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Water Rats

MAYDAY M’AIDEZ – Charity Gig in Aid of War Refugees

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SEAFARER ORGANISES CHARITY CONCERT AT FAMOUS LONDON VENUE THE WATER RATS

Save the date for your diary, Sunday 1st of May 19:00 – 23:00, for our ‘MAYDAY M’AIDEZ charity concert at the iconic London music venue and theatre bar THE WATER RATS.

Located in the heart the city at 328 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8BZ, and close to Kings Cross St Pancras, the Water Rats has previously hosted Bob Dylan and The Pogues amongst other big names. In addition to the live venue, there is a decent bar-restaurant upfront, so there’s everything you need for a great night out.

Water Rats London Concert for war refugees

The event is being organised by Chris Lorenzo with help from the team at Seafarer head office, with the aim of raising money for war refugees from Ukraine and beyond. The proceeds from the event will be matched by Seafarer and the funds raised will be donated via DEC’s Refugee Crisis Appeal.

Those of us from the head office team that are not currently abroad aim to be there on the night, so we look forward to seeing some familiar faces and putting a face to some familiar voices.

See below for details and social media links to all the musicians who have volunteered to perform on the night.

MAYDAY M'AIDEZ
CHARITY CONCERT LINEUP

Chartiy concert at Water Rats London

Irish singer-songwriter. FacebookInstagram & Youtube

Chartiy concert at Water Rats London

Five-piece Nu-Ska Rock and Reggae recording artists. Facebook & Youtube

Chartiy concert at Water Rats London

Indie Folk band. Instagram

Chartiy concert at Water Rats London

Solo artist and composer. Facebook & Bandcamp

Chartiy concert at Water Rats London

Classic 4-piece rock band. FacebookInstagram & Youtube

Tickets are £10 on the door (concessions available) or you can purchase in advance through the link below. If you can’t make the concert, (or even if you can, but are feeling extra generous) feel free to donate on the link below.

We guarantee a great night out and hope to see you there on Mayday.

ALL PROCEEDS TO THE DISASTERS EMERGENCY COMMITTEE REFUGEE APPEAL

Charity Gig
seafarer flotilla sailing through Corinth canal

Reopening the Corinth Canal

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Iconic piece of Greek navigation set to open in July 2022

The Corinth Canal closure at the beginning of 2021 after extensive landslides was another unexpected headache after our inaugural season with our Corinth Canal flotilla in the middle of the Pandemic. Thankfully, the flotilla has proved popular since the area is a true delight.

Initially, the closure was envisaged to be temporary and it was hoped that the canal would open in time for the 2021 summer season. However, repeated landslides and the subsequent investigations by the engineers quickly established that the issue was far more serious than originally thought and a more detailed study was commissioned so as to ensure that repair works would yield a permanent solution. The landslides dumped some 20,000 cubic metres of material into the water, blocking the canal. The study took many months, with hundreds of investigative probes and boreholes, followed by further analysis before an action plan and budget could be finalised. The authorities then had to find the money (not an easy task in Greece in 2022) and award the contract to the right contractor.

The conclusion was that the works are being carried out in phases so as to enable re-opening of the canal for the tourist season. Works are now on track to open in July and close again at the end of October so that round two of the reconstruction works can proceed over the winter.

Seafarer Flotilla transting corinth canal

History

Contrary to what many assume, the Corinth canal is a relatively modern one (in Greek terms) having been completed in 1893. The idea was first conceived in 700 BC by the Ancient Greeks, so arguably the most delayed public works project ever! The reality is that the project was abandoned several times due to the high cost and technical difficulties (nothing like HS2 at all) since cutting through over 6km of solid limestone was no easy task in 700 BC. A subsequent attempt during Roman times, had 6000 slaves with shovels managing just 0.8 km in over a year, so the project was yet again abandoned.

The ancient solution was an overland stone road over which ships were hauled on logs. It was called the ‘Diolkos’ and sections of it can still be seen today next to the canal (Perhaps this is a  solution we should have considered for the flotilla ……). The eventual solution to build the canal was a public-private partnership with a French company in the 1880s which….you guessed it …..went bust. Finally, a Greek company financed by the longsuffering  Greek taxpayer (yes, he or she does exist…), managed to finish the project which opened on 25th July 1893.

History of corinth canal

Modern Day

After all that, modern shipping is now too big to use the canal which is only 21.4 metres wide, but it is still important for smaller and mid-sized cruise ships, coasters and of course yachts, with around 12,000 vessels transiting the canal in a normal year.

The 6.4 kilometre canal with its spectacular limestone cliffs will once again be a welcome highlight from July for our Saronic Gulf flotilla, where guests will have the option of transiting the canal and exploring the Gulf of Corinth towards the end of the week on our Salamis route which operates every second week. Guests on one-week holidays on the southbound Poros route will find the canal probably too far during their free sailing time, but we will be offering an optional boat trip through the canal for those that are interested.

