arctic wildlife and natural landscapes, including the fjords. Begin your journey in the Arctic in Tromsdalen.  

Stavoren, Netherlands

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Ijesselmeer Lake is the largest lake in Holland and is one of the Netherland’s most popular sailing regions. The picturesque views, calm waters, diverse wildlife and the charming fishing and trading towns that surround the shores of this lovely lake make it a fantastic place for a weekend getaway. One of our favourite villages is Stavoren, the oldest of the 11 towns that border the lake. Stavoren was one of the most important towns in the Hanseatic League and was a major player in the Baltic Maritime trade in the middle ages. Though not a lot remains from its rich past as a trading town, Stavoren has become a prime destination for water sports enthusiasts. 

Discover the incredible landscapes of Northern Europe on your own private boat. Check our website for our latest deals in these fantastic locations.

 

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How to Spend a Day on Anchor

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Our guest blogger and fellow sailor, Louise Kennedy, shares some tips for when it’s time to drop anchor after traversing the deep blue sea. As a frequent guest blogger, Louise has offered some great advice for travellers planning their next boat holiday. From tips on how to keep cool while sailing under the summer heat to predicting the weather, Louise’s knowledge and love of sailing is apparent in her stories and advice both in our magazine and on her blog, Sandy Toes and Writer Woes. Read on to learn more about how to spend a day on anchor. 

How to spend a day on anchor

After all of the excitement of preparing for a trip and the actual sailing, when you find yourself on anchor in a beautiful place, what do you do?

Your options are endless! There are always things that you can do on the boat. Cleaning, and tidying are daily jobs if you want to keep the boat ready for anything. Keeping things neatly stowed and making sure the dishes are washed and put away means if you need to leave unexpectedly, or there’s a big swell, you won’t be caught out. Conscientious crew will make sure the boat is ready to set sail if needed. If you keep on top of these things they don’t take very long and then you have the rest of the day for fun things.

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As I’ve mentioned before in my dinghy daytrips post, one of my favourite ways to spend a day on anchor is to go out exploring in the dinghy. You can also swim, snorkel or even dive if you have the equipment. I love swimming ashore with a pair of flip-flops in hand and taking a stroll along the beach. Once you’re at the beach you can search for shells or sea glass. A simple ball can provide hours of entertainment if there are a couple of you feeling active. A BBQ on the beach with a sunset can be the highlight of any day. (Make sure you take a torch so you can take everything you came with back to the boat.)

how to spend a day on anchor

Preparing food and really taking the time to enjoy a nice lunch or dinner is very enjoyable on anchor. If you’ve been eating quick easy meals or prepared meals whilst you’ve been sailing, spending time in the galley with fresh ingredients from the local shop will feel like a well-earned luxury.

I’m an avid reader and there’s nowhere better than a warm, shady cockpit to lie back and enjoy a good book. It’s also a very inspiring environment if you’re creative. I write best when we’re on anchor. I’ve seen people drawing, painting and even sewing and playing instruments. Basically whatever you enjoy doing on land will generally transport to the boat and be even better! You might need to be creative, but that’s part of the fun.

how to spend a day on anchor

Another fun thing to do whilst on anchor is to meet other sailors and cruisers. We’ve met lifelong friends this way. Lots of sailors share similar interests and values and you can always learn lots from other people. Meeting people with lots of experience and hearing their stories is a lovely way to pass an afternoon or an evening. It’s always fun to see other people’s boats too. If you are shy and not sure how to approach another boat, a polite way would be to pass by them slowly in the dinghy and wave or say hello. It’s usually pretty easy to strike up a conversation about where you’ve come from and no one can resist compliments about their boat! Whatever nationality they are sailors all speak a common language; we love the sea and being close to nature.

how to spend a day on anchor

Make sure you take the time to watch and appreciate the sunset whilst you’re on anchor; it’s one of the most magical moments on a sailboat and the perfect way to end the day.

