Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 1

Posted by Director of Education on October 3, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This is the start to a 10-day blog series sailing on a Lagoon 450 with the yacht charter company BVI Yacht Charters based in Road Town, British Virgin Islands.

The Indians, arh the Indians – my favorite. If you miss the Indians you have missed the BVI. It is an integral part of any trip here. It is a staple of the snorkeling diet – an appetizer of what is to come for the week. We just finished an hour with the head pointed down in colorful wonderment. Wow. (Click the Arrows for a slide show)

The Indians are generally the first stop on a BVI roundabout. They are 5 miles Southwest of Road Town. So your first sail is easy. Pop the main and the jib and an hour and a bit later you’re there.

While I’m writing this we’re parked up in The Bight in Norman Island.

The Bight Norman Island

The Bight Norman Island

 

The Bight, Norman Island

The Bight, Norman Island

The day started as an awakening blur of yesterday’s travel. Not bad – 12 hours door to door from Austin, Tx to Miami to Saint Thomas,  USVI. Then a haul ass to the ferry to catch the 3:30 ferry from Charlotte Amalie, USVI to Road Town, Tortolla. The last ferry was at 4:30 which coincided with catching BVI Customs closing at 6:00. Whew –  basically seamless travel just a lot depends on things being on time which are out of your control like airlines.

At the end of it all, you sit back with a drink and say – Hey we’re on Island time, what does it matter? Stress has been banned from the Virgin Islands so you have leave your corporate training at home.

BVI Yacht Charters are located close to downtown Road Town – a really short taxi ride from the ferry terminal. Very convenient. And even more convenient, close to two Grocery stores RiteWay and OneMart. Most of the stuff you can order online through their websites and have delivered directly to your boat before you arrive. For the remaining items,  you can take a short stroll to the store with a cold beer in hand.

Road Town BVI

Road Town BVI

Tony from BVIYC gave us our boat check out briefing this morning and after signing my life away, as usual, we were ready to head out. We were exempted from the chart briefing because … well… I did write the book on it. I had to laugh with Kirstie in the office when she said “I know you wrote the book on it but have you been here before”. She was right to ask – any area you go sailing, you need a familiarity with the area for two reasons: (1) to make sure you have a good time and take advantage of all there is to offer, and more importantly,  (2) to make sure you know where all the dangerous stuff is. The NauticEd BVI Chart Briefing book and associated test is a comprehensive guide to sailing in the BVI. Those that have taken the test and passed it are able to skip the chart briefing and speed up the check-in process. In addition, it means you have all that information on hand.

I must say that the BVI check out crew were so efficient and awesome. The boat was immaculate and ready to go. They even lent us an audio jack cord for plugging in from the stereo to our iPhones (haa haa – everyone on our boat figured that each other would bring that cable – not one between all of us – don’t ever forget to bring a 3.5 mm audio jack to play your tunes.)

So, after a crew safety briefing, we released the dock lines and headed out. Yay. A short sail to Norman Island and my fav. the Indians.

For now, we are listening to a little Lyle Lovette in Pirates Bight, Norman Island. I hear some laughter on the front deck – I’m heading that way.

On shore in the Pirates Bight are two restaurants. Both are very (very) nice. Take a recently emptied credit card. But the experience and the beach is worth a visit at least.

On shore at Pirates Bight

On shore at Pirates Bight

At Willie T’s there is a universal singularity point. The laws of the universe are just different. What you think should apply, doesn’t. After drinks on the front deck of our boat, we moved to Willie T’s to observe this anomaly. But that is my point – soon observation turns into participation. If you can resist, the two things to try to avoid are: (1) the ski shots.  This consists of a water ski with 4 shot glass holes drilled into the ski. When it comes off the ceiling 4 souls are drawn seemingly by magic to put their lips to a shots glass and the ski tips back on its own volition with the smooth liquid pouring down warm throats; (2) Rafter swinging –  these do not end well. Assuming you’ve been working out at the gym, the challenge is to swing hand over hand along the steel rafters. The problem is that the rafters are rusty and all four crew members who tried and completed it (including one of our better-looking crew members) ended leaving the boat with less skin than they started with including yours truly. But at least the gym work paid off with a success grade in the swing. Skin was traded for self-esteem.

Willie T's Universal Singularity

Willie T’s. A Universal Singularity

And, in case you don’t know about Willie T’s – William T. Thornton was the architect who designed the U.S. White House. His boat was purchased and permanently anchored in Pirates Bight. It is now a floating bar with a dinghy dock. They serve some food but the main focus is the bar. It is not really a family place if you get my points from above.

Nighty Night. See you on Day 2!

NauticEd and its expert team are global brokers for the best sailing vacations. We’ve been just about everywhere and know the best spots. We can arrange the best boats and the best prices. In particular, if you want to go to the BVI, we are absolute experts.

If you’re unsure about your competence, well we are the absolute best in the world to bring you up to a proper and safe level of knowledge, skills, education, and globally accepted certifications.

Contact us about an awesome sailing vacation through this page.

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 2

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This is Day 2 of our sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450.

