Cruising in Greece

Sailing TB from the Villaine River in 2009 and now cruising Greece in 2011.

Vessel Name: Tobin Bronze
Vessel Make/Model: 35ft cold moulded plywood sloop
Hailing Port: Bristol
Crew: Peter and Judy Ward
Launched in 1985. After one year sailing in the Bristol Channel, TB has been sailed for 17,700 plus miles by Peter, Judy, Charlotte, Ben and Sofie - firstly based in Dartmouth and then in South Brittany. [...]
03 July 2016 | Agmar Marine Boatyard. Partheni, Island of Leros
30 October 2015
01 October 2014 | Kilada to Orei
25 November 2013
19 July 2013
26 June 2013 | Koilada
01 December 2012
01 November 2012 | Koilada
29 September 2011
10 September 2011
15 June 2011 | British Columbia, Canada
20 August 2010 | Ria de Vigo
28 October 2009 | Cangas
17 September 2009
Recent Blog Posts
21 June 2017

Dodecanese Islands - Spring 2017

Judy and I arrived back at Leros airport at 08:15hrs on Wed 10 May 2017. We had a three and a half hour wait at Athens for the small commuter plane to Leros. A long wait but we enjoyed the views of various islands on the one hour flight to Leros. The boatyard had arranged for a hire car to be waiting [...]

03 July 2016 | Agmar Marine Boatyard. Partheni, Island of Leros

Orei to Leros, Summer 2016

Judy and I returned to Greece on 17 April 2016. Sofie and one year old Edith met up with us at Heathrow and we flew off together. We picked up a hire car at Athens airport and drove to Orei on Evia Island, crossing on the Arkitsas to Edipsos ferry.

01 October 2014 | Kilada to Orei

Summer 2014

19 July 2013

An Island Too Far.

For the first trip of the summer, I planned a nice little cruise down the west side of the Argolic Gulf, past Cape Maleas to north west Crete and along the coast to Iraklion. We were to meet up with Kevin and Lesley there and then continue the loop back to Koilada via Thira (Santorini) and Milos in the [...]

An Island Too Far.

19 July 2013
For the first trip of the summer, I planned a nice little cruise down the west side of the Argolic Gulf, past Cape Maleas to north west Crete and along the coast to Iraklion. We were to meet up with Kevin and Lesley there and then continue the loop back to Koilada via Thira (Santorini) and Milos in the Cyclades to the mainland. It sounded good in theory but events conspired to make it quite of a slog. I must confess that it was also a bit (maybe even a big bit!) over-ambitious in the planning!

Tobin Bronze was lifted back into the water by the very efficient staff in the boat yard at 10:30hrs on Wednesday 26 June. The temperature was 32ºC with a slight southerly breeze - perfect weather.

Next morning we up-anchored at 08:45hrs using our new anchor winch (What a blessing!) and motored for eight hours south across the Argolic Gulf to Monemvasia. We managed to squeeze in alongside in the south east corner of the marina even though the lady on the French catamaran ahead was having kittens that we were going to hit her inflatable on its stern davits. More helpfully, her husband was assisting us by taking our lines ashore. Yachts no longer go stern to inside the marina as the life-boat now lies along the southern wall. It is a good thing too as last year, in 10 minutes we saw two boats foul their anchors on the sunken pontoons which are in the middle of the harbour.

We strolled around the harbour and had dinner at the Aktaion Taverna and were greeted warmly by Maria, the lovely Greek lady owner who had befriended us the year before. It was pleasing to see the turtles still swimming around in the harbour.

As we were already a little behind our schedule, we took off at 5:15hrs on Friday morning steering a direct course of 142º for Chania in Crete. It was a long hot day with no wind and not helped by a slight swell on the beam. We were both hot and tired when we arrived in Chania at 18:30hrs. Chania is a beautiful harbour to sail into and is bustling with tourist traffic. We picked up the mooring line and went bow-to on the town quay.
Chania Visitor Berths.
Visitors berths in Chania.
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum To Crete 2013.

