Thursday 16 November 2017

How you can get paid to sail the Greek Isles

Yes you read it right. It is possible to sail the Greek Isles and actually get paid for the pleasure. We did just that this past Mediterranean summer and didn’t even need any form of commercial  qualifications. How can this be?

It all happened in a bit of a blur as we responded to a Facebook post a friend sent us in April about a company that was looking for a couple to lead one of their charter flotilla groups for the summer. On a whim and having nothing better to do, we sent off some details about ourselves and our sailing experience and before we knew it we were booking tickets to fly to Europe just a few weeks later.

First day out on the job with sails set in the Saronic Gulf.

Working for a family owned company called Greek Sails based on the island of Poros, just south of Athens, our job was to lead a charter flotilla of nominally up to ten yachts around cruising grounds in the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs and generally make sure the clients have a safe and very enjoyable sailing holiday. Basically, we were to be tour guides afloat.

Flotilla holidays are very popular with European holiday makers for a variety of reasons. People new to chartering like the security of having an experienced lead crew available for guidance while even seasoned sailors appreciate how having someone else to arrange berthing, deal with the onerous Greek bureaucracy found in every port, arrange water and fuel, look after any boat maintenance issues and even make dinner bookings for them provides a much more stress free and relaxed holiday. Many also commented to us that they chose the flotilla option for the social side of things and enjoyed making new friends through the group dinners and other activities. This is especially so amongst families. The younger kids invariably make new holiday play friends while the teens flock together in port keen for some time away from the ‘parentals’ after sailing all day.

Aboard our summer home.

Our boat for the summer was SV Enigma, a Jeanneau 37 and, although it was a few years older than the rest of the modern charter fleet, she proved quite sea kindly and very comfortable to live on. The one real surprise to us was that she did not have an autohelm so it was hand steering all the way, almost 1,500 nautical miles by the time our summer was over. The flotilla lead boat doesn’t carry any paying passengers and there is no requirement for any form of commercial endorsement so our International Certificates of Competence issued by the RYA was all that we required in the way of qualifications to work as Flotilla Leaders.

Overall the weather was great however, at times, it was maybe even a little too warm. The daily maximum never dipped below 32c (90f), was often in the high 30s and reached up to 45c (113f) during one week long heatwave. Fortunately the temp did cool off enough most evenings to provide a comfortable night’s sleep. Greek summers are normally dry and we only experienced a couple of wet days during our whole stay.

The Greek summer weather was outstanding.

The wind was the wind, sometimes too light, sometimes too strong but mostly just fine thanks. The beauty of our main cruising area was that, even when we did experience strong winds, the very deep water and lack of fetch in the northern Argolic Gulf resulted in us never seeing the sea state top a metre. Who knew reaching reefed down in 35 knots could be so enjoyable.

We did get caught in one intense thunder storm during our time in the Argolic Gulf that produced force 10 winds up to 70 knots.  It had us running down wind under bare poles at almost 10 knots but the swell still didn't get up over a metre.
We lead our charter group all over the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs to picturesque anchorages, islands surrounded by crystal clear waters, beautiful tiny harbours in traditional fishing villages, ancient sites and even into the larger port of Nafplion with its amazing Venetian fortress and perfectly preserved old city.

Our first Greek Island port was picturesque Angistri.
The tiny harbour at Vathi was one of our favorite stops on our northern route from Poros into the Saronic Gulf.
Our job was to arrive in port on Enigma first so we were there to assist the fleet onto the dock.

We had to compete for space with other flotillas and private boats and Vathi filled up very quickly each afternoon.
The Wayno crew getting up close for some great dolphin pics near Vathi.

Dolphins were frequent visitors. This pod arrived to play on our bows just as we left port.
This medieval fortress guards the entrance to Navplion Harbour

While the Venetian Palamidi Fortress overlooks the city

Not all our tour guide activities were on the water. We also escorted charterers to some amazing historical sites.
A montage of Navplion vistas.

