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Seventeen years had passed since my last cruise around the Ionian Islands in the Bombay Grab, a 45’ Taiwanese built ketch owned by a great mate named George Middleton, and 30 years, and some, from the halcyon days of youth and three years afloat in the Mediterranean on our fondly remembered iroquios catamaran Pyewacket.
We had purchased Pyewacket from Patrick Wentworth Boyd; our worthy mentor who ran the brokerage arm of the yacht agency Camper and Nicholson in the UK. Patrick actually owned the vessel and fitter her out. At his suggestion we three novice sailors left the Isle of Wight and traversed France, firstly through the Brittany Canals from St Malo to Lorient thereby avoiding the difficult passage around the Ushant and then down the Biscay coast entering the Gironde Estuary at Royan. From there it was an exhilarating sail on the flood tide to Bordeaux and through the many locks of the Canal du Midi to Sete. If my memory serves me correctly it was there, in this small basin that I recall Alain Colais berthing his huge spidery trimaran single handedly, under sail, in a very stiff breeze.
The Balaerics, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Italy followed and then across the Tyrreanean Sea to Corfu on the western coast of Greece. We returned to Gouvia Bay in Corfu at the end of that summer after some months in the Aegean Sea and the islands of the Dodecanese, Cyclades and Saronic Gulf. Leaving Pyewacket afloat the impercunious crew returned to London to work and to replenish the cruising kitty. At that time the concrete quays were in place but only a few itinerant yachties and local caiques sheltered there. Taki’s and George’s tavernas, a baker and small grocery store serviced what was then the isolated village of Kondokali.
So to the present..... click here to continue reading.
LOG OF 'SADIE' - TURKEY 2008
Friday 23 May - Booked into the UNLU hotel in central Gocek. This hotel has recently been renovated and is very comfortable with full range of facilities. We found the staff friendly and the restaurant excellent value. The hotel is about 100 metres from the ferry wharf and Skopea Marina.
Saturday 24 May - Morning spent shopping and locating a friendly supermarket that would deliver our boat supplies to the Sunsail Base.
As it was getting late and we had our dinner booked for 1930 it was agreed with the base that our briefing would take place on Sunday morning at 0930.Having the briefing on Sunday allowed us to unpack in comfort as well as stack the fridges.
Dinner was at the CAN Restaurant at the end of the ferry wharf in Gocek and we had our usual large salt crust baked grouper. Once again the meal was superb and we booked for our return on Friday June 20th. Click here to continue reading.
LOVE IT ON A GULET
I felt I was embarking on a Homeric Odyssey when I stepped onto the beautifully timbered gang plank connecting the stone wharf to what was to be my new home for two weeks. For a fleeting moment I imagined I could hear the tom tom sound of the war drums and the crack of the whip keeping the oarsmen in time. Perhaps my passion for Sunday afternoon movies would hold me in good stead for our forthcoming voyage.
“Welcome! Welcome!” bellowed a bronzed, heavily-moustached Turk who introduced himself as Ozden, our Captain. Our bags were collected by Memhet, another crew member, leaving us simply to negotiate the narrow gang plank to the large aft deck where our hostess Adelet, had prepared some light refreshments.
We had experienced a bareboat sailing holiday further north in Turkey before, but this was certainly different. On the advice of Charter World’s Brook Felsenthal, we had decided to try the traditional timber-built sailing Gulets which are being revived as charter boats. Click here to continue reading.
We really only decided to go to Croatia about three weeks before we stepped aboard. Having sailed in most of the Mediterranean charter regions, it is interesting that the choices were so wide, and most I rate on an equal footing. We had set aside two weeks for a charter and the charter flights were the same cost from our base in London, with daily schedules to Dalaman, Rhodes, Kos, Levkas, Split, Dubrovnik and Olbia to name a few.
The Balearic Islands of Mallorca held some appeal as the only major charter area I have not sailed, but in the end we swung back to our current most popular cruising destination - Croatia. I had always previously sailed south of Split towards Dubrovnik, this time I wanted to explore areas to the north of Split including the Kornati Islands.
We arranged to board in Sibenik which is located at the entrance to the Krka Estuary. I wanted to revisit and show Lynn & the kids the old favourites such as Brac, Hvar and Korcula but also explore some new anchorages. The perfect pick up point was Sibenik with a modern marina about a 50 minute transfer north of Split airport.
We arrived on an early morning charter flight from London with clear skies and a great view of the Croatian coastline and picking up a hire car went straight to Trogir for breakfast on the stunning waterfront.
