Sailing the Gulfs of Corinth and Patras in Greece

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The prevailing winds in the summer months are from the west. It will blow from midday well into the evening. It may reach force 6 in July and August. In the spring and autumn winds will come from the east or west dependent on conditions in the adjacent Aegean or Ionian. The gulf of Patras is prone to thunderstorms in spring and autumn with attendant waterspouts. There is little problem with gusts of high land, as the mountains tend to act like a funnel. The exception is in the vicinity of Corinth where there are some violent gusts and care is needed.

Killini is on the Peloponnisos at the western end of the gulf of Patras. Yacht can go bow or stern to the western part of the mole avoiding the underwater ballasting that extends out in places. The bottom is mud and provides good holding. Water on the quay and fuel and most provisions can be found in the village. There are several waterfront tavernas. In Venetian times the port sat on the trade route around the Peloponnisos and was a busy place. The restored fort, built in 1220, is worth a visit for the superb views.

Mesolongion is on mainland Greece. Yachts sail through a dredged canal some 2 miles long to reach the harbour. Berth bow or stern or go alongside the northern quay. Alternatively anchor in the west of the harbour. The bottom is mud and provides good holding. Mesolongion provides excellent shelter from all winds. Water is available on the quay and the hotel in the SE of the harbour has showers. This is where Byron died but there is little to mark his passing save a single statue and a small museum.

Patras is on the Peloponnisos. Care is needed on entry with winds from the west creating a confused sea of the breakwater. Also watch out for large ferries entering and leaving the harbour. Yachts should go bow or stern to or alongside the northern side of the central mole. There is good holding in mud. Water is available on the quay and fuel can be delivered. Alternatively there is a small marina a little further north that it is sometimes possible to find a berth in. All provisions can be obtained and there are good tavernas, some of them offering fresh fish. Patras is the largest city on the Peloponnisos and the third largest in Greece. It is a busy place with a slightly grubby feel to it. This is partly offset by its vibrant atmosphere. The region provides the excellent Demestica wine and a visit to the Achaia-Klaus factory that produces it is worthwhile.

Navpaktos lies on mainland Greece and is the first harbour in the Gulf of Corinth. It dates from medieval times and is very well preserved. But it is tiny and unsuitable for large yachts, once inside there is very little room for manoeuvre and the yacht should be prepared prior to entry. Yachts should go bow or stern to the southern quay or the western quay near to the fuel berth or anywhere there is room, in July and August yachts may not be able to get in here. Water and fuel are available on the quay. All provisions can be obtained and there are plenty of tavernas to choose from. The harbour is lined with plain trees and sits beneath a Venetian fort. This should be up near the top of the must visit lists. The only drawback is the noise levels whether from the traffic during the day or the disco music coming from the bars until the early hours of the morning.

Nisos Trizonia is a small island just of mainland Greece. Yachts can anchor in the bay where there is good holding in mud and weed once through the weed. Alternatively yachts can use the marina in the north of the bay. Water and most provisions can be found in the village and the local tavernas serve food of a good quality. In addition Lizzie’s offers showers, a laundry service and a book swap library. The surroundings are attractive with the cultivated land given over to olives and vines.

Galaxidhi is on mainland Greece. Care is need on the approach of the reefs on the islands of Apsifia and Yeoryios and the one just to the east of the entrance to the harbour, a stone beacon marks the latter. Yachts can go bow or stern to taking care to avoid the underwater ballasting that protrudes in places. There is water on the quay and fuel can be delivered. Most provisions can be obtained and there is a good choice of tavernas around the waterfront and in the town. Another attractive setting opposite the pine covered slopes. Galaxidhi has not been developed to the extent of some other locations and still has a tranquil feel. This is a good place to visit ancient Delphi from.

Itea is also on the mainland. Yachts can go bow or stern to where convenient with laid moorings. The harbour provides good all round shelter. Water and electricity are available on the pontoons. Fuel can be delivered. All provisions can be obtained and there are plenty of tavernas to be found both on the waterfront and in the surrounding back street. Whilst the waterfront is pleasant the village has little to recommend it. Although it is a good spot for a visit to Delphi.

Kiato is on the Peloponnisos. Yachts can go bow or stern to the mole but the depths at the end are 15m and it is better to go alongside. Water is available close to the quay and fuel can be delivered from the town. All provisions can be obtained and there are several tavernas on the waterfront. There are good beaches nearby and the surrounding countryside is attractive with citrus trees and vines.

Corinth lies at the entrance to the canal of the same name. Care is needed with strong winds from the NE when severe gusts can be expected. Westerlies produce a swell but once inside the mole things calm down. Yachts should go to the yacht harbour and go bow or stern to. The bottom is mud and provides good holding. There is good all round shelter within the yacht harbour. Water is available close by and fuel can be delivered. All provisions can be obtained and there is a good choice of tavernas in the town.

The city is modern and busy and has little to recommend it but a visit to the ruins of the old city on the plain is recommended.

Finally the canal itself: It is 3.2 miles long and is one of the most expensive waterways in the world. The construction was originally undertaken by a French company but completed by the Greeks in 1893. Using the canal a yacht can cut over 100 miles of the distance between Athens, in the Aegean and the Ionian Sea to the west.

By: Ken Jones

About the Author:

Ken Jones runs a Sailing Site.
More info on Yacht Charter here
Other Marine Services in Greece here.

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