Sounds idyllic doesn’t it. So what was the reality like? Let’s look a little closer at what our summer job entailed.

We arrived in our base on the island of Poros at lunchtime on a Thursday after a long 30 hours of tiring travel from Brisbane and the first order of business was rest. After a fairly basic orientation on Friday, we were greeting and briefing our first clients from 11am Saturday morning ahead of a Sunday morning departure for our first seven day charter.  

The Greek Sails charter base is on Poros, a fantastic destination in its own right.

Fortunately we had been sent a fairly comprehensive operations manual by the company in advance of our departure from Australia. It outlined what the role involved which includes handling all dealings with Port Police and Harbour Officials for all the boats in the fleet, keeping all boats water tanks filled, conducting engine checks on the boats and any simple repairs or maintenance that may be needed away from base etc. It also provided good guidance about leading a flotilla regarding briefings, group dinners and a whole range of other activities. Most importantly to us, it was packed with detailed information about the cruising grounds and the harbours we would be visiting. This proved a godsend seeing we had never sailed this area before. 

The other boon was that, Marcus, the company’s Swedish RYA sailing instructor who had authored the manual, accompanied us on the first week long charter north of Poros into the Saronic Gulf with seven client boats in our fleet. His job was both to show us the ropes and also see if we were up to the job. He was pleasantly surprised when we reached the first port and, rather than hand over the helm to Rob, Karen simply put the boat straight onto the dock in a very tidy manner. Then satisfied both of us could handle a boat, he spent much of the remainder of the week partying with clients in port and snoozing below while we were underway through the day. He was a lot of fun and we came to value his friendship highly. His advice on flotilla issues throughout the season was invaluable.

Marcus (The Swede) wrote the Greek Sails Flotilla manual and was also a lot of fun to have on board during our first week.

To charter a yacht, the company requires at least one person aboard have at least an RYA Day Skipper qualification or equivalent. So in theory there was someone on each boat that knew what they were doing. What we quickly found from our very first crew briefings was that our clients ranged from experienced sailors who had logged many miles chartering or on their own boats, through to absolute beginners who had completed their RYA course and were about to take a yacht out on their own for their very first time. One couple’s entire boating history comprised of doing an RYA course three years previous and no sailing since. Not surprisingly they were a little nervous casting off on day one.  They did make some rookie mistakes early in the week but nobody got hurt and no damage was done. After providing some coaching and encouragement we were really pleased with their progress in the space of just a week and after their early grief, they enjoyed themselves so much they were planning to book again for next summer.

A feature of flotilla chartering is that virtually every overnight stop is in a port or harbour where all the boats are moored on a dock or town wall. Guests can step off and enjoy the location including dining at one of the local restaurants known locally as tavernas. In most ports the company knew of an establishment with good food and service where we organised group meals with everybody invited to dine with the flotilla leaders. It was very important to spread ourselves around and spend time with all the clients which did prove interesting some weeks when our flotilla had more than sixty people aboard up to thirteen boats. In some small villages no single tavern would be capable of handling a booking that large so the clients were advised to explore for themselves and discover somewhere for an intimate dinner.

Our first week saw us settle into our new role and meet a number of the local taverna owners that the company has established great relationships with over the years. We had an awesome group dinner on the beach at the small port of Nea Epidavros where our host, Nikos, instructed a number of our crews in traditional Greek dancing. We also discovered how our friendly taverna owners were also our ‘go to’ people for all sorts of assistance. When one of our clients needed some urgent medical attention, Nikos organised a doctor’s appointment and taxi to get there, then accompanied our injured sailor to the surgery to act as interpreter. He also organised taxis at a very reasonable price for us all to visit the nearby ancient Epidavros Theatre. This type of assistance is pure gold when you don’t have local knowledge.

