Britain’s Great Boating Festival
15-24 September 2017
Find us on stand JO40
We are very excited at Seafarer to be able to offer unique flotilla destinations, and the newest addition to our portfolio is our Côte d’Azur flotilla on the French Riviera. Everyone knows the allure and the glamour associated with this beautiful coast and assumes that this is the exclusive haunt of the rich and famous, particularly if looking seaward towards the Superyachts moored in Saint-Tropez and Cannes. John Connolly, our product manager, has family along the coast in Nice and had sailed in the area since the late eighties. In October 16, he had the opportunity to take our Sales Consultants, Suzie, Nevena and Simos sailing in the region to explore our new flotilla route, to see some of the iconic spots, but also to explore idyllic locations, a nice contrast from the typical image of the region.
Our flotilla holidays start from Port Pin Rolland, located close to Saint-Mandrier-Sur-Mer, a peninsula close to the historic port of Toulon. The marina is accessible from both Marseille and Toulon airports, with many daily flights available, particularly to Marseille, which is approximately 100km from our base. Once in the marina, our routes take you either west or east, depending upon your choice, although we would recommend two weeks to see everything the coast has to offer.
John commented “We arrived a little late, so decided to head east, and out to the island of Porquerolles, around 15 nautical miles from base. It was a great way to start, we got to know our yacht, a lovely Dufour 450, and had a gentle sail across to the island. Arriving late, we secured a berth in the marina and headed out to explore. The main pedestrian street heads out from the marina, with plenty of choice of bars and restaurants before it opens out to the main square, popular with locals for an afternoon game of Pétanque. We rounded off the day with a delicious dinner of moules marinière – a bargain at €10 – before enjoying a peaceful night in the marina.”
The island group of Îles d’Hyères includes the islands of Porquerolles and Port Cros, both recommended stops on our Saint-Tropez flotilla route, heading east. The laid back charm contrasts beautifully with the chic cosmopolitan destinations such as Saint-Maxime and of course Saint-Tropez. Nevena, a keen photographer, loved Saint-Tropez: “The stylish town is everything you would expect, but for me the old village, sloping away up the hill from the quay is fantastic – beautifully restored old buildings, hidden courtyards and cute little restaurants make for great photo opportunities!”
When it was time to head back towards our home port, we decided on a stop in Le Levandou – not such a well known coastal resort, but, as it turns out, a real gem. Simos, our resident connoisseur of the finer things in life noted “Le Levandou is fantastic – we enjoyed an apéritif – an ice cold pastis overlooking the sea before a great value fish supper on the sea front and a wander through the backstreets. A bright morning followed with a rich coffee before an essential trip to the boulangerie for fresh bread and pastries to set us up for a great day’s sailing”. Suzie, our senior sales consultant, was pleasantly surprised by the prices: “The marinas are cheaper than in Croatia, and the excellent food is good value for such a location – 16 euros for a 3 course dinner is fantastic for anywhere, let alone the South of France!”
John takes up the story after leaving Le Levandou – “We set sail early, as we wanted to get as much sailing in as possible – the Rade d’Hyères is nicely protected – we had a fantastic sail with a 15 knot north-westerly, and explored the big bay under sail. A lovely shelving coast means plenty of places to anchor and swim, and to anchor overnight when the weather is kind. Great islands, a beautiful coast, superb food and good winds – this is a fantastic place to sail.”
To find out exactly what our team are so excited about, feel free to give us a call at the office and explore the French Riviera section of our website – we are always happy to talk about our sailing areas and our flotilla destinations.
We can organise the whole package for you, including your flights and transfers, with yachts available from 32 feet up to 50 feet, suitable for parties of 8 or more – explore the fleet here. Yachts are selling fast, so we would certainly recommend booking sooner than later, also meaning that you can save more on your yacht and flights, leaving a few extra euros for another bottle of wine after a great day’s sailing!
For many, a bareboat charter holiday is the ultimate in freedom to do as you please. Go wherever you wish, find that ultimate secluded anchorage with crystal clear turquoise waters, linger for as long as you like or simply get out there and enjoy some real sailing.
For dedicated ‘bareboaters’, a flotilla holiday would outwardly appear to offer the exact opposite to what they are looking for. However there are some real misconceptions about how flotillas work and what advantages they offer.
Certainly if you like the idea of sailing in company, having the opportunity to meet up with other crews in the evening, finding a lead crew on the quay waiting to catch your lines having held a mooring space at your destination of the day, as well as providing a wealth of local knowledge and support, then flotilla is definitely for you. The same applies if you are a relatively new skipper, still building on your experience and confidence where the advice and guidance of the lead crew is invaluable.
