Not sailed before? Check out these notes before you get too engrossed in the romantic image of “Sailing the Greek Islands” (or any other islands!). Questions and Answers

For those of you who are not familiar with sailing, these Q&As should help give you a picture of what life on a sailboat is really like. Already experienced sailors won’t need all this — but there are still plenty of other useful details for you too!

We can’t count the number of times people have told us that this was their “best vacation ever”, a “dream come true”, it “totally surpassed expectations”, and other such comments.

But, sailing isn’t for everyone, and maybe the reason why we get so many comments like this is that we are very down-to-earth in setting expectations.

A sailing yacht is not a cruise ship; and if this type of vacation isn’t going to suit you, it’s better realised now — not in the middle of the Aegean with not a hairdryer nor ice cube in sight for miles!

We hope these notes will help. ..

Q: Who is the Athens Sailing Academy?

The school has been operating now for 20 years, we are based on Poros Island. This an Island just off Athens. It’s a short 50-minute fast ferry ride, and you will find yourself on the Greek islands.
We have over 20 yachts at our disposal as we work closely with our parent company Greek Sails. The yachts vary in size from 48 ft to 32 ft and are all Jeanneau’s.

Q: How many instructors do you employ?

We have 2 full-time instructors and 3 part-time. We also have a crew that permanently maintains the yachts.

Q: What are the Visa requirements for Greece?

Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement. U.S. citizens may enter Greece for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. We recommend that your passport be valid for at least six months whenever you travel abroad to avoid unintended travel disruptions.

You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen Fact Sheet.

If you are travelling with a U.S. official or diplomatic passport, you MUST obtain a Schengen visa prior to arrival. Travellers arriving with official or diplomatic passports without visas will not be allowed to enter the country.

Visit the website of the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C. for the most current visa information. If you need additional information about entry requirements, including visas for employment or study in Greece, you can contact the Embassy of Greece at 2217 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-1300, fax (202) 939-1324, email; or any of the Greek Consulates and Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Tampa.

Q; Is Greece a safe place to sail?

Greece is a democracy and part of the European Union since 1980. It is a country where human rights are fully protected by the state and European law.

The Greek Navy and the Greek Coastguard are highly capable. Their ships are dispersed in the Greek Seas and they have the readiness to provide support as needed, on very short notice.

In conclusion, Greece is considered one of the safest and most attractive places to visit and sail.

Q: How do I book a place?

We will send you a booking form that needs to be filled out and returned. This is for us to fill out crew lists and complete the charter agreement. It also has other information that we need. All booking forms are destroyed at the end of the season. Confirmation requires a 50% deposit. The balance should be paid 30 days prior to the cruise unless it is otherwise agreed.

Q: What is the cancellation Policy?

Please follow this link to the  CANCEL POLICY PAGE.

Q: A comment that we know our sailors get all the time — “Wait a bit. . . you’re going to spend a week on a boat with a bunch of people who you don’t  know really well ?”

A: A good point! But—the actual fact is that 95% of the time, everyone on board gets on just great, and ends up good friends. Why?

1. A very effective self-selection process! By definition, anyone who would choose an adventure vacation like this generally is an independent, flexible type, with a sociable nature who enjoys the company of others at close quarters.

2. And just to be quite sure, we go on . . . and on. . . at great length. . . to make sure that everyone who books with us totally understands what life on a sailboat is all about!

We do tell anyone who we don’t think is really suited that they should reconsider. We’re not doing anyone any favours by not being totally honest about this.

Q: So who does come on Sailing School trips?

A wide age range, from 18-73; though many tend to fall into the 30-to-late 40s bracket. Some very experienced sailors, some who’d literally never set foot on a sailboat before, some folks come with a friend/partner; some travel solo, some people have travelled/worked all over the world, some had to get their very first passport issued to join us!

Q: Is there an age limit?

A number of people have emailed us asking what the age limit is. There is no age limit.

However, one important point that we do need to make (and of course, this doesn’t apply just to age) is that a sailboat does need a certain amount of physical mobility. You need to be comfortable climbing over one boat to another to get to dock at times; in and out of inflatable dinghies; across a narrow gangplank from boat to shore, and so forth.

Q: I am single. Can I come on a course on my own?

A: Yes. About 25% of our students come on their own. Unfortunately, we have to make a surcharge for single occupancy of a cabin. It is often possible to share storage in a cabin with one person sleeping either in the saloon or the cockpit. If you are prepared to share there is no surcharge.

Q: I’m definitely an adventurous sort, love the concept so far—but I’m concerned about getting seasick.

If you’ve gotten seasick being out on a boat for an afternoon—don’t worry that this means you’ll never make it as a sailor! It takes most of us (yes, including us skippers!) a day or so for the inner ear to adapt to the different motions. The vast majority of people are fine after that.

If you are the type who gets motion sickness on everything: cars, planes, boats. . . bathtub. . . this is the time to wonder if a sailing vacation is for you.

Q: What’s it like to live on board?

A: We’re pretty casual about most things, but there are a few basic rules that keep life on board happy for everyone.

For instance, keeping the saloon free of personal junk, not partying on till the wee small hours when others are trying to sleep, and not using all the precious water to wash your laundry when we’re days away from the next water supply. 

Q: What are the sleeping arrangements/cabin assignments?

Each yacht sleeps up to six guests in double cabins. The aft cabins are double beds, the forward cabins can be either single bunk beds or converted to double beds also. First to book, first to choose is our policy on who gets which cabin!

In mid-season, lots of people opt to sleep on deck too, a great feeling, completely clear n’ starry nights… no threat at all of being rained on halfway through the night!

