Questions & Answers'
Adventure Sailing Experience
those of you who are not familiar with sailing, these Q &
A's should help give you a picture of what life on a sailboat
is really like. Already experienced sailors won't need all thisbut
there's still plenty of other useful details for you too!
We can't count the
number of times people have told us that this was their "best
vacation ever", a "dream come true", it "totally
surpassed expectations", and other such comments. BUTsailing
isn't for everyoneand maybe the reason why we get so many
comments like this is that we are very down-to-earth in setting
expectations. A sailing yacht is not a cruise ship; and if this
type of vacation isn't going to suit you, it's better realised
nownot in the middle of the Aegean with not a hairdryer
nor ice cube in sight for miles! :) We hope these notes will
help. . .
Q. A comment that
we know our SeaScape sailors get all the time "Wait
a bit. . . you're going to spend 2 weeks on a boat with a bunch
of people you don't even know?? You must be crazy!! What if
they're all weirdos?"
A: A good point!
Butthe actual fact is that 95% of the time, everyone on
board gets on just great, and ends up really good friends. How
1) A very effective
self-selection process! By definition, anyone who would choose
an adventure vacation like this generally is an independent,
flexible type, with a sociable nature which enjoys the company
of others at close quarters. In our experience, anyone who reads
these notes and thinks "Wow, that sounds like a lot of
fun!" usually turns out to be a pretty fun person themselves
to be QUITE sure, we go on . . . and on. . . at great length.
. . :) to make sure that everyone who books with us totally
understands what life on a sailboat is all about! We DO tell
anyone who we don't think is really suited that they should
reconsider. We're not doing anyone any favours by not being
totally candid about
3) Then finally,
we do our very best at playing "crew matchmaker"!
Believe me, when we SeaScape crew are also living on the boat
with you, we know just exactly how important group dynamics
are! We don't put a group of young 20yr old partiers on board
with, say, a 50yr old couple doing a romantic anniversary trip.
Obviously, we can't make any absolute guarantees, but our success
rate is pretty amazingly high (ask our previous sailors !).
Q: So who does come on SeaScape Sailing trips?
A: A huge variety
of people! A wide age-range, from 18-73; though many tend to
fall into the 30-to-late 40s bracket. Some very experienced
sailors, some who'd literally never set foot on a sailboat before.
Some folks come with a friend/partner; some travel solo. Some
people have travelled/worked all over the world; some had to
get their very first passport issued to join us! The common
denominator is most definitely attitudefolks open to new
experiences, able to wash their own underwear in buckets when
no laundry facilities are available. . .people whose worlds
do not stop revolving when no ice is within miles of their gin
n' tonic (Promise we won't run out of the G&T's though).
Q: Is there an age limit?
A: A number of people
have emailed us asking what the age limit is. There IS no age
limitour 73yr-old sailor was helming in 25knots within
a couple of days (and she'd never sailed before!).
important point that we DO need to make ( and of course, this
doesn't apply just to age)is that a sailboat does need
a certain amount of physical mobility. You need to be comfortable
climbing over one boat to another to get to dock at times; in
and out of inflatable dinghies; across a narrow gangplank from
boat to shore, and so forth.
Q: I think I'll like sailingbut I've never sailed/actually
lived on board a yacht before, so I'm not totally sure. Any
A: One of our former
clients came up with a perfect description for sailing a few
years ago; he said it's "Like camping on the water".
OK, so a 50' yacht is pretty luxurious camping . . .but
if this is the sort of back-to-nature experience that you enjoyyou'll
love sailing. If your ideal vacation is being being served cocktails
on deck and being pampered in some floating Hiltonwe're
the wrong company for you.
Q: I'm definitely an adventurous sort, love the concept so
farbut I'm concerned about getting seasick. Is this often
A: If you've gotten
seasick being out on a boat for an afternoondon't worry
that this means you'll never make it as a sailor! It takes most
of us (yes, including us skippers!) a day or so for the inner
ear to adapt to the different
motion. The vast majority of people are fine after that. For
those who are still a tad susceptiblewe have some great
"magic pills"(they're legal, it's OK!)a
seasickness remedy which seems to work amazingly on almost everyone,
does not create sleepiness, dry mouth, or any of the other usual
If you are the type
who gets motion sickness on everything: cars, planes, boats.
