Yachting and Dinghy Sailing can learn a lot from one another. As Yachting experiences are growing worldwide; cruising holidays and yacht tuition are becoming more affordable. Thus Yachting as a sport is beginning to engage with a wider client base. Over the next few years, I can see a lot of accomplished Dinghy Sailors looking to gain hands-on yacht experience in order to enjoy holidays in the Mediterranean or further afield. Those that do, will take full advantage of exploring beautiful seas and landscapes with the relaxed cruising approach that is paramount to an enjoyable sailing holiday.
However, it is not just the transition from Dinghy Sailing into Yachting that is important for the sport. Yachting can learn a huge amount from the immediate and demanding techniques required to make a boat go as fast as possible. These fundamental skills often begin with Optimists and Toppers and can take you all the way to the Olympics or Americas Cup working on boats being built on the very edge of what is technologically possible.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be involved in the America’s Cup. I remember when I was a kid sailing Optimists down in Cornwall and there was a British America’s Cup challenge that was training in Falmouth,” —Ben Ainslie
One can often tell when teaching yachting to someone with a background in Dinghy Sailing. They usually have a proficient understanding of the five essentials, but it is the acute sense of wind awareness which makes students stand out. Having these essential sailing skills in their back pocket means they can crack on with a Start Yachting course or Pre-Flotilla training, that suddenly makes that dream holiday an exciting reality.
For those Dinghy Sailors (or Windsurfers) who wish to get into Yacht Sailing, there are a number of options. The best way would be to spend a week on an RYA Training Yacht either with us in the Mediterranean or at any RYA Training Centre in Britain. Seafarer has training yachts based in Greece and Croatia and you can get more details here. Another option is to try one of Seafarers Cabin Charter Holidays in Greece or beyond, more details here.
For those Yacht Sailors who want to gain the gain the experience Dinghy Sailing provides, we recommend a week at Nikiana Beach Club and an RYA Level 1 or Level 2 Course which will teach you all about how to sail a 1 or 2 person Dinghy in the warmth of the Greek sun. This can be combined with a week’s Flotilla or Bareboat from either Lefkas or Kefalonia.
Whichever way you look at it, sailing is the best sport known to man (we are quite biased on this front). But with so many parts it’s hard to remember that whether you sail an Optimist on a small pond or a 100ft Yacht around the world the techniques are the same and you gain the same pure enjoyment from hearing the wind in the sails and the water lashing on the hull.
We wish you fair winds and good seas.
Text by John Chambers & Joe Snowdon
HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH YET?
With many boat owners already involved in winter lay-ups whilst lamenting the passing of the summer sailing season, many of us are left with that unfulfilled feeling of just not having done enough sailing this summer. The season is of course not over yet, with some really tempting last minute offers in October in places like the Ionian and the Dodecanese including flotillas, but there is a general acceptance amongst holiday sailors that the Med shuts at the end of October and therefore unless one has the budget for places like the Caribbean or Seychelles, so sailing season over..?
There is of course always the choice of undertaking the equivalent of an endurance test with some autumn sailing in the UK, but if you are a fair weather sailor like me, it is probably not very tempting at all.
We have the solution (naturally…) so if you still need to go sailing before Christmas and cannot get away in October, read on! What you need is a place with reasonably priced direct flights, an interesting sailing area that is actually still open as regards shops and restaurants and some sunshine and decent weather virtually guaranteed. Our proposal at this time of year is consider the islands of the Saronic Gulf in Greece. Average temperatures are typically in the low to mid 20’s in October and low 20s to high teens in November. Typically no more than 3-4 rainy days over the entire month with balmy sunny days for all the rest.
There are some great places to visit both on the islands and on the Peloponnese coast. Aegina town on the island of the same name is a relatively short first hop, being just 2-3 hours from our home port in Athens at most. It is popular with Athenians (some of which even commute from here daily by ferry), so the food is really good whilst it has plenty of history and character as well.
