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Tell us a little bit the group who went sailing together?
Three of us live in London, Hannah and I work in financial services and Olivia is a management consultant. Dr Flick is a psychologist in Oxford and Jen is a dietician in Bristol.
What made you choose a sailing holiday and how did you plan it?
About three or four years ago, our group of friends wanted to make our 30th birthday really special. We decided to save £20 a month so we had a decided sum and could choose the location nearer the time.
The idea of a yacht charter with a skipper appealed to us because it was something a bit different to just renting a villa. It looked really fun and exhilarating. We vetoed a flotilla as we wanted to celebrate together and to plan our own route. We wanted something sophisticated and a trip to remember for just us girls.
Where did you go sailing?
We choose the Saronic Islands off Athens. We arrived at Alimos Marina from the airport and almost immediately set off for the island of Egina. After that we sailed to Spetses, Poros and Idra – all of which are stunning islands and unique in their own way
Was there anything you were excited about?
We were all looking forward to plenty of sunshine, swimming, Greek food and creating plenty of new memories.
Was there anything you were nervous about?
There was consensus about the fear of possible seasickness, 30 foot waves and sharks. Despite taking a year’s supply of anti-sickness tablets with us, thankfully none of us became ill. The weather was fantastic and I don’t think we saw a cloud in the sky all week. We didn’t see 30 foot waves and there wasn’t a shark fin in sight either! For the record, the last fatal shark attack in Greece was in 1969 (yes, we checked!).
Did you have any expectations?
We had a complete mix of sailing ability in our group ranging from competent sailors to never having set foot on a yacht before. But none of us really had a clue what we were signing up for…
Did you feel sea sick, if so how did you deal with it?
A couple of the girls felt slightly sick on one occasion when we were staying out in a beautiful secluded bay one evening – mainly because the sun had gone down and the horizon was not visible. However, I’m still convinced it was the wine consumption and a good night’s sleep fixed it!
How did you get on with the skipper?
We thought Panos was amazing and he made our holiday. We were more worried about him as he was spending a week with five overexcited girls that he’d never met before.
Did you feel comfortable with a male skipper on an all girls trip?
We certainly did. Panos was great and very patient.. He came out with us every evening and he pretended to enjoy our cooking. He was basically one of the girls at the end of the holiday.
Would you go again?
Yes, without a doubt we’d jump at another charter holiday.
What was the highlight for you?
Sailing to a beautiful new location every day. Most memorable evening was anchoring in a secluded bay off Spetses for the night. Our only company was the Milky Way (and a few bottles of wine).
What was the low point?
We were sad to go home.
Best thing about Greece?
We loved enjoying the clear blue sea. Oh and Panos, our skipper was fantastic.
Best thing about sailing?
Experiencing complete relaxation. As soon as you step onboard you are completely immersed in all things yacht, sea and sun. Mobiles were immediately discarded and our stressful jobs were a distant memory! It was made all the more relaxing by our incredible skipper who did all of the hard work for us.
How was the food?
During the day we were the chefs so of course the food was incredible. We stocked up on fresh food daily and our breakfasts and lunches mainly consisted of vegetable pasta, salads, feta, olives, stuffed vine leaves, fresh bread and mini Greek pastries (they were delicious). Most evenings we ate out on the islands at some beautiful restaurants.
Where do you want to go next?
The Caribbean looks very tempting… perhaps we can celebrate our 40th birthdays there?
What recommendations do you have for anyone else going on a first time trip / girls trip?
Pack a tight hat that won’t blow away, as there are five hats floating around the Mediterranean Sea right now. And take litres of suncream.
Would you consider learning to sail so you could charter without a skipper?
Potentially – although to be honest we enjoyed not having full responsibility for the yacht and the lives onboard. We each had responsibilities, such as rope-woman, anchor-woman and fender-woman and we learnt an incredible amount. Our skipper was an absolute pro at manoeuvring, anchoring and mooring even in some challenging swells. I’m pretty certain that the boat would have ended up at the bottom of the Saronic Gulf if I was skippering!