Yacht Charter Information


We’ve sailed each of the destinations we offer, which means we have hands on knowledge of boats, what it’s like to charter and sail in a destination.

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The Yacht Charter Experience

A yacht charter is a thrilling vacation choice where you explore by yacht many islands and ports in one vacation. Choose to sail yourself on a bareboat, hire a skipper or join a flotilla, there are many different ways to enjoy a yacht charter.

Bareboat charter

A bareboat charter means you rent your own monohull or catamaran yacht and sail without any professional crew onboard. The yacht is ‘bare’ of supplies and you are responsible for everything on the yacht including sailing, cooking, cleaning and the safety of the passengers onboard. Bareboat charter is ideal for groups of friends or family who want to go it alone and explore on their own itinerary.

Skippered charter

As a bareboat charter but with a professional skipper onboard. Professional skippers offer much more than sailing the yacht, they are the host to the country you are sailing in and can provide the local knowledge enabling you to really experience the local culture and highlights of each destination. Chartering a yacht with a skipper is a great idea if you are a new or uncertified sailor planning your first yacht charter holiday or an experienced sailor who would like a more relaxing charter experience.

Flotilla sailing

A flotilla is where you bareboat charter your own yacht, but follow a lead yacht on a pre-determined itinerary. A flotilla is a sailing holiday aboard your own yacht, with the safety and local knowledge of a lead yacht crew – as well as a fun race each day! A flotilla is ideal if you seek an informative guided and safe vacation following a lead yacht on a planned itinerary.

Booking a yacht with Poseidon Charters

We offer a huge selection of yachts from many fleets to ensure you have a great choice, advise on the best yacht as well as ensure you receive the latest up to date information about each yacht. Our knowledge of Greek, Croatian, French Polynesian and Caribbean waters means we can discuss the islands with you in detail prior to boarding so you arrive with knowledge and itinerary ideas. All charter funds are 100% protected by our licensed and bonded charter agency.

Monohull or catamaran charter

A monohull has one wide hull with cabins accessed from a main salon area below deck, the cabins tend to fill the front and the back of the space. Monohulls are made for great sailing and have a deep heavy keel under the water so are very stable even when healing over.

A catamaran has two hulls with cabins in the side hulls or pontoons. The hulls are joined together by a central large area in the middle, an exterior seated area at the back and in some cases netted trampoline areas at the front. Catamarans are great for the fun social space but they don’t sail as well and can be a little bouncy.

Charter periods

The minimum charter period is typically 7-nights in high season. In mid and low season less than 7-nights may be possible.

Standard inventory of a charter yacht

A full inventory for an individual yacht will be provided upon quoting. What is included will vary per yacht but as a guide a charter yacht will include: a dinghy; full cruising area charts and cruising guide or pilot book; navigational equipment (binoculars, hand compass and course plotting equipment); initial full tank of water, fuel and cooking gas; VHF radio; autopilot; electric anchor windlass; wind instruments; furling or battened mainsail furling genoa sail; bimini for cockpit shade (racing yachts have a boom awning); transom; galley equipment (cooking and eating utensils); standard safety equipment (navigational and first aid); bed linen and towels; FM radio; CD player; dodger; berthing fees at home port.

Some yachts may also include: GPS (plotter); cabin fans; cabin reading lights; BBQ; outboard engine; snorkeling equipment; cockpit cushions; spray hood; snorkel equipment and beach towels.

Not included in the cost of a yacht charter

There are quite a few extras to pay in addition to the cost of a yacht such as: port fees, anchor and mooring fees; water, fuel and electricity costs; provisions for the boat and all meals onshore. There could also be skipper or crew fees; flotilla fees; gratuities for professional crew or flotilla crew. All costs outside of the charter need to considered too such as flights and transfers; all land excursions, hotels, transport, car hire; meals; cancellation and medical insurance.

Charter terms explained

Contract:  Whenever you charter a yacht, you will sign a charter contract. The contract will outline your terms and conditions of charter with the owner of the yacht. The contract is to be signed upon booking.

Insurance, security deposit or waiver:  All yachts require a security deposit, damage waiver payment or a combination of both to insure them while on charter. A refundable security deposit is authorized by credit card or left in cash upon arrival at the base. The amount is a deductible and any damage to the yacht will be deducted up to the total amount authorized. A damage waiver is a non-refundable charge based on a smaller per day amount. It is charged even if no damages occur to the yacht, however it offers piece of mind that even if the yacht is a right off after damages, you will only incur that cost. Damage waiver payments can greatly reduce or eliminate the security deposit amount. Full insurance details will be provided with a quotation for any yacht.

End-cleaning or charter pack: This is a one off fee. In some instances it can be paid in advance and will have a mandatory starter pack added on which will include some basic supplies.

