Sail through Greece's crystal blue Ionian sea in this 6 day sailing holiday around the island of Kefalonia. Are you a sailing novice on vacation with your family, friends or significant other? Your experienced crew and skipper will be giving you sailing lessons on your own private yacht! Your sailing vacation is a mix of hands-on sailing lessons followed by flotilla sailing, with a return to the island to round off each evening. You can also choose to obtain your internationally recognized sailing certificate (ICC), so you can set out on your own in the future!
Your instructor is on board for the first three days of the trip (but not in the evenings), while the final three days you'll be on your own sailing in a small flotilla, and implementing your new skills with nearby support. You also have the option of getting your theory out of the way with the help of a pre-vacation, on-line course.
You'll have plenty of time to take turns at the helm, swim the Ionian and enjoy authentic Greek cuisine in local tavernas. Accommodation options include staying aboard your vessel, or ashore.
Arrival - Tuesdays
Our yachts are ready for boarding at approx. 3pm on Tuesdays. You'll be met by our local staff. After a short briefing about living on board, safety and the local town we leave you to relax and sort your things out. You have the option of going to the local beach, a nearby swimming pool or just relaxing on the boat. The course starts the following day at 10.30am
Today is all about getting to know your instructor and the boat. You learn everything about the parts of the boat, what they do and safety features. We leave the harbour and go for a sail and stop for lunch in a nearby secluded bay on anchor. After an hour or so swimming and snorkelling we enjoy the aftrnoon breeze and good sailing to go over sailing techniques such as the points of sailing and understanding the wind.
All your party take turns on the controls (helm) so everybody gets a feel for everything. Our instructors aim to get you acting as skippers and controlling the boat from the start under their guidance as this is the only true way to learn. We return to the harbour for about 5.00pm.
There will be ice cold Pimms for big people and juices for the little people on the pontoon, an excellent ice breaker.
We spend the morning practising the harbour techniques under engine until everybody can leave the mooring and return safely, and more importantly confidently in a variety of different situations. Picking up a buoy and coming alongside (if you're doing the ICC).
We then set off to find a spot for lunch, normally a picnic on anchor at the lovely rabbit island. Plenty of time for swimming and we also cover anchoring in detail. The afternoon is spent covering sailing techniques, fine tuning what we learnt on Day One. We return to our base at approx. 5pm. As in day one we de-brief the day and go over some sailing theory including basic engine checks, rope work and emergency equipment for attracting attention including VHF skills (mayday). Then its time for a beer!!
Today we go over the previous 2 days, identifying weak points to concentrate on and some more basic theory such as planning a day trip including basic navigation techniques.
We explore the area, pinpoint dangers and good places to anchor etc. We spend time reefing the sails and go over sailing in stronger winds. Lunch might be in a taverna, after we anchor and row in!!! We practice to recover a man over board technique and concentrate on tuning the practical skills that will enable you to sail the boat in a seamanship like manner. At the end of the day you will have a confident, safe approach to planning and executing a short cruise in our yachts.
To finish and over a drink we discuss the course, how you feel, how we feel and talk about the next 3 days free sailing.
Today is what it is all about. Free sailing as a small flotilla.
We don't just push you off and see you in 3 days time. Depending on how confident you/we feel depends on where you go. Most people are happy to cruise about locally today and return to our base in the evening. Others might choose to sail into another close by harbour for the night.
We are on the pontoon in the morning to give you advice, a weather forecast, and a recommended spot for lunch - and see you off safely. We'll also make sure you do a practice reefing session on the pontoon. We'll contact you during the day, pop out and see you in the support boat, and we can always be called if there's a problem. There are always other groups on the water with or without instructors and during the free sailing times boats often cruise as a mini flotilla to build confidence and have fun.
We are constantly assessing you for the rest of the week although we do not intrude on your free sailing as its the most important learning curve of the holiday.
