We’re about to start our 5th year of the Kefalonia Flotilla it is no accident that it keeps popping up on our brochure covers, the last 4 to be precise. Is this a coincidence or is it because this area is so incredibly picturesque with a wonderful variety of places to visit, all in one flotilla?
Many of the highlights of the area are on the island that gives the flotilla its name, Kefalonia (alias Cephalonia). The most famous stop is almost definitely Fiskardo, a beautiful village wrapped around a natural harbour marked by an ancient Venetian lighthouse. The village is noted for its pastel Venetian buildings, winding streets and waterside tavernas and is known as the St Tropez of the Ionian with a star-studded cast. Further round to the west, under the shade of a Venetian castle, lies the small fishing village of Assos. It’s quite hard to describe just how beautiful is the colour combination of the turquoise sea, colourful houses and the dramatic wooded mountain scenery, so you’ll have to check it out yourself. Another must-see on the island is the famous Melissani Cave, with its amazing stalactites and stalagmites which you can visit from our base of Aghia Efymia.
The island of Ithaca (Ithaki) lies off the North East coast of Kefalonia and is fabled to be the home of the legendary Odysseus. In the far north of the island is the village of Frikes and it’s hard to find a sailor in the Ionian who hasn’t had a night to remember in the famous Fiorendino’s. Just round the coast, you approach in the shadow of old windmills into the village of Kioni with its laid back atmosphere and crystal clear waters it always seems to leave its mark on any Seafarer. The capital of the island Vathi, named Big Vathi locally to avoid confusion, surrounds a large natural harbour with Venetian buildings set alongside the tiny winding streets.
Zante or Zakynthos
Zante or Zakynthos is the Southern aim of our route and is famous for good reason. In the North of the island is the harbour of Aghios Nikolaos with its clear water and amazing snorkelling. From here we organise a boat trip to swim in the blue caves and to visit the world-famous ‘Navagio’ beach or shipwreck cove, star of many an advert for Greece. Finally, the capital of Zante (of the same name) is a lively harbour town with a huge variety of restaurants and some excellent shopping. It’s also home to St. Dionysus and you can pay your respects at the historic cathedral dedicated to him.
you will love it too
The entire route is picture-postcard perfect, a truly stunning area to sail your own Greek Odyssey over either one or two weeks with some great sailing and wonderful places to explore. In fact, my wife and I fell in love with it (and each other whilst working as flotilla crew here), so we chose to get married here. For us, it really feels like home and we are sure you will love it too.
John Connolly – Product Manager
Author Chris Lorenzo
We are delighted to announce our new flotilla and charter base in Greece for summer 2020 at Corinth, combining sailing in both the Saronic Gulf and the Gulf of Corinth.
Located just one hours drive south of Athens and giving a choice of two wonderful, yet very different sailing areas it is a unique base with a lot to offer. It is also next to the spectacular Corinth Canal.
With the base strategically positioned close to the west entrance of the Canal, Seafarer’s new flotilla ventures in both directions alternating between a week sailing east through the Corinth Canal to the islands of the Saronic Gulf and a week exploring the Gulf of Corinth to the west. A two week holiday combines both. In the Saronic Gulf, islands such as Aegina, Aghistri, Poros and Hydra are all within easy reach as are some great stops on the Peloponnese coast such as Old Epidauros, Vathy and Methana.
In the Gulf of Corinth, it is quieter and the sailing winds more brisk. There are many interesting places to explore such as the little known Alkioni islands, Trizonia island and the historic Seafaring town of Galaxidi.
Another attraction to this area are the famous ancient sites ashore, such as the ancient oracle at Delphi and the famous Lion Gate and ruins of Agamemnon’s palace at Mycenae. The most impressive of these however is arguably the 2500 year old Amphitheatre at Epidauros, still in use today.
The area has something for everyone and is well served by flights from most places into Athens.
Seafarer veterans will remember the Saronic Gulf was where Seafarer lainched it’s very first flotillas many moons ago, and it was a firm favourite for many years, so we are delighted to be back, all be it with the enhancement of a transit of the Corinth Canal and another great sailing area on the other side.
We look forward to welcoming you there soon.
Reading time 4 min 45 sec
Auther Lee Savage
Whatever your reasons for getting into sailing, it is not as difficult as you might imagine and there are a lot of different ways to get started. With so many destinations to choose and so many sailing experiences, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start.
If exploring fantastic bays, discovering remote islands, swimming and relaxing in the sun with a good book sounds like the kind of yacht cruising you are looking for then Cabin Charter will be the way to go.
If you would like to dip in and see but you are not sure if it’s for you our beach club has a dedicated Yacht where we offer several opportunities including two days Beginner Yachting (16h) while you stay in our Beach Club Hotel.