Fuel:  Is not included in yacht charter pricing. A yacht is provided full of fuel at the start of a charter and you will be expected to refuel upon arrival back at the base at the end of the charter. You can pay by credit card.

Water: Fresh water is not included in a yacht charter pricing. Yacht water tanks will be full upon arrival and you will need to fill as you go along. The yacht can be returned with empty water tanks.

Transit Log: This an administration fee charged in Croatia and is normally paid with end cleaning either in advance or upon arrival at the base.

Tourist tax or cruising tax: This is a tax per person normally added in Croatia and Caribbean destinations. It is paid upon arrival at the base or in some instances paid in advance with the yacht price.

Outboard: Some yachts include an outboard engine free of charge and for others there is an additional charge. You can expect to pay approximately Euro 95  per week in Europe. For Caribbean and other tropical destinations outboards tend to be included in the yacht prices.

One-way fees: In some destinations it is possible to pick up and drop off a yacht at different bases. There will be a one-way fee added to the yacht price. Yachts joining a flotilla may not be able to do a one way drop off.

Skipper fees: Professional skipper fees are charged by the day and you will be expected to cover all meal costs for the skipper in addition to the daily fee. You can expect to pay around Euro 180 per day in Europe, USD 200 in the Caribbean and USD 250 in the Pacific. The skipper will require his own cabin but can share a washroom. Gratuity is at your discretion but a suggested amount would be around Euro 200 per week in the Med and USD 250 per per week in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Crew list: You will be asked to complete a document detailing names, passport details and date of births of everyone on the boat with you. This information is provided to the Port Authority as a legal document for souls onboard a boat.

Joining the Greek flotilla

We pride ourselves on our flotilla – the only Cycladic flotilla in Greece which we have led for over 20 years. If you want to have a little more guidance and the security of a lead boat then our flotilla is available in June, July and September and you can join the flotilla for 7 or 14-nights. The flotilla fee includes:

  • an expertly guided sailing tour led by a lead yacht skipper and crew
  • provisioning advice throughout the tour
  • daily briefings on weather, course, swim stops and ports of call
  • VHF radio and visual contact
  • mooring and docking assistance at each port
  • shore hikes on our unique historic itinerary
  • a well-researched, gastronomic selection of local restaurants
  • social activities

Full details of the flotilla, dates and flotilla rates can be found on the Greek flotilla pages.

Sailing Certification

To charter and sail a yacht yourself it is necessary to have experience and/or sailing certificates.

Mediterranean:  To charter a yacht in the Mediterranean there must be at least one certified skipper and one experienced first mate on a charter yacht. As a yacht skipper, you are required to have a sailing license or a certificate from a recognized sailing school such as:

RYA: Royal Yachting Association / ASA: American Sailing Association / Intermediate Cruising Standard – Sail Canada / YA – Yachting Australia /ISPA – International Sail and Power Academy

The level of qualification required is a keelboat bareboat certification such as RYA Coastal Skipper, CYA Intermediate, ASA104 and you need to bring your original certificates with you. In addition to the above requirements you are required to have a VHF operator’s license to charter a yacht in Croatia. Sailing resumes and powerboat operators card are not sufficient to rent a sailing yacht in the Med.

The newly recognized and now preferred certificate is the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) or IPC in the United States. The certificate is becoming the worldwide recognized standard with European governments and charter companies. You will need to have one of the above certificates or pass a practical exam and make an application to be issued an ICC certificate. The sailing schools listed above are able to provide the practical exam and the application for ICC. You can find out more about the ICC on the RYA’s section of the ICC – International Certificate of Competence

Caribbean and the Pacific: Currently you are not required to present any formal sailing certification to charter a yacht in the Caribbean or the Pacific. It is normal that you are required to complete a sailing resume only. Should it be felt that your experience is not sufficient then you may be asked to have a skipper onboard with you for the first day of your charter.

IALA Buoyage system

For the sake of maintaining uniformity in buoyage system worldwide, IALA divided the world into two regions – Region A and Region B.

Region A: includes Europe, the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the Gulf and some Asian countries. Red right leaving.

Region B: includes North, South, Central America, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. Red right return.

Mooring

Mediterranean: To allow for more yachts in the tiny ports, sailors do Mediterranean Mooring by dropping anchor and backing stern-to the wharf in the harbours. Some harbours offer lazy lines – fixed underwater moorings with access lines on the wharf. There are no mooring balls and dropping anchor off shore is limited, as it is often too deep to anchor safely.

