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For the yachting professional on the Mediterranean

Miles and Miles of Med

Article by Claire Griffiths

ONBOARD Magazine Yacht Agents

CLAIRE GRIFFITHS ASKS A VARIETY OF WELL RESPECTED YACHT AGENTS FOR THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR INCLUDING ANY LOCAL RULES WHEN ON CHARTER THIS SEASON

The coastlines of the Mediterranean extend for 46,000 kilometres and border 21 countries. Here you find more than 3300 islands, the five largest being Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus,Corsica and Crete and there are two independent nation states; Cyprus and Malta. The Med has a surface area of approximately 2,510,000 square kilometres and an average depth of 1,500 metres. The deepest recorded point is 5,267 metres in the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea.

You won’t budge some yachts from idly to-ing and fro-ing along the St Tropez-Portofino milk run, dipping into the high-demand events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the odd Regatta, and the Cannes Film Festival. But for those who could want to a longer cruise and to seek out a sassy little anchorage, there’s another 44,629 kilometres to check out. To whittle it down just a bit, we asked the yacht agent experts where to go and what to look out for and what to be aware of this year: As Paz Rodrigo of Dockside Services points out, protective anchorage areas in Western Mediterranean are very rare, especially on the coastlines off South of France and Spain. But wait, there’s more….. much more.

GREECE

WHERE TO GO
Kathrine Papageorgopoulou, Yacht Manager at Kronos Yacht Agency kicks us off. With all that Aegean and Ionian gorgeousness to choose from, she tries to keep her recommendations to a minimum, “At the Ionian Islands I would suggest Paxoi – Antipaxoi were the waters are like paradise, and also the area around Lefkada (NIDRI). Aigina island, the area below Mykonos (we call the Small Cyclades), Agathonisi. These locations are all wonderful. The guests will be amazed by the crystal waters.”

Kostas Xinogalos, Yacht Manager at Alpha Marine Group, says that south of the Peloponnese is becoming a very popular place to be and all anchorages are well protected from the local wind (usual NW.) Kalamata, Limeni, Porto Kagio are a few great spots with amazing blue waters and picturesque villages. He adds, “Also in Cyclades one can find absolute crystal clear waters that Greece is famous for. From the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos with its amazing south bays, down to Koufonisia island and to Polyaigos Cave (SW from Koufonisia,) are some of the islands where hidden little bays can protect you from the ‘Meltemi’ wind and at the same time you can enjoy swims as if you were your own private pool.” Mourat Bourinakis, Manager at Mouratti Marine also advises sticking to the wind -protected regions of Greece.

GOOD TO KNOW
There are no changes in legislation this year affecting cruising in Greek waters since the upheaval in 2018. As Kostas at Alpha Marine Group explains, “Practically all foreign flagged commercial yachts cannot commence or finish any charter in Greece, so no embarkation/disembarkation of guests is allowed during their charters in Greek waters. For private yachts a Greek Cruising permit has to be issued upon their arrival and then they can smoothly cruise around the Greek islands. An Agency such as ours, Alpha Marine Group, is always recommended for any type of yachts, as the proper documentation formalities have to be carried out in accordance with the Greek legislation otherwise severe penalties will be imposed.”

Yachts also need to remember that they need Greek Third Party Liability Insurance, especially issued for Greece, stating the coverage amount according to the Greek Law (4256/14). This is an adjustment to insurance, not an extra charge. Bourinakis warns of the new cruising tax due for implementation on 2nd April, which requires private and commercial yachts to pay an 8 euro per metre tax during their stay in Greek waters.

ENVIRONMENTAL DOS AND DON’TS
Kostas and Katherine advise yachts to take precautions to respect and protect the marine environment. Be careful with garbage and use products that don’t damage the sea. Grey and black water tanks have to be emptied in marinas by truck and not in the middle of the sea. Bourinakis at Mouratti Marine says ideally yachts should try to anchor in sandy areas to avoid any risk of disrupting the seagrass.

However, if you must moor in a seagrass area, be sure to use the appropriate length of chain to avoid drag. Use extreme caution when lifting the anchor and clean your anchor after use so as not to introduce invasive species to your next anchor spot.

WORTH HANGING AROUND FOR
Says Kostas at Alpha Marine Group, “At the end of summer, towards September when the weather is sweeter and the crazy traffic of the yachts has gone away, on Spetses island the celebration of ‘Armata’ takes place. It is to mark the battle in the strait between Spetses Island and Kosta during the revolution of 1821. The fireworks on the last night of the event will leave you with the best memories. This is an event you shouldn’t miss!”

