Wind and Berthing in the Ionian
Sailing in the Ionian sea around the Sail the Blue charter base at Corfu, down to Paxos, Lefkas and further afield offers some of the very best sailing available on the planet and certainly the very best in Europe for your average sailor. Our team have shared some hints and tips for you below;
Berthing in Corfu and the surrounding areas, much like most of the Med is normally conducted ‘stern to’, this is very straightforward to do. Simply check the harbour wall of choice has the depth under it and mooring rings or somewhere else to tie you lines to. Put a line on each quarter and prepare to drop anchor. Position the boat about 4 boat lengths from the wall and in a straight line reverse to the wall whilst deploying the anchor. When you reach the wall step off the windward quarter and tie the line up, repeat with the leeward line, adjust and presto! You’re done.
In some of the bigger harbours and more upmarket yacht clubs you will see little floating buoys off the ends of the berths and a thin rope going from the harbour wall to the sea floor. This procedure is exactly the same except a permanent anchor is already waiting for you. Repeat the above but this instead of dropping anchor have a crew member pick up the line and walk it to the bow where they will find it attaches to a mooring rope and again, presto, you’re done. Most areas with this will except you to pay a fee.
When anchoring you can rest assured that in most cases you are free to anchor in the Ionian, there are some exceptions which will be marked on your charts. Most bays in the area offer good depth not far from the shoreline and the bottom is usually composed of mud or sand usually with some foliage. Where you find a buoy unless its otherwise marked then often you can use it but you should always ask the permission of any local taverna or shop it might belong to and if they ask you to, then simply move along.
The whole area is well known for its wind, which is almost reliable enough to set your watch by in the summer months its simple – the mornings will normally have only a limited amount of wind and be very warm, this will usually freshen as the day progresses and in the early afternoon a regular wind will pick up, usually blowing in the same direction and in part its reliability giving reason to why the area is so liked for its sailing. Once you master this wind you will soon see why the area is so popular for sailing.
Squalls are an exception to the rule, they are usually sudden, start and finish very quickly, almost without warning and will regularly catch out the unsuspecting sailor with too much sail up! There is a technique to them, which is straightforward as the rest of sailing this otherwise beautiful area, that is to keep a regular watch for them, look at how they might be affecting other sailing craft for an indication of their strength and always reduce sail if in any doubt (it’s easy to get it back up again!).