Caribbean: Along the Bahamas and Caribbean archipelagoes there are many well-organized marinas offering berths and services ashore for yachtsman. There are also thousands of anchorages. In order to protect the marine environment from anchors, some areas provide mooring balls designed for different sized yachts. Sailors can tie off to these mooring balls and make payment to a local representative. Lines ashore are also used sometimes so boats do not swing overnight. In other cases private charter companies have installed mooring balls for their charter guests.

Pacific: French Polynesia provides well-organized marinas offering berths and services ashore. There are many anchorages – in order to protect the marine environment from anchors, in some areas there are mooring balls provided by the local authorities designed for different sized yachts. Sailors can tie off to the mooring ball and make payment to a local representative. In other cases, private charter companies have installed mooring balls for their charter guests.

Port fees

Port fees are paid locally so not included in the charter rate.

Greece: There are very few organized marinas for charter yachts in Greece, instead you pay nominal fees to Med moor in municipal town harbours.

Croatia: There are many more organized marinas and anchorages charging a per night fee. Costs range from anchoring fees at Euro 25 per night to ACI Marinas charging Euro 100 per night. The ACI Marinas offer excellent services from laundry to Spa services.

Caribbean:  There are many anchorages with mooring balls. In many instances these will be paid when anchored and the fee may include ice and rubbish being taken off the boat.

Pacific: French Polynesia provides well-organized marinas offering berths and services ashore. There are many anchorages – in order to protect the marine environment from anchors, in some areas there are mooring balls provided by the local authorities designed for different sized yachts. Sailors can tie off to the mooring ball and make payment to a local representative. In other cases, private charter companies have installed mooring balls for their charter guests.

Yacht Charter Questions
Will there be charts or a cruising guide to the area aboard?

There are always current charts and cruising guides provided on charter boats.

What navigation equipment is included?

All navigation equipment is included such as binoculars, hand compass and course plotting equipment. Many yachts also have or offer GPS.

How do I get a weather forecast?

During the check-in procedure the base staff will inform you of the local weather sources.

Are sheets and towels included on a bareboat?

In most cases sheets, towels and blankets are included but some operators charge for additional bedding and towels. What is included will be detailed at the time of booking.

Are cleaning supplies, utensils, pots and pans included on a yacht?

Whether you are sailing yourself, taking a skipper or joining a flotilla the yacht is referred to as a bareboat which means that the yacht is a 'bare' boat and is stripped of any food or cleaning supplies but is delivered with a full tank of fuel, cooking gas and water. Cooking utensils and cutlery are always included.

What voltage is onboard the boat?

Generally, the power supply aboard yachts is 12V DC by cigarette adapter so an AC anywhere cigarette 12 volt inverter device is a handy thing to pack if you wish to charge at all times. Most yachts will have electrical sockets in the cabin for use when shore power or the generator is on. Generators will generate the destination voltage. It will be at the Captain's discretion as to when generators are turned on. Adapters and power converters (110~220) may be required for North American electronic devices. Many cameras and telephones are 110-220V compatible but check your device.

The best way to charge cell phones, ipads, electric razors and video camera batteries is in local cafes and restaurants on shore (a very common practice).

When connected to shore power or an onboard generator the following destination voltage can be supplied to electrical outlets:

The Med: Greece and Croatia
Voltage 220V with 2-pin European plugs.

The Caribbean: British Virgin Islands and Martinique
Voltage 110V with 2 flat pin North American plugs.

The Caribbean: St Martin
Voltage 220V with 2-pin European plugs.

The Pacific: French Polynesia
Voltage both 110V with 2 flat pin North American plugs and 220V with 2-pin European plugs. It is wise to travel with a multi-adapator.

What if there is a mechanical problem and how am I compensated?

All yacht operators leave telephone and e-mail contacts, so they can assist if there is a problem. Yacht charter contracts stipulate the refundable of specific yachts if there is a delay due to breakdown.

Yacht Charter Check-In Tips
What to look for

It is important during the check-in procedure to make sure your yacht has all the required inventory of equipment that you will need on the charter and that it is all in good working order.

Check-in List

Yacht cleaning: must be adequate

Sail and rigging: pull out sails and check them for damage, tares, undone seems -especially if it is a roller main. Make sure sail systems run smoothly by hand to go in and out –not by winch.

Engine start stop: check oil and dip stick location, visually inspect and make ½ turn only on belts, check coolant, overflow and where fuel purge for bleeding air out of main carb and injectors are located.

Outboard engine: Must start easily and run at base. Also while ‘off’, put the outboard ‘in gear ‘and try to turn prop to see if the plastic prop washer / impeller is stripped – if it turns ask for a repaired outboard. Note where fuel valve is and verify that there is spare gas/oil aboard.

Dinghy: should be inflated and if it is low ask for it to be filled hard and see if it deflates during your 45min ‘check-in’. If it leaks ask for another dinghy or to have it repaired immediately.