But you are here to find out how to become a Yacht Skipper, learn a new skill and take the first step towards becoming qualified, opening a whole new world of possibility for holidays and adventure travel. Even if you only ever do one course, you will have experienced the trip of a lifetime.
The RYA is a world-recognised organisation authorised by the UK maritime coastguard agency to issue international certificates of competence. Seafarer instructors are all experienced RYA instructors and can deliver a challenging syllabus to take you from no experience to a qualified licensed skipper through a series of RYA courses outlined below.
Our Training Centers – help you become a skipper
Our sailing schools in the Ionian and Croatia and the UK allow as few as one person to take part in training onboard our RYA equipped yachts. These yachts feature all the safety equipment and training resources needed to complete your chosen courses.
RYA Training In The Mediterranean
For our training yachts in Greece and Croatia, you have the opportunity to learn alongside a fantastic holiday experience. Naturally, it is a more intense experience than a Yacht Charter holiday. You will spend most of your days absorbing the syllabus, but there will also be opportunities to swim and explore the beautiful islands.
Learning alongside our flotilla, you will also have the chance to participate in group meals, our punch, and beach parties. Popular with experienced and newly qualified skippers alike or those seeking to improve their abilities with the support of our skilled lead crews. Filled with like-minded sailors, you will meet skippers who have already taken steps into the sailing world and discovered how accessible it is. It’s a tremendously positive and supportive environment to learn alongside.
RYA Training In The UK
Our UK school offers numerous bespoke courses for those wishing to brush up on any particular skills before flying to their next sailing holiday be it boat handling or just refreshers. Of course, we offer all the practical RYA courses including Competent Crew, Day Skipper & Coastal Skipper (for Day Skippers wishing to take there sailing further)
Based in Southampton, it offers fantastic sheltered waters sailing in the lea of the Isle Of Wight. It’s a great location to challenge your tidal knowledge and experience the lively sailing environment made famous for events like the Fastnet Race, the Round the Island Race and Cowes Week.
How to Become A Skipper
The Competent Crew course is perfect for somebody who has never been on a yacht before. It is the broadest course in the RYA syllabus covering virtually everything to do with sailing and living onboard a boat. You will have the opportunity to test your skills and will come away with a great sense of achievement and a good understanding of where to go next!
As an instructor for many years, I have discovered that even more experienced sailors can benefit from this course, there is always another level of detail to learn. If you haven’t sailed for a while or had any formal training, this course will not only be an excellent refresher, but you will be surprised how many new things you can learn. For more experienced sailors, this is a unique opportunity to polish the essential fundamentals of sailing.
Theoretically a skipper
With some sailing experience under your belt, you are ready to study the theory. Reading about navigation, sailing, and charts will seem much less daunting. You are now prepared to take the Day Skipper theory course. The Day Skipper Theory syllabus contains all essential theoretical knowledge required to become a skipper. It can be completed online at your own pace, We offer Navathome with all the needed resources sent to your home, and you can even use your repeat customer discount.
If you don’t feel ready
Not everybody is prepared for the Day Skipper course right away, we all learn at different rates and bridging the gap between the competent crew and Day Skipper courses is best achieved with Bespoke training, this can help you refine those skills that you think you lack. Commonly this is boat handling, we all know there is nothing more exhilarating than bringing a beautiful yacht alongside a concrete harbour wall! We offer bespoke training at all of our bases in Greece, Croatia, and the UK.
The courses in the Mediterranean are all one week. Our UK school offers much more flexibility for weekends or any other length or start days. Talk to one of our consultants to find out more.
General skills training works very well alongside the day skipper course. You will get to see others go through the course while you polish the fundamentals. Having feedback from an instructor while learning alongside the standard RYA courses can give you the confidence to grow without the pressure of a restricted syllabus. Talk to one of our consultants to find out where and how we can help you get to the next level.
The Sailing Licence
With your Day skipper theory ticket in hand and some recent sailing experience, You will be ready for the Day Skipper practical course. Taking everything you have learned in the first two courses, this turns you into a responsible skipper. You will learn to handle the boat, bringing it into port, directing your crew to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable.
Now you are qualified as a skipper
With your internationally recognised license in hand, you now have the opportunity to take your friends and family sailing on Yachts around the world. I am not surprised if this might feel incredibly daunting as this license can be achieved in as little as three weeks.
Flotilla can be a great option to help build your confidence. As well as being fantastically social flotilla offers you the opportunity to grow as a skipper with the security of having our lead crew on standby to assist or advise on any aspect of sailing. You can find more about our flotillas here.
A whole world of sailing
As soon as you feel ready, you will be free to charter yachts worldwide. As an internationally recognised skipper, you can benefit from bareboat prices and the freedom to travel at your own pace. Seafarer has a vast range of worldwide destinations. Click here to find out more.