. . bathtub. . . this is the time to wonder if a sailing vacation
is for you. If you still really want to give it a goconsider
coming early or late season, or to Turkey, where the winds/seas
Q: So how much sailing experience DO I need?
A: None at all!!
Lots of people turn up on our boats never having sailed in their
lives before. If you want to learn about sailing, we are delighted
to teach you! Howeverthere's no obligation to pull on
ropes if you don't want to; if you'd rather just hang out on
deck and soak up the sunthat's fine too!
As for you experienced
ol' salts out there who are thinking of sailing with ushey,
pls don't think that the fact that our "shareboat"
groups have a professional skipper on board means that you won't
get to do much of the sailing. You are more than welcome to
come and take as active a part as you like
will be quite happy to sit back and take a break for a change!
Q: What is the usual group composition? How many people are
in each group? On each boat?
A: We offer three
a) Join a shareboat
group, in which we'll match you up with other singles/couples
Our shareboat groups tend to vary a lot in their composition.
Some will be primarily couples; some will be more orientated
to single travellers. Some will be high energy, get-out-there-and-do-it
trips; some will be more laid-back, relaxing, just plain hangin'
out and recovering from a hi-stress lifestyle back home. This
is why we ask you to give us some personal info on yourself;
to help us make suggestions to you on which groups you'd most
likely have most fun with.
b) Make up your own
group, but still use the same easy-going "adventure sailing"
If you can get your own group of friends together, you have
the option of taking one of our boats for your exclusive use.
This means that you can (within logistical reason!) set your
own itinerary, your own schedule. The group rates do offer a
significant saving on the individual rate, as of course, you
are doing some of the admin work for us, putting the group together
Own group with full crew. For those with their own group of
friends, who would really prefer to have another crew member
on board to help with the sailing , and do all the cooking/cleaning,
etc - check our our "don't lift a finger" option!
Q. How many people in a group?
A: The maximum number
of people per boat is 8. Sometimes, especially with our shareboat
and singles groups, we'll have a couple of the boats sailing
together - which is always a lot of fun !
Q: You mention 'singles' groups: Do you run trips that are
specifically designed for 'singles'?
A: Well, we're not
in the "LOOooove Boat" business! (though we do have
much fun adding notches to our mast for successful onboard romances
on occasion . . .:> ) We don't run "singles" groups
with any match-making intentions; but on the other hand, we
do recognise that being a single around a bunch of couples can
be "socially challenging"! Travelling with other singles,
you don't feel "left-out" in a world that's often
primarily couples-orientated. In general, our 'singles' groups
tend to be fairly high energy, get-up-and-go sort of trips;
the group dynamics are usually strong (and very fun!); people
tend to get to know each other real well, real fast. Howeveryou
don't have to be a 'single' to join one of these tripsif
description fits your idea of a fun group but you're with a
Q: What are the boats like?
A: We currently have
3 yachts in our "Adventure Sailing" program. They
are all in the 50' range; "Angelina" is 49'; "Vassilis"
is 53', and "AnnaMaria" is 55'.
They are all the
same age; built in '91 in Athens. They are designed specifically
with Mediterranean sailing conditions in mind; they're airy,
spacious, built-for-comfort yachts. OK, so we're not going to
win any America's Cupsas with all beamy cruising yachts,
their windward performance is not the best in the world. But
hey, what does an extra half a knot matter in the Greek isles??
They each have 4
double cabins, plus crew cabin(s); the f'ard ones covert to
either bunk beds or double beds. Each cabin has an en suite
head (bathroom). There's yet another shower on the aft swimming
platform of each, so having to wait for a bathroom is hardly
Q: What's it like to live on board?
A: We're pretty laid-back
about most things, but there's a few basic rules that keep life
on board happy for everyone. For instance, keeping the saloon
free of personal junk, not partying on till the wee small hours
when others are trying to sleep, not using all the precious
water to wash your undies when we're days away from the next
water supply. All these sort of issues are covered in the (even
more extensive! ) notes we send out on booking.
Q: What are the sleeping arrangements / cabin assignments?
A:Each yacht sleeps
up to eight guests in four double cabins. The two aft cabins
are double beds, the two f'ard cabins can be either single bunk
beds or convert to double beds also. First to book, first to
choose is our policy on who gets which cabin!
In mid season, lots
of people opt to sleep on deck tooa great feeling, completely
clear n' starry nights, no threat at all of being rained on
halfway through the night!