Needing a little hair of the dog from Willie T’s, the crew elected to sail to Jost Van Dyke island for our next stop over in White Bay where the famous Soggy Dollar bar serves the most delicious Pain Killers and other concoctions. My favorite however, is the Vanilla Killer and our bartender Sana serves them with a great smile. She has worked at the Soggy Dollar for 11 years.

Sana at the Soggy Dollar will take care of you

Sana at the Soggy Dollar will take care of you

The beach at White Bay is one of the more awesome beaches in the BVI. It is not to be missed. There are also several other restaurants and bars along the beach. Just be aware to leave the beach prior to dusk. No See’ems come out and will eat your legs off. Otherwise, during the day there are no bities.


There are two entrances to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke through the reef. The BVI is under IALA-B rules which means red right returning. Of course, me being from New Zealand, we had a heated discussion about which system is right including who drives on the correct side of the road. My point is that we have the steering wheel on the right side of the car. But … we’re in the islands who the heck cares who is right? Right? Hmmm what we we stayed on island philosophy?Just maybe that’s the answer to the world’s problems. I’ll be sure and send that to Washington.

Inside the reef next to the beach the anchoring can get little tight and it is pretty shallow. Expect 4 feet under your keel and 50 feet to your neighbor.

Shallow in White Bay. Anchor with Caution.

Shallow in White Bay. Anchor with Caution.

Swim your anchor and make sure it is dug in properly.

Check the anchor

Check the anchor

Day 2 was a little short due to the time aberration of Willie T’s which made us get up late. So pretty much all we accomplished that day was a sail from Norman Island to White Bay JVD and a Vanilla Killer and lots of laughs.

We did have one technical issue however where the Autopilot even though it said it was off was still controlling the helm. That was freaky. We rebooted the Navigation and everything was fine.

Ducks: There is a blue duck with is a sailing faux pas, then there is a black duck with is a sailing faux pas which costs money and then there is a Red duck with is the spillage of alcohol. That night a series of events lead us to riffle through them all but making a tremendous come back from a black duck to end in just blue and red. It started with Tim slipping down the stairs and spilling his red wine all over the cushion – Red Duck! So we immediately washed it off and set it up to dry. The blue duck was not ensuring it was secure. The potential black duck was that it blew away during the night. The downgrade to a blue duck was that we recovered it on the beach in the morning – now full of sea water and sand. We unzipped it, washed it all out, dried it in the sun on the front trampoline (secured this time) and zipped it back up better than new. Red –> Blue –> Black –> Blue+Red. Embarrassing all the same. Tie down the cushions durh!

See Day 1 of Our Sailing Trip to the BVI

Day 3 and Day 4

 

NauticEd and its expert team are global brokers for the best sailing vacations. We’ve been just about everywhere and know the best spots. We can arrange the best boats and the best prices. In particular, if you want to go to the BVI, we are absolute experts.

If you’re unsure about your competence, well we are the absolute best in the world to bring you up to a proper and safe level of knowledge, skills, education, and globally accepted certifications.

Contact us about an awesome sailing vacation through this page.

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 3 and 4

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper, Videos and photos | Comments are off for this article

This is day 3 and 4 of sailing in The BVI with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450.

DROP AND GIVE ME 20 yelled Jeff as we did mountain climbers, burpies, press ups and beach sprints for a morning workout. What a way to start a day and White Bay beach is the best for it. Imagine working out and jogging on this beach in the morning to work up a good sweat then just fall in the water at the end – now stop imagining and go there!

White Bay Beach

White Bay Beach, JVD, BVI

Sandy Cay was on our way to our next stop Cane Garden Bay. I’d never been to Sandy Cay before – always electing the much smaller Sandy Spit which is also very cool and not to be missed but Sandy Cay is pretty special too, now that I know. It has a most amazing white sandy beach with awesome swimming. We did a reenactment of Hallie Berry in the James Bond movie where he offered her a mojito as she came out of the water. But alas not as good as the original. Still, the model was great – biased option of course.

Mojito

Mojito? On Sandy Cay!

Don’t miss the incredible sandy beach at Sandy Cay – usually you can have this beach to yourself. (not after this blog goes viral though).

Still with plenty of time in the day we decided to reverse direction a little and go see Bubbling Pools at the north east end of JVD (Jost Van Dyke); between JVD and Little JVD. Here the wash of the water rushes through some rocks and ends up in a little pool. Since the water has been roughed up through the rocks, it is like a little jacuzzi -fun.

Bubbling Pools

Bubbling Pools

To get there, you anchor or grab a mooring ball next to Foxy’s Taboo (Not Foxy’s) and walk north along the trail for about ½ a mile. Turn left as you climb a little knoll. With a Northerly swell, Bubbling Pools can be a lot of fun and depending on the size of the swell can border on dangerous. Anyway, it is great to see and well worth the walk.  On the way, I walked past the Caribbean Manchineel poison apple tree and shot this video.

 

After Bubbling Pools we stopped at Foxy’s Taboo Restaurant. Of all the trips I’ve done to the BVI, this was the first time I had visited Foxy’s Taboo. Big mistake should have done it before because speaking of danger, they’ve got a few dangerous drinks which is dependant more on the swill than the swell.

Foxy's Taboo Jost Van Dyke

Foxy’s Taboo Jost Van Dyke

“Friggin in the Riggin” drink was the most popular amongst the crew.

