Almost ‘Full Steam Ahead’ !
It’s warming up nicely out in Greece. There’s been plenty happening, not least the fitting of a new engine on Atlas.
The existing engine was always maintained on a regular basis and would probably have been okay for a few more years. However, as with all my equipment, if I don’t have 100% confidence in it there’s no taking a chance, it gets renewed……simple as that.
Time for Change
It had come to the stage where I was constantly checking it and obsessively listening to it due to a head gasket blowing while we were on route from Spain. The engine was repaired to a very good standard but when something like that happens it makes me look deeper.
Sailing is a very enjoyable activity and being powered by the wind under full sail, listening to the bow cutting through the water is an extremely exhilarating experience. Coupled with the areas we are now sailing around makes it ‘possibly’ one of the best jobs you can imagine.
That said though, there more experience you gain and the more you learn means that you are more aware of what can happen so it’s absolutely paramount to keep on top of things so guests are never put in danger. As a professional skipper you develop a kind of sailing paranoia whereby when you have guests on board you are constantly checking the boat, positions, planning on the situation at the next port of call etc. This of course is part of the territory and if I couldn’t stand the heat I wouldn’t be in the kitchen (or Greece for that matter).
My main objective as Skipper is to first of all maintain a safe environment for all on board. I never treat anyone like a child (unless they are) and a try wherever possible to explain the reasons for where we are going or what we are doing. After this my goal is to make sure that at the end of the week guests are left with a feeling of total and complete satisfaction. Another huge plus about what we do is that on the whole we only ever get absolutely fantastic people out with us. In all the five years we have been in operation virtually all of the guests have made the time thoroughly enjoyable and in many cases have become extremely good friends.
The Difficult Decision
I have to admit that the most difficult choice I, as Skipper, have to make is whether to stay in port because of Mother Nature. When I check the weather forecast and the conditions might not be as I see too conducive to an enjoyable day on the water I am always torn between two things.
- Knowing that people have paid good money to come out and sail.
- Not wanting to disappoint guests.
It’s an easy choice and a total no brainer when there is an absolute gale blowing but when the stronger winds are further out to sea most people are unaware of how very deceiving it can be. In port it can feel like a very nice day but this can be because of the time of day or the fact that you are sheltered from the strong winds that are blowing further out to sea. The time of year also make a substantial difference to the conditions.
Don’t be fooled
What many find strange is that around in Greece, in particular the Aegean sea, during the height of summer you can have some very strong winds. There is the prevailing wind that is called The Meltemi that can blow up to gale force in a matter of a couple of hours. This strong wind tends to be at its peak during the afternoons in the summer so I always advise that we set off from port a tad earlier in the morning so as to try and avoid this and get safely into the shelter of the next port before it blows up properly. Another plus of doing the sailing earlier is that you avoid the potential masses of yachts battling for the few remaining berths available. I don’t want to put a negative spin on things because although the winds can blow strongly the sun always shines and still ensures your tan is sufficiently topped up and……. If I think it will be too lively then we spend an extra day in the place where we are.
I have sailed in some VERY challenging conditions and can honestly say that whatever Mother Nature throws at me I can handle. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or dismissive but I have been there and got a few tee shirts in the process. In fact, believe or not, some of the most challenging conditions I have experienced have been in The Mediterranean. There is a world of difference though between already being out at sea and caught out by a change in weather and actually choosing to go out in what you know will be some not so very enjoyable conditions.
The weeks are almost full !
We are now almost fully booked for the year. The only week available before mid October is May 12-19th. I was going to put this on as a training week but decided to put a special offer on. I have been advertising it as a ‘Jolly Boys’ week with places at £375pp (based on two sharing). So if you know of any chaps looking for a fantastic week around the Greek Islands then please send them my way.
I have now also put together the Bareboat Charter service. I have personally seen all the boats available and hoping that anyone looking to charter their own yacht we consider using us for this. One of the main advantages of people chartering through me is that I can also advise in very good detail on what boat might be best suited to them and what areas and islands are best to visit whilst out sailing.
That’s all for now folks but if you want to find out more about what happens on a week with us then click the link below that gives a description of what we do and where we go.