Life raft location: do a run through operation of device/s.

Life jackets: locate them all and make sure they are in good condition, that there are enough and they are the right size if you have kids aboard.

First aid kit: check to see what is inside and if things need to be replenished.

Emergency flares: know where they are and locate sea cocks, black balls, reflctive mirror, safety harnesses, bosun’s chair and other safety equip.

Fire extinguishers: check to see what is inside and if things need to be replenished.

Emergecy tiller: check to see what is inside and if things need to be replenished.

EPIRB: check to see what is inside and if things need to be replenished.

Battery main switch: check to see what is inside and if things need to be replenished.

Shore power cables: locate and ensure adapters are available.

Nav station: understand and test the board, 12 volt and 220 volt shore power/generator (if applicable) as well as interior lighting, stereo, nav lights and other electronics.

VHF radio: understand and test.

Anchor fuse/breaker: locate breaker and hand set operation. Ask base staff if chain must be laid in chain locker to avoid anchoring problems.

Tool box: check for basics like pliers, screw drivers, spare screws/bolts, wire cutters, electrical tape, wrench.

Spare parts: locate any engine belts, spare oil, coolant, impellers, dinghy repair kit etc.

Water hose: locate and check for correct garden ring adaptor.

Toilets: must pump smoothly, not smell and have no significant water leaking around pump lever /valves. If boat has septic holding tanks, make sure they are empty by banging on them. They should have a hollow sound.

Stove: test stove/oven on/off procedure and where the fuel safety valve is as well as where the spare gas bottle is located –normally the spare bottle is outside in the cockpit seating area or in a stern compartment.

Fridges and ice boxes: check they cold before leaving.

Galley equip: kettle, coffee pot and mechanism for making coffee –very important how does it work and will it make enough coffee for everyone aboard?

Galley utensils: plates, glasses /cups, bowls, big trays and salad bowls, pots and frying pans for 6-8 people to cook and eat comfortably.

Sheets and towels: ensure there are sufficient for the number of couples and singles aboard. Normally a double occupancy cabin will have 2 sheets, 2 pillow cases, 2 large and 2 small towels and a blanket. You may need more with singles.

Hull and deck: check for damages take pics –especially at the bow where the anchor can chip the gelcoat.

Fenders: count them and ask them to be marked with the boat name or initials on them to deter theft in ports.

Before leaving the base

Water: Top off water tanks, make sure to bring your yacht hose with fitting attachments.

Shore power: if your yacht has shore power retrieve cable/adapters (not on all yachts).

Mooring lines: if you have a bow mooring/lazy line, when leaving port, do not run over the mooring/lazy line which is under the yacht and tied to the dock – When you untie the bow mooring line make sure it sinks before leaving the berth. The line is tied to the pier for your retrieval upon return.

Shakedown

Use the first day as a shakedown of the yacht and equipment. Yacht turnover days can be very busy and previous charterers may not have informed the base of missing items or problems. Maintenance and missing items can be corrected easily at islands nearby, but after that it becomes more difficult to access service, missing items and parts.

Charter End

Fuel: top off yacht fuel

Maintenance: tell the owner/operator of any issues with the yacht that could be repaired or replaced prior to the next charter.

Security deposit: ensure base staff destroys your yacht charter security deposit credit card authorization stub.

Pack: Ensure all belongings are removed from the yacht before leaving the yacht.

Provisioning
Provisioning

When you book a yacht charter the boat is supplied empty of all provisions so you will need to shop for basic supplies at the beginning.

Advance provisioning

Many bases can offer advance provisioning if you wish to do this, request a pre-provisioning list. Groceries tend to cost about 10% more which is the cost for the service.

Shopping upon arrival

In many cases a driver at the marina can take you to the supermarket and you can bring your provisions back with you, alternatively, many stores deliver to the yacht - you just need to remember your pier number and yacht name. The base will provide information on local provisioning specific to your charter when you arrive.

Professional crew meals

Remember when provisioning, if you have professional crew on-board with you, then you will need to offer them food as part of your provisions for breakfast and lunch.

Med Mooring
Med Mooring

If it's your first time sailing in Mediterranean waters then you may not be used to Mediterranean mooring. This type of mooring is dropping anchor and backing stern-to the wharf in the harbours. We've prepared these comprehensive guidelines to help you.

