The most important thing about a charter yacht is to be spacious and comfortable, both on deck and below, and Velos is exactly that! She is a wonderful yacht, designed and built in 2007 by a well known Greek boatyard (Ocean Yachts) for the purpose of charter in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as for long ocean passages.
The model is the 'Ocean Star 56.1' and it can be found in a 5 or 6 cabin version, but as space and comfort is a lot more important in our opinion than a bigger number of guests, we decided to have the 5 cabin version (4 guest cabins plus 1 crew cabin).
She is a sloop with two large sails, a furling genoa and a furling mainsail, that make it very easy to handle even by one person alone.
With a total of 150 square meters of sail, «Velos» can offer some fast and exciting sailing and its 25 tonnes of displacement make it very stable in any sea state!
But she is not only a very seaworthy boat, she is a luxurious one as well. Being a 56 footer, she has a large teak deck with plenty of room for sunbathing or just lying down with a book in the one hand and a drink in the other!
A strong guard rail all around, makes it a safe environment for kids who always like to wonder around and participate in the sailing of the yacht, during our family cruises.
Of course the cockpit is the heart of a boat and so it is designed to accommodate everyone (for a meal or a drink) and still remain practical to do the 'sailing stuff '. The table in the center of the cockpit, serves also as a fridge for drinks, so you don't have to make the trip below every time you want a drink.
Two steering wheels is something usually seen on yachts racing around the world because of the advantages in handling the boat and sails, but on cruising yachts like Velos it has the added advantage of allowing for a spacious cockpit.
The stern, with steps down to sea level and then a ladder extending under the surface, is designed for easy access in and out of the water.
There is a shower installed at the stern which is one of the most practical features, as you can rinse yourself from the salt when you come out of the sea, or just cool yourself down if you get too hot while sunbathing.
Below decks there is a large double saloon, the navigation area, the galley and the cabins, all lying under the good insulation of the teak deck, spacious and comfortable.
At the starboard area of the saloon (right side) there is a big table with couches all around which makes it ideal for playing table games or having a more formal meal.
At the port area (left side) there is a coffee table with two more sofas, where you can sit and read your book or your newspaper.
However in the summer months it is so beautiful outside that people rarely stay inside.
The galley which is situated at the far left side of the saloon towards the stern, is very functional with big surfaces to work, a large sink, gas cooker, two refrigerators, ice maker, a blender for cocktails and all the cooking utensils that could possibly be needed on a yacht.
That is where Alicia's famous lunches are created!!!
The navigation area is well equipped, with a GPS, VHF-DSC radio, EPIRB, Electronic Chart Plotter, wind speed - depth - boat speed meters, and weather forecast receiver, but as we prefer the traditional ways, all the charts and pilot books are there and in daily use.
On the recreation side of things, there is a TV and DVD player as well as a Radio and CD/MP3/IPOD player with speakers in the salon and on deck. The collection of movies and music onboard is big, but you are always welcome to bring your own.
Additionally, there is a computer and equipment to access the Internet in case you want to keep in touch with family and friends, or more important, use it for your business.
There are computer games, although there are always better things to do on a yacht than get stuck in front of the screen! However, it is a great thing if you want to forget your kids for a while!
The accommodation consists of five cabins altogether. The four of them are situated around the saloon and the fifth which is the crew cabin is at the bow with a separate entrance from the deck. They are all en suite with a toilet, sink and a shower.
The two guest cabins forward of the saloon have a double bed and the bathroom is situated at the far end towards the bow of the boat.
The two guest cabins aft of the saloon have a double bed (in size it is really a triple bed), with a removable part in the center so it can be turned into 2 single beds. However, because of the bigger size bed, the bathroom is a bit smaller.
Access to all four cabins is from the saloon.
Below decks there is a large saloon, the navigation area,
the galley and the cabins, all lying under the good insulation of
the teak deck, spacious and comfortable. In the saloon there is a
big table with couches all around which makes it ideal for playing
table games or having a more formal meal. However in the summer months
it is so beautiful outside that people rarely sit inside. The galley
is very functional with big surfaces to work, a large sink, gas cooker,
two refrigerators and all the cooking utensils that could possibly
be needed. The navigation area is well equipped, with a GPS, VHF radio,
Electronic Chart Plotter, wind speed - depth - boat speed meters,
but as we prefer the traditional ways, all the charts and pilot books
are there and in use.
One of the most important features of Velos is the air-conditioning which keeps the interior in a very pleasant temperature during the hottest months of the summer.
Every cabin is air-conditioned, as well as the saloon, and although during the daytime we all cool down in the sea, the air-conditioning makes all the difference for a good night sleep.
