Flotilla holiday is a new form of business in the travel & yachting world. You can join with your own yacht, or you can charter a yacht from a specialized agency. You can be an experienced skipper, or not even know port from starboard, either way there are holiday packages specially tailored available.
What Exactly is a Flotilla Holiday?
A few years ago, I wrote an article about passing the Atlantic Ocean in a flotilla, managed by a certain yacht skipper, but I had a slight sarcastic approach because that guy praised himself a little bit more than I was prepared to swallow. Anyway, it seems that the flotilla definition is self-explanatory, meaning that a flotilla is a smaller fleet, in this case, of sailing yachts. A flotilla holiday designates a certain period of time where you join more yachts or you charter a yacht already in a group which has an experienced skipper as a leader and a technical crew for support. The period is usually one or two weeks.
[source for all pics: Pinterest]
Destinations and Specialties
The preferred flotilla sailing destinations are in Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Croatia, French Polynesia, Greece, Grenada, Italy, Seychelles, Spain, Santa Lucia, Saint Martin, Thailand, Tonga, and Turkey. All of them have their own perfume. Doesn’t matter if you are unqualified, a new skipper or an old one, there is always a flotilla for you. A flotilla is great for groups, couples, and families with children. The social sailing is preferred more than ever, and be sure that this is not something new.
If you don’t have children, maybe you prefer something like an exclusively for adults flotilla, or a food and wine flotilla. This last one means that the agency’s organizers can arrange traditionally culinary treats combined with wine tasting or vineyards’ tours in your route’s ports. Famous for a food and wine flotilla package is the Amalfi Coast in Italy or the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia.
There are options when booking your flotilla holiday, for example some providers offer a package called flexi-flotilla. With this, you can mix bare boating with social sailing in a package made exactly how you wish. You also have two week packages where you can stay in a family hotel on the beach for the first week, and join a flotilla for the second week. By staying in the hotel, you benefit from all the advantages offered by the company’s beach club: surfing, paddle boarding, mountain biking, kayaking, dinghy sailing and many more. You can also practice your sailing skills with authentic international RYA instructors. After this first week on shore, you can choose a bareboat sailing week, a skippered boat flotilla or a flexible combination, depending on your wishes.
The Ionian Isles
It is said that the Ionian Islands route is tailored mostly for beginner sailors, this is because the wind is low and the sea is much calmer. From my experience, I assure you that this happens mainly during the season (June-September). In the rest of the year, Ionian Sea can be one of the most dangerous around, near the Black Sea, only on the Black Sea they do not organize flotilla holidays.
The small problem which occurs when the wind is too weak is that you have to mainly rely on the motor, your sailing skills being reduced to a minimum. One doesn’t actually need a skipper to handle a motor boat. Either way, if you don’t have a certificate, you are compelled to book a skipper, especially in certain countries. A friend told me that on a harbor territory, in France, one can handle any boat under 45 feet without certification, which seems a little bit risky. But usually, the boat’s owner knows better.
Other Greek Routes
All destinations on my list above are wonderful for flotilla holidays, but most people, especially from Britain, prefer Greece. This is because it is romantic, it has a lot to offer on land as well, and the air is charged with history, not to mention the fantastic weather.
The Saronic Gulf
You can arrange a flotilla holiday sailing route into the Saronic Gulf where you’ll find the peace and intimacy of the small fishing villages of Vathi and Perdika. Unavoidable will be the tranquil tree-lined bays of the little-inhabited island of Angistri or the ancient theatre of Epidavros’ splendor with still perfect acoustics. On the small island Aegina, you will find the cosmopolitan port with the same name. Here’s an easy access to the wonderful temple of Aphaia.
The Peloponnese Route with the Argolic Gulf
Another flotilla holiday sailing destination preferred by both experimented and amateur sailors alike is the Argolic Gulf. This one is interesting and varied. You find here the individually unique islands of Hydra and Spetses, the intimate harbors of Ermioni, Leonidhion or Astros on the mainland coast. At the head of the gulf lies the elegant Nafplio (Nauplia). This town was an important seaport held under a succession of royal houses in the Middle Ages as part of the lordship of Argos and Nauplia, held initially by the French family de la Roche, following the Fourth Crusade. After that, the reigns came to the Republic of Venice and, finally, the Ottoman Empire. It became the capital of the First Hellenic Republic and of the Kingdom of Greece, from the start of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until 1834. It is also a gateway to Agamemnon’s Mycenae.
You can extend this route to two weeks, offering yourself enough time to visit additional places in the Argolic Gulf. These include amazing spots such are the harbors of Sambatiki, Tyros, and Vivari, all before continuing down the east coast of the Peloponnese. There you can visit stunning locations like the majestic bay and cliffs of Kyparisi, situated in a spectacular bay surrounded by steep mountains that provide well-sheltered mooring from all but North Easterly winds. You’ll also find Yérakas, a totally protected fjord opening out into a very shallow inland salt watered lagoon. The wonder of wonders will be the monolithic rock of Monemvasia, known as the “Gibraltar of the East”. There is a great probability that you have never heard of it before. The colossal rock has the remains of a Byzantine town spread across the top and a medieval village tucked onto its southern side. Entering the village is like stepping back in time. A causeway joins it to the harbor, situated in the mainland town of Yefira.
The eastern Peloponnese coast is a place of quiet unspoiled villages and anchorages. You will find waterside taverns but you will be well away from large towns and the noise of all-night opened bars and discotheques. If you look for peace and natural beauty, this is perfect for you.
If you need more info about a flotilla holiday, don’t hesitate to contact me. Fill the contact form and I’ll answer maximum in a day.
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