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Sailing in Skyros

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This week, our guest blogger Georgie Moon shares her experiences about sailing in Skyros, a rather unknown, yet wonderful island in the Sporades. Georgie is an experienced sailor who has contributed several guides and stories about sailing in Greece to the Zizoo magazine. Read on to learn more about sailing in Skyros and why this island is so special. 

The island of Skyros is often regarded as the ‘odd one out’ of the Sporades group. Although it is the largest of the group, Skyros is somewhat remote and therefore off the main tourist trail. There are no ferry links to the other Sporades islands and the only ferry is between Linaria, the main port on Skyros, and Kimi, on the island of Evia, its nearest neighbour. To make up for the lack of inter-island transport, the arrival of the ferry ‘Achileas‘ at Linaria in the late afternoon is announced by loudspeakers in the port booming out the music of Richard Strauss’ ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ at full volume. We had read about this before we arrived, but to actually witness it is a surreal experience!

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If you pick up a charter boat from Skiathos, it is almost 50 nautical miles in a south-east direction to Skyros, and even if you leave from Alonissos, it is still a 30 mile sail. These distances may make a visit to Skyros by yacht difficult, especially if the weather is unfavourable. However, if you do make the effort, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Having arrived by yacht in a great many locations in Greece, we have been used to choosing our own berth on arrival, mooring independently, and finding out about the local facilities ourselves. Linaria on Skyros was one of the few places we visited which was not typical of Greek harbours. We were welcomed by the most helpful harbourmaster, who allocated us a berth favourable for the breezy weather conditions, and helped with our mooring lines. Being the only port on Skyros, Linaria is situated in a large bay on the west coast of the island. Facing the prevailing winds, it is not perfect shelter but is certainly tenable. It is also possible to drop anchor at the top of creek if it is blowing strongly. After politely introducing himself in perfect English, the harbour master explained where we could find water, where the shops were, and provided lots of other useful information.

sailing in skyros

The next day we hired a car and enjoyed a tour of the island, and were lucky enough to see many of the famous Skyros ponies, a very rare breed, native to the island. There are only around 300 of these ponies left in the world, and almost 200 are found on Skyros. Many are looked after by volunteers on a farm, which welcomes visitors.

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Another highlight of our trip around Skyros was the drive to the chora, or hill town. This picturesque town of traditional white-washed houses, is full of winding streets, with magnificent views over the countryside, and the beaches below. There is a Byzantine castle at the highest point, guarding everything below it. There is a museum within the castle, and a monastery nearby. It was easy to spend a whole afternoon in the town, looking at the tiny houses with coloured doors, and exploring the narrow alleys full of tiny shops selling traditional goods. The taverna we chose for our meal, welcomed us with a drink of traditional ouzo before showing us round their little kitchens where beautiful Greek dishes were prepared. In the evening, as the sun was setting, we were treated to some stunning views over the Aegean Sea.

Friendships and Boating

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Friendships and Boating

Among the many joys of sailing is the fun of making new friends while exploring new islands, coastal towns and villages. Our guest blogger, Louise of Sandy Toes and Writer Woes shares her fond memories of making new and lasting friendships while at sea.

On land, forming a bond with someone and nurturing a friendship can take years. Luckily for sailors, meeting other sailors and cruisers can result in lifelong friendships after only a few days. We all share a love of the ocean and usually have lots of other things in common too. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve met thanks to boating and I’m very lucky to have them in my life.

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Whether you meet as neighbours in a marina, or whilst your in the dinghy going ashore or even if you spot the ‘tell tell’ signs of another sailor in a different location, usually you’ll be able to tell within a few minutes if you’re compatible, (of course personalities still play a part in your potential for forming true friendships).

Sailor’s friendships can traverse age, cultures and even languages. For example, we have a very close friend on our pontoon, who we struggle to converse with since we don’t have a mutual language. However, with a little creativity and patience we have the best evenings together and lots of fun and laughter. We use translation apps, other friends translating and even sign language to talk to each other. Friendship is, after all, not about what you say to each other, but spending time together and being there for each other.

