Sun Odyssey 490
- Build year:2020
- Length:47 ft
- Boat type:Sailing Yacht
- Mainsail:Semi battened
- Genoa type:Furling
Mainland Greece's sixth-largest city and a bustling port with links to Asia and Europe, Volos, on the Pagasetic Gulf of the Aegean Sea is a relatively new city with ancient roots.
The area on which Volos sits has been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. Mount Pelion behind the city is said to be the place that gods and humans met in Greek Mythos. Perhaps most famously, Jason is said to have built his trireme Argo to go in search for the Golden Fleece in Iolkos, on which the current port sits.
Over the last seven centuries, Volos has been in the hands of the Ottoman Empire on more than one occasion. A large citadel was built to fend off attacks from the Venetians. It was captured by the Germans in the 1940s and bombed heavily by both sides during World War 2.
In 1955 an earthquake inflicted the most damage to the city, almost flattening it. Only a few mansions and buildings remain from before the earthquake as much of it was rebuilt from scratch. Those after a modern, cosmopolitan vibe won't be disappointed with its nightclubs, restaurants and coffee shops.
Those in search of something less modern can do as generations of Volos residents have done - head for Mount Pelionon the Pelion Peninsula. This is an almost forgotten part of Greece to both Greeks and tourist companies alike. Those in search of the 'true Greece' will find what they seek here. Placid, laid back and almost empty, the Pelion Peninsula is a place where time moves more slowly and you can relax and forget yourself like few other parts of the country during holiday season.
For those on a Volos yacht charter, this is a great jumping-off point to explore the Pagasetic Gulf (also known as the Pagasitikos Gulf) and Greek island chains beyond.
Taking a bareboat charter or skippered yacht charter you can rent a sailing yacht or motor yacht from the pedestrianised waterfront in Volos Port. Some will fly in to Volos for a Skiathos or Skopelos sailing holiday and can take a ferry from Volos Port on to the islands to begin their sailing holiday.
The Pagasetic Gulf itself is a large, well-protected bay with a narrow entrance - too big to be considered a natural harbour but certainly a lot calmer when the Meltemi gets feisty on the Aegean Sea outside. Cruising around the Pagasitikos Gulf you will find quiet fishing villages and anchorages where you may well spend the evening alone or in quiet, picturesque taverns on your boat rental charter holiday.
Beyond the gulf and just to the east are the Sporades Islands that include the sailing centre of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonnisos. The islands are famed for their long, sandy beaches and laid-back atmosphere. A national marine park around Alonnisos has a variety of marina flora and fauna that will often pay you a visit! Beyond, the Northern Sporades are attractive and enjoyable places for an island-hopping sailing vacation.
Out to the NE of Volos is the three-fingered Chalkadiki Peninsula with their mountains, beaches and extremely laid-back atmosphere. On a longer trip you could head SW to the Cyclades Islands that are both important historically in the history of Greece and major tourist destinations in their own right.
Nea Anchialos National Airport (VOL)
This is served by a few airlines from around Europe. 300km from Athens, it may pay to fly in with a connecting flight from the Greek capital.
Once in Volos airport, a shuttle bus to the main bus station costs just €5 and from there you can take a bus or taxi to the marina.
Unlike many yacht charter bases in Greece such as the Ionian Islands or Dodecanese Islands, Volos hasn't a major marina development.
The marina area of Volos consists of two stretches (Marina A and Marina B) on the pedestrianised Volos Waterfront. The pontoons are administered by Volos Port and vessels are moored stern-to along the waterfront. Your yacht charter company representative will generally meet you in a cafe and help you with the formalities of starting your Volos yacht charter.
You have a choice between a catamaran luxury yacht charter, monohull sailing yacht charter and motor yacht charter on a bareboat charter, crewed yacht charter or skippered charter basis out of Volos, though you will also find day boats such as RIBs and sailing dinghies available.
As a gateway to the Pagasitikos Gulf, Sporades Islands and Chalkadiki Peninsula, Volos is an ideal departure point for your yacht charter sailing holiday.
7 days - Sporades Islands: Passing (and perhaps pausing on) the Pelion Peninsula, you will cross the strait to SkiathosIsland where you can enjoy the sandy beaches and quaint Skiathos Town. The next day can be spent exploring the south coast in the lee of the Meltemi before heading on to Skopelos (where the Mamma Mia movie was filmed) and then to Alonnisos. After enjoying the east coast of the island and the marine nature reserve you can island hop back to the mainland.
7 days - Chalkadiki Peninsula: There are three fingers or legs to this peninsula Kassandra to the west is full of tourist resorts and can be quite expensive in season but a lot of fun too. Sithonia is a lot quieter with secluded coves, while Athos is a quiet jewel usually only visited by Greek tourists. Out and back you can pause at the Sporades Islands.
14 days - the northern Cyclades: This is a nice journey of island hopping, firstly through the Northern SporadesIslands and then to the southern Sporades island of Skyros, before on the island of Euboea at Karystos with its medieval castles and beautiful beaches. From there you can easily access the northern Cyclades - the islands of Andros, Tinos and Siros are just offshore.
The sailing season runs from late April to October with July and August being the busiest months for yacht charter. This is ironic as July and August can be the worst times to sail! Both extremely hot air temperatures and often hazardous Meltemi winds can make for big winds sailing when you honestly just want to hide from the heat.
The sea is cooler - often quite chilly - at the beginning of the sailing season but there is rainfall in Spring. As the days lengthen you will still see green fields and flowers in May and the winds can be quite benign too. Combined with the crowds being smaller, this suggests that May to early June are the sweet spot for an Athens yacht charter.
Come September and October the seas are still like a warm bath. However, there are often water shortages on the islands and everything looks parched.
April to mid June: There is rainfall and the temperatures build steadily from the mid-teens to the mid 20 degree C range. There are sometimes gentle southerly winds, though these are replaced by ever stronger N-NW Meltemi winds that are rarely hazardous but make for exciting sailing at times.
Late June-August: You'll be unlucky if you see any rain, though it could be welcome in the summer heat! Temperatures are from 30s with recent hot days exceeding 40. The northerly Meltemi winds can be fierce and can hit F7 for a solid few days.
September-October: The seas remain warm and the Meltemi eases. These months can be the best time of year to sail as the temperatures are often in the comfortable low to mid 20s.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.
Volos Port administers a summer marina area on Volos Waterfront that is kept for yacht charter companies and boat owners in the city.
The sailing season is quite short in Volos - it being the Northern Aegean Sea you will find that the season starts in mid May and ends in mid October. July and August are the busiest months but the NE Meltemi can be fierce at this time of year. Essentially the best time is in June when the weather isn't so hot and windy and the marinas not so crowded.
You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.
If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.
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