KRONOS YACHT AGENCY
KRONOS YACHT AGENCY
MOURATTI MARINE
MOURATTI MARINE
ALPHA MARINE GROUP
ALPHA MARINE GROUP

CROATIA

WHERE TO GO
Maja Ban is Director of MYS Yachting in Croatia. She would steer yachts towards the middle and south Dalmatia for terrific anchorages with many islands to visit, the national parks of Brijuni and Mljet and nature parks of Telascica and Lastovo. “But the North has also some beautiful places to offer, so it’s hard to say really,” she says.

GOOD TO KNOW
There are no changes to legislation affecting cruising in Croatian waters this year but Maja points out that the EU regulation 2018 /886 from June 2018 is definitely also in force in Croatia. This new custom regulation effects USA build yachts which since June 2018 must pay an extra 25% of custom duties when imported into EU.

Another helpful reminder; even though Croatia is an EU member, it is not part of Schengen territory yet. So each time a yacht enters or exits Croatia the Captain must do ‘clear in/out’ of the country. “Basically this means Captains must cruise to the nearest entry port and complete police and customs control for which they must provide certain personal and yacht documents.

An owner’s authorisation that the Captain can navigate the yacht must be approved by a public notary.” Crew should make sure that they have their passports stamped by police when arriving and departing Croatia.
Another point; Croatia’s implementation of Directive 2002/59/EC (improvement of maritime safety, port and maritime security, environmental protection and pollution preparedness by efficiently monitoring maritime traffic and transport) means yachts over 45m in LOA must be monitored by the Croatian Maritime Information System (CIMIS), which can only be used by registered Croatian marine agents. So, all yachts over 45m in LOA 45m must appoint a local agent while cruising Croatia.

Finally, while most anchorages used to be free of charge, that is no longer the case.

ENVIRONMENTAL DO’S AND DON’TS
Maja Ban is a very keen advocate of ‘The three Rs Rule’ (reduce, reuse and recycle). She’s also in favour of the new technologies for cleaning the sea and ocean such as ‘Seabin’, a floating rubbish bin. “Personally one of my favourite products on the market at the moment,” she says. “I was very happy to read this winter that the US-built superyacht 66m MY Invictus was the first yacht to have a Seabin installed on board. And it has been reported that the area behind their boat is noticeably cleaner! Also the yacht’s waterline is a lot cleaner due to the Seabin capturing floating oil and fuel from the surface of the water. So, I hope many more yachts will follow this bright example.”

WORTH HANGING AROUND FOR
For the last decade the Croatian summer festival scene has been growing and hosting a lot of well known and respectable names from the music world. Maja provides a list of music festivals, culture and fun: In July, you can have your pick of the Hideout festival, the Fresh Island festival, the Dubrovnik Summer festival, the Pula Film Festival and the three day world renowned Ultra Europe festival. Moving into August and for the first time outside the USA is the Thirty Seconds to Mars three day festival. In September for those who need to finish off the season with bang is the final Outlook festival in Fort Punta Christo.

YACHTING AND CONCIERGE
YACHTING AND CONCIERGE
MYS YACHTING, CROATIA
MYS YACHTING
ARGENTARIO YACHT SERVICES
ARGENTARIO YACHT SERVICES

ITALY

WHERE TO GO
Andrea Farinaceo, at Argentario Yacht Services points out that there are good anchorage spots pretty much anywhere in Italy but since he’s Tuscan, he’s staying local and picking Tuscany with particular mention of the Argentario area and Giglio island and Giannutri. Paola Musumeci, Director at Elite Yacht Service on Sicily, warns that there is no single rule governing anchoring, with each region, or some small areas, applying different rules valid only in a restricted area.

“Honestly,” she says, “It is always better to ask the local yacht agent where it is possible to anchor and where it is totally forbidden, as the risk of fines is high.”

GOOD TO KNOW
In the bay of Taormina and The Aeolian islands both areas require some paperwork and communication with the local harbour master even if the yacht is only staying at anchor. Says Paola, “Most of captains ignore this rule and some of them still think this is a trick for making money by the local agent.” Andrea reminds Captains that they have to complete a ‘garbage’ form both if they dispose of garbage and if they don’t. Giovanni Panessa says yacht captains generally don’t understand why there is so much documentation required in the Italian ports. “But this issue is out of our control. We usually liaise with the Captains to avoid complications and delays caused by bureaucracy.”