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For couples sailing together meeting another couple, whatever their age, can be the start of a wonderful friendship. I especially like meeting another women who sail after a few days of male only company. Invariably, the guys will end up discussing maintenance and technical boating things and the women will discuss destinations, experiences, children and all the other things we like to talk about. This, of course, is not always true but personally I’m not very mechanically minded so my conversations are never particularly technical!

Sailors are some of the best people in the world for sharing. We like to work on a ‘pay it forward’ mentality. Cruisers and sailors as a whole are happy to talk about their experiences and impart their wisdom. If you can offer people a lift to the supermarket or the launderette when they are passing through your homeport, not only will you feel good about yourself, but you’ll also have cut their chores for the day in half. One day, hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to have someone help you out like this too.

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When you find yourself in a beautiful, remote bay and you have a technical problem the boats around you should become your instant friends. The solidarity between sailors and cruisers can’t be matched, in my opinion. Swapping spare parts, giving unwanted parts away or even sharing essential items in order to help a boat in distress is common practice in the sailing community.

If you have a love of sailing and a good heart you won’t have any problem making new nautical friends.

 

Renting a Boat for a Party

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For people who adore the sea and love to travel, renting a boat for a party is the ultimate way to celebrate any occasion. Here are some of our favorite occasions to party on a boat.

Rent a Yacht for Your Wedding

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Imagine exchanging your vows on a private beach or while cruising along the calm indigo sea as the sun sets. For a unique wedding not to be forgotten, charter a private yacht for a day, weekend or weeklong journey relaxing on sun-kissed beaches, dining in the utmost style and floating on the gentle waters in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Enjoy first-class service provided by a personal chef or hostess as you celebrate this extraordinary moment in your life.

Private Yacht Charter for Your Birthday Party

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Click here to book this BBQ boat in Berlin

Spend quality time with your friends and family in celebration of a special birthday while stopping to visit warm sandy beaches, lively beach bars or dining under the stars aboard your own private yacht. Rent a boat while on holiday in the French Riviera, charming seaside towns of Greece, or the vibrant party island of Ibiza. You can even take a break from the buzzing capital of Berlin by cruising along the peaceful lakes that surround the city.

Book a Boat for Your Next Corporate Event

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Host an unforgettable corporate event for larger parties aboard a gorgeous luxury yacht in Phuket. With room to accommodate 16-30 people, these large vessels will make for an ultimate meeting room and lounge area to discuss future business plans or toast to the success of past ventures. We offer a variety of gulets and passenger ships throughout the Mediterranean including Croatia, Spain, Italy and Greece as well as in Turkey.

 

Keeping Cool on the Boat

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In the height of summer temperatures are at their peak. As the sun beats down while your cruising around beautiful tropical or Mediterranean islands on your sailing holiday, keeping cool on the boat is an absolute must. Luckily, our guest blogger and avid sailor, Louise shares her top tips for staying cool under the sun.  

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Beating the heat!

If you’re lucky enough to be boating in warm climates then sometimes the heat can become a little bit uncomfortable or at times even unbearable.

So what can you do to beat the heat?

The best way to get a nice airflow through the boat is to go sailing! Nothing beats a nice breeze through the boat when out at sea. If that’s not an option however, there are plenty of other things you can do to cool down your boat.

You can rig up an area of shade in your cockpit or on the deck. This doesn’t have to look fancy or cost much, we use a mesh tarpaulin bought from a hardware store, which is actually more convenient to throw up quickly than the designated Bimini. (It also serves as a handy hammock for small boat pets!)

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  • Wind scoops are also very useful to encourage a nice breeze through your hatches. They are quick and simple to put up and easily fold away to store again.
  • An awning that covers the deck will keep the sun of the deck and help the boat stay cool down below. This method is slightly more time consuming but very worthwhile. The difference really has to be felt to be believed.

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  • If you have shore power then of course fans will help keep the air circulating and the temperature cool.
  • If you’re outside then a hat is essential to prevent sunstroke. Keeping well hydrated with cold drinks will also help regulate your own temperature.