A flotilla can certainly be very sociable, which can especially appeal to families with children during school holidays, or couples who enjoy some like-minded company at dinner ashore. Often new friendships are made which endure long after the end of the holiday, whilst some of the activities the lead crew organise can be great fun, as well as ensuring your children make new friends and get the most from their holiday.
However, for us, one of the most important advantages of booking a flotilla is the local knowledge and support of the lead crew. Cruising in unfamiliar waters in a foreign country can be stressful, research can help, but websites and guidebooks can quickly become out of date. Taking some of the guesswork out of the equation will ensure you go to all the best places and experience the very best the area has to offer. At Seafarer we have a policy of trying to promote the history and culture of our destinations, so your lead crew will be knowledgeable and advise you on what to see and do, whilst they can also help with arranging transport or visits to points of interest.
Should you have any difficulties like fowling your anchor or other technical issue the lead crew will be on hand to advise or will do their utmost come to your assistance as quickly as possible. Most issues are solved on the spot quickly, ensuring minimum disruption to your holiday.
Seafarer’s approach to the flotilla concept is different to some other companies in that firstly we keep our flotillas smaller, usually 7-8 yachts and never more than 12. In addition, our approach is more flexible giving you the opportunity to venture off independently if you wish, or stay out longer to enjoy the sailing on any particular day. Indeed it is the usual format that you sail each day and arrive at the planned destination whenever you wish. Whilst the usual flotilla activities are on offer like the welcome punch party, group meals, beach party and farewell dinner, these are entirely optional, so you are always free to do as you please and the daily briefings ensure you have the all info you need to enjoy your day.
Typically one does pay a premium to go on flotilla, however when one factors in that the end cleaning charge, fuel, and things like the outboard engine are all included, the difference in price is actually less than you think, Indeed with early booking and other special offers it can sometimes be next to nothing. So next time you are planning a sailing holiday, don’t rule out a flotilla, especially if you are planning to visit somewhere new.
Our friends, The Budget Savvy Travelers, have been recording their journey on our Cyclades Cabin Charter. We’re a couple of videos in and there’s more to come as they show you the joys of exploring the Cyclades with Seafarer.
We’ve enjoyed watching and we think you will too! Hopefully this whets your appetite and will have you calling to book your own sailing adventure. Scroll down for the first video and a link to learn more about our Cabin Charter.
This week we are looking forward to our cabin charter sailing on the 25th June aboard our yacht “Malama” – Sailing from Athens to Kefalonia via the legendary Corinth Canal. The idea for the canal stretches as far back as the 7th century BC, although the modern canal was only completed as recently as 1893, but since then has been one of the iconic passages for Mediterranean sailors, saving the time and expense of the 400 plus mile journey around the Peloponnese peninsula.
Join our Sun Odyssey 52.2 “Malama” for a fantastic journey, with an itinerary that features:
Sunday 25th June – Lavrion (Athens) – Our journey begins on the eastern side of the Attica peninsula, approximately 1 hour from the centre of Athens – arrive a day or two early if you can, Athens is a fascinating city that deserves time to explore.
Mon 26th June – Aegina Town, Aegina – We head to the capital of the island of Aegina, famed for its pistachios. For fish lovers, seek out the fantastic little tavernas behind the fish market. Our journey takes us past the temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.
Tue 27th June – Korinthos – Todays sail takes us through the Corinth Canal, probably the most recognised passage in the Mediterranean. A perfect photo opportunity and the chance to see what many only ever see from above.
Wed 28th June – Galaxidhi – Situated on the northern side of the Gulf of Corinth, this small town is charming, retaining signs of its former wealth as a prosperous shipping port in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Thu 29th June – Nafpaktos – Today we head for Nafpaktos, a medieval harbour positioned below the Venetian castle. It is well worth a walk up to the castle, enjoying the view of the medieval harbour, one of the best examples in the Mediterranean.
Fri 30th June – Mesolongi – A canal leads between the salt marshes to the village of Mesolongi, centred around the yacht basin at the end.
Sat 1st July – Agia Eufimia, Kefalonia – Arrive in Kefalonia – our home port for our Kefalonia flotilla. Enjoy the beach, great tavernas and bars, or an excursion to the local blue water caves.
Sun 2nd July – Agia Eufimia, Kefalonia – Disembark “Malama” in the morning for your return flight, or for those with enough time, a land stay on the beautiful island of Kefalonia.