Group dinners are great for building new friendships over awesome Greek food - Ta Kymata Taverna, Nea Epidavros

The amazing Epidavros Theatre we visited was built in the 4th century BC and seats an audience of 14,000.
The acoustics are remarkable with a person speaking on stage clearly heard in the back row.
After completing our week under Marcus’ guidance without crashing any boats or misplacing any clients, we were set loose on our own. It was then full on 24/7 for three months as we sailed almost 1,500 nautical miles leading a mix of seven and fourteen day flotilla groups.

The typical pattern of our work day would involve being up before 7.00am checking weather forecasts on a couple of different sites utilising different models, planning the day’s destination and basic route making note of any navigation hazards along the way and any anchoring spots suitable for lunch and swim stops for the clients. If we were sailing to a port we hadn’t visited before we would be studying the information about it in our operations manual and googling all the additional background we could find so we could provide a comprehensive morning briefing to the flotilla members.

These were generally set for 9.00am and held at a nearby taverna where everyone could have breakfast if they desired while we informed them of the plans for the day’s sail and evening stop. The distance travelled each day varied from short hops of just a few nautical miles to normally around twenty to twenty five and occasionally a little over thirty miles. After the group briefing we would touch base with each individual skipper to make sure they were fine with everything and answer additional questions – or often repeat the information delivered in the briefing that they didn’t pay attention to as they scoffed their bacon omelette or whatever.

We then assisted each boat leaving the dock, helping with lines and providing guidance where needed. Each boat made their own way independently to the next destination. Keen sailors logged many more miles than the rhumb line as they filled their day tacking or gybing all over the gulf.

We had the sails out on Enigma at every opportunity but often needed to motorsail to reach port first

We couldn’t get underway ourselves until all boats had left and we often found ourselves sitting around waiting for crews to return to their yacht from shopping, a late breakfast, a quick swim before heading off etc. We felt like mother duck setting her ducklings off to explore the pond. Once we did cast off, we had to overtake the whole fleet to be waiting on the dock when the boats reached the next port. We soon learnt that this need to arrive first sees most flotilla lead boats motor everywhere leaving the sails furled but that’s not our style. We were here to SAIL the Greek Isles so we had canvas up every chance we got.

Once in port we needed to work out where we were going to moor everybody. There was often fierce competition for space on the dock, particularly during peak season in August. A number of flotilla groups operating in the area plus many bareboat charterers, private cruisers and an ever increasing number of space thirsty catamarans were all chasing the limited spots to tie up.

In peak season flotillas, bare-boats, private yachts and motor-cruisers all compate for berths in every port.

We always gave our skippers a time to arrive in port by at the latest depending on the destination. In some small ports during high season we were asking them to be in as early as two or three pm so we could be reasonably sure of getting a berth. Even then we had many stressful times singing ‘Another one bites the dust’ as we watched spot after spot filled by other boats while we waited for our ducklings to arrive at the nest for the night. We’d be constantly counting up the possible places remaining where we might be able to squeeze a boat. All too often we’d be left sweating with one boat still to arrive and only one available berth remaining. Fortunately we normally succeeded in getting everyone tied up. Only once did we have no choice but to anchor two boats in the bay that had arrived too late. We had already raft four boats wide from the dock and there was simply nowhere at all left to fit them. We were very lucky on that occasion that the bay provided a secure anchorage. In most locations anchoring off is not an option due to the depths.

As our charterers order dinner in Palea Epidavros, we have boats rafted four wide in the background and still couldn't fit everyone onto the dock. The family on the left of the table joined us by dinghy after anchoring off in the bay.
As the boats arrived we would guide them in and make sure they were securely berthed. The huge range of boat handling experience amongst our skippers and crews, combined with the fact that we needed to med moor in most ports, dropping the anchor on the harbour floor and backing into an often narrow space between other boats, made this a much bigger job than you might realise.

