Adventure travellers Sarah and Matt explain why they those chose a stress-free all-inclusive skippered sailing holiday to enjoy the very best of Greece’s blue water sailing in the Saronic Gulf.
“The aeroplane doors opened in Athens and we were bathed by a wall of Greek heat. After two years of limited travel options, we couldn’t wait for our skippered sailing holiday in Greece to begin.
After a short taxi ride, we jumped on a ferry from the bustling port of Piraeus’ to meet sailing yacht Zorba on the island of Aegina; the heart of the Saronic Gulf. Skippers Aga and Greg were waiting to meet us on the harbour front with beaming smiles and open arms. They were as happy to see us as we were to see them. Their love for sailing in Greece was clear to see from the moment we exchanged pleasantries and had a quick tour of the boat and we were already beginning to see why they come back here year after year.
Offering fully catered, skippered charters in Greece is something a little different from the iconic flotilla charter that it is known for but Aga and Greg are passionate about showing their guests the true authentic Greece and sharing their local knowledge – something you just don’t get from bareboat hire or a group flotilla. From finding deserted desert islands with only wild deer and peacocks for residents to the relationships they’ve forged with the locals and traditional tavernas; their passion for the culture and lifestyle is infectious.
Polish couple Aga and Greg make the voyage. A sailing couple for over six years, they own and sail Zorba, a beneteau Cyclades 50.5 and spend their summers living aboard while they sail and explore the Saronic Islands and the lesser Cyclades with guests. With four double cabins, a twin bunk and generous saloon area, sailing yacht Zorba was the perfect floating base for us to explore Greece. She has a great space on deck for dining alfresco lunches under sail, sunbathing on deck or the option for full shade under the cockpit. A swim ladder and transom shower were perfectly positioned for the multiple swims throughout the day in a variety of azure blue anchorages.
For those wanting to learn more about sailing a modern yacht in Greece under the guidance of a professional skipper and instructor, we couldn’t have asked to be in better hands than with Greg. Having spent many years sail racing in the Baltic, he traded his fast paced corporate life, bought a boat, headed for Greece and has remained sailing here ever since. He quips that ”at the point in the year I have to wear socks – this is a disaster for me“.
Aga, a film producer turned sailor, cannot do enough for guests. Appearing every morning with a beaming smile and an enormous bowl of fresh fruits, yoghurts and nuts, she would then ring ahead to ensure we were booked into the best local taverna at each anchorage. It’s clear to see why Aga and Greg have a loyal following of returning customers – there really is nothing they won’t do for their guests.
We spent a lot of time researching the sail area in Greece and looking at our options for hiring a boat ourselves. Having done a small amount of local coastal sailing over the years, we just couldn’t get our heads around the idea of being responsible for an entire boat ourselves, route planning, weather watching and catering for ourselves while still trying to enjoy the scenery and making time to relax.
Sailing and island hopping in the Saronic islands, we were pretty much guaranteed good sailing with the meltimi winds making Greece one of the best warm weather sailing destinations in the world. With the consistant winds and small tidal range, exploring the Greek islands by boat makes for safe sailing. That being said, it gets shallow quickly, everything is done on a who-you-know not what you know basis in Greece and with harbouring to stern being the norm in most ports – we just couldn’t imagine being responsible for our own boat and still being able to completely relax.
Choosing a fully catered and skippered yacht charter in Greece meant we were able to get the perfect balance of learning the ropes and sailing holiday relaxation without the responsibility of our own boat.
Greece is well known for its sunshine sailing in the travel industry and boat world. But VentureSail Holidays are offering something a little different with their fully catered, skippered charter sailing holidays. Staying away from the flotilla towns and tourist hotspots, sailing with Zorba in the Saronic islands and the Cyclades offers so much more than just a bareboat charter. A safe, stress-free environment to learn the ropes under the guidance of a professional skipper mixed with the local knowledge of the best anchorages, swim spots and traditional Tavernas really pays testament to Aga and Greg’s years of accumulated knowledge and easily answers the question of why a skippered yacht charter is the best way to sail in Greece.”