Your Yacht – “Malama” – Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 52.2
Your home for the week is our yacht Malama, a spacious and comfortable yacht, and a perfect vessel from which to experience this fantastic voyage. She has a 5 cabin layout, with 4 en-suite cabins for guests, and a separate cabin in the bow for our experienced crew. Each cabin features a large double bed, with cabin fans to keep you cool in the evening.
The spacious cockpit is large enough to comfortably seat all the guests on board, and is the focal point of the yacht. A large bimini suntop provides protection from the sun, but for those looking to deepen their tan, the fore deck has ample space to lie back and relax. Our crew are responsible for your well-being, and as well as the safety aspects, will also be on hand to provide you with a continental breakfast each morning, as well as a light lunch daily. We don’t cater in the evenings, as we are in a new and exciting port each day, with tavernas and bars ready to be discovered.
Cabins are limited on this voyage, so please give us a call to avoid disappointment, on 0208 324 3118. If you would like more information on the yacht and our cabin charter program, you can find information here on our website. If you do miss out on this trip, don’t panic, we will be returning through the canal to Athens on the 27th August!
Many of our regular clients have already discovered our great sailing area between Split and the Kornati National Park, but for those who have yet to Sail in Croatia, we have brought together a few of the highlights of this stunning location, which offers culture, history and natural beauty in equal measures.
Our exclusive base in Zaton, near Sibenik
Firstly it is well worth mentioning our base – normally you would finds yourself wandering around a large, busy marina on your first and last days, and
sometimes this can be a somewhat unwelcome end to a fantastic holiday, particularly if you have experienced some of the quieter, off the beaten track
locations that we pride ourselves in finding on our flotillas. Not so in Zaton – our base is exclusive to our flotilla and bareboat charters in the area, meaning its a peaceful location, with a stunning location which book-ends your holiday perfectly. Zaton is situated upstream from Sibenik on the Krka river, perfectly protected from all prevailing weather patterns. Form the marina, the small village is approximately 10 minutes stroll along the bank of the river, and offers all the facilities one could want – bars, restaurants, supermarket, fresh market and an excellent bakery, as well as as ATM and post office.
South from Zaton – the highlights
If you are travelling for one week, and looking for some cultural and historical elements to your holiday, then our Hvar route is perfect. On our published route we stop in Split itself, the highlight of which is certainly the old town, focused on the Diocletian palace. Its still very much a “living” city, and a walk through the narrow cobbled streets reveals trendy bars, cool cafes, restaurants and washing lines in equal measure! If you’re there in the high season, orators still perform in the same square as did the Romans centuries before them. After hugging the coast, we head out to Hvar, and the beautiful village of Starigrad, nestled at the end of a long bay on the north side of the island. Artisan workshops and rustic Konobas wait to be discovered in the back streets. A days free sailing offers many choices – Viz, for those looking to make the most of the winds and sail, Trogir, included in the UNESCO list of world heritage sites, Maslinica on the island of Solta with its boutique high class marina along with many other destinations, which our knowledgeable crew will be more than happy to recommend, depending upon your wishes. The flotilla regroups again in Primosten, a truly
stunning picture postcard walled town that sits just off the coast, connected by a causeway. If you are there at the right time, the main square hosts theatrical events, perfect after a stroll to the church at the top of the town for a breathtaking view of the sunset.
The Kornati Route – unspoilt charm to the North
If you have already explored the more well-trodden and polished parts of the Dalmatian coast, then its time to see a different side to this stunning area. Our base in Zaton is ideally situated for us
to head north, exploring the close to 150 islands that make up this archipelago. On our way north we stop in Murter, on a private pontoon owned by one of favourite restaurants in the area, renowed for its exceptional local cuisine. From there we usually head to Sali, in the heart of the Kornati island chain on the largest of the islands, Dugi Otok. This harbour offers beautifully protected mooring and is a great place to stock up before a night on anchor or mooring buoy in the national park itself. You are spoilt for choice, but we love Telascica bay, which cuts almost 5 miles north into Dugi Otok – mooring buoys, anchorages and small jetties and quays can be found dotted around the bay, which is a park in its own right. We also particularly like the ACI marina Kornati, although part of the large marina chain, this one has a stunning location and your mooring fee includes entrance to the national park, so well worth a visit. Free sailing from here gives a choice of towns and villages – again, our crew can listen to your desires and make some suggestions – nightlife? solitude? gourmet restaurant? all possible within a few hours sailing. It’s also worth mentioning a particular favourite of mine – a trip up the river Krka to Skradin, and the spectacular Krka national park and falls. For those accustomed to coastal and island sailing, this really is an opportunity to explore inland, heading beyond Zaton to the marina in Skradin. The setting is idyllic, the town is lovely and the excusrsion to the waterfalls is breath-taking – particularly if you choose to swim under the falls themselves!
