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.
Building on the success in 2016, Seafarer is delighted to be able to continue to offer a fantastic flotilla and bareboat yacht charter from our base in Calanova, minutes from the fascinating town of Palma in Mallorca. There are many reasons why your next holiday should be in Mallorca sailing, and we have highlighted some of those reasons to tempt you.
Great choice of yachts
We have a fantastic range of yachts to choose from, to suit all party sizes – from the stylish Dufour 350 (2 or 3 cabin versions available) to the spacious 5 cabin Bavaria 56 or Dufour 512, you are spoilt for choice. If you prefer a catamaran, then we have a great selection, from the 4 cabin /2 head Lagoon 380 up to the 4 cabin / 4 head Bali 4.5 flybridge – a real “apartment on the sea”. All our yachts are meticulously maintained, with the vast majority just 1 or 2 years old, and all benefiting from comprehensive specifications.
Great sailing conditions
Once the summer starts, the Balearic islands enjoy a largely thermal wind pattern, with an on-shore breeze building during the morning and peaking mid afternoon, when the land is at its warmest. The process then reverses late afternoon, creating a gentle off-shore breeze as the land cools and the sun sets. This is largely independent of the area’s general weather conditions and means that the consistent winds are perfect for your sailing holiday. It is rare for prevailing conditions to be stronger than the thermal winds, and this tends to happen largely before May or after September, during seasonal changes.
Whether you choose to join our flotilla or venture off on your own, you won’t be disappointed with the destinations – beautiful coves, elegent marinas, national parks and nature reserves are all within sailing distance from Palma. We particularly like Porto Cristo – the marina is situated in a natural creek, very well protected and perfectly situated to explore the town, which has grown around the natural harbour. Another highlight of our flotilla is a trip out to the Cabrera islands national park, arguable the best conserved sea beds in Spanish waters. Our flotilla crew try to organise the park permits in advance, so you can be assured of a mooring buoy after a great day’s sailing. Let’s also not forget Palma itself – if you haven’t explored the beautiful old town, with the cathedral as its focus, then it must be on your to do list – wander the cobbled streets, emerging into beautiful hidden squares filled with sympathetically restored buildings and leafy little parks.
Tapas seems to have appeared on every British high street over the last few years, but nothing compares to the original. Wandering the backstreets of Palma reveals tapas bars tucked away in quiet corners – enjoy a cold beer and a plate, before moving on to the next! Once out of Palma, the sea exerts its influence over the cuisine – superb fresh fish and seafood, as well as traditional Mallorquin specialities – El Frito (pork or lamb, prepared with potatoes, garlic, red peppers and seasonal vegetables), Arros Brut (a type of local rice dish, with plenty of stock, meat and vegetables) or the sweet Ensaimada Mallorquin are all worth seeking out.
Wide choice of flight routes
Another great advantage is the ease of access – there are regional flights from almost every UK airport, saving you time (most airlines run multiple flights to Mallorca every day) and money on expensive parking and pre-flight transport in the UK. We can organise your flights for you, and don’t forget, we are Atol protected, so you can book with confidence. Flying to Mallorca is also great value, with so many carriers offering flights, the prices can be a fraction of other more traditional sailing destinations
Add the warm waters, friendly locals, beautiful weather and you can be assured of a fantastic holiday. If all of that isn’t enough to tempt you, we also have some fantastic offers on selected yachts at the moment – you can see these on our special offers page
For those who are thinking of taking one of the RYA practical courses, 2017 has seen a major change to the RYA Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper syllabi, with the removal of the non-tidal endorsement from the certificates. This means that both the Day skipper and Coastal skipper practical syllabi will include the concepts of boat handling, navigating and pilotage in areas with streams, currents and significant tidal range. The RYA have been looking into this change for several years, and
has consulted both training centres and customers alike. With around 600 schools, only a very small minority have expressed concern over the changes, whilst the feedback from customers has indicated that the introduction of a single scheme will avoid confusion and ensure that more successful RYA students than ever will possess basic tidal knowledge.
At Seafarer Training, both in Greece and in Croatia, our instructors will also seek to demonstrate these principals in practice, seeking out areas that are subject to some current, in order to give students an idea of the effect of current, particularly with respect to close-quarters yacht handling. As Richard Falk, the RYA’s director of training and qualifications said ‘The key message is that nothing is being removed from any syllabus. In fact, we are requiring schools in non – tidal regions to now begin to teach the theory of tides. I cannot for the life of me understand how this can be a bad thing.’
As well as tides, it is also important to remember that a tidal based course in the Solent does not easily give you practical training on one of the most important skills for blue water, and particularly Mediterranean, cruising; namely stern-to mooring. All practical courses with Seafarer Training will include this essential skill, which will of course be taught in conjunction with the full RYA syllubi.
