We really enjoyed our time in Lefkas and would consider returning as it was the perfect sailing holiday. I’ve just returned from the USA where my son and family are heading down the intra-coastal waterway to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Not as warm as Greece though! Thanks again for the holiday experience and your personal experience of Drascombes that you imparted to us.
Many thanks again for a wonderful holiday. Please pass on our thanks also to Poldi and family, as well as their staff. Also to Costas and his mother, all of whom made our stay very pleasant. For us it was a great holiday and we may be tempted by Ithaca next time.
Having spent such a great week with Phil in 2018, sailing out from our Geni Garden Apartment, we decided to continue the Luggering about in the Sun adventure for this summer, but with a difference.
Our own Lugger is based on the East Coast of England and sailing there can be somewhat tedious, waiting of the right tidal conditions, decent weather and whether we can spare that right time in between work commitments. In Greek waters there are no tides to consider, the weather is good so one can sail each day, certainly getting more time on the water in one week than we did in an entire summer season at home.
To add to this adventure, Phil recommended a 2-week visit to Frikes on Ithica, staying with Peter at the Frikes Bay Apartments, and this for June. “Two weeks of sailing in the warmth of the Greek Ionian” gasped Richard in delight! We had read previous accounts in Phil’s reviews of the exploits of the Wilson Family’s many visits to Frikes.
We had so many questions for Phil on the ins and outs of the logistics etc, but he had it all organised. From the collection by private taxi from Preveza, delivered to the Gialos Taverna for a stunning lunch and ice cold beer, one night there with an early start and a speedy trip south in the B Class ex RNLI Rib Warrior Spirit to Frikes. This took us through the Meganissi Channel before leaving the island and striking out across the open water for the island of Ithica, this taking a mere 45 minutes. We were just in time for one of Peter’s breakfast specials in his outside eating area overlooking this traditional harbour of Frikes, where Heulwen our Lugger was moored awaiting our arrival. What a start to this 2-week adventure!
The apartment was as described in reviews – so good, with a comfy bed and Peter and his staff were so attentive. To cap it all in the evenings we would sit out on the balcony with a glass of wine and watch for hours the comings and goings of fishing boats and visiting yachts.
In June we found the wind somewhat unpredictable to start and for the first few days sailed with the Jib and Mizen only. This worked well and the Lugger is happy with that since she is not a performance boat. We did have a surprise on day 4 after leaving Kioni under full sail, when suddenly, without notice the wind gathered speed and all hell was let loose, throwing us all over the place. Without further ado, the mainsail was down in the bottom of the boat, engine dropped and on full power, kicking us through the waves and making headway back to Frikes, needless to say totally wet through but exhilarated after the adventure. Richard announced it was time for an early well-earned beer, to which I agreed wholeheartedly.
It was at this stage we realised that we were not going to fully explore Ithica by boat as by sheer coincidence we came across a customer in the bar below the apartment with a big odd-looking electric bike.
“What is this?”, we asked having not seen an electric bike close-to before, and certainly not expecting one on this tiny quiet island in the Southern Ionian. They turned out to be a fleet Dimitri had for hire and new this summer. Well that was it, we summoned Peter over and a deal was done for 2 to be delivered the following morning. They certainly were ideally suited for the poor mountainous roads. We covered all the roads, lanes and accessible paths on the island, dividing our days between sailing, snorkelling and riding these bikes, visiting the beautiful church at Stavros and as far as the town of Vathi. The views from the high mountain road were just stunning, looking over the water as far as Zanti some 30 Km south and across to the main Kephalonia land mass. What an experience! This is well recommended.
Alas, time was up to leave Frikes. We packed two small rucksacks with a pre-made lunch for the sail back north to Lefkada. It was planned that Phil would return in the Rib Warrior Spirit to take our bags but since we only had these two small sacks we decided it was not necessary. However, the Rib did meet up with us as we entered the southern end of the Meganissi Channel.
We returned home tanned and relaxed, which is how a holiday should make you feel.
Thanks Phil again for a wonderful experience.
“Yip, a grand and successful family holiday, Phil. It ticked all the boxes for us.”
From our late evening arrival at Geni Garden, the Family Apartment was just outstanding. We sat on the balcony to catch our breath, a cold beer in hand which Phil had waiting in the fridge, looking over the bay still active with boats arriving and departing. This was going to be our ‘backdrop’ view for the coming week: what a way to commence this adventure for our kids Gabe and Becki.
Our first morning was a leisurely start. Phil had organised a breakfast with Poldi in their outside garden dining area, and for our remaining mornings we would visit the bakery by Lugger and collect bread and pastries for a breakfast on our balcony, which gave the kids an extra hour or so in bed.
Now to the start of the sailing stuff and getting to know Paxi. Whilst I have a lot of experience in bigger boats, the Lugger is a more Traditional Rig, loose footed mainsail and lots of bits of string for the kids to pull. After a comprehensive introduction to the boat we ventured off the pontoon and out into Vliho Bay, quickly to realise and understand her qualities as a very safe, stable, easy to manage craft and great fun to sail to boot!