Poros is an old favourite of ours, definitely a yachting town that stays open all winter thanks to the naval college and the fact that it is within easy reach of Athens. The one kilometre sea front is busy with yachts even at this time of year and it is the home port of choice for some ‘privateers’ who choose to spend their winter in these parts. That being said, the harbour is large enough for a mooring space to be guaranteed whatever time you arrive. The island of Hydra is a real delight that has featured on many a promotional poster for Greece and is probably one of the most picturesque and photogenic harbours you will find anywhere. What’s more, at this time of year, the small harbour will actually have space for you which is usually not the case in Summer. This was famously Leonard Cohen’s spiritual home and the house he bought here for $1,500 in the 1960’s is still owned and visited by his family. Off season, Hydra is being re-discovered by artists and writers as a place where they find peace and inspiration, so maybe you will too!
Spetses island is about as far south as we recommend at this time of year, still close enough to the capital to warrant some restaurants and cafes staying open and a great island to explore by bicycle or on foot. It’s a holiday island that has managed to retain its traditional architecture and charm. On the nearby Peloponnese coast useful stopping off points are Hermione which reverts to being a fishing village at this time of year and last but not least, historic Epidavros, where a visit to the famous ancient amphitheatre is an absolute must even of you are not usually one for ancient ruins. Firstly this is no ruin, being still in use for performances to this day, whilst its amazing acoustics remaining something of a mystery to the experts who over 2000 years later cannot fully explain how this was achieved. It’s also a stunning setting and a scenic drive, just 25 minutes from the harbour.
In between there are plenty of stunning coves anchorages and something that many overlook is that sea temperatures are actually very acceptable at this time of year so swimming and snorkelling are still very much on the agenda. In October you can expect the sea to be around 22C and in November 19C. Now that is quite a bit higher than Bournemouth beach in August!
The all important final consideration is what will it all cost ? Easyjet and Ryanair have direct daily flights from Gatwick and Stansted to Athens from under £100 return if you are happy to travel with 10kg of hand luggage. The E96 express bus stops just outside Alimos Marina, takes about 45 minutes and costs €6 per person. 7-day charter of an Oceanis 31 (2 cabins / 1 sh/WC) costs just £595 for the yacht plus you will need to allow for fuel and end cleaning costs (say £140 all in). There is even an outboard engine included art that price now that it is quite a bargain in anyone’s book !
Going for something larger like an Oceanis 37 (3 cabins, 1 sh/wc) can still come in under £1000 For a larger party, something like a Sun Odyssey 469 (4 cabins/ 4 sh/wc) would only cost £1275 plus fuel and end cleaning. If you are struggling to get the time off, another possibility is a long weekend. At this time of year, we can charter yachts for just 3 or 4 days so something like Friday though Monday is certainly viable.
So there you have it, bargain prices, decent weather almost guaranteed and uncrowded destinations with lots to see and explore.
No prizes for guessing where I will be sailing this November ….maybe see you there!
A blogster writes: After the storm
Yesterday evening at around 5.30 the sea suddenly changed. Gone was the flat gently swirly millpond of translucent water, replaced by a chop of waves as the wind backed towards the east across the inland sea. People sensibly started leaving the water and the 9-strong Nikiana beach crew, under the direction of beachmaster Rabbie, moved into action like a well-oiled machine.
The beach club prides itself that, should the occasion arise, it has enough craft to put every guest on the water at the same time. Because it attracts a good standard of sailor it also has some pretty hi-spec kit – top of the range Lasers, an RS100 and an ALTO to name but a few. All in all, between dinghies, windsurfers, SUPs and Kayaks, a fleet of 50 or so craft can be afloat.
So last night, as the waterfront closed, everything had to come out of the water. It took some impressive team-work. Sometime after midnight a full moon that had given golden illumination to the white horses topping waves in the bay, vanished behind clouds and the wind got up. It was, by any account, a ‘bit of a blow’.
It meant that, come this morning, many off us awoke to the view of a mast outside our balcony window. Coming down to breakfast we had a most unusual Nikiana scene – an empty bay. But before long the beach crew were back getting boats afloat in the sunshine. With an uncertain forecast however, it will be the same routine tonight.
THE NAUGHTY NIKI
With the Greek weather Gods up to a little mischief it seems to be an appropriate time to introduce you to ‘The Naughty Niki’, this season’s house cocktail. Sci-fi fans have also been known to call it The Red Dwarf.