All this means that your practical sailing course in Greece or Croatia with Seafarer Training now has even more relevance, ensuring that you are better prepared to skipper your own yacht, whether on flotilla or on bareboat, in both tidal or non-tidal waters.
For more information on our RYA Training Centre in Greece, please click here – Seafarer Training in the Ionian
If you would prefer to learn in the beautiful waters of the Adriatic, please find more information on our Training Centre in Croatia – Seafarer Training in Dalmatia
We look forward to welcoming you on board,
Chief Instructor – Seafarer Training Lefkas
With the Six Nations well underway and England just getting over the line for their second win, we thought it was time to highlight the Seafarer Flotilla Six Nations. With a mixture of new routes and old favourites, we think there’s something in this lineup for everyone. Book early to avoid the scrum for late availability in the summer.
Representing Spain: The Mallorca Flotilla
After a successful first year, Seafarer is continuing its Balearic Adventure on one of the world’s most beautiful islands.
Seafarer HQ is full of former Mallorca residents and Spanish Speakers, so we are the people to arrange your package and post-sailing stays.
Representing Greece: Five Flotillas
- Lefkas Flotilla
- Kefalonia Flotilla
- Sporades Flotilla
- Dodecanese Flotilla
- Saronic Flotilla
We’ve been sailing in Greece for a long time now and we’re not slowing down. We introduced a second Ionian flotilla in Kefalonia and since you all loved it, we kept it going.
Representing France: The French Riviera Flotilla *New for 2017*
We are very excited to be the only Flotilla Operator in the South of France. Sailing into St Tropez as well as many other beautiful stops, we hope you will be as excited as we are.
Representing Montenegro: The Montenegro Route *New for 2017*
As part of our Dubrovnik & Montenegro Flotilla, we’ll be dipping our toes in Montenegrin waters and stopping by the walled city of Kotoe
Representing Croatia: 2 Flotillas
We have our ever-popular flotilla in the Dalmatian Islands and after a wonderful debut year, we are continuing with our Dubrovnik Flotilla, which will now do a route via Montenegro.
Representing Turkey: Lycian Coast Flotilla
For years now, Turkey has been a popular destination for sailing, with scenic coastline and beautiful waters. This year, on selected dates we will sail further south East on a two week ‘Seven Capes’ itinerary to Kas and Kalkan, exploring arguably the most scenic stretch of coastline in Southern Turkey.
See us at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace London on 4-5 March 2017
stand number G24
|Date||Doors open||Event start time||Event finish time|
|4th March 2017||09.30||10:00||18:00|
|5th March 2017||09.30||10:00||17:00|
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!
Crew Wanted! – Seafarer is expanding in 2017, with new flotilla routes starting in the South of France and Montenegro, adding to our existing flotilla programs in Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Mallorca. We are also expanding our RYA training centres in both Greece and Croatia, as well as our skippered charter and cabin charter programs in the Aegean. Our Beach clubs in Greece also go from strength to strength – this is all great news for those looking to work in our industry, as we have more crew positions available than ever!
At Seafarer we pride ourselves in the quality of our crew, and our repeat clients often request them by name, which is a testament to both the quality of our crew, and of the importance of them to our clients’ holidays. As an independent company, our crew make the difference – our role is to ensure that all our clients receive an individual and personal service, something that is often hard to achieve in a larger company. From a crew point of view, this means that you aren’t just another “small cog in a large machine” but an essential part of our “family”. Like our clients, you will be treated as an individual, and have the ability to make your mark – we encourage you to think of new ideas, which can be easily heard by the small management team – good ideas will always be yours, and when practical, can be implemented quickly.