Weather

Check the weather for the day: The most accurate weather forecasts in Greek waters can be online:
www.ventusky.com
www.poseidon.hcmr.gr
www.windfinder.com
www.noa.gr
www.meteo.gr

Fenders

Always be prepared for Med Mooring before entering a harbour otherwise things will end in a panic. Fenders need to be placed in the right position before entering harbour so they are ready. The biggest roundest fenders need to be placed near the very corner of the stern rail, so they are literally hanging near the edge where the stern and the hull meet -as this is the first place you may come in contact with neighbouring boats. Moving slowly backwards the fenders must run from the stern all the way up to the beam (fattest part of the boat) so you can literally ‘bumper car’ you way into a berth. Fenders ahead of the beam of your bow are essentially unused when backing in, as the forward part of your hull tapers away to the bow and will not be in contact with neighbouring yachts. Fenders can all be readjusted after the boat is secure. Use at least 2 clove hitches to secure a fender to your rail or lifeline. Note: Catamarans must watch fenders placement alongside big square or rectangular plexi-glass windows as a fender can punch through these larger windows in a tightly packed harbour or with ferry swell.

Stern Lines

Always be prepared for Med Mooring before entering a harbour otherwise things will end in a panic. Stern lines must be prepared and ready to cast ashore or be stepped ashore by your crew. The mooring concept in the Med is that stern lines go from your stern cleats around bollards or rings ashore and come back aboard and are cleated to the same cleats they came from. This allows for finer adjustments of how close the stern gets to the wharf, and allows for easy departure with no crew mates needed ashore when leaving a port -you simple let the bitter end go as you leave and the lines slide around the bollards ashore and into the sea for easy retrieval out of the water by stern crew.  The lines must be free of rails, shrouds, antenna and other deck equipment. Prepare the lines by putting a bowline loop in one end and then run that loop over the top of your stern rails and down through your chock or fairlead and securely over a deck cleat  -that way when you cast the bitter end ashore it is already free of the stern rail and goes directly from your stern cleat, through the chock or fairlead to the shore. Once in position over the rail and on the cleat, coil the rest of the line up so when cast ashore there are no knots or tangles. The windward stern line goes ashore and gets secured first, so note the flags ashore if you are uncertain of where the wind is. The stern lines should be coiled loosely on the deck and only the bitter end 3 or 4 coils need to be thrown - not the whole line as they are very heavy. Wait until you are very close to the person on the wharf as there is no sense in casting lines into the water because of a tangle, or their wieght, or because they were cast before the boat was close enough to the wharf. If lines are cast prematurely and go into the water be very careful not to foul the prop.

Defensive Anchoring Technique

As the helmsman, when you have stern lines, fenders and anchor team ready up at the anchor, and the balance of crew ready to fend off with a mobile walking fender, choose your spot on the wharf. It is important that you do not cross any other yacht’s chain when anchoring. So it is a good idea to do a pass-by of other boats and see the angle their chains go into the water from their bow chain rollers. Always try to lay your chain parallel to other boat chains. Also, take preventative action by watching other boats mooring beside you. If they are crossing your chain sit at the bow with a whistle and get the other boat skipper's attention. Indicate to them where your chain and anchor lies using a straight-arm signal. Also, make sure they put out enough chain otherwise they may ask to tie to you if the wind comes up, which is not a good idea. These and other defensive anchoring techniques will go a long way in keeping your yacht and crew safe from anchor fouling and problems in harbours.

Overcoming propeller walk

Start backing up well out, so you have distance and time to overcome the propeller walk. Most charter boats walk towards port, so a good trick is to start your procedure with your stern pointing 45 degrees to starboard. This way once you engage your prop the boat will slowly walk into position and towards your chosen berth as it begins to go backwards. Reduce throttle speed to stop the walk. Reducing the throttle to a minimum rpm keeps steerage way and overcomes windage / leeway on the hull as you slowly proceed backwards. If you do not slow your rpm the boat may continue walking in an arch across the harbour and you will be off course and cross other boat’s chains. You may also end up going too fast as you come back closer to boats. Hold the wheel with both hands firmly and steer facing the wharf at a slow but steady speed. Once you have reduce the throttle and are steering backwards the helm responds the same way as going forwards. Turn slightly left to go left or right to go right, but keep in mind you are slicing through the water stern/rudder first, so the helm is very sensitive to any slight change in course you make. It is important to hold the wheel with both hands firmly and steer precisely with small incremental movements, as any big steering changes can put the boat off course. Never let go of the helm as the rudder can spin madly and go off course or even damage your rudder mechanism -if going too fast. Make sure you proceed slowly and evenly and always face the pier while going backwards. You may decide to turn your whole body around and hold the wheel with both hands at your back to face the pier, or steer from the other side of steering pedestal -just make sure you have access to the throttle lever to slow or stop the boat. Note: Helmsman should never slam the throttle back and forth, reverse to forward to reverse as this may break the cable or snap a cotter pin. Always place the throttle in the neutral position before going into forward or reverse. If the throttle cable does break the boat may end up locked in forward or reverse which is a very dangerous situation. In this emergency situation, switch the engine off at the ignition, then have a crew member locate and operate the throttle lever (where the cable connects to the engine) by hand down in the engine compartment, restart the engine and continue the manoeuvre by calling forward or reverse to the crew member in the engine compartment.