Continued free sailing as a small flotilla. We'll be down on the pontoon early to give you all a detailed briefing of the next 2 FREE SAILING days ahead. Pick up some provisions from the mini market close to the yachts. This is your time to sail at your own pace and really begin to enjoy yacht sailing in Greece.
We'll advise on a lunch stop and then arrange to meet you in the support boat at Kounopetra, a stunning sheltered anchorage the other side of the Paliki peninsular. You'll head into the gorgeous bay under motor at about 4.30pm and we'll get you anchored up safely. Here you'll spend the night under the stars, row into the shore and enjoy a superb Greek meal in a little taverna overlooking the blue Ionian Sea and our anchored yachts.
Single weeks - Often our shore based single sailors will forgo the comfort of their Hotel room for tonight for the fantastic experience and share the yacht for the night on anchor.
Set off from the anchorage whenever you like as long as you are back at our base by 5pm ish. A lovely relaxed day under your own steam - you are the skipper after all ! Most people swim and snorkel all morning and enjoy the wonderful sandy beach.
That evening you'll meet the instructors and those who are going for their ICC certificates will need to complete the 1hr theory paper. Certificates will be handed out and information given about the departure day the next day.
The yachts need to be vacated at 10am ( no later ) so we can prepare them for the next arrivals at 3pm !! We'll arrange transfers for those heading home and those setting off for a 2nd weeks sailing or in accommodation.
Kefalonia airport has advised us that for charter flights you need to be there 2 and 1/2 hours prior to departure. EasyJey and Ryanair advise 1hr 1/2 hours prior to departure.
Price per person, for 4 people on stay aboard accommodation during low season. (15th April to 6th May and from 14th October)
- Fully equipped yacht
- All bed linen and starter pack (Stay on board option)
- 7 nights accommodation with breakfast (Stay ashore option)
- 6 days sailing
- 6 days tuition, 3 of which you have a dedicated instructor on board
- Course tuition materials
- All mooring fees, water, fuel and gas
- Yacht cleaning at end of week
- Powerboat support and ongoing tuition on free sailing days
- Marine commercial insurance (does not include local damage waiver )
On site compulsory marina extras
- 50 euros - per yacht damage waiver (equally shared with other students)
- Picnic lunch for instructor for 1st 3 days ( usually part of your lunch )
On site optional marina extras
- 30 euros - per yacht toilet/shower/storage facilities ( stay on board option )
- 55 euros (approx) - transfer taxi for 4 persons transfer to our Lixouri base
On site optional certificates/log books/assessments
- 15 euros - INTRO TO YACHTING sailing passport
- 30 euros - CREW certificate
- 80 euros - ICC theory test (1 1/2hrs)
Pre holiday E-Learning course
FLOTILLA SKIPPER / ICC E-learning theory course. This includes an on-line theory course and application fee for a valid ICC certificate in the the style of a credit card which will be issued directly from the governing body ( valid for 5 years ) £64 payable directly to IYT prior to your holiday.
What lunches do we have to provide for the skippers?
Something simple, normally part of what you are having like bread, salad, hams, cheeses etc. All of this local and fresh produce is available a 5 min walk from the yachts and can be bought on a daily basis.
Will we be able to sail after only 3 days tuition?
In over 10 years of training we have only had 6 boats (for our Learn to Sail holidays) where we have had to give an extra days tuition! It works incredibly well, even if you have never been on a boat before. Any sailing you can do before hand will of course help however. If you feel unsure after the first 3 days don't worry we will just hop o with you until you do.
What is the yacht damage waiver for?
This is payable locally by cash per yacht and is non-refundable. It is to cover any loss or damage to the yacht or its equipment whilst under charter. It helps cover the excess premium that we have by our marine insurance companies and means that you are not liable for any big bill at the end of the week !
Do we start the course on the day we arrive?
