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Gulfs of Corinth & Patras

This is a passage route, rather than a cruising ground.  If your cruise plan is to circumnavigate the Peloponnese (a rewarding six to eight week cruise, depending on your natural pace) it's best done anti-clockwise to use favourable winds for 75% of the journey. So carry on south.

Gulf winds are predominantly westerly in summer, stronger in the afternoons, up to F5. For a westerly trip, either do it out of season, or make early morning departures, motoring as necessary, and keep to the north shore, where the wind sets in later. There are enough ports and anchorages en route to remove the need for night sailing.

Greece, and Boat regulations

Gulfs of Corinth and Patras Chart

Cruising the Gulf of Corinth, E to W

Corinth Canal is one of the great sights of Europe, and you can actually go through it (at a price, see Corinth Canal Web Site) rather than just viewing from a bungee cord under the road bridge. Pay your toll at the eastern end - something around €180 for 12m private sailing vessel (2015).

Gulf of Corinth, Dolphin Pods. Large pods of dolphins, of several species, roam this gulf, and often come to play with yachts on passage. Identify them from the lovely pictures on my brother's site.

Kiato & Corinth are suitable harbours for a night stop; chains to snag your anchor in Corinth. 

Nisi Alkyonides. These uninhabited island provide a quiet stop-over anchorage on the way to or from the canal which is only 3 hours sailing away. There's an abandoned monastery to explore and plenty of peace and quiet.

Anchorages. North west of the Alkyonides there are several further quiet anchorages along the coast

Itea — Galaxidi  If you love the sites of ancient Greece, a stop at one of these ports is a 'must' in order to visit Delphi. Delphi  is grossly crowded in July and August, but the setting makes up for even that. Itea has a well sheltered 'marina', but is a rather dull little town. Galaxidi is a pleasant little town in its own right — you'll be mooring stern- or bows-to a well sheltered quay, so make sure no-one is going to lift your hook while you're away. Large pods of dolphins between Corinth and Itea.

Trizonia is a tiny island with well sheltered alongside berths opposite the small hamlet of Glifhada. 'Laid back' fits this quiet spot, a convenient (free) pause for yachts cruising the gulf and a grave yard for deserted yachts (one sunk alongside for 3 years).

Navpaktos  has a unique, beautiful tiny mediaeval port. But it is noisy with passing road traffic. And because it's so tiny, and hemispherical, all anchors lie in a heap in the centre of the harbour; chaos at departure time. You may not find a place in July and August, so in settled weather you may have to anchor off the beach — rather rolly at times.

Gorge - Dhiakofto to Kalavrita. On the south gulf coast, some 20nm east of Patras, easily reached by rail, is the rack and pinion railway running up a dramatic gorge from Dhiaftiko to Kalavrita. This is one of the gems of the Peloponnese, so plan to take time out to enjoy this trip. With time, also do the trip by car for some magnificent scenery and to visit the 'Cave of Lakes', a long cave with a river/stream running through it. There's a good description of the area and some of its history on Matt Barrett's site .

Gulf of Patras Ports

Patras is the third largest city in Greece, and the busiest port on the west coast. It has a good yacht harbour (they always charge you for two days for a one night stay), and a shipyard with hoist, suitable for lay up. A day trip to the Kalavrita gorge is well worth while. Buses to Athens take 3 hours, and run hourly.

Rio Bridge. This bridge, crossing the gulf, is an impressive sight. Get radio permission before passing under  - they'll tell you which span to use.

Messolonghi  Messolonghi harbour has fascinating houses on stilts around the entrance canal — have your camera ready. The harbour is suitable for live-aboard or wintering afloat, with a very well sheltered anchorage, a quayside, and an operational full service marina. Legal arguments in 2016 made hull cleaning and antifouling in the marina difficult to arrange. Messalonghi town centre (attractive; pedestrianised) is about a mile from the harbour. In light winds, evening mosquitos are a warm weather nuisance. Infrequent buses to Levkas/Preveza; better connections to Patras and its frequent buses to Athens.

Summary

  • Attractions. Corinth Canal, Delphi, Kalavrita gorge (bus from Patras railway stn)
  • Snags. More a passage route than a cruising ground.
  • Ports of Entry. Patras; major ferry port, works by rule book. Itea.
  • Layup or Wintering. Patras yacht harbour, live aboard or afloat. Nearby yard for shore layup. Trizonia, isolated live aboard or layup afloat. Messalonghi, live aboard or layup afloat or ashore.
  • Transport. Along the whole south of the gulf there are frequent bus and rail services to Athens, taking 3 hours from Patras, or 1 hour from Corinth. Patras is a major ferry port, with connections to Cefalonia, Corfu and Italy (Ancona, Brindisi, Venice). Patras/Araxos airport, 18nm W of Patras, Ryanair Saturdays in season from London, Stansted.
  • Boat Charter. None.

 

Reviewed Feb 2017


 

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