Dropping anchor – Communication with anchor team

The helmsman requires constant eye contact and uses simple ‘hand signals’ to send clear directions from the helm to the anchorman or anchor team. This stops confusion, shouting or panic on deck. The anchor team can drop anchor using the electronic handset for ease of use, but electronic release can be slow. So if the anchor windlass can be operated manually, the anchor team should be familiar with the manual operation using the hand lever/brake mechanism. When the vessel is in position reversing towards the wharf and the skipper is within the 3 – 4 boat lengths the helmsan should follow these steps:

When the boat is in the exact position (between other boats chains), the helmsman gives a Thumbs Down signal to the anchor team who immediately drop the anchor. There can be no delay so the anchor team must already have the anchor in the Hung position. The anchor team must be ready and poised to drop on the skippers command otherwise the whole procedure will have to start over again, to maneuver the boat into the precise position that the anchor needs to go into the water. Helmsman should start again and reposition the boat, if in any doubt about where they end up dropping, as it is much easier to reposition at the beginning of the procedure than end up later having to completely re-anchor the boat. The chain must run evenly and at the speed the yacht is traveling backwards. It must not free roll or slow the boat progression. It is vital to start far enough away from the pier to allow a minimum of 3-4 or boat lengths of chain at every anchorage, 40-60 meters in most cases for 40-55ft yachts. The anchor team should be monitoring how much chain remains in the chain locker as running to the bitter end can break the chain from its hold in the locker. It is best to have one anchor team member working the windlass and another signaling the captain and monitoring the remaining chain in the locker. The anchor team must not pile the chain up on the bottom if the boat is stationary, by free rolling or simply paying out too fast for the depth. If the boat stops moving anchor teams should stop paying out chain and should monitor depth in advance on the charts, depth sounder or simply look and see the bottom. The helmsman should be notified if the anchor crew have a problem and must be ready to slow the throttle. One way to make sure the chain pays out well is to always have someone laying it flat in the chain locker (by hand) when taking the chain up during departures. It is not necessary to drive backwards to set the anchor in the sea bed as there is little mud or sand to dig into on the bottom of silty or stone Med harbours. Use the winch controller to pull the chain straight and set the hook. The sheer weight of a straight chain is what does the most holding in Mediterranean waters, the anchor is only the end bit! The consequence of not using enough chain at harbours is getting pushed back on the wharf by other boats or ferry or weather swell. Other boats may also hook and pick up your anchor when maneuvering and inadvertently move it closer before releasing it. In this scenario, if you have 60 meters of chain out you can afford to take in 5-10 meters, straighten out the chain and tighten up your hold. Note: Anchor teams should be vigilante that they never get the controller wire caught in the windlass teeth and must take secure the chain locker lid, as it can cause serious foot injury if the wind slams the lid it on toes or fingers. A final danger is if the anchor winch controller lives in a forward cabin, and cabin hatch is left wide open. It is easy for a member of the anchor team to step back and fall through the open hatch -so leave it ajar with the wire coming out when in use. When the anchoring is done the controller should be carefully put away as any wetness, dew, impact or sun damage to the controller can be a serious problem for your charter if it becomes inoperable. Note: there is an anchor winch windlass switch on the boat’s main electrical board which must be switched on for the anchor winch/windlass to work -leave it on for your entire charter. There is also often an anchor winch windlass circuit breaker near the boat’s main batteries, often knee level in a stern cabin below the bed matrass or just under the bed board.  There may also be an on off battery lever up in the bow cabin for the anchor windlass and bow thruster. If the electronic anchor controller does not work check these switches, breakers and levers.