Of course if you haven’t been to this part of the Adriatic before, two week flotilla holidays are perfect, giving a chance to really explore the area, with extended free sailing in the middle of your holiday to go further afield or to hole up in a preferred spot and relax. Sailing distances are moderate, winds are fresh and the local wines need sampling, along with the excellent local cuisine, which, with its Italian and Balkan influences fusing harmoniously, offer the perfect end to a perfect days sailing.
Remember though, Croatia is increasingly popular, and availability is limited for 2017, so our advice is to give us a call without delay to ensure we can help to give you your perfect sailing holiday. For more information on the area and the routes, please click here, or alternatively, call us on 0208 324 3118 to check availability and book.
Choosing The Right Flotilla Destination – Rustic Greece Vs Trendy Croatia
Greece and Croatia have long been favourite choices for Mediterranean sailors whether on a flotilla or bareboat holiday. They both boast great weather, fantastic and varied sailing, wonderful scenery and a wealth of history and culture. But if you have not been before, which one would be the right choice for you?
This is not a straightforward choice because each country offers a Variety of cruising areas each with their own appeal. I have often heard it said that Greece is for beginners but not for serious sailors as there is no wind. This may be the experience of those who have visited the Ionian and in particular the area immediately south of Lefkas, but the reality is that Greece offers some of the most challenging sailing in the Mediterranean, especially in areas like the Cyclades islands of the central Aegean. Indeed even in the Ionian the sailing is much more lively on our Kefalonia flotilla which explores much further south.
Croatia too offers a variety of conditions and it is fair to say that the Dubrovnik flotilla exploring southern Dalmatia and Montenegro offers more moderate conditions than that further north in central Dalmatia where conditions are more variable and wind patterns generally stronger.
If distances and wind strength will ultimately influence your choice, the small chart below offers guidelines on each area.
A more marked difference between Greece and Croatia is in the sailing infrastructure. Croatia has seen heavy investment in marinas over recent years to the extent that there is comprehensive coverage almost across the entire country and you can expect to be in a well equipped marina 4 or more nights out of 7. The advantage is that it is much easier to find mooring space and it tends to make things easier as the laid moorings (or lazy lines as they are sometimes called) mean you don’t use your anchor very much. Facilities such as modern showers and shore power are an added bonus. The downside is the additional cost which at between 1.50-2 euros a foot per night, needs to be factored in to the cost of your holiday. Town quays are cheaper at roughly half that price, though shore power and laid moorings are still likely in most places.
In Greece, the picture is rather different and environmentalists have proved more vociferous in blocking some planned marina developments, whilst it is true to say that the country has pursued a policy of trying to maintain the traditional character of many of the islands and village communities. Consequently, in most of the smaller islands and villages, mooring space can be limited and you are less likely to find lazy lines or shore power, though enterprising taverna owners often have showers available for visiting yacht crews. The disadvantage is that you will need to use your anchor on most days for ‘stern- to’ Mediterranean style mooring. This does worry some skippers who are not used to this style of mooring, but your flotilla lead crew is there to assist and they will ensure that there is a space waiting for you at the destination of the day. The big advantage is the cost and it is true to say that with the much lower and often zero mooring charges, sailing in Greece does work out cheaper, even though the cost of living, eating out and so on is probably around the same.
We love both countries and each destination has its distinctive character and charm, so our recommendation is that you should ultimately explore them all, preferably with Seafarer and given that we have one of the highest repeat booking ratios in the industry, many of our clients are doing exactly that!
Apart from being probably the most important Christian festival of the year, Easter can also mark the beginning of the summer sailing season in the Med. If you are considering early season sailing in the Greek Islands, what makes this Easter rather special, is that Easter for both the Eastern and the Western Christian churches coincides. This only happens once every four years and it is especially notable because the Easter festivities of the Greek Orthodox church are probably the most colourful and interesting you will find anywhere.
That’s why we have decided to operate an Easter flotilla in the Ionian this year starting in Corfu, an island especially noted for its colourful celebrations. We start on Good Friday, which is a holiday for many, with a flight to Corfu and the check in formalities on your yacht.
