Sailing Greece

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Recurring toponyms on the islands

Sailing Aegina - Greece and Athens Sailing Delos - Greece and Mykonos Sailing Mykonos in Greece.


Greek chart terms

Ayios – Ayia     Saint: e.g. Agios Nikolaos, Agia Marina
AkrotirionHeadland – promontory
NeroPotable water
IfalosOverfalls – reef
Full list of Greek chart terms

Peloponnese - two passages

Either when sailing between Italy (Brindisi, Sicily, Taranto, etc) and Greece or when preparing an itinerary longer than 3 weeks, one has the luxury of two possible passages around the Peloponnese peninsula:
  1. The standard northern passage through the Corinth Canal;
  2. The ancient route via the legendary south coast of the Peloponnese.

Advantages southern passage:

Chora of Sikinos - Sailing Greece Milos Chora Sailing Kythira - Kythera - view of Kapsili with Chora above it.
Advantages northern passage:
Sailing the Peloponese near Athens Sailing Delos - Greece and Mykonos Sailing Pylos - Peloponese.

Conclusion: For the experienced sailor the southern passage is definitely worth the 2 or 3 weeks it takes to explore and relish these sequestered shores. Yet, the prevailing winds make the Ionian Aegean direction much easier than vice versa. Moreover, rounding Cape Malea can be extra difficult during the Meltemi season.

Ionian or Ionic

Because of Latin transliteration and even modern Greek pronunciation, two unconnected regions seem related: the Ionia (Ionian - İyonya) in Turkey and the Ionian in Greece. Ionic order However, Greek spelling distinguishes between Ιόνια referring to the Ionian sea and islands in Greece and Ιωνία (with an omega instead of an omicron) referring to the coast in Asia Minor.

It was Aeschylus who clarified that the Ionian sea was named after the beautiful priestess Io, who caught the philandering eye of Zeus.
When Zeus' wife Hera was about to catch the couple in flagrante delicto, the god changed the girl into a heifer. Yet, Hera was not to be deceived and claimed the heifer as a present which she guarded with the efficient help of Argus, the insomniac giant with hundred eyes. When Hermes, working for Zeus, charmed Argus to sleep and killed him, Io the heifer escaped only to be persued by a terrible stinging gadfly sent by Hera. The first place Io fled to took her name - the Ionian sea - before she ended her bovine swimming marathon in Egypt, where Zeus restored the girl to her rightful form.
As for the unfortunate Argus, Hera collected his hundred eyes and stuck them on the peacock's tail.

In contrast, the Ionian coast in Turkey was named after Apollo's son Ion; the mythical founder of the Ionian race.

Finally, the adjective Ionian should be used for the Greek islands and sea, whereas the adjective Ionic should be used for the Anatolian region east of Chios and Samos, which features the ports of İzmir, Çeşme, Kuşadası and Güllük and the archaeological sites of Ephesus, Teos and Didyma. Interestingly, for the Ionic order in architecture the proper adjective is used, yet not for the Ionian League, the very culture that developed this style. Indeed, most yachtsmen use the term “Ionian coast” to describe this northernmost part of the Turkish Riviera.

Yacht charter bases

Sailing Greece is done out of the following yacht charter bases that are listed below in descending order of importance. Note the Aegean diagonal from Athens to Rhodes around which the majority of yacht charters takes place. Bulgaria Greece Macedonia Turkey Albania And in Turkey out of: Usually the cheapest and most available flights are to Athens International Airport, which is close to both Lavrion and the Athens Alimos marina at Kalamaki. The other yacht charter bases in the list above are more difficult to reach by direct flights, so domestic flights and of course the ubiquitous Greek ferries will add to the logistics.

Further reading:
A list of Aegean islands and their ancient Greek, Greek, Latin, Turkish and Italian names.
Top 10 Greek islands
Turkish chart terms



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6 April 2019
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