Back to the boat we set sails for Cane Garden Bay. The entrance into Cane Garden Bay is well marked with a green and red. Keep red to right. This is one of my more favorite spots in the BVI – why? Don’t know – just is. There is a long beach that is populated with bars and restaurants. It’s a little touristy as it caters to the Cruise ship crowd taxi’d over from Road Town. Still, the bay is quaint and the locals are friendly. There are heaps of mooring balls and if they run out you can save $30 and anchor just beyond the most outer mooring which is still pretty close to the beach anyway. There is a decent grocery store, Bobby’s – well decent enough to pick up a few extras. They could up their game a little on the vegies.

Cane Garden Bay

Cane Garden Bay

To the north end of the bay is a large pier where you can get fuel, water and ice. The bay is open to the north and west so stay away if there is a big swell as you’ll get slammed against the pier wall. We stayed in CGB for 2 nights just because of its idyllic setting. They have lots of water sports on the beach and a giant swimming area.

A quick digress: A note about the bays and beaches anywhere you go in the world. While it may seem obvious to us all, but the Charter Companies would rather you dump out the head rather than send it into the tanks. They do this to not clog the tanks or get calls from clients saying they flushed something they should not have could you please come unblock it. BUT please, no matter what they say, close the seacocks when in a harbor. Then just remember to dump after you get out away from the shore 3 miles.  

Back in Cane Garden Bay, the next morning we had a massive pig out breakfast with Bloody Mary’s to start the day. Then we went on a hunt for a set of flip flops for Jeff who blew out his flip flop (and stepped on a pop top) on the hike to Bubbling Pools yesterday.   Seemingly the day flew by but not without some serious fun in the water, fun with the dinghy and fun with the sea kayak. There was a weak call for to check out the night life on shore but moment later the call was followed by snoring. Yet again – failing from the experience of yesterday, we went from Blue to black and back to blue Ducks again. I mean come on people. We neglected to secure the Sea Kayak. Some rotten

Yet again – failing to learn from the experience of yesterday, we went from Blue to black and back to blue Ducks again. I mean come on people. We neglected to secure the Sea Kayak. Some rotten soles in the middle of the night went joy riding on our kayak that was tied up behind. They left the kayak at someone else’s boat. We only found out about the joy ride part rather than theft by a keen eyed crew member spotting a dinghy driving around the harbor towing a red sea kayak and stopping at each boat. This happened just as we had resigned ourselves to paying the rental company for the Sea Kayak. So potential black again turned to only blue. Notes to self and Crew. Let’s secure the boat properly prior to going to bed.

Day 5 coming soon

See day 2 of sailing in the BVI with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450

Practical Training Course Matrix

Posted by Director of Education on September 19, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

With responsible sailing knowledge there is, of course, theory and practical skills to learn and demonstrate.

When you get with your practical instructor, it is highly recommended to complete the appropriate theory courses prior to the practical training. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much time on the basics preventing the instructor from doing their real work which is to get your hands on the helm and the lines. You don’t want the instructor spending valuable on-the-water time explaining who gives way or how the sails create forces. If this is the case, the instructor may not be able to spend the proper amount of time on the practical skills and thus be forced to fail your desired practical competence ability.

Here is the matrix of courses you should complete vs the Practical Competence Ability you are seeking from your instructor. We hope you take this list seriously. It has been designed by professionals to ensure your competence and confidence on the water. Please do your best to complete them PRIOR to your practical training.

MATCH YOUR PRACTICAL COMPETENCE ABILITY WITH THE THEORY COURSES AND RANKS BELOW

  • Captain – All of:
    • Skipper
    • Maneuvering Under Power
    • Coastal Navigation
    • Electronic Navigation
    • Bareboat Charter
    • Anchoring
    • Storm Tactics
    • Weather
    • SailTrim
    • Safety at Sea

Also for Captain requirement, you are required to have been on an extended distance sailing trip of at least 200 miles with one through-the-night sailing whereby you participated in all aspects of navigation, helm, sail trim, life aboard tasks, and watch.

How to Operate a Dinghy Safely

Posted by Director of Education on August 10, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper, Videos and photos | Comments are off for this article

Last week, NauticEd and crew went to the British Virgin Islands and chartered a Lagoon 450 from BVI Yacht Charters. We went down there to specifically get more content for our courses including video and pictures.

Here is a great video we shot for teaching crew members how to operate a dinghy.

As Skipper, you might be fully versed on dinghy operations but we can guarantee that your crew are not and the last thing you need on your sailing vacation is a dinghy accident.

You’re welcome to send this blog on to your crew.

Thanks go to BVI Yacht Charters for providing such an excellent experience. I highly recommend them as a charter company. If you’re wanting to go to the BVI for a sailing vacation, we can arrange at no cost to you the boat charter and give excellent advice on where to go and what are the cool hideaway spots.

Contact us for sailing vacations via this page

Take the Bareboat Charter Course AND have your crew also take this course. You’re spending $5k on your trip. Make sure you make the most out of it.