Watching other people anchor or moor their boats has always been one of the great spectator sports of cruising and, with newbie charterers at the helm, it can be even more so. We had one very experienced crew who liked to arrive in port first so they could sit back with a cold G&T watching the fun and games as the rest of the fleet tied up. We even met a British expat couple who’s regular Sunday afternoon entertainment was a leisurely liquid lunch in the dockside taverna at Ermioni critiquing the first day berthing performances of each week’s new group of charterers.

In theory the Med mooring process sounds simple. Identify the spot you intend to berth, manoeuvre your boat into a position ninety degrees to that spot on the dock and a good distance off, begin reversing towards your space, drop your anchor far enough out to ensure plenty of chain is laid along the sea bed, stop your boat with the stern just off the dock, secure your stern lines then winch some chain back in to set the anchor and secure.

Med mooring is the most common method of berthing in the Greek Isles.

As our boats reached port, we would stand on the dock at the spot we wanted a skipper to berth and using a well practiced set of hand signals, send them out perpendicular before getting them to begin reversing, hopefully towards us. We knew how much anchor chain each boat had and, using a very handy laser range finder we had bought in Australia just before leaving, we could accurately measure the approaching boat’s distance from the dock and signal exactly when to drop anchor to lay as much chain as possible on the harbour floor.

 Guiding a client into berth at Navplion, Rob calls off the distance from the dock
using our laser range finder as Karen completes the anchor down signal.

When it all worked they would back straight in until we signaled to stop dropping chain as their stern approached the dock. The crews then threw us port and stern lines which we would run around bollards or through whatever fixtures were available before returning the lines on board to be secured on the sheet winches. On our call the windlass attendant would bring in chain until it was nicely taught and we were sure the anchor was set. The last step in the process was winching in or easing each stern line to square up the stern and make sure the gap between boat and dock was suitable for the gang plank. Job done. What can go wrong?

Plenty actually - and it often did, particularly on the first day or two of each new flotilla. We always tried to get an idea of each skippers experience level during the boat briefing as they first arrived but even then we could never be sure of their abilities until we saw them handle a boat. When asked, an American client listed a number of New York to Bermuda races amongst his sailing background so you can imagine we were a little surprised when his first mooring was more than just a little shaky, that was until he stepped ashore and stated quite proudly, “Well that wasn’t too bad for my first ever attempt at docking a boat.” When we asked if he meant first med moor he explained he had NEVER driven a boat onto a dock in his life. All his sailing had been as crew and he had only spent time on the helm in open water. Even one British charterer with Yacht Master qualifications needed a couple of attempts on his first med moor with us.

This sign on the dock at Koilada featured an interesting English translation.
Berthing at Ermioni could be a challenge in strong cross winds due a rapidly shelving sea floor. We were dropping anchors in 20 metres of water just 40 metres from the dock. It was well worth it to visit this delightful town and enjoy an unbelievable Greek Feast at Michalis' taverna right by the boats.

With any sort of cross breeze blowing, boats meandered all over the water going anyway but straight. Some arrived at the dock with the stern lines still neatly coiled away in a locker or threw them to us to discover the other end was not secured to a cleat. We tied many up only to find we had to send them back out and repeat the process as the windlass attendant had delayed or stopped dropping the anchor which instead of being dug in well forward of the boat was now sitting virtually under the bow with no worthwhile length of chain out. In their eagerness, others couldn’t quite wait for the down signal and emptied the locker of chain long before ever getting near the dock including one outstanding effort of pulling up over 100 metres short of reaching the wharf.

One crewmember keen to succeed watched us like an eagle waiting for our signal and managed to hit the down button exactly on cue. She then never took her eyes off us until receiving the stop anchor signal. Her great work may have been more successful if the anchor’s safety line had been untied and it had actually dropped off the anchor roller into the harbour instead of staying firmly attached to the bow.  She had managed to run sixty metres of chain up, around the windless and straight back down into the other side of the anchor locker. Yes. She was just a little bit embarrassed. The bottom line with all the little berthing oopsies we watched clients make was that no one was hurt and no boats were damaged so what the hell. Everyone still had fun.