ENVIRONMENTAL DOS AND DON’TS
Not so much a no-no, but a yes-yes. Paola wants to see yachts doing more garbage recycling and separating. A small number of superyachts separate their garbage, but most because of time and space don’t. Don’t forget to observe the rules in the marine natural reserves warns Andrea.

WORTH HANGING AROUND FOR
A top tip from Andrea Farinaceo, at Argentario Yacht Services is the Maritime Palio in Porto Santo Stefano, which takes place on 15th August, and of course the well-known Siena Palio. Many events are organised during summer in the area. Giovanni Panessa recommends ‘The battle on the bridge’ in traditional dress at the end of June in Pisa.

Paola Musumeci, Director at Elite Yacht Service suggests a visit to the Taormina film Festival, the first week of July and the Taormina Arte all summer, which offers concerts and performances by national and international groups and singers. “Moreover,” she adds, “in July rumours say Dolce and Gabbana will organise their fashion event in Sicily again this year, so we are ready to receive many yachts that will take part at the event”

ALL SERVICES
ALL SERVICES
G. PANESSA & C. S.P.A.
G. PANESSA & C. S.P.A.
ELITE YACHT SERVICE
ELITE YACHT SERVICE

MONTENEGRO

WHERE TO GO
Our favourite Montenegro contact, Raki, at DRM Maritime Services Ltd based at Kotor on Montenegro suggests the following top spots for cruising in these waters: In Boka Kotorska Bay: Kotor Bay/Ljuta, Risan Bay, Morinj bay. In Tivat Bay: behind Sveti Marko island and on the open sea, Traste Bay and in Budva, behind Sveti Nikola island.

GOOD TO KNOW
Raki does not anticipate any new legislative changes this year. Yachts using an agent will be properly advised by them of local rules and requirements and anyone else should contact HMO and inform themselves.

ENVIRONMENTAL DOS AND DON’TS
Don’t use generators in port and stick to shore power. Use biodegradable soap when washing the boat and dispose of garbage, waste, used oil etc. in the prescribed manner and at designated places.

WORTH HANGING AROUND FOR
10-14th April, RC44 Cup Porto Montenegro 2019, Porto Montenegro – Tivat.
The RC44 is a 44-ft, high-performance one-design racing yacht designed by five-times America’s Cup winner, Sir Russell Coutts. As the first stop on the 2019 44 Cup European tour, Porto Montenegro will host 9 international teams, include 72 world-class sailors representing 15 nations, for five action packed days of racing.

22 July Perast: Fasinada Festival
Montenegro’s oldest (500 years) festival celebrates the founding of Our Lady of the Rocks, the man-made island, just off Perast’s shore. At sundown every 22nd July, a convoy of small fishing boats sets out decorated with poplar branches. They row along the length of the town, accompanied by local a cappella singers (men only), and out towards the island. Each local family is represented, the men ride in the boats while the women wave from shore. On the island, rocks are thrown into the sea to celebrate the founding of the island and to keep it strong. Late in the evening a fish dinner is served.

Kotor’s summer fiestas
For lovers of classical and church music. Concerts take place throughout Kotor in concert halls and churches and the days, are filled with the sounds of the music which used to be played in European courts.

July: International fashion festival, Kotor
Fashion festival lasts for several days gathering fashion designers from Montenegro and surrounding countries, particularly Italy. Kotor becomes a meeting point of businessmen, actors, owners of fashion studios, and the world’s of jet-set.

30 July-2 August International summer carnival, Kotor
Partying on the streets and squares of Kotor.

August Entrance, Festival of electronic music, Rose, Herceg Novi.
European leading D.J’s converge and perform.

18 August Boka night,Kotor
One of the most famous festivals in Kotor. Boats cruise along the Kotor harbor, decorated with lights. Singing and dancing take place throughout Kotor’s squares for hours and at the end of the night the best decorated barge is chosen, and Boka Night ends with fireworks

30 August -1 September Sea Dance Festival 2019, Budva
The award-winning festival, Sea Dance, gathers over 100 of the top international music stars such as; The Prodigy, Jamiroquai, Underworld, Rudimental, Róisín Murphy, Skrillex, Hurts, Lost Frequencies, John Newman, Sean Paul, Fatboy Slim. Situated on a beautiful Montenegrin white, turquoise and green shoreline surrounded by picturesque mountains, it makes an ideal festival destination for an array of world-class performers. The sixth Sea Dance Festival will be held in Buljarica beach in Budva.