Bareboat Charter Sailing Course

Also, see our BVI Fast Check Out Chart Briefing Course

Wanting to be completely qualified to Yacht Charter? Take our Bareboat Charter Master Bundle of Courses and log your previous sailing in our free NauticEd electronic Logbook. Yacht Charter Companies worldwide accept the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Rank. Sign in and start now.

Bareboat Charter Athens Greece Day 1

Posted by Director of Education on July 6, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Seven Days of Sailing out from Athens with The Moorings on a Leopard 3900 Catamaran

We chartered a Catamaran from the Moorings in May 2016. The following is a report on what we did and where we went. We have to preface the whole report with a big OMG. What a great place. I was a little hesitant at first at the Athens area just because I’m more used to hitting more remote islands having sailed such places as The Kingdom of Tonga, Sea of Cortez, Bora Bora,  and the Leeward islands of the Caribbean. Yet the allure of culture was calling and so I thought we’d give Athens a try. So wrong I was to prejudge. Following you’ll read about all the tiny ports and villages and historic places we went. Just amazing – so amazing I’d do exactly the same trip again. Read on …

Day 0-1 Friday/Saturday Austin, Texas to Athens to Nisos Aigina

I always love the idea of the great circle, otherwise, it seems counter intuitive to fly so far north to Toronto from Texas to get to Athens. Albeit it was also the route that we managed to get also with United Credit card miles. Anyway, the 10 hour flight from Toronto to Athens went quickly and dropped us into Athens at 9:30 am.

Austin to Athens

First business was to buy 2GB of Data from Vodafone for EUR20 so that I could post the heck out of gorgeous photos on facebook specifically to make friends jealous. The Uber ride to the Moorings Base in Marina Zea, Pireas on the out skirts of Athens was 40 minutes. Yes! Austin Texas we used UBER and we were not killed because the Driver was not finger printed (private Austin joke after the city council suckered to a special interest vote to oust Uber in favor of protecting Taxis).

After a coffee and a few Greek pastries, we checked into the Moorings Athens Base at noon. The base staff were overly friendly and helpful, and eager to get us on the water in our 3900 Leopard Catamaran as soon as possible — but before we could do anything they asked me for my ICC sailing license and took a photocopy for the local port authority. Whew, just as well I bought it. No ICCy no saily in Europe. (More about the ICC)

This is the Base Staff holding up my ICC license after checking it and photocopying for their records

Checking our ICC Sailing License

Checking our ICC Sailing License

We discussed our desires for the trip with Kostas the Base Manager. He had two suggestions: One was to head out to the Cyclades which he said was more remote and beautiful. The other was to stay closer in and do some of the islands and ports nearer to Athens with more villages. We opted for the later wanting more of a cultural experience. Kostas then proceeded to give us a really thorough insight to all the cool marinas and places to visit including his hide-away restaurants on the back streets of every port. Thanks a heaping helping Kostas!

Here is us doing the chart briefing.

Chart Briefing with The Moorings Base Manager

Chart Briefing with The Moorings Base Manager

And here are the notes we took from the chart briefing with a highly accurate chart drawn. Actually, this method works out pretty well for any trip. Throughout the week, you can just refer to your sketch and remember the cool places.

Proposed Route Sketch

Proposed Route Sketch

This then ended up being our actual track map for the week which pretty much followed Kostas’ suggestions.

Athens 7 day charter map

Athens 7 day charter map

Albeit, I prefer this one that we drew in the restaurant on the final evening due to the authentic Ouzo glass on the left.

Sketch of our Trip

Sketch of our Sailing Trip

 

Provisioning

Provisioning

The grocery store for provisioning our boat in Athens was walking distance from the boat and so we loaded up 3 shopping carts of essentials electing to not buy much dinner food but rather provision for breakfasts and snacks instead since we wanted to spend the week eating fresh Anchovies and Sardines with Greek Salads. Yummy my favorite!

By 4pm we were off the dock and heading out. That’s the first time I’ve done that – landed in the morning and on the water that afternoon. And Kudo’s to the Mooring base staff for the efficiency of the process.

For wind speed, in Europe they extensively us the Beaufort scale so it is a good idea to learn that. Beaufort 3 is 7-10 knots and Beaufort 4 is 11 to 16 knots. The forecast for the week was Beaufort 4 max so no worries in sight.

First stop was the Island of Nisos Aigina and the port of Aigina 16 miles south-west of Pireas. The winds started out at 18 knots (higher than forecasted) and so we hoisted with a double reef in the main. We blew that out to the first reef after a mile or so then blew that out as the wind dropped off to 10 knots.

The Athens area is a major port and so there is significant container traffic to be aware of. Better know your collision avoidance constant bearing rule. If a vessel has a constant compass bearing to yours, then you are most likely on a collision course. You can also watch the land slipping behind or gaining on the vessel – that gives you an almost instant determination.

We elected to slip in behind this one.

container ship

I had bets with one of our crew members over an approaching container ship. I won – it slipped easily in front of us. I used the changing land behind method.

We arrived latish about 8pm into Aigina Port. This is a Slide show of Aigina Port click twice to start it.

