FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the weather like?
March - April
It is often warm and dry but you may get a mixture of sunny and overcast days, and even an occasional thunderstorm or strong winds. The spring is a beautiful time to visit the Greek islands. They are full of spring flowers and colour at that time of year. Some people may find the sea too cool for swimming.
May - June
During the day it is normally sunny and warm with slightly cooler weather at night. The sea begins to warm up. Most northern Europeans would find temperatures very pleasant during these months.
July - August
During the mid-summer months Greece can be very hot. Temperatures of 40 degrees are not unknown in Athens although the islands are usually cooler. It is more pleasant on board the yacht during the day as there is normally a breeze over the decks. The sea is lovely and warm for swimming. Although the temperature drops a little at night, many people find mid summer evenings too hot below deck. It is common to see yacht crew sleeping in the cockpit or on the foredeck during these months.
September - October
Temperatures begin to fall from the beginning of September. These months can be very pleasant and are popular so you should book early. In the past few years there has sometimes been quite a cold spell in October. The sea remains warm and pleasant for swimming.
Average temperatures in the Saronic Gulf.
2. Is there a maximum age?
No. We are happy to take people of any age as long as they are fit enough to move around the boat. If you have mobility problems please enquire about courses on Hellas I which has special features such as additional grips for moving around.
3. Are the courses suitable for children?
The RYA recommends 13 as the minimum age for the Competent Crew course. Most children below this age do not have the strength required to handle yachts of 40 ft plus. They may also find it difficult to concentrate for the length of time required.
If you want to do a course with younger children we suggest that they are booked on to do the Start Yachting syllabus. This gives an introduction to sailing but is not as intensive as the Comp Crew course.
Please note that we do not take children on group courses unless we can find other students who have no objection. If you are travelling on your own with a child we may be able to find another parent and child who would be interested in sailing on the same week.
4. Can I do the Day Skipper practical course if I have not done the theory course?
This depends a lot upon your previous experience and how quickly you learn. We have had students who have successfully completed the Day Skipper practical with very little theoretical knowledge. They nearly all comment afterwards that it was very hard and they wish they had done a theory course beforehand. Without insulting our older students, I would say that those who manage to do this are nearly always very bright and have often not long left university, so are still used to absorbing facts and figures quickly.
We would recommend that you do an RYA Shorebased course if possible. If you cannot get to a training centre there are a number of distance learning courses. For more information see our Shorebased course pages.
Our nine day combined theory and practical courses proved very popular in 2006. These are designed to provide you with the theory you need in order to take the RYA Day Skipper non tidal practical course. The courses are held in a pleasant hotel just outside Aegina town. You work in the classroom for about seven hours a day (morning and early evening) and the rest of the time you are free to spend on the beach or sightseeing.
5. I want to do the Day Skipper course but my partner wants to do the Competent Crew course. Can we do these together?
Yes. It works very well if some of those on board are doing a skipper�s course (either Day or Coastal Skipper) and some are doing the Competent Crew course. We prefer not to have Coastal skipper and Day Skipper candidates during the same week as this does not work as well.
6. I am single. Can I come on a course on my own?
Yes. About 25% of our students come on their own. Unfortunately, we have to make a surcharge for single occupancy of a cabin. It is often possible to share storage in a cabin with one person sleeping either in the saloon or the cockpit. If you are prepared to share there is no surcharge.
7. We are going to come on a group course. What will the other people be like?
It is a bit of a gamble to go on holiday in a confined space with unknown people. All we can say is that the vast majority get on very well indeed. in fact we can only think of one occasion in four years where there has been any sort of friction.
We have a wide range of clients so it�s impossible to predict exactly what your fellow students would be like. The majority are in the age range 35 to 55, although we do have some older and younger than that. Most have professional or executive level jobs, or run their own business.
Our students come from many countries. The majority are British, although some live overseas. This chart shows you the countries that last year�s students came from.
If you have an easy-going attitude and like meeting people we are sure that you will get on well with your fellow students. Learning a new skill immediately gives you a common topic of interest and our Instructors are experts at moulding strangers into a coherent team.