That evening proceedings begin with the Epitaph, a solemn but colourful occasion, with a procession attended by absolutely everyone, lead by the flower adorned Epitaph accompanied by local dignitaries, a military guard of honour, brass bands and the entire population all holding candles. Saturday morning sees a rather bizarre ritual in the narrow streets of the old town of Corfu, where large ceramic jugs of water are flung from the balconies, shattering all over the narrow streets. It really is ‘smashing fun’ and It’s not as dangerous as it sounds as the appropriate sections are cordoned off so that spectators are safe.
The Corfiots love there brass bands and they come out in force in their smart colourful uniforms on any excuse, with Easter being especially important on their calendar and very accomplished they are too !.
In the run-up to midnight, literally everybody takes to the streets again as midnight is the symbolic marking of the resurrection of Christ and on the stroke of the hour it is complete pandemonium with fireworks and hugs and kisses all round Take your candle or lantern, as everyone takes the holy light home (which is brought all the way from Jerusalem) Since many have been fasting over lent, the locals then go and eat a traditional Easter soup, before retiring for the night to be ready for Easter Day.
The only way to describe Easter Sunday in Greece is as an all day party of eating, drinking, singing and dancing. It’s a time for families and friends to come together, eat drink and be merry (and I mean really merry !). We shall do a
little sailing for the day before our Easter party that evening, which will, among other things feature traditional red painted eggs as well as spit roasted lamb and all sorts of other local delicacies.
Sailing in the Ionian is always wonderful, but if you are free this Easter, we could not think of a better way to mark the start of the summer sailing season
For more details of our 9 night Easter flotilla in the Ionian click here
For many of us, our first experience of flotilla sailing was in the beautiful protected waters of the Ionian, on the western coast of Greece. At Seafarer we have been offering our ever popular flotilla from Lefkas since the summer of
2008, and it has gone from strength to strength. In 2016 we responded to feedback from clients who love the area, but were looking to explore some new harbours and anchorages, whilst still being able to visit the places they have grown to love – and the Seafarer Kefalonia flotilla was born.
2017 sees our flotilla returning to Kefalonia after a fantastic first season, and we will continue to try to offer an alternative to the standard programs on offer from Lefkas. We begin and end our flotilla from the harbour of Aghia Eufimia, which is situated on the sheltered east of the island. The town quay is perfect for our base – water and shore power are available, as are some fantastic restaurants including our favourite, To Perasma, which serves all your favourites, including Kefalonia specialities such as meat pie and Kleftiko. Once we get under way, our routes offer some great stops:
Fiskardho is our first port of call, a beautiful, cosmopolitan resort which boasts a lively waterfront, home to some of the chicest restaurants in the Ionian, as well as some great value traditional tavernas in the squares behind the front. After a great stop, the route (weather permitting) explores the western side of Kefalonia, passing Assos, famous for the ruins of a 16th century Venetian castle, which presides over this small charming village. On the south side of Kefalonia is a huge bay, with the towns of Lixouri and Argostoli (the capital) located on either sheltered bank.
The flotilla heads south from Aghia Eufimia, along the coast to the popular resort of Poros – great restuarants on the beach, and some natural diving boards high above the clear blue waters for the more adventurous! Then its across to the Peloponnese coast if weather permits, for an optional excursion to ancient Olympia. Back across the Ionian sea leads to the capital of Zante (Zakynthos) and then north to the harbour of Aghios Nikolaos, and the optional trip to shipwreck bay, one of the most iconic and most photographed beaches in Greece.
We have a great range of yachts available on the Kefalonia flotilla, from 2 cabin yachts for couples through to large 5 cabin versions for large families or groups of friends. Primarily Bavarias, we have a wide range of models, including twin helm Bavaria 372 and the newst model 41, equipped with 2 heads. You can find out our full range on the Kefalonia flotilla page of our website
If you are travelling from the UK, there is a wide choice of flights into Kefalonia, from the major UK airports, as well as some regional flights and low cost carriers making the journey easy. We can arrange your flights and transfers for you, or you can choose to seek these out for yourself, its up to you.
All in all, Kefalonia offers a new perspective on the Ionian, with longer sailing distances and more open water sailing if you choose, with some great new destinations and slightly less congested harbours and bays. One thing is for sure, you can always rely on the warm reception from the wonderfully friendly locals, who go out of their way to make your stay a special one. If you would like more information, you can always give us a call – many of our sales consultants know the area very well indeed.