Summer of Southerlies - 2019



Kemer in Spring


Finike Bay, Spd. 8 Kts, SOG 7.3 Kts, TWS 13 Kts.

We returned to Kemer on the 27th April, with the daunting task of preparing SotO for relaunching in two days. Such a tight schedule only becomes feasible if the yacht has been comprehensively laid up at the end of the previous season. Even then, there is no accounting for equipment that expires for no accountable reason. This befell us on launching, when the trickle charged maintained, engine starter battery refused to respond. This was followed by the seemingly pristine Mastervolt masscombi charger/inverter also having settled for early retirement. Such are the woes of taking a yacht out of commission!

By the 9th May, we were ready to put to sea with fair winds and a southerly current, to exit Antalya Bay. This enabled us to make the 55M to the cold water springs bay at Kekova, a big step towards completing the remaining 23M to Kas marina next day. However, as nice a marina with its historic town as it may be, we preferred to capitalize on the favorable winds by continuing the following morning in a SE4 past the Seven Capes, to put another 55M astern en route to Round Bay, Gocek. The weather was crisp and clear with snow adorning the mountains, a real bonus for those able to take advantage of Spring sailing.

Snowcap mountains, Round Bay, Gocek

After a day at anchor, we exited Fethiye Bay under motor for a 40M close fetch to Kumlumbuek, just south of Marmaris Bay. The area is an active Turkish Navy training ground, laying just south of their naval base at Aksaz Limini. On several occasions we have been ordered to anchor whilst on passage, in Ekincik Koya, until naval exercises were concluded. However, today we could only hear the distant boom of their artillery. We are informed that President Erdogan has his summer retreat in Kumlumbuek but for most yachts this secure anchorage’s attraction, is the outstanding chinese restaurant with its pontoon mooring facilities in the SW of the bay.

The Simbo Rig

We tacked down the Bozburun peninsular on the 14th May in SW3 to make the 32M to Pedi which then enabled us to bear off on a reach over a further 28M to Knidos at the end of the Datca peninsular. In days of yore, this was an important trading centre which over the centuries has fallen into ruins. Nevertheless , it is a major attraction for tourist and yachtsmen alike. In the height of the season, we avoid this otherwise sheltered anchorage but in mid May we thought we were safe enough. However, in the middle of the night,  fearsome 40 Kts. squalls created havoc amongst those who do not pay sufficient attention to anchoring. One such yacht came within a smidgeon of ramming us. As hard as I tried to wake the crew, the yacht careered past us for the rocks. When just 20m off destruction, a panic stricken skipper finally responded to my whistle and fog horn to save the yacht. I have come to learn that in the Aegean, the standard of seamanship across the full spectrum of the yachting fraternity has to be treated as minimal. My advice to any yachtsman entering these waters is to treat yacht crews as inexperienced until proven otherwise, particularly those on high powered motor yachts and chartered boats. Even with owner skippered yachts, their reliance on marinas often appears to impact on their anchoring abilities.

Spd.11.4 Kts, SOG 10.2 Kts, TWS 25.6 Kts

We awoke next morning to find that a quarter of the yachts had put to sea during the night. We weighed anchor for a fine fetch towards the NE tip of Kos to complete a passage of 30M, to the anchorage of Karainci on the Bodrum peninsular. It affords good shelter although not a place to linger. We weighed anchor next day for Kuruerik which is a large inland estuary east off Didim and 31M north of the Bodrum Peninsular. The weather was fair with a W2/3 which gave rise to a gentle passage but with our being in no hurry and also having  a plethora of anchoring options, we settled for a relaxing day’s sail. Our objective was to check out of Turkey at Didim but decided to leave the remaining 6M passage to the following day so that we could take full advantage of the marina facilities. Having grown up before the advent of marinas, we tend to look to them only for necessities.

Spd. 10 Kts, SOG 9.1 Kts, TWS 25.9 Kts.