DRM MARITIME SERVICES
DRM MARITIME SERVICES
NAUTICA
NAUTICA
BODRUM YACHT SERVICES
BODRUM YACHT SERVICES

TURKEY

WHERE TO GO
Dave Stanley and Dina Street of Southern Cross Blue Cruising are based at Bodrum, Turkey, and are another couple of stalwart ONBOARD advisors.

According to Dina, the best anchorages for cruising in Turkish waters lie between Bodrum and Gocek, occasionally going as far as Antalya. The reason for this is due to the natural anchorages formed by the coastline, allowing for many nooks and crannies to anchor with privacy. The drop off from land to seabed is also extremely deep, meaning that yachts can be extremely close to the mainland at anchor with very deep, clear waters. Once beyond Antalya, these natural anchorages are not to be found. North of Bodrum, the waters are rougher and there are commercial shipping channels which prevent leisurely cruising.

Personal favourites of Captain Melih Cankurt, Managing Director at Nautica Yachting, include English Harbour of Gökova, Meis Island, Karacasöğüt Bay and Yalıkavak Bay. Birkan Ata of AND Yachting & Concierge recommends the coast line from Bodrum to Fethiye where the Pine Hills meet the water. She also loves English Harbour and Boynuzbuku in the Bay of Gocek.

WHAT TO KNOW
Says Dina, “The changes in legislation for 2019 which can potentially affect chartering concern the fact that yachts registered in Turkey cannot pick up or drop off guests in the Greek Islands, as they used to be able to do. Thus, even if the cruise itinerary is based in the Greek Dodecanese Islands, the guests must embark and disembark in

Turkey.” She adds that some booking agents and charterers still have the misconception that the yacht can ‘island hop’ – that is to cruise between Greece and Turkey at will. The truth is that the embarkation must take place in Turkey, and that an official exit is made by the yacht with an official entry to Greece. The formalities take a couple of hours, and it is important to arrange for the timing in order to avoid the commercial ferryboats, as customs can become busy.

Again, the exit from Greece back to Turkey involves a similar procedure and timing is important for a seamless cruise. Some people are surprised at the cost which can vary widely for an entry/exit/re-entry from Turkey-Greece-Turkey, depending on the size of the yacht and the number of Greek Islands visited.

Birkan Ata of AND Yachting & Concierge and others are working to convince the Ministry of Transport to allow commercial yachts to be able to pick up and drop off charters in Turkey with less procedures, beneficial for both sides, she believes. Islamic holidays are very popular with the Middle Eastern charterers and it’s wise to book early for charters around these dates. Try to avoid booking the Saturday to Saturday schedule will mean a much easier transition with domestic flights and airport transfers.

Captain Melih Cankurt regrets people’s tendency to stereotype anything beyond the Mediterranean Sea as something to be cautious about. But you can’t apply a generalised racial or religious profile to such a vast expanse. He sees Turkey as being misunderstood and is in fact, one of the most friendly and peaceful countries in the world.

He reminds us that discharge of waste within Turkish waters is prohibited. A new law ‘Blue Card’ has been introduced where black and grey tanks must be pumped out at port stations. On arrival, any yacht coming from abroad must fly the Q flag and complete formalities at an official port of entry. All yachts must obtain a Cruising Permit. The Transit Log is a permit to sail in Turkish Territorial Waters and to enter Turkish ports. “Officials are particular about the Turkish courtesy flag, which must be flown at all times when cruising Turkish Waters,” advises the Captain.

ENVIRONMENTAL DOS AND DON’TS
The current infrastructures in Turkey and Greece do not yet encourage an environmentally friendly scheme to be green. Dina suggests guests and crew ban plastic straws on board, and to use the now available green-friendly trash bags for refuse. “Personally, I also suggest that chefs cease over supplying food at meals in order to appear ‘generous’. True generosity is to serve only as much as is needed, with the willingness to create more upon demand instead of wasting food for presentation purposes.’

“Segregating the garbage is a good start!” says Birkan. In addition to this, there is little tidal movement in the East Mediterranean, and whatever goes overboard goes straight to the sea bed most of the year, so crew should pay extra attention to local regulations in addition to Marpol 5.

“We need to be a game-changer in ocean conservation,” says Melih Cankurt. “As a captain and a sailor I learned first-hand how fragile the ecosystem of the oceans has become due to human abuse. At Nautica Yachting we put a strong focus on renewable energy.”