While the hours spent getting all our ducklings safely secured in the nest for the night were always the hardest part of each day, we were very pleased with the quick progress the charterers made and by mid week most were doing well. Like many things, Med mooring is simply a matter of practice.

Our nine boat flotilla rafted up at Dhokos Island for our sunset beach party.

A new skill we learned was rafting multiple boats using their anchors and running lines ashore. In suitable weather we spent a night at anchor this way to hold a beach party for the charterers which always proved a real hit. A cocktail competition proved a  highlight of one such occasion. Each boat concocted their own creation in a one and half litre bottle to share among the crews. Of course the onerous duty of judging the best entry fell upon the us as the lead crew. Karen and I soon discovered each entry consisted of almost pure spirits of every variety under the sun with very, very little mixer if any. Despite restricting our tastings to a quarter of a cup of each brew by the time we declared a winner we certainly needed to sit down in a quiet spot for a while before we fell over.

Greece's natural beauty captivates all ages.
A dinghy race for the flotilla's kids proved a hit at one of our beach parties.

Britain was the country of origin of the greatest number of our charterers but during our Greek summer we also enjoyed leading many sailors from all over Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA and formed many, many lasting friendships. While the seven day a week, no time off nature of the job did prove tiring after three months, it was an incredible adventure that we are extremely glad we were fortunate enough to experience.

Another group of happy, multi-national flotilla charterers.
Not all stops were on the dock and with smaller fleets on 14 day charters we were able visit some fantastic anchorages such as this one in Fokianos. One of the Alarga crew took this drone pic of our boats at anchor.

The most common question we were asked by clients at the end of each charter was, “Will you guys be back next year? We’d love to sail with you again” We always planned this to be a onetime only escapade but we were having such a good time we couldn't bring ourselves to say no. We could only reply “Maybe. You just never know what might happen.

Sunset over Poros taken from Enigma's bow at the Greek Sails base.
If you would like to view our video of our summer with Greek Sails CLICK HERE

If you think you might like to experience chartering on a Flotilla

If you enjoy sailing to beautiful destinations, making new friends, socialising, awesome food and like the idea of having someone else look after boring details and tiresome bureaucratic nonsense,  DO IT. Even if you are an experienced bare boater or own your own yacht do not rule out a flotilla charter in Greece. Whether they were relative newbies or very experienced sailors, our clients had a seriously, fantastic time. Almost all said they planned to do it again soon.

If you think leading a Flotilla Charter might be for you

WHO. We spent our summer skippering for a fantastic family company, Greek Sails in Poros. However, a quick Google search will reveal many more companies offering flotilla charters in Greece. All need lead crews each summer.

HOW. Email your interest and a rundown of your sailing experience to as many companies as you can find. Do it with plenty of lead time, particularly if you plan on applying for a visa to stay in Greece more than 90 days.

WHEN. Most flotilla charter operations in Greece run from late April until around the end of October.

WHY. You have to do this job for the fun and adventure, not money. A normal day involves starting around 6.30-7.00am and climbing into your bunk around 11.00pm or later. However you are on call 24-7 and on a number of occasions we were up at all hours of the night re-securing / re-anchoring boats, reassuring crews or simply checking all was well.

PAY. By Australian standards the salary is rubbish so don’t expect to get rich. Working as lead skipper and first mate/hostie we earned Two Thousand Euro (Approx $3,000aud) a calendar month as a team. Nominally that’s 1,200e for the skipper and 800e for the first mate/hostie. We did learn that not all charter companies pay even that well. Given the early starts, late finishes seven days a week we roughly calculated our hourly rate to be about $2.00 an hour each.

TRAVEL. As most flotilla crews come from Europe where discount airfares are both plentiful and cheap, the travel allowance provided to us was a very modest 200e each. The fact we came from the other side of the world was our choice. If you plan ahead you can take advantage of some heavily discounted fares to Europe but rest assured, you won’t get there for 200 euro.