On checking out of Turkey on the 19th May, we set sail in a SW4 to undertake an invigorating reach over the 30M to Pythogorion, Samos. However, on finding the harbour anchorage full we were obliged to book into the marina. This proved a satisfactory outcome to our day until that is,the Greek authorities demanded that we anchored SotO in sight of their office window. We offered to provide their officers with a taxi to view the yacht rather than Jan and I, having to remove the yacht some 500m to comply with this bureaucratic requirement, but they would have none of it. Fortunately, a compromise was reached by our bringing the yacht into the anchorage next morning whereupon when asked whether the yacht was in the anchorage they completed the paperwork without so much as a glance out of their window.

Lesvos, Spd. 8.1 Kts, SOG 8.1 Kts, TWS 13.5 Kts.

The advent of the Greek cruising tax has impacted noticeably on the attitude of the authorities who have seemingly become quite officious. Personally, we have no issue with its implementation but have difficulty in understanding its application. For example, if ones yacht is under 12m LOA then there is a flat charge of Euros 33pm. However, above that length they charge Euros 8pm per metre of LOA. Therefore, a 12m LOA yacht would be charges 8x12= Euros 84pm. As a result, we have witnessed Port Police  double checking the registered measurements of yachts around 11.9m LOA with a measuring tape!

Mytilini, Lesvos

The other seeming iniquity, is that the charge is not applied pro rata to the time spent in Greece i.e. if one spends one month and one day in Greece then one will be charged for two months tax. My view is, that if it is too complicated for the authorities to calculate a pro rata tax charge then why not allow for the tax to apply to the period of a month rather than the actual calendar month. For example, we entered Greece on the 20th May and departed on the 27th June for which we unwittingly paid three months tax in advance on the expectation of being in Greece for a part of July. Be that as it may, we paid for 92 days tax in all good faith, for only 37 days occupancy. Needless to say, there is no 'carry forward’ credit into the next season for any unused taxed month.

In future, we shall pay for each calendar month as it transpires. Caveat emptor!

Sigri Bay, W. Lesvos

Our sailing plan for the season was to make for the north of the Aegean. As a result we lost no time in slipping our lines for Nissos Oinoussa off the NE tip of Kios. The weather this season had been unusual with a predominance of SW winds around the Peloponnese from Sicily. Although the forecast was for strong weather i.e. SW 6/7, it was from the right direction and very useful in making the 77M to our destination. The only challenge was making through the channel between Ikaria and Samos where we were confronted with 35 knots squalls. Double reefs were hastily taken in on the mainsail and twin jibs as we surfed up to 13 knots over the following sea under Simbo Rig. Once out of the wind conduit, conditions settled down to to a less demanding 22/28 knots which enable us to complete what was otherwise a lengthy day passage, by early evening.

To return to run, haul upwind jib sheet from cockpit to weather


Next morning we weighed anchor, to continue north on the 47M to Mytilini, Lesvos. Another great Simbo Rig run in a S4 with remnants of the previous day's sea. On arrival we opted for the very reasonably priced marina which was clearly the best option in this expansive commercial harbour. The town is encaptivating with its archetypal Greek architecture and quaint family run shops. Definitely a place to linger longer another time. Following two days ashore, we slipped our lines for the west coast of Lesvos at Sigri. The passage of 51M was undertaken part motoring and part sailing in light S2/3. We should liked to have explored the inland loch of Kallonis Kolpos but that will also have to wait for another season. On anchoring in a remote bay to the south of Sigri, we became quite nostalgic by its similarity to the many anchorages of bygone years in the Outer Hebrides

O. Kontias, Limnos

Our minds were set on a further 57M passage next day for Limnos whilst the southerly winds held good. The forecast was for the wind to veer northerly later but not for another 24 hours. We settled on the anchorage of O. Kontias which lies W. of the main port  at Moudrou. It had been a commercially used anchorage for building materials etc. but now it’s just a deserted rural area with a few holiday homes and local bar/restaurant cum village shop.