Vliho Bay is such an ideal area to sail with kids, there are no tides, the winds blows either from the north or the south and with the outboard engine running you are no more than 10 minutes from the shore. We soon got the hang of Paxi, the kids had their various jobs to perform. Gabe was exceptionally quick to jump on the tiller of the outboard, as boys do and soon became a very adept crew member. However for Becki she took the view of “letting the boys play” after all it was “Dads new toy”. For her it was to be first on the swimming ladder and overboard for a swim.
With this intro over it was time to break out of Vliho Bay, rounding the Geni Peninsula, leaving Agio Ekklisis Church to starboard and heading for the island of Skorpios, this renowned as the one time residence of Jacqui Kennedy, lately Onassis. I couldn’t help wondering of the life she once led, her little Idaho Cyclades style house on the southern tip of the island, looking across at Meganissi and far south towards Kephalonia.
The Bimini Phil provided was superb and made crossings with it up just great with just Jib and Mizen out. Our reliable pal,the outboard deployed we covered good ground, stopping in coves and bays to swim, snorkel and have picnic lunches.
A highlight of the week for Gabe and Ceiran was the mountain bike trail ride with Simon at Get Active on the Wednesday late afternoon. It proved to have surpassed their expectations; the bikes were good quality, well maintained and the trails were appropriately graded, my thanks to Get Active for that.
Now it was time for me to collect them from Nidri by Lugger, late evening. The wind had got up and the sea was very lumpy, yes and I was on my own! Who else to rely on? Phil came to my rescue, a quick text and he was in the power boat heading for the pontoon near Nidri where they were both waiting. Their motor back to Geni Garden was a wet one, but safely back and thrilled by the adventure.
The week was excellently managed and organised by Phil, he was always available and there for us, but one never felt he was intruding on our privacy. The presentation of boats show a high level of maintenance with excellent safety equipment, a credit to his hard work.
What I have begun to appreciate about the Lugger is its classic lines; for a small boat her sea keeping qualities are incredible and at no time did the kids feel at risk. I must say over the week we as a family developed a “relationship” with Paxi which I’m sure will be a long lasting affection for “Dads new toy”.
You successfully brought together for us new activities, great places to eat like our favourite The Gialos Taverna, wonderful bays to swim and snorkel, providing Gabe with the chance to be able to helm the boat under engine and last but not least the truly wonderful Geni Garden Apartment, owned and run so efficiently by Franz, Poldi and Daughter Sandra, many thanks to all of them.
Who knows Phil when we will return, certainly after this complete family holiday experience and with so many places to explore I hope it will be soon.
Emmie and I had a fabulous time and miss Geni, and all that made it a great, different holiday. We would love to return next year.
We enjoyed Gialos and it was very handy, but we would prefer to be at the Geni apartments with a sea view, access to somewhere to relax after a sail and a pool etc. We would like to visit around the same time of year to avoid crowds, warmer sea, take advantage of lower prices, but before all gets closed down, though I see you’ve had excellent weather since we left. I imagine we could go any time after children are back at school so early September onwards. There are many bays on Meganissi we must visit and Tavernas to tie alongside. We would one day like to visit Ithaca, but not sure how best to do that. Maybe you have a suggestion.
After submitting this review, Stephen and Emmie went on to book for 10 days in September 2020.
We have just returned from the most wonderful holiday, sailing a beautiful Drascombe Lugger, called Paxi, in Lefkada. Our expectations of the sailing trip were far exceeded, and we will always remember it.
But first, how did two Aussies end up sailing a Drascombe Lugger in Lefkada, Greece in June 2019? Well, it all started a year ago. In July 2018, Tony was in hospital, recovering, thankfully, from a serious accident. With little to do, he read his Practical Boatowner, sailing magazine from front cover to back, but kept returning to an advertisement for Sailing a Drascombe Lugger in Greece. What a dream to sail a small boat in the Greek Islands – wasn’t it only larger yachts that were available for charter in Greece, could we do this from the other side of the world?
Next step, Helen begins the email correspondence with Phil – which went back and forth for sometime (Thanks Phil). Eventually, we decide we will go for it! Of course, if we have to travel so far, we must stay for a good amount of time and see some of Greece also. Yes, one month should do it – 18 nights in beautiful Geni Gardens, some time for seeing the sights in Athens, Delphi, Meteora, and a bit more (what a fascinating place Greece is).
Whilst Tony is experienced sailing our two small sailing boats here in Australia, they are quite different to the Lugger, and we also don’t really use a motor, so Phil provided invaluable guidance and great tips to get us quickly and confidently on our way – both motoring and sailing.
We had the best holiday – it is difficult to sum it all up, but here are some highlights:
- Our room at Geni Gardens, recommended by Phil, had the most fantastic view! We would sit there from breakfast onwards, watching the world, and many yachts, go by.
- Jumping in for a refreshing swim in the Geni Gardens pool after a great day sailing – perfect!
- Venturing outside Vliho Bay to sail and/or motor between the nearby Ionian Islands, and stopping for a swim or a meal at a Taverna.
- Taking the short walk to and from our favourite local Taverna, Gialos, for our evening meal. Saying hello to the locals, looking at how their gardens are growing and enjoying the cool of the evening as the sun goes down.
- And our best sailing experience, on our last evening in Lefkada, sailing in Vliho Bay with a strong wind. Magnificent scenery and cheers from crew on the nearby moored super yachts as we whizzed by. Yes, bigger isn’t always better!
Cheers Phil, and thanks for our Great Greek Sailing Holiday