Helmsman steering

The helmsman should try to drive the boat in a straight line, so as not to snake or arch the chain on the bottom of harbours, as this does not offer good holding and may cross other yacht chains. Once you get close to the berth space reduce speed to a crawl, as long as the wind and weight of the chain is not effecting your progress backwards. Then steer the yacht straight into the space on the wharf. Never stop the boat's slow progress until you are entirely into the space. Stopping the throttle too soon may leave you halfway into a space and susceptible to the wind or current pushing your boat on to the bow and chain of a neighbouring yacht. This can cause a serious issue with neighbouring boat’s chains around your keel or prop or even your rudder. It is always best to proceed slowly backwards even if the wind has put you off course, by fending and pulling your way back with stern lines to neighbours. The dangers of leaving a leaving a space at an angle is catching a neighbours outstretched chain on your keel, prop or rudder and this can be very serious and dangerous to your crew. Getting help from other boat crews and pulling by stern lines along with slow prop reverse will help you get into a space that you may have misjudged or stopped too early. If you are a few meters short on chain sometimes you can pull or stretch it out by engine -but make sure the chain is still in the windlass teeth and not taught to the bitter end of the rope attaching it to the chain locker. The anchor team should follow the helmsman's hand signals exactly and the chain should run out freely until the helmsman gives a Cut throat signal. This is usually done when the stern is 2-3 meters from the wharf. When dropping chain using the electronic hand set, the anchor team must stop pressing the down bottom and prepare to press the up bottom on the signal of the helmsman. When operating the anchor windlass manually, the Cut throat signal means the anchor team must quickly tighten the windlass brake with the hand lever. It is imperative to fully tighten the windlass brake, as a loose or free rolling windlass will not hold the boat off the wharf.

Securing the stern lines ashore

Secure the windward stern line first. This must be done quickly by having a crew member step or jump ashore with the stern line and simply cleat it off on a shore bollard. This could be done temporarily by wrapping it around a bollard a few times to immediately take the boat’s weight. If there is little wind the stern line can go around the bollard once and then crew mate can stand on the line so he has both hands free to gather the bitter end and throw it back aboard to be secured to the stern cleat. As soon as the windward stern line is secure holding the boat against the wind the boat is safe, as the bow is held by the anchor and stern by the windward stern line. The leeward stern line is secured last as it is least important.

Fine tuning

The helmsman will need to fine tune the yacht's distance away from the wharf related to the length of the gangplank. Thumbs up and down signals are used to adjust this distance off the wharf a meter at a time.  Adjustments can be made to your stern lines as they go around shore bollards or rings and back to the boat’s stern cleats. It is wise to be 1.5 -2 meters away from the wharf at all times, as ferry swell can be severe. The skipper's thumbs up or down signals allow the boat to move closer or further from the wharf. Hand signals that can be used are 1,2 or 3 fingers followed by a thumbs up or down signal, indicating 1,2 or 3 metres of chain up or down for adjusting the distance off the wharf. When the desired distance off the wharf is reached the stern lines must make a 360° turn around the cleat which takes 50% of the load out of the line before doing figure eights around the cleat followed by a single locking eight – if a full turn is not made the line will tighten up so much from swell, sun and salt that it will be very difficult to remove when departing the harbour. Last, the helmsman needs to tighten up on chain once the stern lines are adjusted to the right distance from shore. The helmsman should take the throttle lever out of gear and rev the engine between 800-1000 rpm to allow sufficient amperage up at the electric anchor windlass. Then a Thumbs up signal to indicate to the anchor team to take up chain. Once slack is taken out of the chain it should be tightened gradually, a metre at a time, allowing the chain to straighten out underwater and get the anchor off its side and stand up and dig in. It is not wise to continuously press up on the hand set, as the anchor may be on its side on a sludgy or rocky harbour bottom and in some harbour simply slide all the way back to the yacht. So tightening up on the chain should be Bit by Bit, a meter at a time, until the chain becomes taught and a 45 degree angle or more. You should be able stand on the chain between the bow roller and the windlass and not be able to push it down. The last hand signal the anchor team gives is a Fist, which means the anchor chain is now tight and secure. The anchor team can then safely stow the electronic hand set in dry a place, while the helmsman can turn off the engine.

Access to shore

Your access to shore is on wooden or aluminium gangplanks. Care must be given as the yacht may grind or crush your gangplank against the wharf with swell in the harbor. The planks may get lodged between the wharf and the stern of the vessel, smashing a hole into the transom of the yacht! To avoid damages, never leave gangplanks in place when not in use. Have wooden gangplanks aboard when you are aboard and leave them ashore when you go ashore. With fixed aluminium planks always pull them up at least 1 meter when not in use and when in use have them raised a few inch above the rough surfaces of the wharf to avoid grinding the wheels due to harbour swell. There are few modern marinas in Greece, most harbors offer rudimentary facilities and are often municipal concrete wharfs not modern docks.