If all else fails though, you could always just take a quick dip in the water to cool down!

What about our furry companions?

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We have recently got a new crewmember who is even fluffier than Bailey the boat cat. April our Border Collie puppy loves her cooling mat that is found easily in most pet stores or online. Pets should always be in the shade during the hottest part of the day and have access to plenty of drinking water. You can also use cold water on a flannel to wet your pet’s fur and help them cool down too. Bailey isn’t a fan of water but is always grateful when we wet his fur with cool water when he’s struggling to keep cool

 

Exploring the Greek Islands on a Private Chartered Yacht

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With its warm sunny climate, spectacular beaches, astounding history, phenomenal cuisine, extraordinary sunsets and inviting towns, it is no wonder why Greece is one of our favorite sailing destinations. Spend your holiday cruising around the crystal clear waters of the Ionian and Aegean Seas while stopping by some of the most characteristic and secluded Greek islands on a private chartered yacht

Sailing Around the Greek Islands on a Private Chartered Yacht: What to Expect

Greek Islands on a private chartered yacht
Greece is made up of several diverse island regions that surround the mainland. From amazing archeological sites to chic, cosmopolitan towns, the Greek Islands offer a little something for everyone. Select your boat from one of nearly 30 charter locations throughout Greece and get ready to set sail. If you need some help deciding which island regions to explore by boat, you can take a look at our Guide to the Greek Islands.

Climate

Greece is well loved for its long, sunny, hot and dry summers which last from the end of April to around mid-October. Temperatures around the Greek Islands range from the mid-20s in May and June to the upper 30s in July and August. While the sun can beat down pretty heavily on summer days, the “meltemi” sea winds will likely bring a cool breeze whether you are onboard or exploring a coastal village.

Greek Islands on a private chartered yacht

Sailing conditions

The Greek Islands are an excellent sailing destination for both beginners and experienced sailors. Many of the island regions offer ideal sailing conditions for chartering a yacht, including those located in the Saronic, Argolic and eastern coast of the Peloponnesian Gulf, as they are well protected from strong winds. However, if you plan to charter a yacht in in the Cyclades, you should know that it is one of the most challenging, yet fun sailing areas due to strong winds in July and August.

Greek Islands on a private chartered yacht

Food

When in Greece you’ll have the pleasure of savoring amazing dishes sourced from fresh and local ingredients. The islands’ warm Mediterranean climate and rich soil is ideal for growing wine, fruits and vegetables while the sea provides a variety of fish which make up a majority of the Greek diet. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to stock your boat with simple, yet incredible selection of fruits, veggies, cheeses, meats and wine for an unforgettable meal onboard. You can read more about typical Greek foods and what to try at a traditional taverna in our guest blogger and sailing enthusiast, Georgie Moon’s post here.

History and Culture

Greek Islands on a private chartered yacht

The Greek Islands are home to some of the world’s most important architectural and cultural treasures. From the famous walled city on the island of Rhodes to the ancient ruins and mosaics of Delos, a journey around the Greek Islands will surely amaze the whole family. As the birthplace of the Minoan civilization, Crete is a must for history lovers. Explore the island’s incredible remains of Minoan Palaces like before enjoying a fantastic meal in one of Crete’s many seaside restaurants. For art lovers, head to the small island of Hydra which has attracted many important artists and intellectuals throughout the 20th and 21st century.

Greek Islands on a private chartered yacht

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Sailing in the Sporades

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Beautiful beaches, ideal wind conditions and charming towns make sailing in the Sporades an absolute delight. If planning a sailing holiday in the Sporades, make sure to check out our guest blogger Georgina’s tips and suggestions. Read on to learn more about sailing in the Sporades and don’t forget to keep up-to-date on Georgina’s whereabouts as she continues to sail around the stunning islands of Greece on her blog.