Your yacht is usually ready for boarding at 3pm. You will have a safety briefing on board and then the day is yours to relax, go to the beach, indulge in the local refreshments or chill by the pool. The course starts at 10.30 the next day - very civilised.
What's Lixouri like?
Our guests love it and so do we. A lovely square, great cafes and superb coffee, little bars and fantastic cake shops. Not a Brit abroad in sight and a great feeling of a local town with a Greek buzz.
What's it like living on board ?
Well its like a floating caravan with similar self catering mod cons. There's 3 separate cabins, hot and cold water, hob cookers and toilet/shower (don't expect a Swiss Spa). We do provide toilet/shower facilities ashore for your comfort a small fee.
Do we share the boat with others?
No - this is our policy and you have your own exclusive instructor who does not live on board with you either, for your own privacy. No other company does this.( unless on a singles holiday )
On free sailing days where do we go?
Normally you return to our base the 1st free day to go through anything with us and then we arrange for you to shoot off and anchor for the night in a variety of safe bays, depending on the conditions. We always make sure you are anchored well etc. before we leave you for the night. Other days there are loads of bays, beaches and coves to visit.
We have children, will there be enough for them to do?
In school holiday periods we have lots of families with children of all ages on our holidays. Its a great atmosphere on and off the water and the children love it, plus they learn something new. We focus the course on you as a family group, giving all the children jobs but we are flexible as we understand it is a holiday after all. We keep the days fairly short (10 - 4.30 ish) and always have a good hour and a half for swimming at lunch on anchor. Everybody gets a certificate at the end of the week and families come back year after year.
Is it worth hiring a car for the 2nd week ashore ?
Yes, perhaps not for the whole week but it's such a beautiful island and there's loads to see. Buses do exist but they're not exactly always on time!!!
Do you have to be strong as a Ox to sail a boat?
No, as long as you have basic mobility and average strength then you'll be fine. We've had 75 year olds out before cracking along!
Are there any toilet/shower facilities ashore?
Yes. There is a private toilet/shower facilities close to the yachts just for our guests for a small fee of 30 euros per yacht.
How often is the weather too bad for sailing?
Well, last year (08)we missed probably 3 to 4 days out of 6 months - not bad hey. If it is too rough or the forecast is nuts we'll just stay in harbour and have a few beers. We're not in a race across the Atlantic.
Do the instructors and skippers speak English ?
All our staff are from the UK and are fully IYT qualified yacht instructors and trained first aiders.
What extra costs are there?
Flights, transfers ( 55 euros per taxi ), yacht damage waiver of 40 euros per yacht for Learn to Sail holidays, personal expenditure here on holiday and the option of buying a Log book and Certificate ( 25 euros ) at the end of the course. If you decide to go for your ICC assessment it's 125 euros per person.
Do you have life jackets for children ?
Yes, we have a limited supply of inflatable jackets. Please ask before your leave so we can advise you however.
What time will our yacht be ready for boarding ?
Our yachts are usually ready for boarding at 3pm. If they are not ready just drop your bags with us and head to the square for cold drink.
Sailing holidays Weather:
Sailing holidays in Greece - From the beginning of May until the end of October the Ionian sea is the ideal place to try sailing. With reliable moderate winds, long dry summers and no tides to worry about it can't get any better. Light S winds in the morning give way to moderate NW breezes in the afternoon which die away in the evening. Both May and October are always excellent and we've had great weather in these times over the last 5 years with temps in the mid to high 20's. June and September are totally wonderful with temps around the 30's and in July and August the sun shines non-stop reaching 35 degrees. Water temps increase steadily from May until the end of August and then start to drop slowly. October swimming is still great as the water is still warm.
**Bit about Kefalonia: **
Kefalonia Greece is one of the most popular destinations of the Ionian Islands and the biggest island of the group. It is located between Lefkada and Zakynthos. The Greek Island has many wonderful beaches with fine sand and turquoise, bleach-like, waters specific to the island. Others of its many beauties are its picturesque villages, its National Park on its highest mountain (Mount Ainos) on which a rare specie of fir forest grows and terrific landscapes. This section has everything about the island.