It’s a G&T pimped-up with strawberry pulp, pomegranate juice and a wedge of lime that makes for a tincture of substantially moreish finesse. The trophy wife suggested it was possibly rude to have dived into one before the sun was over the yardarm – but with pressures of publication deadline looming what other choice has a blogster got! Sharpened the appetite perfectly too. Sadly the measure is not quite as big as it looks in the photo, being foreshortened by Android camera.
QUICK FIX TUESDAY
Mission Kayak successful. Actually, as anybody who has ever tried it knows it’s ridiculously simple. ‘Any tips?’ I asked the guy at the waterfront desk. ‘Left paddle in, left paddle out, right paddle in, right paddle out, repeat,’ he told me wisely. If only all things in life were that straightforward I could soon be advising Theresa May on how to structure Brexit, something the local Greeks seem rather blithe about.
I paddled the length of the bay checking out the other waterfront Tavernas. There’s a wonderful looking place with blue painted chairs and red and white gingham table cloths where you can eat right on the water’s edge. Didn’t go last night as there was a ‘social’ BBQ at our beach club with swordfish, chicken, pork mega-chops and salads a-go-go. But the trophy wife has staked her claim to go there this evening. Who says romance is dead?
All that paddling, and the taste of salt-water, makes a chap incredibly thirsty of course. Luckily Elias the barman has a quick fix for that by taking a frosted glass from the freezer and filling it with a cold foaming beer called Fix. To my mind better even than the Mythos, so from now on a Quick Fix will be the order of the day.
Overall seriously impressed by the Taverna and standard of the catering. For a small kitchen the menu is quite extensive with a classic selection of Greek nibbles and local specialities – tried the Kolokithokeftedes, courgette balls served with the ubiquitous tzatziki, and Melitzanosalata which is a roasted aubergine dip, along with Kalamari and just about the biggest Greek salad you ever did see.
The word Kalamari is almost homophonic to the word Kalimera – which has led several of the company here to make whatever Greek for a faux pas is at breakfast time. Kalimera means good morning, Kalamari means squid. Squid, lovely though it is in all its tentacular glory, is not often something the Greeks start the day with.
Apparently staff serving at the breakfast buffet have become used to being offered an early morning salutation of ‘Squid!’ and smile sweetly in response without rushing to the deep fryer to oblige. Then again I’m very partial to a Sunday morning breakfast kipper – could this be an acceptable substitute?
Off now to demonstrate my new-found translucent water paddling skills to the trophy wife in a double kayak, she regally sitting up front like Cleopatra as I provide the muscle from behind. Then another languid lunch. The trophy wife is angling for a Stiffado – and what’s not to like about that?
We arrived well after dark with a sensible o’clock flight timing that obviated early morning trauma. As the plane came into land at Preveza we could see the lights strung along the shoreline like fireflies. Gatwick can obviously learn a lot from Greek baggage handlers and within an hour or so of landing we were rolling our cases into the grounds of Nikiana.
Let me ‘fess up right at the start. I love old school Greek islands. 5 star luxury may have its place, but in Greece I want little more than the sand between my toes, a comfy bed with a shower and loo en suite, and a bar that stays open until the last guest has had the last drink of the night.
Such delight to discover that the bar acts as a front for a taverna that was able to produce a bowl of fall-apart stewed beef for me, a plate of green beans and potatoes for the trophy wife, cold beer and a carafe of local red wine that might not win many Parker Points but which perfectly complemented the meal. This was the sort of Greece I remembered from student island hopping days when Jimi Hendrix was top of the charts and Joni Mitchell sang ‘The wind is in from Africa…’ about Crete.
Major learning points from Sunday night – the barman is called Elias, and the draught beer is called Mythos. Looking forward to a Mythosophical Monday.
Monday breakfast was an interesting combination. Thick Greek yoghurt with honey and fresh watermelon at one end of the buffet, scrambled eggs, bacon and baked beans the other. Thought it would be rude not to try both – bacon excellent.