2 yachts in corinth canal

If you have not yet booked your summer holiday our Saronic Gulf & Corinth Canal flotilla is an excellent choice with great sailing, lots to see and do, plus new for 2022, our kids club during school holidays.

We are delighted to announce that we have recently received the FEEFO Gold Trusted Service Award. Granted by the independent review platform FEEFO, this is a recognition of exceptional service and quality delivered by Seafarer, as rated by real customers.

We have received the Gold Trusted Service Award

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FEEFO Gold Trusted Service Award

We are delighted to announce that we have recently received the FEEFO  Gold Trusted  Service Award.  Granted by the independent review platform  FEEFO, this is a recognition of exceptional service and quality delivered by Seafarer, as rated by real customers.

FEEFO Gold Trusted Service Award

Seafarer has subscribed to this independent review site and given our guests the opportunity to publicly express their views on our product and service for over 4 years and this is the third time we have received this award over that period.
The criteria for the award relates to the number of reviews scoring a 5-star excellent rating as a proportion of the total.

We are proud to have won this award for a third time and I take this opportunity to thank the Seafarer team for their hard work and dedication and of course to thank our guests for taking the time to submit their reviews and for rating us so highly.

This is all the motivation we need to renew our commitment to service and quality as we look forward to the 2022 summer season

Chris Lorenzo
Managing Director

We are delighted to announce that we have recently received the FEEFO Gold Trusted Service Award. Granted by the independent review platform FEEFO, this is a recognition of exceptional service and quality delivered by Seafarer, as rated by real customers.
Seafarer yachts sunset

2022 Online Brochure

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Exciting Sailing Holidays in 2022 and beyond

It is no longer the case of new year, new printed brochure and for 2022 we’ve taken the decision to go digital. Not only is this better for the environment (fewer trees cut down) but it also allows a deeper reading experience with links and bookmarks to go into more detail on all of our wonderful holidays and courses. You can view it online or download it with the links below and enjoy some of the wonderful photography from our 2021 photo competition.

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Thailand Flotilla

Our inaugural Thailand flotilla – Revisited

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Revisiting the first week of our flotilla, sailing from Phuket

2 years on from my first visit to Thailand, the memories of my time there are still as fresh as if yesterday….read on for a first-hand account of our inaugural flotilla in this enchanting country, back in January 2020…

It is 0430 UK time on a cold January Sunday in England, and I am wide awake, having travelled back less than 24 hours ago. My mind is full of the images, tastes and sounds of my trip to Thailand to join our new flotilla for the first week. My eagerness to write some of my thoughts down hopefully gives you an idea of the impression I have been left with after my first visit to this amazing country.

Day 1 - Phuket Yacht Haven

I arrived in Phuket airport after 2 six hour flights, via Doha in the middle east. I flew with Qatar airways, and the interconnection was hassle free, a welcome chance to stretch ones legs. Arriving in Phuket, the 35 degree heat envelopes you immediately, and reminds you of how far you have come. It’s not oppressive, just warming.

Jumping in a cab I headed for our base, Phuket Yacht Haven Marina, only 20 minutes away. Turning into the marina entrance, you pass palm and rubber tree plantations before emerging at the water’s edge, 2 minutes from the pontoons. The Deck (the marina bar and restaurant) is a typically swish marina spot overlooking the yachts, happily missing the one marina aspect we can live without, the prices – a Pad Thai and a cold beer will cost you around 250 bhat (around £6.50) – and that’s expensive for Thai standards. Once you settle in, walk 5 minutes to the north to the Living Room or Papa Mama (both rustic spots on the shore) and the prices tumble.

Day 2 - Phuket Yacht Haven to Koh Hong

After a beautiful sunrise, we strolled to the Living room restaurant for a main briefing and breakfast before setting off for the day. We are in tidal (and often shallow) waters here, so more focus on sailing and navigating than the mooring techniques. Getting out into the open water and the 10 knots of breeze means sails up and trimmed (yes, even on the lead yacht!) and away we went – down the river, leaving most of civilisation behind us. Hong is Thai for “room” and Koh Hong gives our first taste of what this means in these islands – the iconic columns of granite, with often a hollow centre. We anchor in 5 metres close to Koh Hong and its time for a punch party – with a difference. We dinghy into a cave (no engines, so as not to startle the bats) and emerge into an inland lagoon. No going ashore, so a raft with all the tenders is our venue, utterly stunning and completely to our selves now the day trip boats have gone. Its breathtaking and blows everyone away. Best punch party venue ever. Fact.

