An F&P sailing holiday in Greece

Ever wondered what actually goes on during a sailing holiday? Our non exec director Blake gives you a peek behind the scenes to a couple of days aboard a yacht in the Ionian…


“After a summer of stops and starts with Covid swirling around the world we finally stepped off the plane into the sunshine and heavy heat at Preveza airport. We were supposed to have been two families sailing the Ionian for a week of pampered luxury on Aurous a 52 foot catamaran but sadly the other family had cancelled due to the uncertainties. The Rose family, Blake, Katherine, India 16 and Isabella 14 decided to continue but for four nights rather than the normal seven.


We breezed through the well organised Preveza Airport and into the waiting taxi for the short drive to the marina. Tumbling into the heat with our bags we surveyed the marina with excitement, which was Aurous? From around the next door pontoon came the tender with our smiling skipper Liam. Bags were chucked onto the rib and ferried away whilst we walked around the marina to Aurous’s birth. Wow, she was big and white in the glaring sun, with her mooring lines gently holding her stern to on the quay.  


Off came the shoes, warm teak decking underfoot, cold drinks in hand we were welcomed onboard by Liam and our host Cami. Everyone was dying to explore our floating home, India and Isabella fast disappeared through the “french doors” into the main saloon en route to bagging the best cabin. Katherine and I climbed the flybridge to survey the acres of deck space. This was going to be fun!


Our cabin was light and spacious and more akin to a modern apartment with ensuite shower, separate loo and plenty of hanging space. The girls each had a cabin to themselves with similar facilities. Whilst we unpacked our crew cast off and we set out for our first afternoon of adventure.   We had decided with Liam to motor three hours north against the prevailing winds following the coast to a protected and quiet anchorage for the night before sailing across to Paxos the next afternoon. 

With a warm afternoon breeze across the decks the girls settled into the forward sundeck with sunglasses, suncream, hats and books. We all immediately felt relaxed on this large stable yacht with quiet engines hugging the green slopes. Meanwhile I was enthusiastically chatting to Liam on the flybridge about all things boating as we headed into a light swell. As the sun dipped lower to the East without any sight of land we all made use of the huge sun pad at the back of the flybridge for late afternoon nibbles and drinks. 


Late that afternoon we entered the protected cove close to Skala Beach and Liam expertly found us a good anchorage with plenty of space. We were enclosed by rocky hillsides dropping down scrub covered slopes to small quiet beaches basking in the evening light. Now it was time for the some paddle board and swimming action with India and I heading off to explore the cliffs at the headland whilst Katherine and Isabella dived into the crystal clear waters. Back on board the sun set quickly and the “proper” showers washed away the salt water and travel fatigue. We emerged from our cabins to a large table set for dinner in the aft cockpit. A bottle or two of delicious dry local rose, plentiful Greek salad, marinated chicken souvlaki and the twinkling lights of our neighbouring yachts for company had a made for a wonderful first day. Liam and Cami had had made us feel completely at home on our charter yacht.

Day 2

After a sound nights sleep in the kingsize bed in the an air-conditioned cabin, switched off at 1100, with little or no boat movement I was awake early. I find that there is never any point in missing those precious daylight hours when on holiday. Cami had brewed a thermos of fresh coffee and I strolled the decks in the morning dew. The mirror smooth Ionian beckoned for an early morning swim. Splash!


Fresh fruit, granola cereal, and pastries waited on the breakfast table with offers from Cami of a cooked breakfast if required. We finally met, teenager timings allowed, for a lazy breakfast before the mornings activities. More swimming and snorkelling in the clear water followed more extensive paddle boarding to the shore line and various coves. Then time to chill out after a warm shower off the stern steps. The breeze slowly starting to build in the late morning.


At 11am the anchor chain rattled up from the depths and we were on our way with towards Paxos some 17 nm away with a full main sail and genoa pushing us along. There is always something magically natural about sailing to your destination, no underlying engine hum, just the occasional slap of the sails as they fill overhead, the swish of foaming bows cutting the water and the promise of land in the haze ahead. With Skipper Liam at the helm and Cami below tidying our cabins we all took enthusiastically to the sun pads on the foredeck, books in hand. The combination of warm rays, gentle breeze and the smooth motion dispelled any thoughts of work, electronic gadgets or social media posts. A wonderful chasm had opened up between “normal life” and our Ionian Odyssey.


A few lazy hours later we could see Paxos clearly. This was going to be interesting for me because the last time I had been here was in about 1985 whilst doing a summer of inter railing with friends. Will it have changed? Liam brought us into a small protected headland at the mouth of Loggos Harbour. The bow anchor was dropped and we reversed closer into the rocky shore line to allow Cami to paddle ashore with two stern lines which were dually knotted around large boulders on the waters edge. All lines were tidied away by Liam and we launched ourselves off the bows of Aurous into the translucent water and swam back between the hulls to the steps at the stern, then repeated, and repeated, and repeated!!!  Whilst all this had been going on we had been joined by some white plastic “glamour”, in the form of a enormous super yacht called King Louis. Needless to say we never saw their glamorous guests and felt suitably snooty because we had sails even if we were on a catamaran!   


Liam and Cami dropped the tender into the water at the stern in preparation for a provisioning trip, Katherine and I paddled off to explore Loggos. And to my astonishment it had not really changed in the intervening 35 odd years, still small and unspoilt with a relaxed “half a dozen” of everything from bars to restaurants to shops. There were a few more villas nestled in the olive groves above but nothing overbearing. Back onboard we showered and dressed in our finery in preparation for our first night out. We had a chosen the recommended Bouloukos Taverna situated in a small cove just round the headland from Loggos because we knew we would be heading for the bright lights of Loggos the next day. 


I am not sure why but there is nothing to beat arriving at a restaurant by boat, even better if it is your own tender piloted by your skipper! Liam whizzed us across the bay in the tender and deposited us in the luke warm ankle deep water to stumble six feet to our table hidden in the olive groves. I could have gone home then, quite satisfied but no we settled into our simple table overlooking the water surrounded by twisted olive trees laced with fairly lights. The wonderful cicada cacophony commenced as we ordered our drinks and browsed the menu. What followed was my idea of heaven, my family, simple greek fare with grilled seabass, octopus, fried cheese in beer, fried zucchini, mountainous greek salads and a reasonable bill! Oh and then we were ferried home to Aurous by our tender, perfection!!”


Thank you Blake for kindly sharing your holiday with us! If this sounds like heaven to you. Speak to Philippa our sailing expert on +44 (0) 1306 264005 or enquire now.