Welcome meeting at 9.30 courtesy of Joe the manager. All very relaxed but with a wonderful focus on ‘being green’ – so try not to use too much plastic, don’t leave the tap turned on as water is a valuable resource, generally sail power is better than engine power. Lots of head nodding from the assembled company.
Then the waterfront briefing from Robbie. As he’s Scottish I wonder if it should be Rabbie. Major safety talk after a description of a myriad of sailing and water activities. Not planning to sail (may kayak and SUP (stand up paddle board) a bit but feel we’re all in very safe hands.
Lots to do but started at the shop stocking the fridge in the en suite kitchenette with water, fruit, snacks, beer and retsina. Sorted – whatever the Greek is for Rock and Roll me and the trophy wife are jumping to jive.
Read More About The Beach Club Here
JOIN US IN SOUTHAMPTON
As ever, we will be attending the Southampton Boat Show and we will be delighted to see you all and to have a chat!
If you’d like to join us at stand J040, then here’s how to get in FOR 40% LESS, CLICK THIS LINK.
We’ll see you there!
At every boat show, we are asked what we can propose as a flotilla holiday for those that don’t like to fly. Our Cote D’Azur flotilla on the South of France is the answer with a range of travel options available for the non- flyer.
This is our second year in this area and whilst still not quite as well known as our flotillas in Greece and Croatia, we are having a good season and receiving some really good feedback from guests.
The area is of course stunningly beautiful with some great natural attractions such as the Callanques coastal national park and the idyllic offshore islands of Porquerolles and Port Cros, but also lovely harbour towns and villages offering fabulous food and good facilities all along this coast.
For those that prefer to fly, there is an excellent choice of flights from around the UK to Marseille Toulon and Nice, all within easy reach of our base, but what are the options for non- flyers ?
Self Drive – Combining a flotilla holiday with a driving holiday through France certainly has its attractions. The road network is excellent and one is spoilt for choice on routings and attractions on the way. Whether visiting the sights in historic cities as you travel through the country, a change of scenery with a visit to the Alps or sampling the delights of one of the many coastal resorts with a hotel or villa stay, there is something for everyone. In a straght line, you can drive the distance in a day, but if you are exploring, you can take as long as you like.
TGV – France boasts arguably the best rail network in Europe and their iconic TGV high speed trains are a safe, comfortable and efficient way to reach your destination.
Boarding Eurostar at St Pancras at 09:22 on a Saturday morning, you can be in Toulon, just across the bay from our base by 18:16 on the same day. This does involve changing stations in Paris, between Gare Du Nord where Eurostar terminates and Gare De Lyon to board the TGV . This can be either by taxi or by using the Metro. This was enough of an incentive for some of our clients to use this as an excuse to spend a day or two in Paris either on the way out or on the way back. However, even as a straight journey, it can be a reasonable comparison to a flight when one factors in travel time to airports, check in, clearing security and so on, all of which are simpler and quicker by train.
From Toulon’s station, it is a ten minute walk or two minute taxi ride to the port and ferry pier for the short ride across the bay to Les Sablettes with the pier being just 350 metres from our base at Port Pin Rolland.
Whether you favour the self drive touring option or you are a rail enthusiast, both options work really well and are the perfect addition to your week or two on flotilla with Seafarer in the Med.
We still have some availability this summer and some great special offers, so if travelling without taking to the air is your choice, give us a call and we will be happy to guide you through the options.
Our instructors come from varying different backgrounds and we thought it would be nice to share their paths towards the role they currently work in for Seafarer. For those who would like to become RYA Instructors there are a number of ways into the industry and we are happy to help advise anyone looking into this. We also run 6 Week Sailing or Windsurfing Instructor Courses through Seafarer Academy. So sit back and have a little read about how we all got where we are.
Name - Joe Snowdon
Current Role – Nikiana Beach Club Resort Manager
Instructor Qualifications – RYA Dinghy Senior Instructor, Advanced Instructor, Multihull Instructor, RYA Windsurf Instructor, RYA Powerboat Instructor
“I was lucky enough to start sailing at the age of 8 when I was thrust into the front of a Mirror Dinghy on a very wavy and cold April day in Sidmouth, Devon, somehow I loved it and I raced Mirrors for a number of years before progressing onto Laser 2s and Scorpions. It was during this time I started teaching, first just helping out with ‘beginners evenings’ at my local club before becoming an Assistant Instructor at Spinnakers Sailing School in Exmouth.