COST OF LIVING. Here’s the good news. It’s virtually zero. You live on the lead boat and most tavernas will provide meals and beer or wine to lead crews free in appreciation for bringing the flotilla clients to their establishment. You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Between breakfast at morning briefings and group meals most nights that’s sustenance taken care of. In fact, the Greek food was simply outstanding and an ongoing highlight of our summer.

TIPS. For American, Canadian and some continental European clients, tipping comes naturally and it wasn’t unusual for them put 20 to 50 Euro in an envelope for us at the end of their time with us.  But they were in the minority. A large number of our charterers were British who, like Australians, are definitely not accustomed to tipping. Generally it’s not in their culture or ours. Instead we did receive nice gifts from happy Brit clients which we really appreciated. Others were keen to buy us drinks or pay for meals which was great, particularly in stops where we didn’t hold group dinners and would have otherwise been dipping into our pockets.  More great Greek food, what’s not to like. However a number of clients from the UK, did slip us a note or two at the end of their charter. We took that as a sign we had done a good job of making their holiday a memorable one. Ironically, in direct contrast to national reputation, we received some very generous tips from Scottish clients including the largest of the summer, from a lovely family who enjoyed a fantastic fortnight with us. So much for the Scot’s reputed stinginess.

OUR ADVICE. To do this job you MUST enjoy meeting, helping and socialising with people. The charterers are paying good money for what they expect to be a wonderful sailing holiday. The role of the flotilla’s lead crew is to do everything possible to assist them to achieve just that by being a mix of tour guide, customs agent, sailing instructor, maintenance man, entertainment director and new friend.

DO NOT view it as a money making venture. DO NOT even view it as a paid holiday. Although the work is generally fun if you make it so, it is still work and a lot of it over a lot of hours, days and weeks. We did not have one day off in three months and that is the norm.

DO view it is an opportunity for an adventure sailing some of the best cruising grounds in the world, experiencing the wonderful Greek culture and amazing Greek food while making hundreds of new friends in exchange for doing your utmost to make the clients’ charter experience the best holiday of their life. View it this way and you will have a fantastic time and hopefully come home with slightly more money in your pocket than when you left. We did and we loved it.

So will we do it again next year? “Maybe. You just never know what might happen .


Our time leading the Greek Sails Flotilla was made so much more enjoyable due to a number of awesome people. Firstly, our clients. They genuinely became fantastic new friends and allowed us to share their holidays. 

Our summer was about having a good time with all our new friends.

Many families chartered with us and almost without fail the kids were extremely well behaved and great fun, none more so than Tess who was a delight to spend a fortnight with.

The Taverna owners who insisted we make there restaurant our home when in port and helped us with absolutely any request.

Michalis (on right) and his sidekick George, made every stop in Ermione a fantastic experience for us. We could not ask for a better friend, even though he wouldn't give Karen the secret recipe for his amazing moussaka. Thanks for everything mate.

Michalis' Taverna prepared an amazing special set menu 'Greek Feast' for our flotillas.

The crew at Cafe Ermioni provided wonderful service and a beautiful spot for our breakfast briefings.

Dimitris did double duty for us in Tyros providing great service as the volunteer harbour master

and fantastic group meals for us right on the beach in front of his Taverna Apagio.

Spyros of Tyros was a great friend to us in his Yacht Club cafe overlooking the harbour. It was the perfect spot for our breakfast briefings with awesome food and our pre-dinner cocktail hours there were a huge hit with our charterers. 
The Alarga and Thiaki crews enjoying cocktail hour with Karen at Spyros'. The Mojitos were outstanding.

In the beautiful little port of Plaka, Margaret and her son Michel greeted us warmly from our first visit and were ever helpful to our charterers assisting with absolutely any need.
Margaret's was a favorite place for our flotilla crews and us to enjoy a waterside meal.
Thanks Nikos (extreme left) for leading charterers and crew in some traditional Greek dancing and everything else you did for us at Ty Kymata in Nea Epidavros.