Cabins: There are five cabins altogether. The four of them
are situated around the saloon and the fifth which is the crew cabin
is at the bow with a separate entrance from the deck. They are all
en suite with a marine toilet and a shower. The two cabins that are
at the front of the saloon have a double bed as well as a single one
above. As we believe that three adults in a cabin might be a bit overcrowded,
we would suggest that the single bunk is used in the case of a family
with a child, or by two people sharing a cabin and using different
beds. The other two cabins at the rear of the saloon have a similar
layout as to those at the front, but without the single bunk. Access
to all four of them is from the saloon.
On board there is a TV and DVD player as well as a Radio and CD player
with speakers in the saloon and on deck. The collection of films and
music onboard is big, but you are always welcome to bring your own.
Additionally, there is a computer and equipment to access the internet
in case you want to keep in touch with family and friends, or more
important, use it for your business. There are plenty of computer
games, although there are always better things to do on a yacht than
get stuck in front of the screen! However, it is a great thing if
you want to forget your kids for a while!
Our base is at the small village of Rio on the north-west coast of
the Peloponnese (mainland Greece), but as we spend many months from
March until November living on the yacht and sailing around the islands,
'Velos' is practically our home and our office as well.
Our sailing areas are the Ionian Islands (June to September) starting
and finishing in Lefkas, and the Saronic Islands / Cyclades (April
to June and September to November) starting and finishing in Athens.
A Sailing Holiday on board Velos
A yacht provides the best way to fully appreciate some of the most
exotic and secluded places of the world. Onboard the yacht Velos,
you will cruise around the Ionian Sea, where the choices are numerous.
You can head for the big and busy islands or explore the small isolated
ones. Visit the beautiful old historical towns like Corfu town with
its amazing architecture and romantic atmosphere or the little fishing
villages spread around the coasts. Take a walk at the countryside
exploring the islands, or just stick by the water! And what's more,
you can learn how to sail a yacht
Every afternoon Velos will drop anchor in a different
bay which can be either quiet and secluded, or one containing an endless
sandy beach busy with people lying in the sun. However, we normally
avoid these busy places (usually accessed by road), and prefer to
go to the secluded ones. There, you will be able to enjoy swimming
in the warm clear waters, snorkeling, sunbathing on the deck with
a cold beer in your hand, head for the beach or just relax and recover
from the last night out!
When the time comes to move from one place to another, we hoist the
sails and the magic starts! With 115 square meters of sail, Velos will run the relatively short distances between the islands in a few
hours while you enjoy the scenery, the sun, the sound of the water
running along the hull, or watch and feed the dolphins who quite often
follow the yacht and play around it.
Thanos and Alicia are a couple with a great love for the sea, for
the peaceful easy-going life of the islands which they really enjoy
sharing with their guests. For them, it is more than a profession,
it is also a way of life, as they spend most of the year onboard 'Velos'.
Their aim is to provide a relaxed and easy-going holiday, helping
their guests to feel at home onboard 'Velos'. Alicia's delicious
homemade dishes are made with fresh home grown vegetables, fruits
and olive oil that Thanos' father sends every week.
/ captain: Thanos is a very experienced sailor, licensed to command
sailing vessels up to 200 tons. He holds the Yachtmaster Offshore
license issued by the UK Department of Transport and endorsed to be
used on charter vessels. With 20 years sailing experience and thousands
of sea miles covered, he has worked as a captain on charter and private
yachts in England, Greece, France and Spain. Additionally, he has
delivered yachts across the Atlantic, the Caribbean, around Europe
and through the Med.
Having worked extensively on charter yachts, he knows the qualities
of a good captain and host (not just navigating and sailing the boat!).
A very easy-going person, he will adapt the cruise to your own needs
and make sure everybody is happy. His good knowledge of the area is
very useful, as he will show you the best tavernas and bars as well
as the sites of interest.
In general, he is there to take care of everything and make sure you
have a great time.
Thanos was born in Greece in 1974, but lived mostly in England for
10 years, until 2004 when he started organizing these cruises in the
Greek islands with S/Y 'Alexandros'. Although he studied Civil Engineering,
he decided to follow the skipper's career, as the sea has always been
his great love. When in England, he was based in Plymouth but he spent
a lot of time working around Europe on yachts, and having lived in
various countries he speaks very fluent English, Greek, French and
a bit of Spanish.
Thanos is a commercial SCUBA Diver HSE PART IV, as well as a PADI
Rescue Diver, and if you are interested he can organize a bit of SCUBA
diving for you. As safety is an important issue in this job, Thanos
has been trained in First Aid and specialized in sailing and diving
related accidents, as well as Fire Fighting & Sea Survival. Finally,
as an RYA Sailing and Powerboating Instructor he can teach you the
art of sailing during your holiday.
Mate/Chef/hostess: Alicia born in Poland 1979 and has been working
with Thanos since 2005.