Q:Is there a single
A:In general, we
don't have a single supplement - most people are quite happy
to share a cabin. However, for those who would really prefer
a double cabin to themselves, we can sometimes offer this at
1.5 times the regular price.
Q: Is there hot water?
A: But of course!!
We might be out to downplay the facilities and tell you it's
like "camping on the water"but in fact, it's
really quite civilised! In fact, many of our guests who are
experienced sailors tell us they were surprised at how luxurious
the boats are, compared to what they are used to sailing! So,
yes there is indeed plenty of hot water, in each of the 4 showers/toilets.
We also have two fridges on each boat, a stove w/oven, a great
CD collection, novel library, snorkelling gear and all sorts
of other toys.
Q: What about food n' drink?
A: We keep the boats
well-stocked with supplies for breakfasts, lunches, drinks,
snacks, fresh fruit, etc ; and the bar is always open too! If
there's something in particular you want that's not on boardjust
add it to the shopping list. This is all included in the cost
of the trip; and it's all very much on a help-yourself basis.
So who does the cooking and keeps the boat in order??
A: There's not usually
a great deal of cooking on boardmost of our dinners are
ashore (see below), and an array of salads / cold plates are
usually the preferred option during the day. Breakfasts are
very much help-yourself-whenever-you-get-up; Greek yoghurt,
honey n' fruit is one very popular choice! Luncheseveryone
is expected to help out sometimeschopping tomatoes for
a salad, arranging a cheese platter, clearing up afterwards,
Occasionally, a group
will get inspired to cook on board in the evening... a quiet
anchorage, cocktails and dinner under the stars is quite wonderful
! Whilst this is not officially included in the "package
price", we do like to keep things as flexible as possible,
and not spoil any spontaneous fun! On almost all other crewed
yachts, the charge is $35+ per person to eat dinner on boardnot
our style!! Usually, we suggest a "swap"eat
lunch on shore, do dinner on board. We're not uptight about
this, and don't go counting meals. . . we just ask that people
are fair to us on this score.
Q: Dinners ashoredo we eat out every night? What should
I budget for this?
A: Most nights we
eat outin Greece and Turkey, the taverna is an essential
part of the whole experience; it is the social hub of the community,
the rendezvous central for all gossip and socialising. Unlike
the more usual western experience of the "move 'em in,
move 'em out" mentality, once you occupy a table, it's
yours for the evening, and into the wee small hours too, if
you so desire! In fact, the problem is not having the check
slapped on the table before you've even put down your fork;
it's getting the waiter to come over and take your money! It's
a totally laid-back atmosphere; bills are often tallied up on
(paper) tablecloths, the drinks bill is figured out according
to how many bottles are on the table!
As far as budget
goes. the average cost for dinner is around $15 USD. That's
usually a real feast of appetisers we often share around, and
main course too. This includes some beer/winealthough
if you go for some of their more expensive imported wines, you'll
have a bigger bill. If you're a light eater, or don't drink,
your bill will most likely come out well under $10 USD.
Q: What other costs should I expect?
A: Very few! That's
our whole philosophy of "once you're on board, it's all
covered!" The only other spending money you'll need is
if you decide to go rent scooters on some of the bigger islands;
they cost around $15-20 per day. Jeeps are around $60/dayfit
4 people in, and $20 per person is quite the bargain.
Of course, if you
decide to go hit the town and get into expensive cocktails,
this will clock up a few extra $$s. Though all things are relative:
you probably couldn't spend as much on a night on the town in
Greece/Turkey as you could at home, no matter how hard you triedso
may as well make the most of it!
The other warning
to issue is about those Turkish bazaarshighly dangerous
to Those Born To Shop! In fact, even those who have professed
a profound dislike for such activities have been caught creeping
back to the boat with armfuls of goodies. Beware!!
Q: Do I need a visa?
A: Most nationalities
do not require a visa for Greece. There is a visa needed for
Turkeywhich is more a revenue
collecting exercise than anything! These are issued on entryno
need to worry about applying beforehand. The amount they'll
charge you varies according to what passport you hold; eg, US
passports are $45; Australian $20; British 10 pounds. Canadian
passport holders, for some reason, pay nothing at all! - ask
us not whywe have no clue what the logic is!!
Q: When is the best time to go?
A: It depends! Depends
on many factors: how hot/or not you like it, how much wind you're
looking for, lively night life, quieter times, etc. Here's a
summary of the most important factors:
HOT or not?
