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.
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
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.
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.
This then ended up being our actual track map for the week which pretty much followed Kostas’ suggestions.
Albeit, I prefer this one that we drew in the restaurant on the final evening due to the authentic Ouzo glass on the left.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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