Day 3 - Koh Hong to Chong Koh Yao

After a morning swim (as you do), we head out – all together, as the channels north get shallower. First stop is Koh Phing Kan, better known as James Bond Island, the setting for “The Man with the Golden Gun” – its full of tourist boats during the day, but we get as close as we can – one to tick off the bucket list. Navigating east across the shallows, we all go our separate ways, some heading off for a sail, some to explore the smaller islands and hongs along the way. We head to another Hong – Koh Roi and venture into this one on foot, across pure white sands. Inside is a sensory overload – the sounds of the birds only drowned out by the resting chirps of the thousands of fruit bats roosting in the mangroves….its paradise. After an hour taking it all in we weigh anchor and head down to our overnight stop on the south of Koh Yao Noi. A floating village of fishermen watch as we tender ashore and, after politely declining the offer of a taxi, we stroll the 2km to the aptly named Good View restaurant. This isn’t a touristic island, and the stroll passes the locals going about their day – mending boats, doing their washing, skipping home from school, all with mangoes, bananas, limes and pineapples growing by the side of the road. As a foodie, this really starts my journey, with a chilli soft shelled crab and pineapple rice ending off a perfect day.

Day 4 - Koh Yao Noi to Rai Lei Beach

Another day, another Hong….this one is also Koh Hong, but this is the Krabi one (the larger town on the mainland to the east). This one is navigable at high(ish) tide, and once inside, this is a huge lagoon, around knee depth, bordered with mangroves and white sandy beaches. We have a cracking 20 knots of breeze for a sail, but you wouldn’t know, being completely surrounded by the sheer granite cliffs. Out we go, and off we sail, getting a healthy 8.2 knots from our trusty Bavaria 36, on a close reach down to Rai Lei, and civilisation, backpacker style. Rai Lei is busy, the longtail boats buzzing past, carrying those less fortunate than us yachties.

Ashore is lively, will loads of bars and restaurants to cater for the largely bohemian crowd. Grab an ice cold beer, relax and maybe get a bamboo tattoo whilst you chill…hey, when in Rome….

Day 5 - Rai Lei Beach to....somewhere on Koh Pu

We were recommended by our incredibly knowledgeable colleague in base to get to Koh Pu – its how Phi Phi Don was 20 years ago, she said……she was right. This is off-grid, relaxed beach life at its best. You’re not getting the co-ordinates from me…..we will tell you when you get there! (anyone remember “The Beach”?) This is a place to die for. My heart rate went down 50% when I stepped ashore. A couple of little restaurants, an amazing waiter who (with almost no convincing) had me order the freshly caught Barracuda with red curry sauce – I would happily see out my days on that dish alone. There are beach bungalows available for rent…..definitely the next holiday for my family is sorted – the image of my boys playing on the unspoilt white sand has to become reality.

Day 6 - Koh Pu to Koh Phi Phi Don

Today is the day. We all (very reluctantly) leave Koh Pu and head west, to probably the most famous islands in Thailand, Koh Phi Phi Lei, and Koh Phi Phi Don. Phi Phi Lei has been made world famous as the location for the film “The Beach” – its a shame old Leo wasn’t a yachtie, because the week has already given us more serene breathtaking places. Thankfully for the island, Maya beach is now off limits to tourists – but you can get close enough for a decent photo. It is beautiful, and the steps taken by the locals to stop the hordes has paid off – the coral reef is recovering, the sea life is back.

After some photos, and to imagine what it would be like without the longtails, day tripper boats and the speed boats, its time to head north, and into the vortex. Koh Phi Phi Don is insane…..but insane enough to make it still a worthwhile place to stop. Parties on the beach, fireworks, fire jugglers, madness everywhere…..go exploring the back streets and see just how far the rabbit hole goes…..

Day 7 - Koh Phi Phi Don to Phuket Yacht Haven

Our final day. The wind gods see fit to provide 20 knots from the east, and the 30 plus miles back to base gurgle past under sail alone, a glorious beam reach to take us back and remind us that this can’t be the last time to sail here.

We refuel back at base, a relaxed and simple affair, as everything has been. Back on the quay its time for a posh shower, to sit down, order a cold one and process the sights and sounds of this enchanting place.

Farewell to the Land of Smiles

There are many things that contribute to a perfect holiday. Thailand is, without a doubt, one of the most enchanting places I have ever visited, and one of the best places I have ever sailed. The scenery is stunning, the food is amazing, the people are the warmest, friendliest hosts and the culture is fascinating.

Thailand has a well deserved reputation as being known as the Land of Smiles. I can see why. Find the time, find the means and come sailing with us in Thailand. If you enjoy it as I did, you won’t be able to stop yourself smiling…..I know I can’t.

John Connolly
Product Manager

For more information or availability, you are welcome to call one of our sales consultants on 0208 324 3118. If you’d like to hear more about the day to day of boat life in Thailand, I am happy to talk. Your only issue will be getting me to stop….JC

Thailand Flotilla

Thailand Flotilla – 2023 Now on Sale!

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Sailing a tropical paradise

Departures every 10 days from the 21st January

We are pleased to announce that our Thailand flotilla will be back for 2023, and we will be running a longer season, in anticipation of high demand for winter sailing next year.

Running from the 21st January up to the end of March, our Thailand flotilla explores the Phang Na bay on the sheltered east coast of Phuket, from James Bond Island in the north to Koh Lanta in the south with the famous Phi Phi Islands between. Our flotilla started there in January 2020, and we enjoyed a great first season…right up to the pandemic…for obvious reason it’s been tricky since, but with travel opening up globally, we are determined to make this flotilla the success it promised to be.