Needless to say I loved teaching and became a Dinghy Instructor as soon as I turned 16, teaching through a couple of wonderful summers in Exmouth before a summer job in an American Summer camp tempted me to the other side of the pond. This was great fun but not really proper teaching (no boat had a tiller extension) so I spent the next two sun drenched summers working for Neilson in Halkidiki, Greece where I met some great friends, probably drank way to much and learnt how to Windsurf.
University brought me back to the UK studying Industrial Design at Brunel in West London but I found myself Team Racing regularly and learning how to sail a RS800. During the summers I worked at Datchet Water Sailing Club and following Graduation I worked there for 3 seasons as Training Manager before doing another 3 seasons for Mark Warner in Kos, Greece and Bodrum, Turkey, the first as a Senior Instructor and the other 2 as Waterfront Manager.
This will be my second year in my current role and unfortunately I don’t get to teach as much as i’d like but I’ll be teaching any RYA Performance Courses in our wide range of Performance Boats along with hopefully getting in plenty of racing and windsurfing”.
Name - George Nounesis
Current Role – Ionian Sailing School Senior Instructor
Instructor Qualifications – RYA Cruising Instructor, Commercially Endorsed Yachtmaster
“I started sailing in 1999 in Greece and ever since I haven’t stopped learning. I realised that sailing is not just a boat in the water going from place to place, it is much more. If you want to be a good skipper you must be a sailor, an engineer, a navigator, an electrician, a meteorologist and you have to develop knowledge and skills to a level that every passage will be safe and pleasant. Sailing is my passion, sailing is what I love to do that’s why I am trying to improve my knowledge and my skills every day. I was fascinated by the RYA teaching methods and I found out that my way of thinking suits to these methods, so a few years ago I decided to be an instructor. As an RYA cruising instructor, I am trying to pass my knowledge my experience and my passion to every student through the RYA courses.
Every day is a school day !!!
See you soon”
Name - Amy Graydon
Current Role – Nikiana Beach Club Yacht Instructor
Instructor Qualifications – RYA Dinghy Senior Instructor, Multihull Instructor, RYA Cruising Instructor, Commercially Endorsed Yachtmaster, RYA First Aid Instructor
“I started sailing at the age of 10 when my family started going on slightly more adventurous holidays than our traditional camping. My dad had sailed when he was younger and he saw this as an opportunity to get my brother and I into the sport as well. We were lucky being the only kids in kids club and so got pretty focused tuition on the boats. From then I was hooked and upon our return home we found a local club and started sailing every weekend, first in a Mirror dinghy and then I progressed on to Topper then Lasers, occasionally jumping in to race with my dad in his Laser 2000.
As I approached the age of 17 I’d done various bits and pieces of assistant teaching voluntarily at my club and decided to sit my Dinghy Instructor at Cumbrae in Scotland. It was a riotous course and the instructors knew how to make the lessons fun. Since that first jaunt out in Greece those 7 years ago I’d known I wanted to get a job instructing for a gap year before university so the second applications opened for summer positions I was all over it.
Fast forward a year and the day after my final exam at high school I was hopping on a plane to Halkidiki and since then I’ve never looked back! The sun, sea and sand made it for me. The fact that I was able to teach in shorts and a t-shirt instead of thick wetsuits was nothing short of a dream. In the end I never went to university, my savings and ambitions switched over to focus on widening my instructor quiver.
Last year, after teaching dinghy sailing for 7 years I decided a sight chance was in order and, using my yachting experience I’d managed to gather over time off on seasons and the occasional (absolutely freezing!) winter, I went through my Yachtmaster Offshore training followed by my Cruising Instructor qualification. Now I’m gearing up to start my first season teaching on bigger boats and at no point do I wish I’d spent money on anything else!”
Name - George Hodgkison
2016 Role – Dinghy Instructor
Instructor Qualifications – RYA Dinghy Instructor
“I first began sailing on a friend’s yacht in the solent. These were Sunday winter mornings, and the competitive environment and cold weather was brutal yet thrilling. As a result, I became a big fan of the sport.