Spd. 9 Kts, SOG 8.7 Kts, TWS 12.5 Kts,
AWS 14.3 Kts, TWA 098o, AWA 060o

We were now faced with a decision which was to make for A. Sykia on the centre peninsular of the three fingers of land running SE of Thessalonika and be weather bound for a while with strong southerlies or abandon our original objective and make for the remote hurricane hole of Planitis on the nature reserve of Kyra Panagia in the Northern Sporades. Not being ones for punishing passages to weather, we chose to make for Planitis laying 60M to the SW, with a helpful NE 3/4. The narrow rocky entrance is a little challenging but once into the loch, it opens out into a beautiful remote inland bay with a preponderance of secure anchorages. Following a day at anchor, we departed Planitis to sail 10M to the pretty anchorage of Kyra Panaceas, only to find it fully occupied so had to settle for the less protected nearby anchorage of Kokkina. However, as dusk was falling a forecast came though for strong W winds overnight which necessitated our weighing anchor and in the dark having to beat a hasty retreat back to Planitis anchorage which required undertaking its challenging entrance without any maritime aids. Not something to be recommended!

Planitis, N.B. narrow entrance!

Although popular, the Northern Sporades has disappointingly limited secure anchorages. This just leaves the congested harbour marinas but they are not why we chose to be there. As a result, on the 29th May we undertook a boring but necessary motor/sail over 56M to Skyros to place ourselves in better position. This is our second visit to this enchanting island and it is with regret to report that we still haven’t visited its endearing town. For the present though, we wanted to stay ahead of the weather, so next morning undertook a magnificent 67M reach in a NE4 down to Andros. The day would have been perfect if it hadn’t been for our inability to find an entirely satisfactory anchorage, however with darkness descending upon us we settled for an open bay off the coast, north of O. Gavrio. Not exactly what we had had in mind, but needs must!


In katabatic winds bowling down the mountain, we lifted anchor at first light to make the 45M south to Naousa in the north of Paros. The wind continued unsettled with NE veering E 4/5 gusting 6 followed by periods of calm; all very Aegean! However, such effort is always worth while when it ends with the wonderful sheltered anchorage of O. Agio Ioannou with its vibrant town of Naousa laying south across the ferry serviced bay. After 4 days R&R, we weighed anchor for O. Apokriosis, Kythnos laying 55M to the NW with a helpful SW3/4. Its more of an overnight stop than anything else but as we rarely go ashore it makes little difference. Following a day on anchor, we set sail for Poros laying 51M to the west which is a magnet for holiday makers whether by land or sea; to some extent it suffers from its own success but nevertheless remains an interesting port of call.

Ferry service, Naousa, Paros

En route whilst passing north of Ag. Georgios which is given over to wind driven generating stations, we came across an unusual experience when crossing an anchored merchant ship. Inexplicably, it started sounding 5 blasts on its horns as if to warn us of our position but remained firmly anchored! However, we duly bore way to round the ships stern whereupon I called them to enquire into the issue, only to be informed by some jocular crew “oh, sorry we are just testing our equipment”! No doubt very funny to a bored on-watch crew but for us who had been put to a lot of inconvenience, very tiresome. We have always held the Merchant Navy in such high professional regard although I have to admit, there is no accounting for maritime behaviour in the Aegean.

Southern Channel, Poros

Following a couple of days with the hustle and bustle of Poros, we weighed anchor on the 11th June for a 32M sail in a NE3 for O. Kapari, one mile to the south of Ermione. This placed us not only in a peaceful anchorage but enabled us to visit the lovely town of Ermione after the overnight visiting yachts had departed. We spent our time enjoying the delights of the town and having lunch at one of their many excellent fish restaurants, before returning to our anchorage at O. Kapari away from the madding crowd. Following that, with the very poor forecast of thunder storms for Argolikos Kolpos, we returned to Poros to place ourselves in the pole position for making to Serifos. With a weather forecast of N5/6 we made short shift next day, of the 56M passage. However, on closing Ak. Kiklops on the SW corner of Sifnos  were were confronted with 30 knot gusts off the mountains plus a tug towing merchant ship both of which we could have done without!  However the end of the passage with its boisterous conditions was in sight  and following a further 3M were pleased to anchor in the sheltered bay of O. Koutalas.