The area offers some great sailing, amazing coastal scenery, fascinating local culture and delicious local cuisine.  This is a 10 night flotilla which gives the opportunity for  sail & stay combinations in Phuket, Bangkok and beyond. We offer a fleet of monohulls and catamarans as well  cabin charter, sailing Thailand’s wonderful warm waters.

Sail & Stay

The area offers limitless possibilities to go exploring or relax at a superb beach resort pre and post cruise  We offer options to extend your stay in a beach hotel in Phuket or take a connecting flight to Thailand’s exciting capital Bangkok for a couple of days before your return flight to the UK. There are also possibilities in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam.  Talk to one of our consultants who will be happy to assist you with a tailor made package.

The Weather

You can expect temperatures in the high 20’s to low 30’s c and plenty of sunshine. Winds are typically north easterly at this time of year and range between force 2 and maximum force 6.

Cruising level 2+

With some  moderate to brisk sailing winds, and moderate tides the area is best suited to those with reasonable previous experience. Most nights are at anchor with plenty of use of dinghy and outboard to get ashore.

Phuket is an Island located in the southwest of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and is considered as the centre of one of the world’s most beautiful sailing areas. The area boasts countless idyllic islands, secluded beaches and all in lush tropical surroundings. The spectacular Phang Nga Bay with its amazing limestone pinnacles made famous through the James Bond film, is just one among many iconic sights we will explore on this amazing trip.
The lead yacht will be a large one with en suite cabins, so for those that don’t want to charter an entire yacht, you can book by the cabin. The support and camaraderie you have come to expect on a Seafarer flotilla will be there with daily briefings and some group meals as well visits to points of interest.
The area features stunning anchorages suitable for overnight stays as there are very few harbours and marinas, whilst charming villages offer unique lunchtime stops. Many of the islands in this region are ringed with dazzling coral reefs so rich in marine life that you’ll be tempted to spend much of your time in the water rather than on it.
All in all it’s a great mix of natural beauty, history and culture plus some great sailing as the icing on the cake!

The Itinerary

Phuket

Arrivals and Departures. The journey from the airport will give you your first glimpse of the lush Thai vegetation, Buddhist temples, and picturesque villages.

Koh Hong

(17 nm) This amazing site is only accessible by tender through a cave leading you to a lake surrounded by 100m cliff. Hong island, considered to be amongst the most beautiful islands in the Krabi province. Exploring this fascinating island, where you’ll take in the stunning natural rock formations, including solitary limestone peaks both in the sea and on land. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the caves, which contain stalagmites and stalactites. Lunch at anchor.

Koh Yao Noi

(18 nm) Tonight we anchor in the bay on the south side of Koh Yao Noi. Eat onboard or alternatively take a 30 minute stroll along the main road from the pier to the sunset restaurant - take a local taxi back if you don't feel like walking!

Rai Lei Beach

(15 nm) Depart and sail north to see James Bond Island, then lunch in Koh Pak Bia. Overnight in Rai Lei Beach - plenty of lively bars and restaurants for a good night out.

Koh Pu

(20 nm) South we go to Koh Pu, very laid back with just a couple of restaurants on the long beautiful beach.

Koh Lanta, Bamboo Beach

(16 nm) South again to the beautiful island of Koh Lanta, we moor overnight in Hat Kan Tiang.

Free Sailing

A chance to spend a day on the beach, or a day sail down the coast of Koh Lanta, the choice is yours.

Phi Phi Don

(18 nm)Phi Phi Lei was made world famous as the location used for "The Beach". Phi Phi Don to the north, is wild and loud, but well worth a visit!

Koh Yao Yai

(17 nm) After the hustle and bustle of Phi Phi Don, today we head to a quieter, more traditional island.

Phuket Yacht Haven

(21 nm) Have lunch close to Koh Naka Yai before heading back to Phuket Yacht Haven

Phuket Yacht Haven

(9 nm) Disembark your yacht in Phuket and return to the airport or accommodtion if extending your stay.

Thailand Flotilla Prices - 2023

Prices per week (£)
YachtYearCabins / sh/WC21st Jan - 4th March15th - 25th March
Monohull10 Days10 Days
Bavaria 3420082/1£3,126£2,837
Hanse 38520133/2£4,670£4,406
Bavaria 3920063/2£4,120£3,940
Bavaria 4520184/3£6,283£5,903
Catamaran
Mahe 3620133/1£5,622£5,151
Island Spirit 38020174/2£6,283£5,903
Island Spirit 41020194/2£8,513£7,563

Rates include: Welcome pack, welcome punch party, beach party  bed linen & towels, dinghy & outboard, mooring at base on first and last night,

Service of our lead crew, yacht end cleaning, all taxes.
Rates exclude: fuel, any mooring charges & water refills en route
Security Deposit: Monohulls Eur 3000,  catamarans Eur 4000