;

One thing to know is that you have to get into the ports early to get a mooring at the town quay. The ports are small and so late arrivers should expect to have to anchor out. Thus predictably so — there were no slips left. So we anchored outside in an anchoring area no problem and took the dinghy ashore. Kostas’s recommendation of Skotadis restaurant on the waterfront was awesome – look for this in their doorway and yup you guessed it, Anchovies and a Greek salad.

Aigina Restaurant

 

Afterwards, we played my international travelling game which is – whenever walking around, where ever you look you have to go down that street or alley. It works every time as you end up at the coolest little courtyards and zocalos with statues and interesting things. Playing this game, we ended up in A backstreet and found an awesome little bar and so for blogging purposes only, we sampled the local Ouzo which I highly recommend that you spend quite a bit of time doing.

Our final intention of this day was to stay up as late as possible to power right through jet lag as fast as possible. From a lot of international flight experience, that is definitely how you do it. Back to the boat and for a gorgeous night’s sleep being rocked into jetlag comatose.

See Day 2 Of out Athens Greece Bareboat Charter Trip with The Moorings

If you think this is cool and you’d like to do something like this – Guess what? YOU CAN!!!!

(1) If you’re not qualified, NauticEd has a whole soup to nuts program to develop you into a Bareboat Charterer. It’s simple and this is actually our specialty with theory and practical courses including international qualification. Start with the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses.

(2) If you are qualified, NauticEd is a broker for most all of the Yacht Charter Companies including Moorings and Sunsail. We can find the best prices AND give you excellent advice on where to go because we’ve been to them all. We can tell you about the cool hideaway spots and the places to not bother with. You get the same price as going direct. Start by going here.

Bareboat Charter Athens Day 2

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Bareboat Charter in Athens Greece with The Moorings

Sunday Day 2 Aigina – Perdika – Hydra

Our plan for the week was to get going early each day so as to explore on the way then make it into the stay over port early to explore further. Our first early explore was the village of Perdika – a seemingly innocuous place as you sail in but Kostas had insisted that we stop. OMG what a delightful tiny port. Sunday morning church was in full swing as we pulled in. But our first job was a med mooring into a tight spot.

The concrete marina piers are about 3 boat lengths apart. I nosed the boat up to the windward pier where we dropped anchor and then backed downwind into the spot between two monohulls. I instructed my anchor man keep the chain taught and let out slowly so that I am backing against the pull of the chain. This keeps the bow into wind while I keep backing downwind to the concrete wall. Once the stern was tied to the wall, we tightened further up on the anchor to keep the aft of the boat off the wall. We then pulled out the gang plank and went ashore. Perdika is a must stop – even for an hour as you can see from the photos.

Next, we set sail to Hydra Island but first we stopped for out first swim at a gorgeous island called Spathi at the eastern tip of the mainland. It’s still May so the water is a little chilly but that didn’t stop us from leaping off the cabin top with our GoPro’s into the clearest water you’ve ever seen. One thing about the Med is that the water is so clear. Dropping the hook was no problem, we could see it lying on the bottom 20 ft down.

Anchor on the bottom

Anchor on the bottom in the clear Mediterranean waters

Here is a clip of the fun we had in the bay.

Hydra is like every other place – a must stop. A wow even. A small port packed with fishing boats and charter boats. This is a slideshow of the view coming into Hydra. Click on the show twice to start it.

Our swimming made us arrive a little late and so the port was already full. Desperate, however, we sort of might have illegally parked next to a sign that said don’t park here – maybe. In our defense the sign was confusing, I mean Don’t park here has all kinds of meanings. Anyway, we performed another stellar Med mooring parking job.

In olden times, Hydra was a very rich island with their very own Navy and so walking around the back streets to see fabulous Greek mansions and houses was a real delight especially with the backdrop of the gorgeous Kolpos Idhras ocean. See this Slide show.

On the marine promenade, there are lots of bars and restaurants. So for blogging purposes only, we sampled the local Ouzo which I highly recommend that you spend quite a bit of time doing. There is a fantastic walk from the main town to the west out along the cliff. There are some gorgeous restaurants there also and a swimming area off the rocks. Take your swim suit and a towel.

On the back streets, I tried to blend in.

Blending in to the local surroundings

Blending into the local surroundings

We elected for a back street restaurant for dinner which is pretty much my rule anywhere. The food is always better and the restaurant owners much more keen to engage in conversation. To find such restaurants see Day 1 – international travelling game.

Here are some other random shots of Hydra.

Day 3 of our Bareboat Charter in Greece with the Moorings

Day 1 of Our Greece Bareboat Charter Trip with the Moorings

Bareboat Charter Athens Day 3

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Monday Day 3 of 7 Hydra – Epimioni – Dhokos — Spetsai

6:30 am – now this is the thing to do. Get up super early, leave port and drift the boat about 1 mile out and have breakfast looking at a Greek town off the back deck of the boat. Here was our view of Hydra that morning as the sun rose. Breathtaking!!!!

Hydra Sunrise

Hydra Sunrise

We then headed west towards Ermioni. If there is such a thing called negative wind we struck it. None – nada – zip – zilch. When you mix this negative zilch wind with the deep blue of the Med you get this. Water so clear and flat it is actually indescribable. Best way to get what I’m talking about is to just experience it. Here is a little video clip on the trip of Hydra to Ermioni. Watch for the bow cutting through the water.

