Common Questions

Here are some of the most common questions you ask. Fill in the form on the right for my free booklet with lots more information on what to expect.

What will the weather be like?

Is there a maximum age?

Are the courses suitable for children?

Can I do the Day Skipper course straight away?

Do I need to do a Day Skipper Shorebased Course?

Can we do different courses on the same boat?

I’ m single. Can I come on a course on my own?

What will the other students be like?

I do not speak English perfectly. Will I have a problem?

What sort of clothes should I bring?

Can you cater for special diets?

Can you recommend a hotel in Athens / Aegina?

Will we visit Mykonos / Santorini?

Do you have any special offers or discounts?

Answers

What will the weather be 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. Sometimes (but not always) the winds are lighter in May than in other 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. You can expect stronger winds towards the end of September and in October.

November to February

We normally run group courses into November. The weather grows less predictable later in the year and few people swim over the winter months but the sailing is still good. We can run private courses at most times over the winter.

Average Temperatures in the Saronic Gulf

Average Temperatures in the Saronic Gulf

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 more serious mobility problems please enquire about special courses on a yacht adapted for those who need additional aids for moving around.

Are the courses suitable for children?

Every year we have families who come to learn to sail in the Greek islands, with children of all ages. We’ve even had babes in arms!

Taking a sailing course with younger children requires some thought and planning but it’s quite possible. We supply an excellent fully illustrated RYA book on sailing for children – it’s so good that often the adults look at it too.

The RYA recommends 13 as the minimum age for the Competent Crew course, but we’ve had a few 11 and 12 year olds who have passed if they’re really keen. 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 you can book them to do the Start Yachting syllabus. This gives an introduction to sailing but is not as intensive as the Comp Crew course. We also have our own Sailing Dolphin scheme for younger children, with their own certificate at the end.

For family sailing we suggest you take your course over 6 days, rather than 5, if your budget will stretch to it, to give more time for swimming and snorkeling.

Please note that we do not take unaccompanied children, and we don’t take children on group courses with other adults. If you are travelling on your own with a child we can sometimes find another parent and child who is interested in sailing on the same week.

Can I do the Day Skipper course straight away?

This depends on your previous experience and knowledge. You will need at least one week’s experience as an active member of the crew of a sailing yacht, preferably coupled with some dinghy sailing. Dinghy sailing isn’t essential but it’s very useful in developing ‘wind awareness’.

Before attempting a Day Skipper course you should be competent at steering a yacht on all points of sail, have a good idea of what all the ropes are for, and know what the crew should do when anchoring, mooring, going about, and trimming the sails.

It isn’t possible to do a Day Skipper course without any previous sailing experience. As skipper, you’ll be expected to give your crew instructions … and you can’t do that unless you know what they are supposed to do!

Do I need to do a Day Skipper Shorebased Course?

Navigation in Greece is much simpler than in some parts of the world, as there are no significant tides and little variation. Because of this, we don’t require all students to have completed the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased course.

However, you must have sufficient theoretical knowledge in order to carry out the navigation exercises you will be set. There isn’t time on a practical course to teach you theory – you’ll be expected to know the basics before you step on board.

We recommend the RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship (ENS) course as suitable preparation for your non-tidal Day Skipper Practical course. You can either take this online before you come to us, or we teach the course at our based over the weekend before your practical. If you choose the taught course we also cover things like the theory of Med-mooring.

We’ve had a few 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.

If you have good practical experience it would be a shame not to pass your Day Skipper course due to lack of theory and the ENS course is short enough to fit into a busy schedule, so why not give it a go?

If you’ve started the Day Skipper Shorebased but are worried about not completing the full syllabus before your pracfical, concentrate on buoyage, collision regulations, and chart-work. You can finish parts of the syllabus like the tidal sections after your practical course.

Can we do different courses on the same boat?