This section of Kefalonia Island, provides much information: pictures, map, villages, history, museums, excursions, weather and a large range of hotels.
How to get there:
All our sailing holidays take place from the beautiful island of Kefalonia nestled in the Ionian Sea of Greece. It is a 3 hr flight time from the UK and a 40 min transfer to our yacht base from the airport. Other nearby islands are Zakinthos, Lefkas, Ithaki, Megannisi, Paxos and Corfu.
DIRECT BUDGET FLIGHTS
NEW FOR 2012 Easy Jet fly twice weekly to Kefalonia from London Gatwick on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
Try Easy Jet, where you can find budget flights to the island.
DIRECT CHARTER FLIGHTS
There are direct flights from the following UK airports on Tuesdays. The flight takes 3hrs. London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff.
Try The Charter Flight Centre, where you can find good charter flights to the island.
NON DIRECT FLIGHTS
London Stansted to Kefalonia VIA Patras Araxos with Ryan Air. Transfer to Kefalonia by taxi/ferry which takes 2hrs.
UK to Kefalonia VIA Athens. Low cost airlines such as EasyJet fly frequently to Athens and internal connections to Kefalonia are only 40mins with www.olympicairways.com , www.aegeanair.com and www.athensair.com .
UK to Kefalonia VIA Zakinthos(Zante). This works very well for direct flights from Birmingham, East Midlands and Glasgow to Zakinthos. It's a short ferry transfer to Kefalonia which takes 1hr and 15 mins. Most of these flights tie in with the ferry times.
For these alternative routes to Kefalonia please contact us and we can put together a travel itinerary to suit you.
What to pack in a small/medium soft bag !
- Euro cash for your arrival transfer - there is no ATM at Kefalonia airport
- Large beach towels - we do not supply towels
- Canvas shoes/Crocs or sandals - NO black soles on boats please.
- Light walking shoes/boots - if on walking holiday
- Swimming gear
- Sailing gloves - important for office hands sailing
- Light waterproof jacket
- Good quality sunglasses
- Wide brimmed hat - essential
- Good quality sun cream - no less than factor 30. Please no P20 cream on yachts
- Mobile phone with roaming or buy a Greek Sim card bought locally for 25 euros
- Phone Charger
- CD’s or MP3 - both can be played on board
- Any other personal items/medicines etc.
- Warm jumper, sweatshirt and lots of shorts and t-shirts
- Fleece or Jacket for the evening
- For yacht charter – any previous sailing certification
- Kids lifejackets
Useful local information
- There is no ATM at the airport. Ensure that you have enough euros in cash for arrival transfer.
- ATMS are in Lixouri and Fiscardo.
- Lixouri / Fiscardo have many cafes and tavernas which serve food & drinks daily 10am - late.
- Lixouri / Fiscardo both have super markets - open daily from 8am – 9pm (including Sundays).
- The yachts are equipped with basic cooking equipment (similar to camping). There is a kettle, gas
- stove and fridge. You will be provided with a few essential supplies on arrival – water/ tea
- bags/coffee/sugar/milk but you will need to buy provisions as food/drinks are not provided.
- A large beer is approx 3 euros ( Lixouri ) 4 euros ( Fiscardo )
- Expect to pay about 15 euros per head for an evening meal
- Fresh fish is expensive
- A good cappuccino is about 3 euro
- Our guests have the use of a nearby Hotel pool ( Lixouri )
- Bike hire is available for approx 7 euros per day ( Lixouri )
Learn to Sail Lixouri - There is shore based power, so on the yacht you can charge phones, MP3 players and computers and plug in fans. Adaptors are provided.
Learn to Sail Lixouri - We provide shore based shower/toilet facilities for an additional 30€ per boat. Also available in the facilities are fridge, hairdryer, iron and iron board and space to store your bags. Appliances can be re-charged also. There is also storage for bags if needed.