If you are still not sure
Perhaps you are not sure where you fit into all of this. Why not talk to one of our team? We are a small yet experienced company in the world of sailing, and we would be happy to advise you on how best you can get started.
Stand Up Paddleboarding is currently the fastest growing watersport worldwide and its easy to see why. The ability to explore new places with such a simple bit of equipment makes it very flexible and is perfect for those who want to have fun on the water. We’re not advocating changing sports, far from it but instead suggesting that an SUP is a perfect adition to a yacht, especially for cruising in the crystal clear waters of our flotilla destinations.
Most modern SUP’s are inflatable but huge advances in manufacture in recent years has made them very stiff and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference to a solid board if the SUP is properly inflated. Having an inflatable paddleboard works perfectly for a cruising yacht as it allows you to store it either on deck or below depending on the conditions. When you arrive in a beautiful bay thats when the magic starts.
To set up a Stand Up Paddleboard from scratch takes between 5 and 10 minutes depending on how quickly you can pump it up. The first stage is to make sure the valve is out before inserting the pump otherwise the air can rush out of the SUP, to do this simply rotate it until it springs out. Once this is done you can insert the pump and inflate to the pressure on the valve (or at least 10psi). Once inflated attach the leash and if separate attach the fins.
Once your ready to go there are a few techniques that will help you get exploring. The first is to check the paddle length. The simplest way of doing this is to adjust it to an arm’s length above you head which means the whole paddle will be in the water when standing up. When you get on the board stand on the centreline with one foot on either side of the handle. The best way to learn the various strokes is to watch Daryl do his stuff in the video then get out on the board and play around in a safe area.
Safety is very important with any watersport and SUPing is no different. The most important consideration is to always wear the leash. This is attached to the back of the board and then placed around either ankle. Inflatable SUPs are very light and can easily travel faster than someone can swim making the leash key. For those who are uncomfortable swimming or children a buoyancy aid is advised as these will keep someone afloat if they fall off the board, buoyancy aids are available on all Seafarer Flotillas on request.
The wind is always a risk when SUPing, especially for beginners and thus if the wind is force 3 or above it is recommended to stay upwind of the moored yacht, thus making it easy to return if there is a problem. If you find yourself unable to return to the yacht then you can either kneel on the board and use the paddle or place the paddle on the deck and lie on top of it, paddling with your hands. This acts to hugely reduce your windage.
Storage and Transport
In our opinion the easiest way to launch the SUP is the throw it over the side while holding onto the leash (or attach it to guardrail) then take the it round by the least to the stern. This avoids trying to manoeuvre the SUP through the Bimini and past the wheel/wheels. To retrieve it use a similar technique to lift it over the guardrails on either side of the yacht, this may be easier with two people. When sailing you can tie the SUP to the guardrails just make sure the fins are either facing outwards or are taken off and the SUP is not fouling the jib sheets. If you’re not intending to use the SUP for a few days bits best to deflate it and either store it in the bag on deck or below. When storing on deck beware that SUPs suffer badly from UV radiation from the sun and thus, they should be kept in the bag when not used regularly or covered on the guardrail.
Booking & More Information
Stand Up Paddleboards are available from all our flotillas (except Turkey & Thailand) and included in all Greek cabin charter holidays. If you want to add one or more to your boat give us a call on 0208 324 3118. Its worth booking early for peak season as there is often loads of demand.
Crew Wanted! – Seafarer continues to operate flotillas in Croatia, France and Greece, as well as cabin charter in Greece and Croatia and our RYA training centres in Greece and Croatia, so we are now recruiting for a wide range of positions across all our products.
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 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 2020 and beyond.
Product Manager Seafarer Cruising & Sailing Holidays
Chief Instructor, Seafarer Training
Click here for more information on all our current vacancies, job descriptions and how to apply
Considering another way to travel to start your Seafarer holiday? Travelling out to our Yacht Bases and Beach Clubs in the Mediterranean overland (and water) may not seem like the most obvious method but for those of an even slightly adventurous nature this can be an easy and enjoyable trip – and at a different pace. There are numerous different routes from the UK to Greece, Croatia & France often including a mixture of high-speed trains, sleeper trains and ferries with the odd bus or taxi if needed.
The key to the trip is not about the time it takes but instead the opportunity to see and savour the changing face of Europe as you head South. Dinner in Paris, breakfast in Milan or lunch in Munich are just some of the possible highlights as you follow in the footsteps of the Orient Express.
The travel time to different destinations varies with France being the simplest at around 9 hours door to deck whereas Greece is a little more of an adventure. On all trips there are some amazing locations to stop off and even stay over. Being able to break up the journey is a fantastic advantage of this method of travel.