From there, I had a large change of scene and went on a family sailing holiday in Greece. The warm winds and water opened my eyes to how sailing could be a fun, relaxing pastime as well as a serious competitive sport. As well as a change in surroundings, the holiday taught me the methods and ways of dinghy sailing – vastly different to yachts.
I continued with dinghy sailing for quite a while, joining a sailing club in Southampton and going on occasional sailing holidays to the (much warmer) Mediterranean. Just before I started University however, I decided I wanted to get my Day Skipper qualification, and so spent a week doing that in Greece, which bought back my love for yachts.
In my first summer of university I had plenty of time in my hands and so decided to join the Instructor Academy at a holiday resort I had been to with my family a few years before – Nikiana. I spent 5 weeks here having an absolutely fantastic time; we had a great course instructor and learned so much over the intensive 5 weeks. In the final week, external assessors came to judge our sailing and instructing abilities, which was a bit nerve-wracking but very informative and instructive.
I used my new instructor qualification to return to Nikiana the following two summers. Both were great seasons, and the different approaches to running the resort in the consecutive years meant I got the chance to improve my methods and improve my sailing! I recommend the course to anyone that wants an expansive, fun experience and wants to learn how to teach”.
Name - Becky Law
Current Role – Ionian Sailing School Cruising Instructor
Instructor Qualifications – RYA Cruising Instructor, Commercially Endorsed Yachtmaster, RYA Dinghy Instructor, Multihull Instructor
“I have sailed for as long as I can remember. I was only a few months old the first time I was rowed out to my parents Cornish Shrimper in a baby car seat. My Dad built my first dinghy when I was 5 and taught me and my sister how to sail in Poole harbour. I spent many weekends racing ABs then Cadets and later Laser 4.7s including taking part in national championships. We were lucky to have RYA training courses at my sailing club – one with Ben Ainslie and and Shirley Robertson! We enjoyed learning getting our log books signed off. During the summer holidays my family would often sail around the French coast on a 25ft yacht. My first experience of Greece was a flotilla holiday when I was 10 where I remember lots of swimming and cheese pies!
It was when I went to University that I really started teaching others. The University of Surrey had a very social sailing team but did not have a lot of experienced sailors. I helped to teach new members when they joined the club. We were involved in dinghy racing and yacht racing and I found that I had a lot of useful information to pass on. We didn’t always do that well in competitions but we always had fun!
In 2011 I took my Dinghy Instructor and then Multihull Instructor qualifications and taught at Datchet Water Sailing Club on weekends alongside my ‘proper’ job. In 2012 I had a couple of friends working in the Ionian who kept sending me annoying pictures of how much fun they were having and whilst on holiday to visit them I got offered my first job as a Yacht Trainer with Neilson. One month later I was back in Greece and teaching guests how to sail. I then spent a year working on flotilla before completing my RYA Yachtmaster Offshore in the Solent in 2014. That year I was mostly doing skippered charters which involved a lot of unofficial teaching so the next logical step was to do the Cruising Instructor in a very cold March 2015. Since that point I have been doing a combination of courses and skippered charters around the Ionian so this year will be my seventh season there.
I feel that I was very lucky to have been able to sail from a very young age. I am glad that I can now pass this information and experience on to others who did not have the same opportunities as I did in what I think is one of the most beautiful locations for learning to sail”.
Seafarer Holidays AWARDED FEEFO TRUSTED SERVICE AWARD 2018
February 2018, Seafarer Holidays has won the Feefo Trusted Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers.
Created by Feefo, Trusted Service is awarded only to those businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine ratings and reviews. Those that meet the high standard, based on the number of reviews they have collected, and their average rating, are awarded. A badge of honour, this accreditation remains unique, as it is based purely on the interactions with verified customers. As all reviews are verified as genuine, the accreditation is a true reflection of a business’ commitment to outstanding service.
Seafarer Holidays met the criteria of collecting at least 50 reviews between January 1st 2017 and December 31st 2017, with a Feefo service rating of between 4.0 and 4.4.