Weather W/P sufficient on the one tack

Following day on the 17th June, we set sail to return to our favourite venue of Naousa, Paros, a passage of 42M in a more comfortable NE 3/4. To our amazement though, we were beset by yet another tug towing merchant ship. This is such a rare occurrence and yet here we were, with two incidents on consecutive days. I can’t recall our last such experience.

jibs’ setting without leeward W/P

With another couple of days spent in Naousa, we set sail on the 70M passage for Patmos in a NW 4/5. This started with a reach to make past Naxos, followed by a glorious Simbo Rig run to the south of Patmos, before making up to O. Groikos. However, our normal anchorage was full which gave rise to locating an alternative in the Tragos Sound. This will become our preferred option in future; as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining!. Following morning, we sailed over the 35M for Pythogorion, Samos on a continuing Simbo Rig run under the SW 4/5. Having grown to like the Samos marina from our earlier visit, we didn’t hesitate to call again, particularly with it now being high season.

O. Kapari, 1M. W. of Ermione

For us though, we were entering the final third of the season which keeps us confined to the east Aegean with an ever watchful eye on the approaching Meltemi season. Our next port of call was O. Xirokampos in the south of Leros, a passage of 38M in a N backing NW 3/4. On arrival, we found the anchorage very busy so wasted no time in setting sail next morning, for Tilos in a NW 3/4 on a passage of 54M. That evening we anchored off our favorite ‘watering hole’ and relaxed in the peace and tranquility that is synonymous with Tilos.

Kargi Kofu

Two days later, we weighed anchor for Rhodes to check-out of Greece. On our passage of 42M, we happened across a Turkish warship steaming at full speed west of Symi for the Datca peninsula. This of course, was an illegal entry into Greek waters but it has to be said, happens all the time. One can only hope that it doesn’t provoke an incident, at least not whilst we are there. On our arrival into Rhodes marina, we were met with the usual lack of docking services which is in stark contrast to their Turkish counterparts who take great pride in their docking expertise. On checking our engine room however, we were alarmed to find sea water pooled under the engine which we traced back to a leaking propeller shaft seal. With all previous yachts, I’ve never come across this issue before but on contacting Halyard in the UK, I was advised to resolve the immediate problem with light re-greasing but for the next season replace the seal and each 5 years period thereafter.

We departed Rhodes on the 27th June on a broad reach for the Bozburan Peninsular followed by a Simbo Rig run up to Marmaris, a passage of only 26M. Marmaris is renowned for its excellent yacht services. We had several little issues needing attention and this was the ideal time to resolve them. We also took the opportunity to have our hydraulics overhauled as the boom vang did not appear to be responding quite as efficiently. A week later, we were back up and sailing ship shape and Bristol fashion. So impressed were we with the extent of their services that we now plan to replace our mainsail which has over 21K miles to its credit and also substitute a S/S anchor chain for our current galvanize chain when we return next season.


We made for the sanctitude of Kumlumbuek anchorage laying some 6M from the madness of Marmaris which at this time of season is bursting at the seams with tourists. Here, we were able to gather our senses and set sail following morning for Inbuekue at the top of Hisaroenue Koerfezi, a passage of 66M. Following a fine fetch down the Bozburan peninsular, we reached round the headland before bearing away on a Simbo Rig run in the peace of the evening's sunshine for our anchorage. Two days later, we tacked back down the estuary over the 38M for the delightful anchorage off Datca’s north beach. Previously we had anchored in the harbour but never again, following this pleasant experience.