Alicia has a great love for the sea and sailing and having worked
in the tourism industry for many years, she knows exactly what their
guests need on their holiday. She is there to make you feel relaxed
and comfortable and take care of all those little things that you
want to forget about, during your vacation.
She speaks very fluent English, French, Polish and her Greek has
improved a lot during the last few years, and with her easy-going
and friendly personality will make you feel at home straight away.
What's more, she is an excellent cook who will prepare your breakfast
and lunch every day, and for those who would like to have their dinner
onboard as well, she will cook some delicious dishes! With her gourmet
dishes she has turned lunchtime into one of the best moments of the
day, and with her skills, nice character and her great smile, Alicia
will help make your holiday an unforgettable one.
She is also a qualified skipper (RYA Dayskipper), with great sailing
experience and could take over the command of the yacht if she had
to. Alicia was born in Poland in 1979 and as a licensed horse-riding
instructor she has been taking people Pony-trekking in the Polish
mountains for many years. Although she graduated from university with
a degree in French Literature, her love for traveling and the outdoors
and her dream to work on sailing yachts has taken her to Greece onboard
Before 2005 when she joined Thanos organizing these cruises on S/Y
'Velos', she spent a few years living and working both in France
and the UK, spent a few summers grape picking at Beaujolais and 2
years working as an au-pair with a family in Scotland. She is great
with kids, and has experience looking after three of them ranging
from a baby to a 13 year old.
A typical day on board
A typical day onboard Velos, starts in the marina
of a little village where you spent the previous night (or anchored
in a remote bay if you decided to stay there!). When you feel like
getting out of bed you help yourself with breakfast on deck which
normally includes freshly baked bread, home-made jam or honey from
the mountains of mainland Greece, coffee, tea, milk and cereal, orange
juice, and of course fresh fruits and yogurt. There, you can take
your time waking up while watching the village life in front of you
and the breathtaking scenery of hills and mountains all around.
Alternatively, you can have breakfast at one of the numerous cafe's
and tavernas that are always situated around the harbor. If you feel
more active, you can go sightseeing, wonder around the village and
the surrounding countryside, or just do some shopping. Normally, sometime
around 9:30, and after a short discussion over the chart about where
would be nice to go for a swim and where you would like to be for
the next night, we set sail. With the gentle northwesterly breeze
that normally prevails in the Ionian Sea during the summer months,
and which rarely exceeds Force 5, you will have a comfortable sail
to a bay of your choice either on the same island or another one.
After we drop anchor, you can stay onboard, go for a bit of swimming
and snorkeling, or head for the shore. Around 1 o'clock in the afternoon,
lunch is served at the cockpit. Although Alicia always says that she
doesn't cook anything special, her delicious dishes made with local
fresh products have become one of the attractions of our cruises.
Many of our guests have even suggested that we should advertise them
as 'gourmet cruises'! And of course lunch is accompanied with local
wine or beer and fresh fruit as a desert.
In late afternoon it's a good time to weigh anchor, hoist the sails
again and head for a picturesque little village on another island.
We'll be there around 5 o'clock which will give you plenty of time
to explore the place and experience the local culture. Later you can
head for dinner to one of the tavernas, where you will have the opportunity
to taste the Greek cuisine, famous for its delicious plates. A fascinating
selection of local tavernas is available for you to sample and Thanos
and Alicia with their good knowledge of the area, will suggest some
of the places with the best food.
As we said earlier, at the beginning of your holiday you only draw
a general itinerary for the duration of your stay.
So, every day some time during the evening, we will discuss the options
for the following day. A more detailed plan will then be made about
where to go and what to do. And then you can go for a walk around
the place, taste the local wine, then end up back at the yacht for
a few drinks with your friends or just head for a bar, socialize,
make new friends and even have fun till the sun rises again the next
Whole Yacht Charter and Shared Yacht charter options possible.
You have the choice of booking the whole yacht for a group of up
to 9 people or if you don't have enough people in your group, you
can go for the 'Share a Yacht' option, in which case you will have
a double en suite cabin (solo travellers are welcome for a 50% supplement
on the price).
On the 'Share a yacht' cruises there is a maximum number of 8 guests
on board plus our captain and hostess, and you are most likely to
be sharing the boat with small groups of friends and couples. The
most important thing is that you are going to be on a yacht with like
minded people who want to go off the beaten track, have a little taste
of adventure and meet the locals.
Informal sailing lessons offered free of charge. Scuba diving (for
the day) can be arranged on request with local PADI diving clubs.
Special Interests Cruises
After many requests from people with special interests, we decided
to organize weekly Share a Yacht cruises with the following subjects:
* a big mad island hopping pub crawl
* families with kids
If you are interested in any of them, please contact us for dates
More about the Ionian islands.