If you like it hotgo for late June to early Sept! August
is the hottest monththough happily, it never gets really
too hot in the Dodecanese; there's almost always a cooling breeze,
and the humidity is very low. But if living from morning till
night in no more than a swimsuit is your idea of heaven, you'll
like it mid-season!
is NOT the time to be in Turkey. From mid July through August,
it is exceedingly HOT HOT HOT, and humid too. Even the total
sunworshippers amongst us can't handle it this time of year.
Also, it gets very crowded - though this might seem contradictory,
the fact is that Aug is the BIG vacation times for much of Europe,
and Germans/Italians especially come flocking down. Happily...
not too many of them make the Dodecanese islands.... which is
another reason why we go sailing off to Greece for the midsummer
If you're not a heat
fan at alllate April till mid June or mid Sept till end
Oct would be a good time for you. The less you like the heat,
the further towards beginning or end of season you should go!
In April/early May and mid-Oct onwards, you'll be wearing long
pants and probably sweatshirt in the evenings; daytimes are
still definitely shorts n' t-shirts weather though. One more
SeaScape motto: "If you can't sail in a swimsuit (or less),
you're in the wrong part of the world!"so we only
sail when the weather is good!
Wind strength follows temperature, roughly speaking. So in April
/ early May, the winds are light; 15 knots or so, some days
of flat calm, the occasional one or two of 20-25knots. Same
in Oct. (Sept can still have some stronger winds). The winds
gradually pick up towards end of May, then in June, the summer
winds are well established. July/Aug is traditionally meltemi
timethe summer winds of 30knots or so! It's not always
been the case for the past 5yrs or so. . . but, if you're hoping
for real exciting sailing, this time of year gives you the best
When it does blow,
it tends to do so for 3-5 days at a time, then we'll get a relative
calm for a couple of days; then it will come back again
This is only a very rough pattern; as with all things Greek,
nothing ever happens on schedule! The one thing that is predictable
in mid-summer, the wind will come almost always from the NW.
And the other cool thing about Med sailing is that there are
no tides to speak of; so we never have to worry about having
to leave at a certain time to catch the tide, etc. After all,
having to do anything to a timetable just wouldn't be Greek
you don't want any big windscome early or late. If you're
an experienced sailor and looking for some exciting sailingor
a landlubber who loves the idea too!come on out in the
middle of the season.
Turkey tends to be calmer than Greece, so if you're a little
uncertain of your sealegs, this would be a good choice.
Night life and other
One other great advantage of the Dodecanese islands is that
they never get really crowded. So even in August, we never have
to play sardines on the beach! But, if going out on the town
and having some fun nightlife is important to youcome
out in JuneSept in Greece; May & Oct are very quiet.
This doesn't apply
to Turkey, however; the night spots in Turkey are a-hoppin'
right from April through till end of October!
Q: Which is bestGreece or Turkey?
A: A question we
are asked lots!and to which there is no simple answer
(except they're both great!). To help you out in deciding which
would suit you best, here's a summary of the pros and cons of
Turkey plus points
If you're not sure of your sealegs; if you've never sailed before,
are concerned about possible seasickness, or in general just
want a very laid-back, gentle sailing experiencepick a
Turkey trip early or late in the season, when the winds are
If you're really
into ancient culture, and love poking around old ruins, relics
of civilizations from thousands of years agoTurkey is
the place to do it! Many people imagine that the Greek isles
are just littered with ancient ruins; not true! Of course, there
is the Acropolis & Delphi, which you might want to visit
on your way through Athens; but on the whole, many of the islands
do not have much of real ancient interest. Their primary historical
sites are more recent; mostly from the 10-11th century Crusader
days. Turkey has the most fascinating ruins, amphitheatres,
etc, scattered all along the southern coast; every little bay
seems to have something dating back to BC times.
Turkey can be either
very lively or very peaceful. On our shareboat trips, we include
a mixture of the busy, bustlin' towns and the secluded anchorages.
If you're considering a private charter, and one of your priorities
is quiet, peaceful bays in which one can anchor out for the
nightTurkey is it. In general, the winds tend to die down
at night, making anchoring in little bays a wonderful option.
especially the area from Marmaris eastwards, is generally much
greener than Greece; much prettier in a lot of ways. The water
also tends to be somewhat warmer ( one of the reasons we're
in Turkey early and late in the season!).