Trogir is a UNESCO protected village built on a small island. Being 10 minutes from the airport, we have usually recommended it to our clients as the best overnight stay prior to boarding. We had breakfast at our favourite pension The Vila Sikaa who were pleased to see us having looked after our clients for almost 20 years - "Australians are delightful people - no trouble at all" said the long term owners The Runtic Family. Click here to continue reading.
If Greece is home to the magic islands of the Mediterranean, then Turkey is the storehouse of it’s romantic past.
Apart from the magnificent scenery, one of the most striking characteristics of Turkey is the friendliness and honesty of its people. Wherever you sail in Turkish waters, particularly along the southern coast, there will always be something exciting to explore. The legacies of ancient civilisations abound, making irresistible attractions.
Amphitheatres, sunken villages and rock tombs wait to be discovered and marvelled at. Turkey is really the meeting place of the East and West. Since the days when Istanbul was Constantinople, Turkey has been a country astride two cultures, European and Eastern.
Turkey is the home of such unlikely historical and mythological companions as the city of Troy, Noah’s ark and Santa Claus. The country is a fortuitous blend of cultures, combined with a rich history that comes alive in the too-numerous-to-count archaeological sites. The jewel of Turkey’s southern coast is Marmaris, a clean, modern town with a festive promenade along the wharf beneath a 16th century citadel. In spite of rampant development, Marmaris remains a charming town while offering the best facilities available to the cruising yachtsman. Click here to continue reading.
No where in the world is there a charter area as rich in historical and cultural significance as the Mediterranean.
The magical isles of Greece are at the centre of this archaeological wonderland. Indeed, Athens is recognised as the wellspring of civilisation itself. Visitors to Greece agree, the country’s fabled isles are the heart and soul of the Greek experience. And the best way to see these islands with their wide variety of topography and historical significance is from a charter yacht.
Sailing the Greek Islands conjures up visions of deep blue skies, clear azure waters, breathtaking scenery, stark white villages, wonderful night life and dining in seaside tavernas. And yes, it is all true.
Follow in the wake of Jason and his Argonauts and trade in the lure of the Golden Fleece for the adventure of a lifetime as you pass through these waters of antiquity. Click here to continue reading.
The tiny kingdom of Tonga is centrally placed in the South Pacific and is romantically described as the place where time begins. It has managed to avoid most of the media attention focused on its Pacific neighbours; however, the low key holiday destination has all of what an idyllic Pacific paradise should have. While the Japanese, French and Americans have moved in on much of the Pacific region, the last remaining monarchy in the Pacific has adopted a wait-and-see attitude which has kept the developers at bay.
Tonga is, as they say, for Tongans. With a population of around 98% nationals.
A population of some 95, 000 live without any five star resorts, shopping malls or freeways and yet no evidence of poverty. Tonga infact remains one of the most natural untouched cruising areas of the world, probably because it has been is off the beaten tourist track. Click here to continue reading.
Charter World’s Brook Felsenthal returned from the Western Mediterranean cruising waters of Corsica and Sardinia – which he claims are Mediterranean’s best kept secrets.
If it was good enough for Napoleon Bonaparte and the Aga Khan, then it is definitely worth a look. If you’ve sailed Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and experienced the idyllic anchorages of the Greek Islands, and you think you have seen the best of what the Mediterranean has to offer, think again. The ancient islands of Corsica and Sardinia are possibly the best kept secret of the Western Mediterranean.
It is their semi-isolation which has protected them from the frenzied tourist hordes that have scoured mainland Europe for places to get away from it all. Horatio Nelson unsuccessfully urged the British Government to annex Sardinia because of its abundance of natural harbours and strategic importance. Click here to continue reading.
For Captain Cook the 1770’s were great years for discovering things and many yachtsmen owe the roving Tyke their eternal gratitude. Two years before he discovered gum trees and kangaroos, he came across a group of South Pacific Islands which so much reminded him of Scotland, a country only a few miles north of where he was born, that he called them New Caledonia (Latin for Scotland).
Now, just because you name something, doesn’t automatically give you ownership of it and what with possession being nine-tenths of the law, the French have been in charge since 1853, which has not only given everyone enough time to learn the language, but turned it into a pacific province of la belle France. Click here to continue reading.
Our 22 year old niece India has set off to the Mediterranean after completing a Super Yacht Course in Sydney.
It took less than a week for India to find a job on a brand new Heeson 50 metre motor yacht, and after a month of final preparations in the shipyard in Holland, India survived a 132 hour delivery on her new home around to the Mediterranean.
We join her just after she arrived in the Mediterranean... Click here to read India's update.
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