Bit between her teeth!

Next morning, we set sail on a 47M passage, down the Datca peninsular to round Knidos and bear away for the NE of Kos and onto Gumbet Koya, laying to the west of Bodrum. Yet another great anchorage; it’s so refreshing to continually come across new anchorages. However, we couldn’t linger longer because a Meltemi was forecasted of which we were keen to keep abreast. We weighed anchor first thing next morning to make back over our tracks but instead of calling into Datca, we opted for yet another new gem of an anchorage to the south of Kargi Kofu. This provided us with a 41M passage in a stimulating NW6 reach followed by a Simbo Rig run, once around Knidos. Next morning, we weighed anchor for a 42M passage past Symi to round the Bozburun peninsular and run under Simbo Rig to Kumlumbuek. All very stimulating sailing which for us, is what cruising is all about.

What’s not to like?

Following day, we set sail on a Simbo Rig run across the Gocek Limani on a 42M passage for Round Bay followed by a fine fetch into Fethiye Bay. What a difference the changing season made, unlike last Spring, Round Bay was mobbed with yachts which led to our having to anchor in 35m. However, at least we were on our own and free from yachts anchoring on top of us., Two days later, we set sail across Fethiye Bay to proceed east past the Seven Capes on a 58M passage, for Kas Marina. At this time of year, we can always rely on the following Meltemi winds to sail back to Kemer under Simbo Rig. After a couple of days in this glorious old town with its historic Greek architecture, we slipped our lines for the 32M passage to cold water spring bay, Kekova which is so refreshing at this time of year with sea temperatures up to 28oC. We were also able to start the decommissioning process with servicing of winches etc., before undertaking the final 55M passage across Finike Bay and on up into Antalya Bay for Kemer.



A total run for the season of 1,757 miles in unusual weather, what with the Sicilian depressions having dominated the Aegean with southwesterly winds late into the season and inhibiting the commencement  of the Meltemi season until mid July.

Sun sets on another season


  • 01Kemer in Spring
  • 02Finike Bay, Spd. 8 Kts, SOG 7.3 Kts, TWS 13 Kts.
  • 03Snowcap mountains, Round Bay, Gocek
  • 04The Simbo Rig
  • 05Spd.11.4 Kts, SOG 10.2 Kts, TWS 25.6 Kts
  • 06Spd. 10 Kts, SOG 9.1 Kts, TWS 25.9 Kts.
  • 07Lesvos, Spd. 8.1 Kts, SOG 8.1 Kts, TWS 13.5 Kts.
  • 08Mytilini, Lesvos
  • 09Sigri Bay, W. Lesvos
  • 10O. Kontias, Limnos
  • 11Spd. 9 Kts, SOG 8.7 Kts, TWS 12.5 Kts, AWS 14.3 Kts, TWA 098o, AWA 060o
  • 12Planitis, N.B. narrow entrance!
  • 13Skyros
  • 14Ferry service, Naousa, Paros
  • 15Southern Channel, Poros
  • 16Weather W/P sufficient on the one tack
  • 17jibs’ setting without leeward W/P
  • 18O. Kapari, 1M. W. of Ermione
  • 19Kargi Kofu
  • 20Kumlumbuek
  • 21Bit between her teeth!
  • 22What’s not to like?
  • 23Sun sets on another season
  • 24Spd. 6kts., SOG 6Kts., TWS 7.1Kts., AWS 8.8Kts., TWA 099o, AWA 055o
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30Spd. 8.8Kts., SOG 8.2Kts., TWS 15.9Kts., AWS 15.6Kts., TWA 106. AWA 073o
  • 31
  • 32Spd. 5.6Kts., SOG 5.6Kts., TWS 5.7Kts., AWS 8.5Kts., TWA 083o, AWA 040o.
  • 33Spd. 7.1Kts., SOG 7.2Kts., TWS 9.4Kts., AWS 10.2Kts., TWA 106o, AWA 062o.