Behind us, we left this amazingly long straight wake. So I made up this overly philosophical statement.

behind-you

And OF COURSE, we did another perfect Med Mooring up to the concrete quay.

Med Mooring

Another Perfect Med Mooring

Ermioni is (I know) a must stop for a lot of reasons but the biggest one I know of is Drougas bakery at the start of the pier. I mean come on look at this – like WOW!

Drougas Bakery In Ermioni

Drougas Bakery In Ermioni

OMG of all my travels, Drougas is hands down by far without a doubt indisputably the most awesome bakery shop of all time ever in anyplace in both the known and the unknown universe. And just for the sake of sake, I’m throwing in another OMG. We ate their three times in the matter of just 1 hour. If you ever want the best Baklava, Spanakopita, Kataifi and other delicious pastry things with greek names you can’t pronounce, go to Drougas. I actually mean don’t go through life with out going here. Even more to say – you will die a happy person if you have knocked this off your bucket list. In the Bakery you also have to meet 6 foot 10 Inch Panagiotis Efstratiou and his wife Athanasia Drouga, owner of the bakery – friendly and nice people doubling as excellent baristas also. I do however worry that they thought we were storking them as we kept on going back. We also picked up some gifties of jam, olive oil and chutney for our friends back home. Disclaimer. Athanasia did ply us with apple pies but my review of Drougas Bakery is unswayed by the bribe and true to its sole. Here is the Trip Advisor link for Drougas if you don’t believe me.

 

Drougas Bakery in Ermioni

My short crew with Panagiotis Efstratiou @ Drougas Bakery in Ermioni

Ermioni has history going back 4000 years. There are records that a festival in honor of Poseidon was held here with conjecture that this was the site of the world’s very first small sailboat regatta.

Here is a slideshow of the sites around Ermioni

The close by island of Dhokos is another mustie. After we moored in east end of Ormos Skindos bay, Beverly, a crew member asked “so what is here?” Of which my replay was “absolutely nothing”. Check out this nothingness bay.

Here is our 1st mate, Sam gaining his new nick name Sam-On-The-Rocks as he ran our bridled aft longline ashore with the dinghy.

Sam on the Rocks

Sam on the Rocks

And of course, since NauticEd are friends of The Moorings, here are a bunch of really cool pics of our Moorings boat in an idyllic setting.

 

I snapped this shot of the GPS as we pulled anchor. Note that the brown is land, white is water. Hmmm notice anything wrong. This pic is especially for those who think they can navigate at night using GPS only. It is not that the GPS is wrong, it is that the land is placed on the electronic map wrong by about 500 yards (meters).

GPS says we are on land hmmm. Last I checked we were still floating.

GPS-On-Land

As the wind picked up for the afternoon we set sail for Spetsai Island. 18 knots Force 5 is perfect for a quick sail at 8 knots in the cat.

sails timmed

Proudly we blasted past a few boats who we saw running around to trim their sails to keep ahead with little effect. I’m sure their excuse was ‘oh but they are a cat – they should be going faster”. The result was the same however, we wasted them. In all sailboat races, it is skill if you win and just bad luck if you loose.

Going Fast

Going Fast

Sailing along, I noticed this potentially expensive mistake. Always chase your lines with your eyes when sailing. A little thing like this would cost you about $1000 when you arrived back at the base for final check out.

A potentially expensive mistake

A potentially expensive mistake

 

Spetsai has fantastic little bars but only to be found playing gamous internationalous (see day 1). One in particular had amazing works of iron art all embedded into the functionality of the bar. Very cool! Sticking with our Modus operandi of always arriving too late but with the best intentions of getting there early (just too many distractions enroute) the more popular area to moor to the east of town in Baltiza Creek was full and so we elected to moor in the new harbor outside the main town Dapia. I used my handy Pocket GRiB app to check the wind forecast so that I could see how the wind would shift in the night. I thus picked the east side of the pier to med moor. Albeit, I may be loosing the touch a little, we needed two attempts to do it this time. The first we did not set the anchor out far enough and it dragged in as we hauled on it to pull the boat off the quay. The second time it held but to be sure, I snorkelled it and dug in in better.

Med Mooring in Spetses Greece

Med Mooring in Spetses Greece

This is an appropriate time to talk more about Med mooring. There are two types: One where there is a slime line attached to the pier wall leading out to a sunken mooring in the harbor. You back up to the wall, attach your stern lines then hold off the wall with engine power. You then grab the slime line and chase it forward until you pick up the main mooring line. You attach this to the forward cleat on your bow and tighten up as much as possible. Now you can make adjustments to the whole to nicely position your boat off the wall. Simple enough and the key is in dock line prep and crew briefing.

The second type of med mooring is an anchor off the front. In Spetsai we had a nice display of how not to do it by some guys in a gorgeoud Lagoon 450. Here is how not to do it: Position the boat nicely then the anchor man drops the anchor as fast as possible while the helmsman backs the boat as fast as possible to the dock wall all the while all crew members and the captain are yelling in a foreign language (I think) to each other to watch out and other boats are scrambling, exchanging their gin and tonics for fenders.