Sail and Stay Packages

Extra 3 nights Bangkok 5* hotel including transfers from £149pp

Extra 3 nights Phuket 5* hotel including transfers from £149pp

Extra 7 nights Phuket 5* hotel including transfers from £349pp

Flights & Transfers (via Bangkok) from £595    

Nisiros, volcano, seafarer, guests, tour

Spotlight on the Dodecanese Flotilla

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Fantastic Sailing where East Meets West

The Dodecanese Islands sit in the south east of the Aegean, just off the coast of South West Turkey. Due to their position, they have a fascinating history & culture with many interesting & beautiful places to visit. They are of course home to our Dodecanese Flotilla which sails from Kos Town on the island of the same name. In this blog we will look into more details about both the islands we visit and the history & culture of the area as a whole.

Street scenes in Kos town on the Greek Island of Kos

Kos

Kos, home base for our flotilla, is the 3rd largest island in the Dodecanese and is long and narrow with the capital, also called Kos on the North Eastern end. The island is mountainous with many fine beaches and other natural phenomena such as hot springs. Kos town is a busy hub with whitewashed buildings and the remains of layers of history such as the Asklepieion ruins, the Hospitalier castle, Ottoman mosques and bathhouses, and stately Italian buildings. Our base is in the modern marina which is a 15 minute walk from the centre.

diving for sponges on the Greek Island of Kalymnos

The North Route

Kalymnos

The mountainous island of Kalymnos sits to the north of Kos and is best known for its sponge diving. This has been a common occupation on the island for much of its history and many stories have been told about the courage of those who dive to great depths to retrieve these natural sea sponges.  The capital of the island is the town of Pothia which is located on a bay in the south of the island and in classic Dodecanese style has a Hospitalier castle overlooking the town along with museums related to sponge fishing and the naval history of the island.

Lipsi (Leipsoi)

Lipsi is a small group of islets around a larger main island all of stunning natural beauty with its craggy coastline occasionally interrupted with beautiful beaches. Lipsi is home to a larger marine conservation organisation studying the fascinating wildlife of the surrounding seas.

Cave of revelation on the Greek island of Patmos

Patmos

The island of Patmos is most known as the location where St John wrote the book of revelation, the final part of the New Testament. The caves where he received visions are accessible to visitors and just above this is the fortresslike monastery of St John the Theologian, a must see place for visitors. There is a small blue & white village around the monastery with the main port & capital of the island at the bottom of the hill in a protected bay.

Leros

Leros sits to the south of both Patmos & Lipsi with the main village being Agia Marina on the east side. An impressive castle with amazing views sits over both the capital and the stunning Pantelli bay (our normal flotilla stop), a traditional small Greek village surrounding a beautiful bay with deserted windmills at the top of the village. For the divers amongst you, Leros is noted for its numerous wrecks, ships, and aircraft from the 1943 battle for Leros. We can organise a wreck dive with our excellent local scuba diving partner.

Mandraki on the Greek Island of Nysiros

The South Route

Nysiros

The volcanic island of Nisyros is just South of the town of Kardamena (a flotilla stop) in Kos. The volcano that dominates the island is active (but not erupting) and has a number of large craters that are popular places to visit. The capital of Mandraki is a fantastic destination in itself with blue and white houses bordering a maze of tiny streets with wonderful surprises around every corner. Overlooking the village is the monastery, home of an important celebration in August where people with origins on Nisyros come back and fill the village with dancing and merriment.

Tilos

To the southeast of Kos & Nysiros is the small island of Tilos, far off the beaten track with fascinating geography & history. Various castles sit above the small villages and harbours having protected them from pirates since the dark ages. In 2018 Tilos was the first island in the Mediterranean to be powered entirely by wind and solar power.

Symi, greece, island, architecture, house, yacht

Symi

The colourful capital of this island (also called Symi) characterises this mountainous place just to the south of Turkeys Bozburun peninsula. Symi is known for its colourful Italian style houses terraced up from a beautiful bay, the renovation of which has won a number of international architecture awards. The island also boasts many isolated coves and 2 castles built by the Hospitallers. We suggest taking the 500-step meandering walk to the top where you will get a spectacular view of the island and the harbour and heading to the chapel of The Virgin Mary of the Castle, the highest point with the best views.

Ancient Ruins on the Greek Island of Kos

A Brief History of the Area

The Dodecanese started to emerge as a major power during ancient times and following the Greek defeat of the Persians in 478BC they flourished as a loose member of the Athenian Delian league with Rhodes being the main capital of the region. During this period, Kos emerged as an important economic and cultural centre with Hippocrates founding the first modern school of Medicine on the island. With the emergence of Macedonia, the islands were first conquered by Alexander the Great and then after his death became independent and allied with Ptolemaic Egypt to become a major eastern Mediterranean power, sitting on a number of important trade routes. To celebrate this power the Colossus of Rhodes was built which at the time was one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Rome took over the area in the 2nd & 1st centuries BC and in the 1st century AD the islands were visited by Saint Paul & St John who converted them to Christianity, one of the earliest areas to do so. With the split of the Roman empire in 395 AD the islands became part of the Byzantine empire where they stayed for hundreds of years, the most notable landmarks from this period are the numerous churches on all the islands. The waning power of the Byzantines meant the Italian city-states of Genoa & Venice started to take power mainly for trading opportunities. Certain islands were rented and sold to the Knights of St John (Knights Hospitaller) who built many castles, the biggest of which is the Palace of the Grand Master on Rhodes. Despite the impressive nature of these fortresses they finally fell to the Ottoman empire in 1522, marking the end of the medieval period in the Dodecanese.