The down-side (from our point of view) is that the whole harbour waterfront is crammed with tavernas and bars. And the place was absolutely packed with people. No signs of a credit crisis here.
Chania harbourside.
Along the harbour in Chania.
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum To Crete 2013.

Fortunately the discos - and there were more than one - stopped at 02:00hrs. Perversely the silence then woke me up.

A couple of local yotties warned us about strong northerly winds which were forecast for the following afternoon. Chania has a repution of being exposed to such winds. This, on top of the noise, was an additional incentive to move on. I found this image on the internet which illustrates this.
Chania in northerly winds..
Chania in northerly winds..
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum To Crete 2013.

The next day we motored east along the coast to Rethymnon and arranged for Kevin and Lesley to catch a bus and meet us there on Sunday. From what they told us about Iraklion, it was a good decision. Rethymon is a busy city with the old town being particularly attractive. The marina provides good shelter even if it has no facilities apart from water and electricity.
Rethymnon old town.
Typical of the narrow streets of the old town..
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum To Crete 2013.

There are some very good (and expensive) restaurants in the town alongside some better value traditional tavernas. Away from the hustle and bustle around the main harbour, we found a cheap traditional taverna in a great position overlooking the sea. Just perfect for dinner as the sun sets behind the Venetian fortress. This tarvena is the one in the middle with the brown roof.
To the seaward of the city..
Looking across the main harbour from the north west..
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum To Crete 2013.

I had been following the weather forecasts very closely for the previous week and it was becoming obvious that the winds in the Cyclades would be unfavourable for our proposed track. Our course would have to be northerly and then north westerly. The prevailing winds would be mainly north to north west and between F4 and F6. So we decided to take a more sheltered route more or less back the way we had followed down to Crete.

As we were delayed in Rethymon for a couple of days, we didn't get away until 14:00hrs on Tuesday 02 July. It was odd having to motor on a flat sea while 75 miles away to the north east it was blowing Force 5 - described by Admiral Beaufort as "17 - 21 kots. Moderate waves. Many white horses." What did effect us though was the residual swell which rolled in from the north and made life uncomfortable.

We didn't arrive in Kapsali Bay on the south side of the island of Kithira until 05:00hrs next morning. Kevin and Judy practised night watch-keeping and identifying the aspect of other shipping from their lights. Poor Lesley was laid low by sea sickness and didn't see much of the crossing.

We originally anchored in the bay at Kapsali and later went bow-to on the quay after everyone had a few hours sleep and a swim. Well, Kevin and I had a swim but the girls abstained! There was a blustery cross wind in the harbour but the new Fortress anchor was holding strongly. A big (at least 30 mtre) motor boat next to TB tried to reset her anchors but ended up with them fouled with each other. Good entertainment for an hour or so. Eventually they sorted it out and then gave up and departed. Later on we saw them anchored stern-to very snugly in a tiny bay under the cliffs. It looked a lovely anchorage sheltered from the mainly northerly wind.

Judy took Kevin and Lesley up to the town, Chora, on the hill overlooking the bay while I kept an anchor watch The wind didn't last too long and I joined the others for lunch in the picturesque taverna an the west end of the beach.

Late in the afternoon we motor sailed a few miles around the corner to Avelmona, another anchorage where Judy and I stopped last year. It is a lovely spot but the standard of the food in the tavernas was quite disappointing.

We left at 09:45hrs next morning for the passage back to Cape Maleas on the mainland. Once again, it was the usual story - no wind. Eight hours later we anchored stern-to in the tiny port of Ieraka a few miles north of Monemvasia. Tranquil and peaceful are two words that readily come to mind to describe this place.
Along the quay in Ieraka..
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum To Crete 2013.

On the following day we did manage a couple of hours sailing while on passage to Ermioni. It was so nice to have a spell of pleasant sailing. Of course the wind was directly on the bow so we ended up having to motor sail to get anywhere near our lay line. We arrived at 17:00hrs and berthed stern-to inside the quay. There were half a dozen or so serious live-aboards of various nationalities in the harbour. Makes an interesting scene.