Learn to Sail - certification on offer
Your skipper will go over in detail the certificates we offer and answer any questions you may have at the beginning of the week.
International Sailing Passport, log book & certification
For those wanting to get crew or flotilla skipper certification purely based on the skills learnt throughout the week and without the need of doing an additional test.
25€ per person - Crew and Flotilla Skipper
The International Certificate of Competence (ICC)
You may be interested in gaining your ICC at the end of the weeks sailing course.
A 1/2 day assessment of practical skills and involves a short written test. It's an MCA recognised certificate for those wishing to charter a small yacht within Europe. More and more charter companies are now requesting the ICC for independent yacht charter to satisfy regulations.
The test can be booked with your skipper on site.
140€ per person (includes practical/theory test and certificate) to be paid for locally in cash.
The organisation and support across the week each day pushed us to do things confidently that the previous day would have seemd a challenge. Great support, great organisation - brillant!
The level of instruction was truly excellent - catering for a family and managing to guide them without nannying is some feet, a potentially stressful holiday made real fun.
The stisfaction that we learnt to sail in a week and now have the confidence to do more ourselves. And we had fun!
Thank you all so much for the most amazing holiday, not even the lost flip flop could put a downer on it!! Fantastic, can't wait to do it again.
What a holiday! Thank you to Skipper Julian, fixer Debbie and all the flotilla for such a great experience. We would not have believed we could have been sailing by ourselves and having the time of our lives unless we had actually done it!
Thanks so again for introducing us to sailing, honestly it has been the most fun holiday we've had in ages and we were so sad to leave on the final day.
Many thanks for a great holiday. The whole experience was great ..... professional, helpful staff, well prepared yacht and a wonderful setting. Special thanks to our excellent instructor ,Mick, who managed to turn a couple of absolute novices into ICC qualified Day Skippers during the course of the week. Hope to return for a bare boat charter next year.
Weather and itinerary etc, all worked out very well. Nice facility you have in Lixouri, a great relief from the usual mega marinas and flotillas.
Just being able to do things confidently thanks to the excellent teaching made the whole experience so enjoyable.
Great feeling so confident to be in charge of the boat soon into the holiday - but knowing there's plenty of support available.
The feeling of achievement of knowing that we -as a family- can sail! Thanks to all.
Graham Canning & family
To be able to train people of all backgrounds to be able to take charge of a yacht with confidence within a week is outstanding.
Excellent instruction and company on the boat which was very important. Everybody really worked as a team to ensure we all had a good time.
The sense of acheivement and managing on our own in a Force 5 after 3 days is amazing.
Swimming off the yacht and seeing dolphins was the best thing.
Graham Makinson & family
Sailing solo was such an achievement, especially when we managed to get up to 7 knots. Being able to do things confidently thanks to the excellent teaching made the whole experience so enjoyable.
Russell Jones & family
The Bavaria 36's are lovely boats. The whole week was fantastic, but the overnight stay in Kounopetra was the best.
Julian did a fantasitic job giving us confidence for when we were on our own and when the wind got up. The overnights were a great success and enjoyed by all the families.
Andy Beetham & family
Richard was the perfect instructor. He gave the whole family confidence to have a go whilst remembering we were on holiday.
David Alderton & family
An amazing week which surpassed all expectations - great set up really well run, excellent teaching and support. It could not have been a better holiday.
A perfect combination of fun, professionalism, enthusiasm and clarity. One of the happiest holidays we have had (they are all happy !)
Thanks for your fab tuition and good company over the past few days. We have really enjoyed our first experience sailing.
Jackie and Dave
Just the right mix of humour, fear, exilarationand sense of achievement. All adds up to the holiday of a life-time.
We had a brilliant holiday, met lovely people. Lixouri is lovely. We can now sail thanks to you guys.