The fortifed monestary on the Greek Island of Patmos

For the next 500 years, the Dodecanese enjoyed special status as part of the Ottoman empire and prospered due to its location on the crossroad of Mediterranean shipping. Many islanders joined the Greek War of Independence in the early 19th century but following the London Protocol of 1830, they stayed part of the Ottoman empire until the Turkish-Italian & First World Wars where they were annexed by the Italians. Much of the architecture comes from this period along with schools, aqueducts, and hospitals which were part of Mussolini’s plan to form a wider Aegean empire. With Italy’s fall in the second world war, the islands were briefly ruled by the British before being formally reunited with Greece in 1947. Since then the islands have become a core part of Greece and certain areas have become important tourist destinations.

Greek church on the island of Nysiros

Architecture

The buildings of the Dodecanese mirror the layers of history of these islands. Although maybe not as numerous as the area around Athens & the Peloponnese there are many ancient sites, especially on Kos & Rhodes. Moving forward in time the Byzantine era has been characterised by its many churches & monasteries, some with wonderful settings such as the Agios Isidoros church on Leros. For fans of the middle ages, most islands have at least one massive Hospitaler fortress which must have been a much nicer place for knights to spend time than the cold and grey castles of Northern Europe.

The most recent architectural additions have been Italian with islands such as Symi boasting a stunning array of colourful houses and Kos & Rhodes having larger civic buildings. Arguably the most wonderful layer is what we might think of as the ‘Greek Island’ style of blue and white houses and tiny streets interspersed with smaller churches of the same colours. Most smaller villages have a certain amount of this but the best examples must be Mandraki on Nysiros and Lindos on Rhodes.

Octopus drying on a Greek Island

Food & Drink

The food of the Dodecanese varies island by island but generally follows the trend of the small rocky seabound nature of these places. Seafood is, of course, a big part of the local cuisine with examples being ouzo dipped grilled Octopus, fried Symi shrimps, and grilled fish such as rozeti (a relative of the red mullet) which is held in very high esteem on Kos. Dried fish and shellfish are also an important part of the diet on Kalymnos, derived from sponge fishing days.

Moving away from the sea there are quite a number of recipes with locally made pasta that can change island by island but one ever-popular dish is made with caramelised onions. Various cheeses are popular with the most famous local one being from Kos. Chickpeas are also popular and there is a great chickpea soup along with fried chickpea patties. These are of course the foods from these set of islands but you will also find plenty of more common Greek dishes.

Yacht sailing on a harmony 34 in the Greek Islands

Sailing Conditions

Sailing conditions tend to be windiest from mid-June to mid-September when the hot weather prompts strong force 5 to 6 Meltemi winds from the north or northwest. Generally, the winds will pick up as the day progresses but much less so than other parts of Greece and you will often find a stiff breeze even first thing in the morning (depending on location).

Outside these times winds tend to be lighter and more varied in direction although you can get storms from the south at times. With larger gaps between islands and less protection, you can get a mild sea state although this is quite small compared to the amount of wind. We rank this flotilla a Level 3.

Sail & Stay

If you would like to combine your flotilla holiday with a week ashore one option is Kefalos Beach Club, a windsurfing mecca in the southwest of the island. This club combines flexible accommodation options with top-class windsurf equipment along with paddlesports and limited dinghy sailing. 

Although many of these islands can be fascinating to visit, the most interesting for a land based holiday would probably be Rhodes, the capital and biggest island, with many sites to visit and easy access.

Getting there & away

For UK guests there are direct flights to Kos from London, Manchester, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Nottingham. There are also numerous direct flights from mainland European cities. Kos airport is 30 minutes from the base with a number of transport options available.

For those looking to include the flotilla in a wider Aegean adventure, there are direct local ferries from Kos town to all the other nearby islands including Rhodes and Samos, along with overnight ferries to Athens and the Cyclades islands. Additionally, Bodrum in Turkey is just 6 miles away with daily ferry connections for a one-day visit or longer stay.

These islands are home to our Dodecanese Flotilla which runs from mid May to the end of October. Click on the link below for more information.