The small harbour at Nea Epidavros  provided a beautiful backdrop as clients Peter and Marjon enjoyed a romantic dinner at Nikos taverna.

When at our Greek Sails base in Poros we were looked after like family by the team at Apagio Taverna. From the first night we went there for dinner. Jamie and his parents Spyros and Elizabeth were fantastic to us and continued that way throughout our entire stay. We spent most nights there when in port and managed to eat our way through their entire menu. It was outstanding each and every time. Thank you guys.

The Punta Pub is located directly across the street from the Greek Sails docks and is a favorite haunt of the boat crews. Naturally it also became our 'local' too. Babas and his team provided the sort of Greek hospitality that made us sad to leave. 

Babas even conjured up a cake for Karen's birthday drinks at the Punta Pub and also hosted a farewell party for us when we returned to base after our final flotilla.

Then there was Greek Sails and the fellow skippers and dock crew who all made us so welcome and provided so much assistance. Thanks so much to all of you. Some special mentions -

Andreas, thanks for giving us the opportunity to lead one of your flotillas and all the help and encouragement
 you provided along the way. Due to your hard work and leadership on the dock, Greek Sails has the most well
maintained charter fleet we have ever come across. When are you coming downunder to sail with us?

The displaced Aussie, Tanya, thank you so much for your friendship and all the local knowledge you shared with us.
It was great fun sailing with you. Good luck to you and Grahame. 
Oh Giselle and Marcus. Life with Greek Sails would have been a lot less fun without you guys. We hope your
future together brings you much success and happiness. You also need to get down to Australia and come
sailing with us. However, if you do, you can be sure we will more careful not to leave our phone around
anywhere near the mad selfie duo.

We even had some great friends fly from Australia and the USA to spend a week with us.

A huge thank you to Steven and Debbie, Rob and Janine who had us laughing when we needed it most. Cheers guys!


A couple of last words on our Charter Flotilla adventure

We went to Greece for an adventure and to enjoy ourselves. We worked hard to do our best and provide the most enjoyable holiday possible for our charterers. While the wages were minimal, the rewards were plenty. We had a fabulous time ourselves and when we received fantastic thankyous and feedback like some shown below, we felt rich indeed.

Thank you card drawn by nine year old Ruaridh from the Scottish family aboard SV Ted. This young man is going to a hell of an artist. This was just one of a number of fantastic crews we struggled with saying goodbye to. 


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  1. Really enjoyed this article. We are Ausies, we left in 2006 on the Sail Indonesia Rally and we are now in Northern Europe, via Cape Town.
    I found your blog via the post on dingy renovation which appeared in my FB feed. Thanks for that one too. We had limited success with the inside glue stuff but not he same product and wonder how your dingy is now. 2 years on?
    If you are headed this way you might link to check out our blog which goes back to 06 (and beyond to some on Australia Kimberley etc not yet know how it is...)
    Thank you for the Greek Article. We head that way next season....maybe. Cheers Kris n David SV Taipan.

    1. Hi Guys, Wow! We're going to have to spend some time reading your blog from way back. We've just read your latest blog and it brought back a lot of good memories for us. We have also sailed the Orwell River up to Fox's Marina and actually berthed on the same finger as you guys in St Kats. Then add in that we started our cruising life on the 2011 Indonesian Rally and we'll clearly have plenty in common to read about. Regarding our dinghy, we can vouch that the sealant lasted very well for eighteen months of regular use after the refurb. Then our rib was damaged on the davits. It was squashed against a pylon and popped a seam when we underestimated the river current maneuvering in Bundaberg Marina. We were told it was repairable but as we were on the move, we couldn't get it done quickly enough that we could afford the time wait. We sadly bought a new one and gave the Aquapro to another cruiser who had it fixed and we believe is still using it. Enjoy the Med next season. We'll be following along.


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