Fouled anchor tips

Freeing a fouled anchor from chains, other anchors or debris is something that all boaters must be prepared for if they are sailing through the Greek islands. If you do get fouled on a chain or an obstruction try to free it by hand. If the fouling chain has slack in it sometimes you can bring your anchor all the way up into its horizontal stowed position on the bow roller, and the fouling chain will simply slide off the tip of your anchor back into the water. Other times you may need to pull it off by hand. This is often the quickest fix. If you are really stuck bring the obstruction to the surface and work quickly to do the following:

Have a sinking line (a stern line works) and the boat hook ready at the bow. Put a bowline loop in one end of the sinking line and lower the loop down into the water. Then with the boat hook pull the bowline loop under the fouling chain or object and back up on to the deck. Loop the bowline over a forward deck cleat then pull the bitter end of the line to take the slack out and you will feel the weight of the obstruction.  Cleat off this bitter end of the line also on a forward deck cleat. The fouling chain or object now has a line around it. Use the down button on the anchor windlass hand set to lower your anchor away and release the obstructing anchor or object's load onto the surrounding line. Once the load of the fouling object is being held by your line, use the boat hook and the up and down buttons to pull your anchor and chain away from the fouling anchor or obstruction. Sometimes signals must be given to the helmsman to advance or reverse the yacht, to allow the anchor to be raised without re hooking the obstruction. Once your anchor is free, bring it all the way up with the windlass handset button into the stowed position. To release the obstruction or anchor simply untie the bitter end of your surrounding line. This allows the obstruction to slide down the line. Be careful as there can be considerable load in the line. Pull on the bowline end of your line to retrieve it. Sometimes it is considerate to drive fouling yachtsman's anchor and chain further out in the harbour before releasing your surrounding line. Note: never use the boat hook to lift a fouling object as the aluminium and plastic hooks will break apart or you will lose them under the load of the obstructions. Sometimes chains are so tangled that a crew in a dinghy or in the water snorkelling is required to help undo obstructions. If you swim in harbors be very careful not to get arms or legs wrapped in chains or ropes. Also, make sure to clean yourself thoroughly and not to get water in your eyes as the water quality in some ports may be poor. Note: It is essential that quick team work and good bow to helm communication occurs during the procedure so that fouls are resolved as soon as possible. Strong winds and small busy harbors can make for very tricky boat manoeuvring when you have an anchor foul. The helmsman must know where to drive the bow and when to remain stationary. Sometimes it is best to drop chain continuously while the boat repositions if the wind has placed the boat in a precarious position. Divers in the water must work with extreme caution if the boat is manoeuvring.

Heavy weather anchoring and overnight security

It I always possible for a wind shift or gale to come up when anchored in a bay or harbor overnight. A good back up plan is to have a nearby secondary bay or harbor established in advance which offers protection from strong or opposing winds. The scope to depth ratio of 5 to 1, or 7 to 1, is something that does not apply in the strong gales and the poor holding bays and ports of the Mediterranean. Always 80-90 percent of your chain. If you are moored in a bay or harbor overnight and the weather comes up strong, have the dinghy and the auxiliary anchor prepped and ready in case it is needed. A secondary anchor set towards the wind usually does the trick. When anchoring in a harbour with strong side winds, it is always best to place your anchor 1 -2 boat widths to windward. If you do not do this your bow will be pointing downwind all night and your stern will end up at an angle to the wharf. Most yachtsman do not know this trick so they end up at an obscure angle on the dock. So be conscious if you are anchoring 1-2 boats widths to windward, that you do not foul neighbouring yachts that may have anchored straight out When all lined up side by side in a harbour, yachts have more resistance against side winds, but yachts that do not place their anchors towards the wind end up leaning on the boats that anchor properly in these conditions. If you are in a bay with strong winds, a line to shore or a secondary line around a solid rocks the bottom can give a good measure of security overnight. If you are concerned about heavy winds and poor holding in a bay overnight, crew members should take rotating night watches. If you are in harbour with strong gusting side winds a good idea is to place a long line from the wharf to mid-ships or even all the way to the bow at 45 degree angles to counter the strong surging gusts on the hull. It is also good to take the load out of the windlass anchor winch by putting a snubber -a heavy line tied with a series of clove hitches to your chain on the chain and tied it off on the bow cleats.

Beaufort Scale
The State of the Sea scale

The Beaufort wind force scale was devised in 1805 by British Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort. Initially the scale did not reference wind speed numbers but related to effects on the sails. After many years of evolution the scale is now an excellent visual guide of the wind conditions.

Force
Knots
Probable sea state
1 1-3 Ripples
2 4-6 Small wavelets
3 7-10 Crests begin to break
4 11-16 Waves becoming larger, frequent white crests
5 17-21 Moderate waves, many white crests, some spray
6 22-27 Large waves, extensive white crests and some streaks between waves
7 28-33 Sea heaps up, waves breaking white foam blown in streaks
8 34-40 Moderately high waves, crests break into spindrift, white foam
9 41-47 High waves, crests topple spray affects visibility
10 48-55 Very high breaking waves, dense foram streaks
11 56-63 Exceptionally high waves, large patches of foam, large amounts of spray, reduced visibility
12 64+ Huge waves, sea is completely white with foam and spray, greatly reduced visibility

 

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