Family on yacht in the Greek Islands
Dinghy Show Alexandria Palace

Join Seafarer at the RYA Dinghy Show

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Meet us at Stand F54

26th/27th Feb, Farnborough International

It was 2 years ago at the RYA Dinghy Show where we were starting to fear the virus from Wuhan and how it might affect the coming season. Affect it it did and led to the Dinghy Show being held virtually in 2021 along with 2 seasons of travel disruption. Zoom forward to 2022 and were now looking forward to the relaunch of this classic show on the 26th & 27th of February in its new base of Farnborough International (home of the famous airshow of the same name). Not only will there be the usual enthusiasm of beautiful dinghies of all classes available to feast your eyes upon but for the first time joined by other excellent watersports such as windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and wingsurfing.

It’s always been a really great show which is perfect for those of all ages with loads on, a real celebration of our sport. The move to a larger venue will allow far more exhibitors and add even more to this already excellent show.

Seafarer stand at RYA Dinghy Show

Seafarer will be on Stand F54 with a few familiar faces to chat to about all things sailing.

If you would like 10% off tickets for the show click here and use the code RYAEX2292.

Show Timetable

Pre Show

17th February – Show Competition Opens

Saturday 26th February

10.00 – Show Opens

16.00 – Free Greek Drinks on the Stand

18.00 – Show Closes

Sunday 27th February

10.00 – Show Opens

15.30 – Free Greek Drinks on the Stand

16.00 – Facebook Live prizegiving from show competition and 2021 photo competition

17.00 – Show Closes

Walls of Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro – A Photo Essay

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A medieval walled town in a majestic setting

In December 2021 Joe passed through Montenegro on his way overland from Greece to the UK and ended up taking quite a number of photos of the beautiful town of Kotor. As this is a stop on the Dubrovnik Flotilla we decided to share some of these along with a bit of history and information on this amazing place.

Old church in Kotor, Montenegro

A small deserted church just below the summit of the castle

Overview

Kotor is located at the tip of the Bay of Kotor, often called a fjord but actually a ria (submerged river canyon), and is surrounded by imposing mountains and limestone cliffs. The town itself follows the edge of the bay and is centered around the walled old town with its Venetian walls and small windy streets. To top this off there is an imposing castle sitting just above the old town with walls stretching for 4.5km up the mountain. The town has a population of 13,500 people and is protected under two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Inside the old town of Kotor, montenegro

Views inside the old town

Santa in Kotor, Montenegro

A rather excellent Santa in a shop window

History

Originally a Roman town Kotor rose in importance as part of the Byzantine Empire in the early middle ages and this was when the first fortifications were built. While being conquered by first the Bulgarians and then the Serbians, the town kept a high degree of autonomy and acted as the main Adriatic port for the first the Kingdom of Serbia and later the Serbian Empire. A period of instability followed with Kotor eventually asking to come under the protection of the Republic of Venice, mainly for protection against the Ottoman empire who besieged the town in 1538 and 1657.

The walls, castle, and a lot of the architecture stem from this period which lasted until the French revolutionary wars of the late 18th Century where it was ceded to France after the fall of Venice. One notable event from the Napoleonic wars was the taking of the town by the British Royal Navy under Commodore Harper who managed to haul 18 pounder naval guns up to the castle of St John which forced the French to surrender.

Castle walls of St John in Kotor, Montenegro

The fortifications of St John stretching up the hill

With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the whole area became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was home to the Fifth Fleet of the Austrian Navy. Despite this Kotor (at this point called Cattaro) saw some of the fiercest battles between local Montenegrins and the occupying forces and gained its current name in 1918 with the foundation of Yugoslavia.

The second world war saw all of the Dalmatian Coast occupied by the Italians before being freed by the communist partisans of General Tito who ruled Yugoslavia until his death in 1980. This power vacuum slowly led to a bloody series of wars as Slovenia, North Macedonia, and Croatia broke away from now Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. The worst of these wars was in bordering Bosnia & Herzegovina which happened in the early 90s and was marked by war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Montenegro stayed as a loose partner with Serbia until it became independent after a referendum in 2006 and has since massively grown its tourism sector and is looking to join the EU in 2025.

Old man feeding pidgeons in Kotor, Montenegro

Feeding the pigeons in the main square

View of the fjord of Kotor with church

A view out towards the sea

Dubrovnik & Montenegro Flotilla

Despite not being able to visit Montenegro for the last couple of years due to Covid, our Dubrovnik Flotilla hopes to sail back to this stunning destination in 2022. Kotor is part of the southern ‘Montenegro’ route with alternative week departures from the 7th May to the 24th of September. If you fancy sailing into this fantastic destination checkout information about this fantastic flotilla below.

Putting the Sustainability in Seafarer

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Current & Future Measures for our Sustainable Future

With COP26 coming to an end the world’s attention is on the issue of sustainability and at Seafarer we have long considered it part of our role as a tour operator to be as sustainable as we can be. Over the last few years, we have been working on different elements of our products in pursuit of best practice in sustainability terms. Furthermore we will be measuring our carbon footprint as a company fully in 2022 to establish firm targets going forward. Of course, we can always improve so in this post we have detailed what we are already doing, what we will be doing in 2022 and future measures we are already planning going forward.