If one of you wants to take a Day Skipper course, and one Competent Crew, this works very well. In fact we try to mix skipper and crew students. As well as giving each person more ‘hands on’ time if there are only 2 or 3 skipper candidates on board, they learn how to deal with inexperienced crew. The Competent Crew also benefit as they can see what’s involved in the next level.

The RYA advises against having Coastal skipper and Day Skipper candidates on the same yacht and this does not work as well. Contact us if you both want to take a skipper’s course at a different level and we’ll see what we can do.

I’m single. Can I come on a course on my own?

Yes. We welcome singles and about a third of our students come on their own. You’ll have your own cabin – we won’t expect you to share with someone you don’t know..

What will the other students be like?

It’s a bit of a gamble to go on holiday in a confined space with unknown people. All I can say is that the vast majority get on very well indeed. in fact I can only think of three occasions in 10 years where I haven’t felt the crews bonded.

We have a wide range of clients so it’s impossible to predict exactly what your fellow students will 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. About half, although quite a number 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 I’m sure that you’ll 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 helping strangers bond into a team.

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 instructions and explanations that you will be given. You won’t be expected to know English nautical terminology before a Competent Crew course. Most of these words will be new even to those who speak English as their mother tongue!

If you want to do a Day Skipper practical course and you have not done the RYA Competent Crew course or RYA Essential Navigation course you may have problems if English is not your first language. At Day Skipper level you will be expected to understand basic nautical terms in English. You can buy a book to help you beforehand or ask to have your course book posted to you prior to your 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 unfamiliar words.

What sort of clothes should I bring?

In the summer months you’ll sail in swimwear or shorts and T-shirt. You’ll probably go barefoot on board but you will need shoes that protect your feet for anchor work and stepping ashore. 

If you are fair-skinned please bring light clothes to cover up your arms and legs in mid-summer. In the cockpit of the yacht you will have a bimini to protect you from the sun but on deck and ashore it’s easy to get burnt.

During spring and autumn you should think in terms of layers that you can put on or take off depending on the weather. Most people bring shorts or light trousers, tops and thin jumpers. Fleece waistcoats and jackets are warm and practical.

The only special clothes you’ll 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. We sell appropriate gloves for the climate at our base – price 18-20 euro.

You will need protection for your feet when using the anchor chain and stepping ashore. There’s no need to buy expensive shoes unless you would wear them casually at home. Any shoe that protects your toes and heel and has 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. Canvas ‘deck shoes’ do the job well.

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’re always amazed by how many men decide to grow a beard while on the course, and this often looks best when accompanied by dressed down clothes!

Can you cater for special diets?

No problem. When you register for the course you will be asked about any special requirements in terms of food. This will be taken into account when provisioning the boat so we buy appropriate things to eat.  

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.

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.

We can also provide soya milk, rice cakes etc. for those with lactose or gluren intolerance but please bear in mind that you will be sailing in rural areas and you will not be able to get specialist foods in the small villages. You may want to bring a few items with you.

Can you recommend a hotel in Athens / Aegina?

We have compiled a list of hotels that previous students have stayed in. Please ask us for our hotel and taxi list.

Click here for accommodation in Aegina.

Will we visit Mykonos / Santorini?

Mykonos and Santorini are part of an island group called the Cyclades. We don’t run RYA courses in the Cyclades as the conditions there can be unsuitable for novice sailors. They often get very strong winds and rough seas.

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.

Do you have any special offers or discounts?

We offer a discount for two people coming together and sharing a cabin.

Our main season runs from June to September. We sometimes have special offers on courses early and late in the year. These are usually offers on last minute places. If you can travel at short notice make sure you are on our mailing list by signing up for my free booklet.

Bookings made before the end of December will be charged at 2014 prices.

If you’ve sailed with us before, you’ll automatically be made a member of our Crew Club. You and your friends are entitled to a 5% discount on any further courses or milebuilding trips.

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 sign up to receive my booklet and and you’ll automatically be added to my Sailing Mailing List and sent details of all special offers.