Reset: The second type of med mooring is an anchor off the front. The way you do this is to nicely position your boat estimating 5 times the depth of water to the pier plus a boat length (i.e. your anchor is at the front of the boat so add 1 boat length). You use boat lengths to make this estimation. If the water is 8 meters deep and your boat is 12 meters long then set up to drop the anchor 3.5 to 4 plus 1 boat lengths off the pier. Have the anchor man drop the anchor to the sea floor. The helmsman begins backing and taking orders from the anchorman who is paying out the anchor at a rate to lay the chain down at the same speed as the boat. About 1 boat length out, the anchorman stops and allows the boat momentum to dig the anchor into the bottom. The helmsman applies a little extra power to help set the anchor. Now the helmsman applies slight reverse while the anchorman eases the boat back by slowly letting out the chain. This method keeps the chain taught and slowly bring the boat back to the wall all the while slight reverse power is maintained. At 1 meter out from the wall, the anchor man stops and the aft line crew – or even the helmsman can attached the lines to the pier. Once those are set the anchorman can tighten the anchor to pull against the aft lines ashore. This is a sure, calm and safe way of how to do a Mediterranean mooring. It ensures the anchor is well set which is a necessity to hold the boat off the pier wall. And it can be done in any wind direction. For a catamaran this is essentially fool proof. For a monohull, it is a bit more tricky since stopping the momentum of the boat to set the anchor will make you have to deal with propwalk (see our maneuvering under power course). So you do have to keep the boat moving. What is particularly cool however when med mooring downwind is that the anchor will stop your bow from bearing away downwind i.e. It holds your bow to windward. If you have never med moored before, as easy as it is, for goodness sake, DON’T let it be the first time you do it when you’re going up next to a five million dollar bohemouth. Practice it at home preferably with your anchorman to be. A final tip is to check back on your boat frequently to make sure that your anchor has not slipped as this would allow your boat to slide back to the very hard concrete pier wall. Not good!

After the entertainment at the pier, we enjoyed strolling the back streets and sampling more ouzo before walking back to Baltiza Creek for a nice waterside dinner.

Here are some sights around Spetses Greece.

Yes all the above in one day

Day 4 Sailing in Greece

See Day 2 sailing in Greece

Bareboat Charter Athens Day 4

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Tuesday – Day 4 of 7 days sailing with The Moorings in Greece:  Spetses – Poros

We woke in the morning to find that the wind had swung as predicted by Pocket GRiB. We’d made a good choice on which side of the key to Med moor.

Sam On-The-Rocks went back to town to buy his beloved girlfriend a Mermaid he saw in a shop window the previous evening. Spetses definitely had some cute shops.

Next, a 30 mile sail back to the bay of Saronikos Kolpos to the island of Poros.

From Spetses to Poros

From Spetses to Poros

I elected to do some office work while the crew did a stellar job of sailing. Office work meaning writing this. This is work – serious!

Dreaded Office Work

Dreaded Office Work

Here is a slide show of sailing from Spetses to Poros

Coming through a cut a small ferry went past creating a huge wake. I didn’t think too much about it but its wake managed to do a crescendo right into Dave and Bev’s cabin through a side hatch while they were snoozing. They claim it was a full 55 gallon drum of seawater. Wet sheets, mattress, clothes, and pillows, they came upstairs looking desperately for the jokester to beat up, only to find it was their fault for leaving hatches open while underway.

Inter Island Ferry

Boats like these make huge wakes. Close hatches!!!!!

Many of the hills surrounding were topped with giant wind turbines. A fitting display of technology for such a sailing history nation.

Wind Turbines in Greece

Poros is a must see and visit. It’s a busy little town on an island about 500 yards from the mainland. The channel between Poros and the mainland is about 2 miles long and the quay to dock up to is gorgeous and loaded with great Restaurants.

Here is a slide show of pics entering the cut between the Mainland and Poros.

Our Med Mooring up to the quay at Poros was less than perfect. In fact, it was down right awful and embarrassing. What we did wrong was we did not drop the anchor out far enough in the channel. So that when we backed up to the wall and tried to tighten up the anchor to pull us out from the wall the anchor drug across the bottom and met us back at the boat. This meant we had to release all the lines and go back out and reset. This was all complicated by a strong cross wind. Essentially we pulled off the whole thing like a bunch of amateurs. On the reset, we rigged a forward spring line to go to the wall. Then by using power and rudder we were able to lever the boat upwind to position perfectly in the right spot. Then we set all the shore lines and tightened up on our now dug in and properly set anchor. Our Maneuvering Under Power course describes the use of a forward spring line – either amidships or bow.

midships line

An amidships spring line

This is a video debrief.

The quay at Poros is a great place to hang out with shops and restaurants and great quay side tables which we hung out on and had a few glasses of chilled wine with cheese. Here’s a fun embedded video from facebook.

Poros is the site of Poseidon’s Temple. Poseidon is the Greek God of the Sea and so it was fitting that we visit the site and ask for safe travels on our voyage. The ruins of the temple are pretty much just a bunch of rocks these days but just to stand there and imagine the architects and builders from 400 BC was amazing. It’s about a 20-minute taxi ride from the marina.

 

Another awesome visit was a walk up several hundred steps to the top of the hill to visit the clock tower.