Chris Lorenzo, Seafarer Holidays commented: “It’s a real honour to receive this award from Feefo. To be recognised for delivering exceptional experiences to our customers is a great achievement. We’ve been working hard to ensure our customers receive the best service possible, and being able to listen, understand and respond to their needs has enabled us to improve our offering in 2017. We’re looking forward to another successful year ahead.”
Speaking on this year’s award, Andrew Mabbutt, CEO at Feefo, commented: ‘The Trusted Service award has always been about recognising those companies that go the extra mile. Once again, we have seen many incredible businesses using Feefo to its full potential, to provide truly memorable experiences for their customers – and rightly being awarded with our most prestigious accreditation. I look forward to the continual success of the businesses that work in partnership with Feefo throughout 2018.’.
Is Sailing for me?
As many of you are aware, Seafarer regularly exhibits at the London and Southampton Boat Shows, and whilst it is predominantly the stomping ground for those who have an existing interest in sailing or boating of some kind, it also attracts those who are curious about our sport and are keen to find out more.
We often get asked questions about sailing – “Is this for everyone?” or “So, what experience would I need to charter one of your yachts in the Mediterranean?”, amongst others. Many people have seen the freedom of Flotilla and Bareboat Holidays while abroad and wondered how they can do these themselves.
So I guess the first thing to establish is whether you are actually going to enjoy being on a sailing yacht, and of course all the words in the world can’t replace a bit of experience. Luckily, at Seafarer we have a number of ways that one could enjoy a fantastic holiday in the sun and answer that initial question for themselves. One option would be to join one of our Cabin Charter yachts in the Ionian or the Cyclades, enjoying a week’s cruise on a 50 foot sailing yacht, crewed by a professional skipper and 1st mate, who would be responsible for looking after the yacht and the guests on board. This is an opportunity to see the islands of Greece, and to whet your appetite for sailing – this is no Gulet cruise in Turkey, we sail every day! Alternatively, you could choose to enjoy a relaxing week at our Beach Club in Nikiana, Greece, which, as well as including all the watersports you could want: Dinghy Sailing, Windsurfing, SUPing & Kayaking, you could also take a 2 day RYA Start Yachting course, an ideal way to dip your toe in the water (quite literally!) to see if yachting is for you.
RYA Cruising Courses
As an RYA training centre, we are, of course, huge advocates of the RYA training system, and we believe that the quality of training provided by RYA centres in general rivals the best maritime training worldwide. If you enjoyed your initial taste of yachting in the Mediterranean, then it makes sense to consider the Mediterranean as your training ground also. For those with very little or no practical sailing experience, we would always recommend the RYA Competent Crew course – this is conducted over a one week period aboard a fully safety coded training yacht and will teach you all the skills required to become an active crew member, experience life on board and really get to know the boat.
At this point, you will have some experience under your belt, and you will have had a great holiday at the same time. The next stage, for those who wish to progress, is to consider a RYA shore based theory course to while away those bleak cold winter evenings…and to set you up with the theoretical knowledge to compliment your existing practical skills in preparation for the next step. Following the RYA Competent Crew we also recommend getting some practice in different waters and conditions. Numerous Sailing Schools around Britain run weekend trips with an instructor onboard making this the ideal way to improve your sailing and will be ideal for the next stage, RYA Day Skipper.
Again, if your likely sailing is to be predominantly in the Mediterranean, a “blue water” cruising ground would be a great choice – you’ll get all the practical skills offered in the UK, with the addition of the crucial “stern-to” or Mediterranean style mooring – the essential skill that will be put into practise every day in Greece, Croatia, France or indeed the majority of holiday cruising destinations.
The great thing about a course with Seafarer Training is that our tuition yachts generally follow our flotilla routes, which gives you a chance to partake in the social side of Flotilla sailing and to experience first hand the considerable benefits of having a professional flotilla crew on call to take the guesswork out of your first sailing holidays. Once you have your practical RYA Day Skipper course under your belt then the world is your oyster – join a Seafarer Flotilla in one of our less challenging sailing areas, or go Bareboat if the sense of adventure takes you. Either way, our experienced team are on hand to offer you the best suggestions to make your sailing dream a reality.