Ed. Note: In July 2004, after crossing the Atlantic Ocean as part of the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Gibraltar, Scott and Mary Flanders on board Egret, spent three seasons cruising the Mediterranean. They visited touristy hot spots as well as lesser explored territories and, along the way, gained a wealth of information about the area. While winding down their warm-up cruise, they put together a three-part Mediterranean cruising guide specifically for participants in Medbound 2007, another rally-like effortwhich will duplicate the NAR’s route. But the Flanderses have agreed to share it with the readers of Voyage of Egret.
Cruising Italy, Greece and Turkey - Part II
There are three different early season itineraries but with the same common lengthy finale. After wintering in Turkey, hauling at Marti Marine in very early April (make reservations 45 weeks in advance) you have several choices. Egret cruised north up the Turkish coast getting duty free fuel in Bodrum using Sky Marine as an agent $3.80/gal vs $7+. The Turkish coast is forested with many coves to anchor, great cruising and lots of history. Here you drop the hook, back near shore taking a line ashore.
In Barcelona's fishing port near Port Vell we bought 100 meter 20mm polypro lines for peanuts from the fish supply house. We had them put in thimbles both ends (for coupling or reversing). We use 30' 10mm ss cable with 4" soft eyes to go around trees or rocks. Two lines is best in reversing winds (Turkey usually one line). We had Sunbrella bags with mesh bottoms made in Turkey to store them. We used lines ashore in the Madelenas (Sardinia), Bonifacio (Corsica), Paxos (Greek Ionian island) and a number of places in Turkey. All Turkish cruising boats have shore lines. When taking a line ashore drop the dink first while drifting near the anchorage. THEN anchor and take the line ashore. It is usually windy in the afternoon and there’s usually not room to swing while lowering the dink making for a mess. Thus, dink down first.
Egret cruised north checking out of Gulluk, Turkey and checking into Samos, Greece (Aegean island near Turkey). Bodrum is also a departure port if you don't want to cruise that far north. (One more day.) Early season in the Greek islands is great with few cruisers or land based tourists. The weather is also settled unlike July and August. The cruising choices here are to sail south to Cyprus then cross to Syracuse, Sicily, or sail back through the Cyclades and back through the Corinth canal, or sail further north through the Greek islands turning south for a Corinth transit mid-June. If you missed Croatia the season before, now is the time to sail north from Corfu or Paxos, Greece staying at least 15 miles off Albania.
By July and the full swing European holiday season, you should be sailing north up the Italian west coast revisiting favorites on the way north but keep up a reasonably fast pace past Rome to Elba. Elba is where you slow down to enjoy one of the most memorable parts of your Med cruise. Elba, north up the Italian Riviera then south down the Italian western Riviera leading into the French Riviera. This is fabulous cruising, easy 2 hour to ½-day hops.
From this area it is fast tracking to the Canaries for a fall Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean or sailing to a port for a Dock Express pickup.
The itinerary laid out is a modified version of what Egret did with input from fellow Nordhavn Atlantic Crossing members’ experiences. This itinerary builds on itself keeping your interest charging. I believe cherry picking destinations early in a three-season plan will lead to disappointment in some destinations. For sailboaters the iron sail is order of the day, and for power boaters who follow seasons properly, it is a dream. For cruising expenses in the Med there are no differences from other sailing venues. You spend what you have.