We look for crew of all ages, great for those starting in the industry after a fast track program, and also for those embarking on a new career – it’s all about people, so personable, enthusiastic and confident individuals can thrive with us, whatever their age. If you are new to the industry, then a flotilla first mate or skipper position is a fantastic place to start, whether your long term goal is to remain in the flotilla sector, or broaden your horizons into Skippered charter, instruction, superyachts or management. Like your driving license, your Yachtmaster Offshore means you are ready to learn and gain experience, and looking after a fleet of yachts on flotilla is a fast track in itself. For those looking to try something new after experiencing the fun of flotilla, then our cabin charter program might be for you – a larger yacht, more sailing and guests on board provide another set of challenges and skills to master. Click here for more information on flotilla crew vacancies – crew vacancies
If you are a RYA Cruising Instructor or Yachtmaster Instructor and the thrill of sitting in a damp yacht saloon in Osborne Bay teaching secondary port calculations is wearing a bit thin, then we have full season and freelance instructing opportunities in both Greece and Croatia. This is a chance to teach in warmer waters, and to experience a different side to RYA instruction. Our courses are run over a longer duration, so your students (and you!) get the opportunity to enjoy the social side of Mediterranean yachting, particularly as our tuition yachts generally follow the flotilla, giving students and instructors alike the chance to join in with the fun. Click here for more information – instructor vacancies
For all vacancies, we have our minimum requirements, with a commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster being the minimum for skippers, and RYA instructor qualifications for both Sail Cruising and Watersports positions. You can find out all the details on all the positions available here
We are now conducting interviews, both at the London Boat Show, and at our offices in North London, so if you are keen on joining the team for the summer, drop an email, with your CV attached, to me – [email protected]
I look forward to hearing from you, and if it works out for us both, welcoming you to the team for 2017 and beyond.
Product Manager Seafarer Cruising & Sailing Holidays
Chief Instructor, Seafarer Training
Firstly we hope you like our new website. We are still ironing out some minor technical hiccups but it is 98% there and hopefully you will find it easier to use. In the New Year, we will also be going live with our booking engine. meaning you will be able to search and book on-line including flights. Not that we don’t like talking to you, we continue to be committed to offering a personal and knowledgeable service to our clients and I can advice that we even plan to extend our office opening hours to 7 days in the busy January to March booking period with Sunday opening between 10am and 4pm as well as later opening till 9pm on weekdays.
As for what we have planned for you next summer, you may have already heard of our 2 new flotillas. In the South of France we have our Cote D’Azur Flotilla exploring the wonderful coast and offshore islands between Marseille and Saint Tropez. This includes two wonderful national parks, Calanques and Port Cros, plus some lovely traditional coastal villages and towns such as Cassis, Bandol, Le Levandou and Sainte Maxime. The cuisine is fantastic, the scenery beautiful, the mooring facilities very good and the winds fair, so all the essential ingredients are there for a perfect sailing holiday. This is an area we know well from years of promoting bareboat charters, and yes we have taken some of our own holidays here, so we feel a flotilla programme is well overdue.
Ah but what about the costs I hear you ask ? Well actually, mooring costs are very similar to Croatia, if not slightly cheaper. Costs of eating out are also very reasonable (unless you want to hang out with the super rich and famous in Saint Tropez…) and with the shorter, cheaper flights, you simply can’t go wrong. Also if you don’t like flying, a road trip or Eurostar / TGV combination is also possible.
So we do hope you will… ‘Vacances avec nous en flotille en 2017…’
Another first for Seafarer in 2017 is out Southern Dalmatia and Montenegro Flotilla. sailing from Dubrovnik (which we introduced in 2016). We now sail south into Montenegro every second week exploring the spectacular Bay of Kotor with its historic towns and amazing mountain backdrop. Crossing the border from Croatia in your yacht adds a sense of adventure and exploration to the trip, though our lead crew will be on hand to ensure it all goes smoothly. Whilst a relative newcomer to the holiday and sailing world, we are sure that this area will prove to be a big hit with our guests. Every other week, the same flotilla explores the fabulous coast and islands north of Dubrovnik including Korcula, Lastovo and Mljet, which enchanted our guests last summer, many of which have vowed to return this year.
Last but not least, we shall be repeating our unique South Ionian Flotilla sailing from Aghia Efymia on Kefalonia. This allows us to explore much further south than any other Ionian flotilla, including Lixouri and Argostoli on Kefalonia, plus the lovely island of Zante or Zakynthos and its famous ‘Shipwreck Cove‘ featured on the front page of last year’s brochure. We have made some minor adjustments to the itinerary for next summer and you will even have the possibility to visit Ancient Olympia on the Peloponese mainland if you wish.
The entire area is stunningly beautiful, the azure waters crystal clear and the sailing a step up from the more subdued breezes further north with our Lefkas flotilla. Add to this the unique charm of Greece, the warm welcome and fantastic value on offer and you can see why Greece remains firmly number 1 in Mediterranean sailing and flotilla holidays.
In addition to the above, we will of course continue with our ever popular flotillas in the Sporades and Dodecanese in Greece, central Dalmatia in Croatia and since last summer, Palma in Mallorca.
We will also maintain our presence in Turkey next summer and I can announce two reunion flotillas with the now semi-retired lead crew of Ipek & Silar, operating two special fourteen day itineraries in mid- May and Mid-September, so look out for news of these in the next few days.
Whatever your choice, we hope to welcome you (or welcome you back..) for an unforgettable flotilla holiday with Seafarer in 2017