Poros Clock Tower

Poros Clock Tower

The view down the channel from the clock tower with all the boating was breathtaking.

View From Poros Clock Tower

View From Poros Clock Tower

Back down on the quay, we got an upfront look at the Bristolian, a 40 meter luxury yacht. Our crew complained that we did not have handrails on our walkboard like they did. Ohhh the shame!!

Bristolian

Bristolian

This was the 4th time we’d seen the Bristolian on our trip. Other times, they were under sail – stunning.

The Bristolian Under Sail

The Bristolian Under Sail

Our dinner selection was courtesy of Trip Advisor whereby we found the most awesome family run restaurant  Apagio Taverna.  The fish and the lamb was amazing. When you visit Poros you must go visit Apagio Taverna. Directly opposite our berth was a thumping night club called Malibu so we ended the night dancing and sipping more Ouzos. [Trip Advisor Link for Apagio]

See Day 3 Sailing In Greece

Day 5 Sailing in Greece

Bareboat Charter Athens Day 5

Posted by Director of Education on under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Day five of seven: Sailing out from Athens with The Moorings on a Leopard 3900 Catamaran

Wednesday Poros to Russian Bay to Epidavros

Poros to Epidavros

Poros to Epidavros

When motoring out of Poros you can’t emotionally go faster than 2 knots because the view of the town is so fantastic, especially the iconic clock tower.

Poros Clock Tower

Poros Clock Tower

Here are some more sights around Poros. Click the arrows to run through the slide show.


We motored over to Russian Bay – named because it was the headquarters of the Russian Navy when they help Greece fight and gain their independence from the Ottoman empire in the Greek War of Independence from 1821 to 1832. The decisive battle was near Hydra where the allied force of Russia, Britian, and France defeated the Ottomans.

 

After an ice cold 11am brewski  and a quick history lesson from the local kebarb stand lady on shore at Russian Bay we had a quick dip in the water to liven up the skin follicles.

We set sail for Epidavros out through a cut. This was the absolute best sail of the week. The wind cranked up to 18 knots out of the east and we did a beam reach around the peninsula of Khersonisos Methanon then down to series of deep broad reaches into Epidavros Habor.

This was about a 5 hour sail. We hesitated a little at today’s destination because the harbor is open to the east. So I checked one of my favorite wind Apps, PocketGRiB which indicated that the wind was veering southerly – ok, this means the harbor would be sheltered at night – safe.

On the deep broad reaches the crew were asking why can’t we just head dead downwind to the port. It was a great opportunity to explain the difference between VMG and VMC. Crew member Dave is an ex Air Force Navigator so the initial difficulty is trying to understand that an airplane can just point to where it wants to go with the same airspeed what ever direction. Since a boat uses the wind to propel itself it must point in the most efficient direction. In an airplane VMG is velocity made good. It is the speed that you are approaching your destination taking into account your slippage off course due to wind. Sailboat also have VMG which is the slippage off course due to current – same thing. VMC however, is Velocity Made good on Course. Here is how that works: Your boat goes fast with apparent wind over the sails. When you head dead down wind your apparent wind is the true wind speed minus your boat speed. This is the speed of the wind propelling your boat. As you turn up to a deep broad reach you start to pick up apparent wind and so your boat goes faster. But you are off your desired angle. So you are balancing being off angle with faster boat speed against heading towards your target with lower boat speed. At some point the optimum is reached which is usually around 150 degrees off the wind. Oh well – it made for a great discussion to pass the time.

In the harbor, the wind and thus waves we still easterly and so our Med mooring was to be backing almost dead down wind with slight cross wind about 15 degrees on the starboard. Easy peasy now with my expertly trained crew.

We prepared a starboard midships spring line and two stern lines all coiled ready to throw. Then we simply set the anchor about 5 boat lengths out then backed up into the slip. At about 1 boat length out I set the throttles in idle reverse and handed boat control to the anchorman. He allowed the boat to ease back on the anchor letting out 1 meter at a time. We set the midships windward spring first to hold us then the aft dock lines. Once the aft dock lines were set with a 1 meter gap from the stern to the quay, we tightened up on the anchor. Done! Next door the boat full of Russians visiting Greece for sailing training were quite impressed.

The key to any operation on a boat is preparation, crew briefing and understanding the potential negative variables. In addition when things start to go haywire like a line getting tangled, as the skipper you can not start yelling. The most you can do is to say “if you could do that a bit quicker, that’d be great”. Do that and you’ve increased your success ten fold.

We all went for a walking tour of the town except Sam On-The-Rocks who, while sitting on the back of the boat was given a small sword fish by our local fisherman neighbors. Wow – amazing. He tried to offer money but they refused. As soon as we found this out we went to the grocery to pick up some garlic. Swordfish is particularly amazing when it is flash pan fried with butter and garlic. If you think the fish is still too raw and needs more cooking, that’s the time to get it out of the pan. Raw on the inside and slightly cooked on the outside. On man yum.

Sword Fish

Sword Fish from the Locals

Sword Fish Dinner

Sword Fish Dinner

Forward to Day 6 of Sailing with the Moorings around the Athens, Greece area

Back to Day 4 of our sailing trip around Athens Greece