Q: Is there hot water?

We might be out to downplay the facilities and tell you it’s like “camping on the water”—but in fact, it’s really quite civilized! In fact, many of our guests who are experienced sailors tell us they were surprised at how luxurious the boats are, compared to what they are used to sailing! So, yes there is indeed plenty of hot water, in each of the showers/toilets. We also have fridges, a stove w/oven, a  CD player, plus all the usual navigation equipment.

Q: What about food n’ drink?

The cost of food is up to you. There is an excellent supermarket close to the yacht’s berth where you can find all sorts of supplies. 

Q: So who does the cooking and keeps the boat in order?

There’s not usually a great deal of cooking on board—most of your dinners are ashore (see below), and an array of salads/cold plates are usually the preferred option during the day.

Occasionally, a group will get inspired to cook on board in the evening… a quiet anchorage, cocktails and dinner under the stars is quite wonderful! 

Q: Dinners ashore—do we eat out every night?  What should I budget for this?

A: Most nights you eat out—in Greece, the taverna is an essential part of the whole experience; it is the social hub of the community, the rendezvous central for all gossip and socialising. Unlike the more usual western experience of the “move ’em in, move ’em out” mentality, once you occupy a table, it’s yours for the evening, and into the wee small hours too, if you so desire!

In fact, the problem is not having the check slapped on the table before you’ve even put down your fork; it’s getting the waiter to come over and take your money! It’s a totally laid-back atmosphere; bills are often tallied up on (paper) tablecloths, and the drinks bill is figured out according to how many bottles are on the table!

As far as budget goes. The average cost for dinner is around $40-50 USD. a person. That’s usually a real feast of appetizers we often share around, and main course too. This includes some beer/wine—although if you go for some of their more expensive imported wines, you’ll have a bigger bill. If you’re a light eater or don’t drink, your bill will most likely come out under $30 USD.

Q: What other costs should I expect?

A: Very few! You will need to cover the fuel at the end of the week’s class and your own food during the week. However, if you are in a mixed class,, all costs are divided by the number in the group.

” The only other spending money you’ll need is if you decide to go rent scooters on some of the bigger islands; they cost around $15–20 per day. Jeeps are around $80/day—fit 4 people in, and $20 per person is quite the bargain.

Of course, if you decide to go hit the town and get into expensive cocktails, this will clock up a few extra $$s. Though all things are relative: you probably couldn’t spend as much on a night in the town in Greece as you could at home, no matter how hard you tried—so may as well make the most of it!

Q: Why Greece and the Islands?

There will still always be something magical about the Greek Isles. Their ambience is unique; there’s nowhere in the world quite like it. So this has to be the major plus point for Greece—it’s “Greek”! The Greeks are a strange combination of “so laid-back they’re almost horizontal” and yet conversely, they are full of life and energy, volatile, passionate, ready to laugh and dance the night away at the drop of a hat. Living life for the moment is a way of life in these little islands (what we call the “real” Greece, as opposed to “touristville Greece”—the bigger places & Athens are quite different!).

If you’re a super-keen sailor, and getting some great sailing time in is one of your primary objections—Greece is the better pick. The winds tend to be stronger, the sailing is more challenging. Traditionally, the windiest times are late July/Aug—this is when the Meltemi is meant to be at its peak. These weather patterns have not been terribly reliable these last 5/6 years; but in general, if the sailing side is really important to you, go for Greece.

The islands… there’s just something about sailing from island to island that is unique; it feels like encountering new shores every time. Each of the islands is so different; each has its own character (and local “characters”!); it’s its own idiosyncrasies and ambience. From the upmarket atmosphere of Poros; the bars n’ discos n’ restaurants; its greenery, and the jeeps, to the opposite extreme of tiny fishing villages with nothing more than a taverna, a church (both essential to any Greek community of more than 6 people!), a scattered collection of little houses and several dozen goats.

History… throughout Greece, there are ancient ruins on almost all islands from the Fortresses in Navplion, the monasteries around Erimoni, the castles of Monevasia to the Castle of St John in Patmos and Leros that has a wonderful 11th century fortress, with the most incredible view of both sunset and sunrise!

Q: OK, I’m sold—I wanna go! How do I get there?

A: First of all, of course, you need to get to Athens!

If you already have frequent flyer miles, or a regular travel agent—great! If you’d like advice/suggestions from us, we are more than happy to help out. Whilst we aren’t in the airline ticket business, we do have a few good contacts that can help with tickets.

Q: Anything else I need to know?

A: That covers most of the initial questions that people ask—if you have others, please do give us a call or send an email! We’re always happy to chat.

So what is included in the price of the ASA sailing courses?

The following:

  • The yacht with all her sailing and safety equipment, also included: Zodiac.
  • Full-time Captain/instructor.
  • All course materials, books, logbooks, examination fees and ASA registration for a year.
  • All linens, towels, blankets etc… (Beach towels not included)
  • Local taxes, yacht insurance, plus charter contract taxes
  • Cleaning fee at the end of your charter.
  1. Unlike a Greek Bareboat company using a “Rent-a-Skipper” and Bareboat: We do not request you leave a security damage deposit.
  2. There is no ‘Check In’ or ‘Check Out’  process, wasting half a day.
  3. Our Yachts are ready for immediate departure.
  4. All official paper has been taken care of in advance.

As the client you will step onboard your ready yacht.

What’s not included:

Food for the week, plus fuel at the end of the class.

Airfares to Greece,

Transfers to the teaching yacht…

Personnel/travel insurance…

Evening meals ashore