Current Measures

Engine Hours Competition

Since 2019 we have been running an engine hours competition on most of our flotillas meaning each week the boat with the lowest number of hours motoring wins a £50 voucher towards a future holiday. Not only has this lowered the amount of diesel our yachts burn in a week but the sense of competition has allowed guests to recapture their love of getting the sails out and enjoy the quiet of the ocean.

Fishing Nets

Some of our yachts have been carrying a fishing net for the last couple of years allowing them to pick up and recycle any floating plastic in the sea easily. In 2022 we will expand this to include all our yachts operating in Greece & Croatia so we can make our own little contribution to keeping the seas we sail in free of plastic.

Reduce & Recycle

When it comes to the everyday items we consume both in the office and resort we have been making great strides with recycling and using less paper and have decided not to publish an annual printed brochure from now on. This will cut down on a lot of paper usage along with the transport miles involved in an item of this nature. On the resort side along with the usual household bits and pieces, we also recycle engine oil, sails (see shopping bags), chains and recondition reusable parts.

Beach/Harbour Cleans

Over the last few years, our crews and guests have been undertaking various beach and harbour cleans including an extensive clean up of the sea bed in Syvota harbour, Lefkas as pictured above. We will be running many more of these in all the areas we operate concentrating heavily on bays that due to local winds and currents always end up with lots of rubbish. The crew will of course be organising these and we invite guests to take part if they would like to, helping to protect the beaches of the beautiful places we sail in.

Local Sourcing

As a company, we have always tried to source as much as we can locally to support the local economies of the areas we work in and reduce the need for extensive transport miles. We will continue and expand this over the coming years and we’re always monitoring the suppliers we use.

Electric Outboards

This year, we started to offer electric outboards and we will expand this in 2022 making them available as an option at every base we operate. We have found them to be much easier to use in a flotilla environment than a petrol one with much easier controls and far more reliable. As they are considerably more expensive we will be charging a £50 per week upgrade fee over the next couple of years while we upgrade our entire fleet which we aim to achieve by 2025.

Shopping Bags

We’re sure that our guests use reusable shopping bags in their normal life but it isn’t really practical to bring these on holiday so in 2022 we will be supplying our Seafarer branded bags made mostly from recycled sails. These are yours to use though the time you are with us and take home if you wish, the perfect way to show your sustainable credentials while enjoying some of the stunning villages we visit.

Nikiana Drinking Water & Other Measures

From 2022 we will be including Brita water filters in all our rooms at Nikiana Beach Club meaning there is no need to buy bottled water while on holiday. You can bring your own water bottle or we will be selling branded water bottles behind the bar for a sustainable way to stay hydrated while enjoying the activities we offer.

At Nikiana Beach Club we already have a number of sustainable features in the club such as a card system to save electricity and our taverna sources a large percentage of ingredients locally along with having a large selection of vegetarian options, to expand further in 2022.

Future Measures

Future Travel Arrangements

We understand that travel to resort is currently the biggest source of carbon emissions while on holiday and one that is beyond our control. We have already introduced carbon offsets as standard on our air holidays and staff travel. There are on the other hand a number of innovations and projects that might change this in the near future. The first is an expansion of the European sleeper train network (such as Austrian state railways already running to Split in Croatia), along with numerous high-speed electric railway projects throughout the continent would open up sustainable overnight train travel from one side of Europe to the other.

Aviation fuel and engine efficiency and emissions are being steadily improved and we always prefer operators with the most modern aircraft. The other innovation that will alter travel in the near future is Electric powered aeroplanes. These are not yet commercially operating but are poised to begin revenue service in a number of destinations in the near future. These planes will have speeds of around 300kmph (186mph) and ranges of a few hundred kilometres so they are perfect for shorter hops such as domestic flights within the Greek Islands.

Electric Resort Vehicles

Closer to home we will be reducing the emissions from our company vehicles and aim to replace these with fully electric alternatives by 2025. We’ve got a taste for this in 2021 with our Product Manager Joe using his own electric moped to get around Lefkas with zero emissions. We are also looking to power our two training boats at Nikiana Beach Club with electric power by the same year.

Drinking water on yachts

The plastic waste produced due to drinking water is quite high and often the islands don’t have the infrastructure to fully deal with it. There is no plug and play solution to this problem but our team are working on a number of options that may make their way onto our yachts in the near future. You may see one of these being trialled on our training yachts next summer so keep an eye out.

Beach Club Sustainable Energy

The reduction of the energy use in our beach clubs is very important to us and we are working with the owners of the hotels to produce our own sustainable energy through solar and wind. The first project will probably be fitting an extensive solar array to Nikiana Beach Club and we are currently looking at how this could work.

Overall we at Seafarer believe that sustainability is incredibly important for the world and for future generations to enjoy sailing in the same stunning places we currently visit. We understand we can’t do everything right now but we will be steadily working towards our ultimate goal of being completely sustainable in what we do and certainly aim to be carbon neutral well within the target dates set by COP26.

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