The Spectacular Sporades

One memorable sailing trip which we very much enjoyed a few years ago, started from Skiathos.   Along with Skopelos and Alonnisos, these islands are part of the Sporades group, which are very close to the Greek mainland at Magnesia, and also the nearby island of Evia. We made this trip in late October, and were exceptionally lucky with the weather. The Meltemi winds had largely subsided, allowing for some pleasant sailing. We were also lucky enough to swim in the sea at this time of year, which was warm, and crystal clear.

sailing in the sporadesAfter leaving Skiathos behind, we made the short trip of 7nm heading east to the island of Skopelos and moored stern-to in the harbour at Loutraki. Above the port, is the pretty hill town of Glossa, which retains an authentic rural Greek feel, and some spectacular views. It was a 30 minute walk up a winding hill road (or you can take the bus) where most of the island’s almond trees grow.

sailing in the sporadesThe next day we headed south from Loutraki and anchored in the lovely sheltered bay at Panormos, for a lunch stop. The enchanting book Gates of the Wind by Michael Carroll, is recommended for its rich descriptions of the Sporades islands, and their people, during the 1960s. Michael Carroll’s house, which he describes in his book, is easily visible on the eastern shore of the bay.

sailing in the sporadesThat evening, we arrived in the harbour at Skopelos town. Being on the northern exposed coast of the island, it is very important to check the forecast first, as a prolonged Meltemi wind will kick up dangerous seas in the harbour entrance. Also, many large ferries and hydrofoils use this port, making it a very busy place. As the big car ferry docks, it makes a manoeuvre bringing it very close to the yachts moored on the north quay, causing quite a wash.

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Skopelos town is very pretty, forming a steep ampitheatre of white buildings and terracotta roofs around the harbour. There are said to be over 130 churches here, and I remember being able to count at least five, from where I was standing at one junction of narrow streets.   Back down in the harbour, Skopelos has a more peaceful and up-market feel than its brash neighbour, Skiathos.

The next morning, we woke to clear blue skies and a light northerly breeze. We sailed east, around the southern tip of Alonnisos and into the harbour at the main town of Patatiri. We chose to anchor in the bay, and secured our stern lines ashore.  We took the dinghy into town to explore. Patatiri is another town in the Sporades that has a hill village, or chora. Most of the buildings were completely destroyed by the 1965 earthquake and the village became deserted. But since this time, most of the properties have been beautifully restored, and the hill village has been brought back to life. You can find many quaint craft workshops, boutiques and tavernas, and also experience the amazing views over Alonnisos and the surrounding islands.

sailing in the sporadesThe next morning we had an excellent sail with a northerly force 4 wind, taking us 5 miles north-east to the small harbour of Steni Vala. The inlet is used by local fishermen, who are remarkably tolerant of visiting yachts. Water is available on the quay. There is a mini-market, and several excellent tavernas, serving traditional, home-cooked Greek food. After a lovely evening meal, I thanked the cook and told her that the oven-cooked lamb dish I had chosen was excellent, and one of the best meals I’d had. With a smug look on her face, she triumphantly told me – “it was not lamb, it was goat!” Luckily I didn’t mind. Goat or lamb, it was still delicious!

sailing in the sporadesThe next day, we sailed south-west back to Skopelos, and arrived in the largely under-developed and unspoiled bay at Agnondas, on the west coast.   There is plenty of room for yachts on the concrete quay, which was built as an alternative port for the island’s ferries, if the harbour in Skopelos town is untenable. The beach, with a few tavernas nearby, is surrounded by pine forest, and makes an excellent spot to watch the stunning Greek sunsets.

sailing in the sporades

sailing in the sporadesBefore ending our trip back at Skiathos, we spent the next morning at anchor in the turquoise blue shallow waters off Floros beach on Tsoungria island. The island is just two miles directly south of Skiathos town. On the west coast we found an excellent spot for a swim, as the bottom is sandy and the beach shelves very gradually. This small island has no permanent inhabitants. There is a beach cafe, but this wasn’t open when we were there in late October. Swimming in the beautiful warm water, then being the only people on the beach, was a fantastic way to end our sailing trip to the Sporades.Save