Turkey in general
warms up much faster than Greece. So when it's still kinda chilly
at night in Greece (April, early May); it's already a very pleasant
temperature in Turkey. This factor also leads to a disadvantage
for Turkey however; in mid-summer, it gets extremely hotany
time from early Jul to end of Aug, we simply don't go, because
it's too hot for most people.
Facilities for yachts
are, in general, much better. The marinas there (Bodrum, Marmaris,
Gocek, Fethiye) are very well organised, with great facilities.
The Turks in general are much more organised than the Greekseven
in the tiny, out-of-the-way places, there is often water available,
and a rickety wooden dock, on which someone is often there to
help catch your lines (unheard of in Greece! :>)
Greece plus points
OK, having done the "big sell" number on Turkeyfor
all that it's prettier, the service & facilities are better,
the people so friendly and welcomingthere will still always
be something magical about the Greek isles. Their ambiance is
unique; there's nowhere in the world quite like it. So this
has to be the major plus point for Greeceit's "Greek"!
The Greeks are a strange combination of "so laid-back they're
almost horizontal" and yet conversely, they are full of
life and energy, volatile, passionate, ready to laugh and dance
the night away at the drop of a hat. Living life for the moment
is a way of life in these little islands (what we call the "real"
Greece, as opposed to "touristville Greece"the
bigger places & Athens are quite different!).
If you're a super-keen
sailor, and getting some great sailing time in is one of your
primary objectionsGreece is the better pick. The winds
tend to be stronger, the sailing is more challenging. Traditionally,
the windiest times are late July/Augthis is when the meltemi
is meant to be at it's peak. These weather patterns have not
been terribly reliable these last 5/6 years; but in general,
if the sailing side is real important to you, go for Greece.
The islands. . .there's
just something about sailing from island to island that is unique;
it feels like encountering new shores every time. Each of the
islands is so different; each has it's own character ( and local
"characters"!) ; it's own idiosyncrasies and ambiance.
From the upmarket atmosphere of Samos; the bars n' discos n'
restaurants; its greenery, the jeeps, waterfall & mountainsto
the opposite extreme of tiny fishing villages with nothing more
than a taverna, a church (both essential to any Greek community
of more than 6 people!),
a scattered collection of little houses and several dozen goats.
History. . .though
Greece does not have the ancient ruins that Turkey does, the
islands still do have plenty of momentos to past civilisations.
Fortresses, monasteries, castles dating back to the 10th/11th
century are to be found on several of the islands; Patmos in
particular is famous for the Cave of St Johnwhere the
apostle supposedly wrote the Book of Revelations. Leros has
a wonderful 11th century fortress, with the most incredible
view of both sunset and sunrise!
Turkey might have
it's "party spots" in the main towns; but there's
nothing like creating your own personal party in a taverna;
the smaller the island, the bigger the parties we've had! Whether
this happens or not is totally dependent on the group; if it's
a quiet group, it'll be a quiet islandbut if everyone's
in a mood to dance the night away, there's a few of our local
friends who are always happy to help get the party spirit going!
This personal connection with the locals is a large part of
what makes "our" Greek islands special; we're almost
part of the furniture in the Dodecanese by now, and our local
friends have a wonderful tendency to "adopt" people
who are sailing with us; they'll invite you in for coffee, ouzo,
offer to give you a ride to the beach, the locals' bar, whatever's
Q: OK, I'm soldI wanna go!! How do I get there?
First of all, of course, you need to get to Athens!
If you already have
frequent flyer miles, or a regular travel agentgreat!
If you'd like advice/suggestions from us, we are more than happy
to help out. Whilst we at SeaScape aren't in the airline ticket
business, we do work in conjunction with an excellent travel
agent who can get you there, and for a great price too! Contact
us for more info.
From Athens, you'll
need to get a domestic connection on Olympic Airlines to either
Leros or Samos. We have extensive notes on all these details
which we can email/snailmail to you.
The international airport here is Istanbul. Then, it will depend
which trip you are joining where you need to rendezvous with
usyou'll need a connection down to either Dalaman or Antalya.
Again, we send out detailed notes as needed.
in Turkey is excellent; there are air-conditioned buses that
run regularly between all the major towns, at crazily cheap
There are also regular
ferries that run between Greece and Turkey:
Q: Anything else I need to know?
A: That covers most
of the initial questions that people askif you have others,
please do give us a call or send email! We're always happy to
chat . . .