WORTH HANGING AROUND FOR
Dina recommends TYBA Yacht Show in Yalikavak in May as a major event for brokers and owners. Not an event exactly but Birkan gives thumbs up to a visit to Istanbul in September. “It’s not too hot and there’s lots to see, from coastal cruising to visiting museums and ancient sites in the city, that stretches over two continents. We highly recommend visiting Turkey in September, in the south. It’s still warm enough for water activities, and in Istanbul it’s a beautiful time to spend few days tied up under the bridge at the Bosphorus.”

Captain Cankurt chooses Sound of Sails, Marmaris International Race Week, TYBA Yacht Charter Show, Sail Break Sailing Festivals, CNR Eurasia Boat Show, The Bodrum Cup Nautical Festival & Regatta and D-Marin Classical Music Festival as major events for anyone who loves the open sea.

BUG BEARS
Although nothing is ever too complicated, annoying or impossible for the Superyacht Agent, there are some things that are more complicated and annoying than others. For Paz it’s a change of crew or registration, which is very time-consuming. The most challenging for Maja at MYS Yachting are those emergency calls regarding crew or guests and technical problems when guests are onboard. She adds, “Also, the provisioning of food and drinks can still be challenging in Croatia. Even though, due to the rise of high quality restaurants and hotels with first class Chefs the offer of international products is getting better.”

One of the least favourite requests for Mourat Bourinakis at Mouratti Marine was when he was asked to supply twelve flowering garden plants. The call came in at 24h00 and they had to be delivered by 08h00 the next day.

“Uhhh!” says Paola Musumeci at Elite Yacht Service. “For sure the spare parts they urgently require or a technician to repair something…. this request is my least favourite. It’s Murphy’s Law that this will normally happen on the weekend, or in August when everything takes longer and it is more difficult to get… but we make some small miracles in our jobs so one way or another we manage to get what they need.” Dina’s ‘don’t say it’ list includes; picking up friends in Mykonos with stiletto heels who have a list of food allergies.

Asking crew to babysit children. Assuming the yacht’s internet access is akin to one’s own domestic speed. Thinking that an inch on a map should be a couple of hours in real time. Not respecting the July and August meltemi winds.

Birkan Ata, CEO of AND Yachting & Concierge says, “It can be a struggle if there are requests for fresh Tuna or Salmon during high season, because of a fishing ban in the Turkish region, it can be very hard to find quality fish that a chef will be happy with.”

Miles and miles of deep blue sea and only a few short holiday weeks to enjoy it, superyacht agents come into their own for their incomparable tips of where to go to get what you truly want from a cruise. And they are of course not only there for the ‘where to go see’, they are are also there night and day to ‘go get’ for you too. Perfect.

LUNAUTICA
LUNAUTICA
DOCKSIDE SERVICES
DOCKSIDE SERVICES
JPL YACHTING
JPL YACHTING

SPAIN

WHERE TO GO
Paz Rodrigo at Dockside Services says, “Given the diverse northern coasts of the Balearic Islands, I would say Mallorca and Menorca offer several clean and protected spots, as does Cape Creus and the surrounding coast of Catalonia.”

GOOD TO KNOW
Paz has no particular ‘new’ news in terms of changes to Spanish legislation this year but in general terms he suggests that European leisure cruising laws vary very lightly depending on the country and region. “But they are mostly very clear and direct. We rarely have any misconceptions in European waters at all, with exceptions of commercial yachts and VAT issues which depend on many aspects of a charter and don’t fall into the same category.”

ENVIRONMENTAL DOS AND DON’TS
Johan at JPLYachting mentions the local poseidonia seagrass and the damage caused by bad anchoring practices. Local authorities re told to control this in the strictest of manners and fine could be severe.

Paz wants to see yachts operating heavy sewage and tank treatment systems onboard, leaving as little impact on the environment as possible. “One of the biggest polluters of our oceans is plastic trash, so we encourage our guests, captains, and owners, to endorse the impact of recycling and re-usable materials and equipment on deck.”

The paperwork – Johan from JPL Yachting mentions that whilst you’re doing all the normal day to day things for the guests and crew, where an agency really shows it’s worth is in handling the local & official paperwork for the visiting yachts. Johan says, “The rather obvious yacht’s registration certifies, insurance certificates and Captains licence are all the norm. In the past Spain hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to welcome charter yachts but this is far better now. Crew clearance can sometimes be tricky – it can all depend on the nationality of crew and whether the next port of call is within or outside the EU”.

WORTH HANGING AROUND FOR
For visitors Paz’s top tips include the usual high demand destinations such as Formula 1 and the dozens of regattas.