8. I do not speak English perfectly. Will I have a problem?
All tuition on RYA courses is in English. You must speak English sufficiently well to understand commands and explanations that you may be given. You will not be expected to know English nautical terminology before a Competent Crew course. Many of these words will be new even to those who speak English as their mother tongue!
For 2007 we will produce a guide to English nautical terminology especially for those for whom English is a second language. Please ask about this.
If you want to do a Day Skipper practical course and you have not done the RYA Competent Crew course or RYA Day Skipper Shorebased course you will have problems if English is not your first language. We would recommend that you take our nine day combined theory and practical Day Skipper course.
If you are travelling with family or friends and your budget allows it is a good idea to book a private course so that you will get more instructor time to help you with an unfamiliar words.
9. What sort of clothes should I bring?
In the summer months you will sail in swimwear or shorts and T-shirt. You will probably go barefoot on board although you will need shoes for anchor work and stepping ashore.
During spring and autumn shorts or light trousers, polo shirts, thin jumpers, may be required as it is always slightly cooler on the yacht than onshore.
If you are fair-skinned please bring light clothes to cover up your arms and legs when ashore. On board the yacht you will have a bimini to protect you from the worst of the sun�s rays.
The only special clothes you need are sailing gloves and shoes. Unless you normally use your hands for work on a daily basis we suggest that you wear gloves when handling ropes to avoid blisters or rope burns. You can buy sailing gloves from a chandlery or you can order them from us and they will be waiting for you up on arrival. Ask for our sheet on sizes and prices.
You will need protection for your feet for anchor work and stepping ashore. Specialist boat shoes are ideal but there is no need to buy expensive shoes unless you would wear them casually at home. Any shoe with a light-coloured nonslip sole with a small pattern is suitable. What you need is a sole that will not pick up gravel and bring it on board, will not slip, or mark the teak decks.
Sailing in Greece is a very casual activity. In the evening you can dress 'smart casual' or 'not so smart casual' as you wish. We are always amazed by the number of men who decide to grow a beard while on the course, and this often looks best when accompanied by dressed down clothes!
10. I am vegetarian. Can you cater for me?
No problem. Students are responsible for preparation of breakfast and lunch each day from the supplies on board. When you register for the course you will be asked about any special requirements in terms of food, and this will be taken into account when provisioning the boat at the start of the week.
Enough food will be put on for breakfasts and lunch for the first two days. After that it is up to the crew to provision from the boat kitty, taking into account the dietary needs of all those on board. (One of our Instructors is vegetarian). Please bear in mind that you will be sailing in rural areas and you will not be able to get very specialist foods. You will always be able to get fresh bread, milk, and beautiful vegetables.
Vegetarians normally find it quite easy to select suitable food in Greek tavernas. Many meze (starters) are vegetarian and it�s possible to order to a three of these rather than a main course.
11. I want to stay in Athens for a night at the end of my course. Can you recommend a hotel?
We work with some great travel agencies that can help you to book.
12. Do you run courses in the Cyclades? Do you go to Mykonos / Santorini?
We do not run RYA courses to the Cyclades as the conditions there can be unsuitable for novice sailors with very strong winds and big seas.
The Greek Port Police are entitled to stop commercial boats (including yachts) leaving harbour if the weather forecast is for winds of over F6. In the Cyclades it is not uncommon to get stuck in a port for several days, which would prevent you from completing your course. Our sailing area of the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs is far more sheltered and we have only lost three sailing days through strong winds in the past three years.
We do run milebuilding trips to the Cyclades in the Spring and Autumn. Alternatively you could visit them by ferry from Piraeus following your course.
13. Do you have any special offers or discounts?
Yes. We usually make special offers on courses in April and October. We offer a 5% discount for bookings made before the end of December, and our Crew Club (former students) are entitled to a 5% discount on any further courses or milebuilders they take with us.
During the season we sometimes have last minute places caused by cancellations etc. We advertise these at greatly reduced prices. To find out about them you can either check our News page frequently, or sign up to receive our newsletter and you will automatically be sent details of all special offers.