Kevin and Lesley left us next morning on the 12:30hrs hydrofoil to Pireaus while Judy and I took TB around the corner past Spetses and Porto Heli to Koilada. Four miles from the entrance to Koilada the engine conked out. There was a slight northerly wind and as our waypoint was dead to windward, we spent a slow couple of hours beating to windward before bearing away into the anchorage. It is always rewarding when you go into an anchorage under sail and drop the anchor.

On Sunday morning I replaced the fuel pump. There is a design weakness in the fuel pumps on Volvo MD11 engines, where the suction valve in the fuel pump works loose. Volvo make an expensive sealed unit replacement which in the past I have resisted buying. But it is now priority number 1 on my "to buy" list.

Our "little" cruise to Crete was 377 nautical miles with a total of about 4 hours actual sailing. Too ambitious and not enough time to stop and enjoy smelling the roses!

In the afternoon, we moved TB onto a mooring belonging to the boat-yard and tidied everything away. We took a taxi to Ermione and booked into the Philoxenia Hotel near the ferry quay. That evening we had dinner in the taverna/restaurant at the head of the quay. When I told the owner that I had first come to his taverna across the road 39 years ago, he came back and presented us with a jar of olives from his farm 6 kilometres away.

On Monday 08 July we caught the hydrofoil to Pireaus and returned to Wiltshire. To prevent embarrassment I should not mention how I left the car keys on the boat, had to hire a car at Heathrow to get home and return to the airport the next day to collect our car.

But it was just one of those trips!

Tobin Bronze's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 3 of 3
Tobin Bronze going out in the 1967 Melbourne Cup.
Sept 2017. Dodecanese Islands
17 Photos
Created 20 October 2017
Dodecanese Islands
23 Photos
Created 24 June 2017
Cruising from Orei. Evia to Leros in the Dodcanese in May, June
18 Photos
Created 30 October 2016
Launch from Orei, sail north to Thessaloniki, around the Khalkidhiki paninsula and Mt Athos to Nea Peramos.
17 Photos
Created 14 December 2015
22 Photos
Created 15 October 2014
Re-launch in Kilada to Orei, Evia in early July
16 Photos
Created 22 July 2014
13 Photos
Created 18 May 2014
A late summer cruise to the northern Cyclades
18 Photos
Created 20 January 2014
Cruise to Crete
11 Photos
Created 19 July 2013
Visits to Koilada May & june 2013
11 Photos
Created 9 June 2013
From Kalamata to the Argolic Gulf in July 2012
57 Photos
Created 12 January 2013
From Messolonghi to Kalamata May 2012
45 Photos
Created 10 January 2013
Italy to Zakinthos and Messolonghi
15 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Lipari, Vulcano and Stromboli - three of the Aeolian Islands
30 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sardinia and Sicily Sept 2011
19 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sailing from Cartagena to Sardinia
24 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sailing TB from Faro to Cartagena in June and July 2011
64 Photos
Created 9 August 2011
Sailing on John's boat 'Derby Lass'
20 Photos
Created 6 August 2011
Delivery trip with Woody from Vigo to Lisbon when John Q. met us. Then to Ohao where Judy replaced John for a trip up the Guardina River.
41 Photos
Created 1 October 2010
June - July in the Rias Baixas, Galicia
26 Photos
Created 8 August 2010
Six days on the "Dunmow Flitch" between Braunston and Market Harborough in April 2010.
26 Photos
Created 1 June 2010
Lay up for winter in Cangas
17 Photos
Created 27 October 2009
Newport R.I.,Cuttyhunk Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
48 Photos
Created 17 September 2009
Highlights of the trip from Viveiro to Ria de Vigo.
34 Photos
Created 2 August 2009
Hugh pod of dolphins encountered 10:30hrs 04 June at approx 44º24'N; 006º32'W
18 Photos
Created 23 June 2009
Between 02 June and 04 June 2009 from La Roche Bernard to Ribadeo in Galicia, Spain
11 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 18 June 2009
Port de Foleux is about 15 miles up the Villaine River, 6 miles upstream from La Roche Bernard
4 Photos
Created 18 June 2009