Some of the of the Seafarer team, including myself, will be travelling overland to some of our bases this winter and making some video guides along the way. Our office team will also be on hand to assist with the booking process at all stages to make sure the journey is stress-free and good value for money. Watch this space for more updates on overland travel. Give it some thought…….
For those already overseas due to fly home on a Thomas Cook flight, we have been reassured by the CAA that all is going according to plan. The homebound flights for all Thomas Cook passengers continue with the last flights being on October 6th . These flights will almost certainly be on the day you were due to fly home and as close to the original time as possible. Information on specific flights is available on the CAA website on this link: Repatriation Flights
If you have booked your own Thomas Cook flights independently to join a Seafarer holiday overseas and you need advice or assistance, please call us on 0208 324 32118 or email [email protected]
To all those Seafarer passengers booked by Seafarer to fly on a Thomas Cook flight who have yet to travel, these flights have been cancelled and we are currently in the process of re-booking alternative flights for you. This will be at no additional cost to you and we will contact you hopefully within the day to confirm your new flight arrangements the cost of which is being covered by Seafarer.
If you are already overseas and are due to fly home on a Thomas Cook flight within the next two weeks, we have been reassured by the CAA that they are organising the homebound flights for all Thomas Cook passengers already abroad. These flights will almost certainly be on the day you were due to fly home and as close to the original time as possible. Since this involves 150,000 passengers, they are working through this as quickly as they can and we will advise of the homebound flight arrangements as soon as possible.
If you have booked your own Thomas Cook flights to join a Seafarer holiday overseas and you need advice or assistance, please call us on 0208 324 32118 or email [email protected]
SEAFARER MD DRUMMING UP SUPPORT FOR GOOD CAUSES AT ‘THE CAUSE’
Every serious charitable seafaring music fan needs to know about Stonebridge – a 3-piece popular music ensemble playing rock / jazz / reggae / funk cross-over. Something of a hidden secret to date, they’re putting on a live gig to raise money for two charities close to every sailor’s heart. It takes place on Friday 30th August at a club called The Cause in Ashley Road, Tottenham Hale, N17 9LZ.
Chris ‘Bonzo’ Lorenzo, Seafarer Holidays’ MD, provides the percussive power that drives the combo along and says the playlist runs from 60’s thru 90’s with a couple of original numbers thrown in for good measure. Stonebridge have also secured talented singer and guitarist duo ‘Taking Notes’ as a back-up act.
SHORING UP COASTAL COMMUNITIES
Given the nature of seafaring the two charities benefitting from the gig are particularly supportive of coastal communities damaged by hurricanes and storms (there, but for the grace of God, go we). They are Disaster Emergency Committee (D.E.C.) and Medecins Sans Frontieres.
WE’D LOVE TO SEE YOU THERE
The gig starts at 8pm and runs until 10.30. There will be a bar at the venue and parking in Ashley Road. The venue itself is about 200m from Tottenham Hale Station (on the Victoria Line or Overground). There are various eateries in the vicinity (Ferry Boat Inn or Pizza Hut) and even a Premier Inn right across the road just in case you want to stay in town for the Bank Holiday weekend.
Of course, you might already have made plans to prom on down to the Albert Hall and catch ‘Jeptha’ – arguably Handel’s greatest oratorio. So we’ve made sure you can still feel good about giving to charity anyhow. Clicking the above links will let you donate directly – you don’t actually have to turn up while they tune up, tune in or tune out!
September 1st marks the beginning of the first race week at Nikiana Beach Club. A chance for sailors of all abilities to have a go at racing in the fun and inclusive waters off the Greek island of Lefkas.
What is Dinghy Racing?
SInce the first sails where hoisted up a mast informal races have occurred with the thrills of driving small boats faster before the wind, trying to best ones adversary delighting many a sailor. Racing was formalised for both Dinghies & Yachts in the 19th Century and continues to be a big part of both parts of the sport to this day. The thrill of trying to outwit and drive the boat harder than your opponents brings many people into what we all know as the best sport in the world. Not to mention the delicious pint in the club while those same adversaries enjoy recounting the water based experiences so recently lived.
What is Race Week?
Nikiana Beach Clubs race week is designed for those who are both wanted to learn to race for the first time and those that want to improve their racing in the warm water off Nikiana. Fifteen hours tuition is included with a number of different groups for those of different abilities. For those new to racing the the main focus will be how to get around a racecourse quickly with some focus on the start and rules. For those who are more advanced, the tactics will come into play more along with how you interact with other boats.The week will take place in both Single & Double Handed boats along with some faster ones for those who are keen.
Who can join?
Race week is open to anyone who can happily sail a dinghy around a triangular course through to those with considerable experience sailing. For those not so keen on racing all other RYA Courses are available during this week.
Race week is priced at £595 per person including return flights from Gatwick Airport and runs from the 1st to the 8th September. Checkout Here for more details on Nikiana Beach Club.