Gulet charters in Greece and the Greek islands, Intro, Warren East
In 1995, Capt. Warren East left Mother England for the last time on what was a journey into the unknown. Armed with an SLR Camera and film, he sailed to the Caribbean as a crew member on a handful of different sailing yachts, worked for his passage and shortly afterwards became a captain of his first charter boat. Years past and it was clear that Warren had developed an eye for catamarans, after the first of the large charter cats began to arrive in the Caribbean. He couldn't have imagined what actually happened as catamarans began to dominate the market in terms of yacht sales and popularity by the time the millennium came around.
After incorporating his own company, East Yachts Ltd in 2005, Warren set to building his own charter yacht brokerage with his partner, and upon completion of his MCA, Master 3000 captains License, he soon found himself selling and project managing the design and construction of a prototype Aluminum catamaran Called Wonderful which is now currently for sale
Countless boat shows later, several large catamaran sales, several projects managed in both new builds and refits and dozens of charter yachts booked, he now plans to move full force into yacht sales. Sticking to what he knows best, “ Catamarans “.
Warren now manages his company from a variety of locations. But largely from his latest project, M/S Turkish Delight. An 85ft Turkish Gulet that he, his partner and chef Elizabeth Lee, operate as a luxury charter yacht between Bodrum and Antalya in Southern Turkey and occasionally the Greek Islands. www.turkishcharters.com
Warren’s experiences around the world aboard yachts has been documented with photographs, in old editions of Yacht Essentials magazine. Needless to say, Warren brings you his latest experiences from a four week cruise in the Aegean Sea aboard a very comfortable, completely remodeled Turkish Gulet. www.turkishcharters.com
Picking the right time to cruise in the Aegean can be daunting, as you generally don’t want to get into a situation,simply because you overlooked the weather. After spending several winters on the water in the Aegean, I have seen the best and worst of what Poseidon can throw at a boat and have thus far survived without the use of Marinas. There is no such thing as a hurricane in the Aegean, but in mid to late sept, the Mistral and Bora, the northerly winds from France and Croatia, inevitably end up in the Ionian with as much punch as a TRS and they unleash themselves across the entire Aegean sea and southern Med.
"I have seen Anti-cyclonic cells on satellite images, nearly 150 miles wide, heading directly for me whilst anchored in Mykonos, right smack bang in the center of the Aegean ! This situation requires as much planning as a hurricane because the Greek Islands take no prisoners". These systems begin to roll in around mid to late September so its safe to say that the Greek Islands should be avoided between then and Mid May. I refer to these dates as Transition Periods where extreme winter > summer and summer > winter conditions begin to mix and create the best conditions.
June 1st is when we set sail out of Turkey to explore the Greek Islands with an objective of getting as close to the Greek mainland as possible before the northerly Meltimi winds start powering up. And summer officially arrives !
First stop was Patmos where you can officially clear into the EU without the craziness of ferry's and an overwhelming amount of Tourists. The Islands has beautiful beaches and some extremely good resturants and focuses more on high end Achitecture. It is also not overly populated so is very piecefull.
At sunrise we lifted anchor and head for Mykonos. A day at sea in calm conditions makes the trip very easy for the crew and the boat. Mykonos town is a charming Greek village turned Gucci. It thrives with life and offers some great nightlife from one extreme to the other. Great restuarants and hotels are all over the Island and everything is good there. There are several places to take a boat on the Island depending on conditions and the south coast can accomadate a lot of yachts and very good protection from the Meltimi. An Island not to be missed.
From there we used Paros, Anti Paros, Sifnos and Polyaigos Islands to leap frog to Milos which is another Gem of the Aegean Sea. Between the beaches, hot springs, buried ruins, unbelievable rock formations and mineral mines, there is nothing short of a month of things to do for anyone arriving by boat. Ormos Milou, the main town on the inside of a giant Crater is a very safe place to anchor in most conditions. And a nice place to enjoy some local lifestyle. I highly recommend visiting this islands when you have a few days to spare.
By mid June, We were beginning to see signs of the Meltimi as central Europe started to warm up and the days got longer. Almost immediately, the attention to the weather became a priority as moving the boat became considerably more difficult as July rolled in. I have sailed the Greek Islands many times but Summer is my least favorite time. 75ft – 100ft catamarans have to be handled very carefully and as for M/S Turkish Delight ! well, that was a new experience and I am happy to say she took everything very well.
The planned Destination was Santorini, Via Foligandros, Sikinos and Ios. Three Islands that offer great lunch stops if the weather is fine. Ios has become a popular place with a reputation for fine beaches and good nightlife. Perhaps an overflow from Mykonos ! A great place to ride out a Meltimi.
Finally we arrived in Santorini. And stayed there for about two and a half weeks. We had a Wonderful time but also experienced the first strong Meltimi for the year. It was one of the most powerful winds I experienced in over 20 years. It blew for 4 days and nights without a minutes rest. We watched Rapid erosion of the coast line and had to strip down the boat to avoid damage from dust. But that’s another story !