VIII BONUS MILES FLOTILLA 22-29.10.2022 ΟΛΟΚΛΗΡΩΘΗΚΕ ΕΠΥΤΥΧΩΣ
The VIII Bonus Miles Flotilla was successfully completed! One week, 22-29.10.2022, Flotilla’s Fleet sailed on the route Volos – Skiathos – Skopelos – Skyros – Agios Efstratios – Lemnos – Thassos – Keramoti. The fleet consisted of 11 boats with crews of more than 70 sailors from 9 different countries, with 3 boats/crews with students. The highlights of VIII Bonus Miles Flotilla were truly summer weather conditions on most of the days, a night sailing branch, and a day with quite difficult weather conditions with wind up to 30 knots, which was certainly a great experience for everyone.
All participants met up in Volos port on 22/10/2022 and checked-in in their boats.
The same evening, 22/10, the students had their first theory lesson in the port, which was done in three languages.
Sunday morning 23/10 started with greeting speeches from Flotilla’s leader Christoforos Gkritzelakis and the president of North Aegean Sailing Club Dimitris Benis. Crew meeting followed, and after that Flotilla’s Fleet got off for the first branch of Volos – Skiathos. The boats opened sails while in Pagasetic gulf, however, they caught the wind only after Trikeri, – it reached up to 10 knots and gave to all crews an opportunity for 3-hour sailing with a lot of tacks. The first stop was made at beautiful Koukounaries beach to enjoy swimming and nature, after that Flotilla’s fleet continued their way to the destination Skiathos port, where they moored also overnight. In the evening there was a traditional theory lesson for students and everyone who wanted to refresh their knowledge, also all participants had free time to discover Skiathos town.
24/10 in the morning all crews gathered for briefing in Skiathos port, and then started their way towards the next destination, Skopelos island. The weather conditions were truly summer ones so the crews couldn’t stop enjoying bathing and swimming in beautiful bays on their way! Regardless of the weather forecast that predicted no wind, the fleet had caught nice fresh wind to practice in sailing and tacking. Having reached Skopelos island, student crews had an intensive docking practice in Neo Klima port, and then met all the other crews in Panormos bay where all sailors gathered for the crew meeting, traveled by a nice wind. Boats anchored side by side next to each other. After seeing the weather conditions and forecast, they have decided about the next branch of the Flotilla’s route.
One more stop for meeting up was done in Skopelos town before the 40 NM leg and night sailing to Linaria port in Skyros island.
The crews set off from Skopelos island at 02:00 after midnight, after re-supplying their provisions. They had a truly magical night on their way to Skyros island, the smoothest surface of the sea was mirroring the starry sky. The students had the opportunity to do their night sailing which is a very special experience.
The VIII Bonus Miles Flotilla Fleet reached Skyros island 25/10 in the late morning and moored at Linaria marina where the hospitable Port Authorities were waiting for the crews and arranged the berthing of the boats quickly and smoothly. All crews had plenty of time to have some rest and to discover the outstanding beauty of Skyros island and its capital Chora, and local cuisine, as well as to get an advantage of port facilities. After sunset, another theoretical lesson took place in the port with comfort under the smart infrastructure of Linaria port. This is the 2nd time the fleet of Bonus Miles Flotilla visits Skyros and North Aegean Sailing Club and North Sailing wants to cordially thank Skyros Port Fund and personally Kyriakos Antonopoulos for the exceptional organization of reception and assistance.
The next day, 26/10, started very early for the Fleet, with the skippers meeting that took place at 5:30 am before leaving Skyros towards Agios Efstratios island, another destination of Bonus Miles Flotilla’s route. Doing the duck sailing, they passed a narrow passage between Skyros and Valaxa islands. When passing the north part of Skyros island, they met beautiful sunrise that brought fresh Northeastern wind, so the boats opened sails and traveled the rest of the leg sailing, completing the total length of the branch of 55 NM. The boats reached Agios Efstratios island and moored in the afternoon. Another crew meeting followed to summarize and analyze the day’s route. Another theory lesson took place traditionally after sunset in front of the boats.
The crews had an opportunity to discover the unveiled beauty of the island, as well as to treat themselves at the only tavern that met them with the utmost of local hospitality.
The calm part of VIII Bonus Miles Flotilla had been finished with the visit of Agios Efstratios. The next morning, 27/10, after the traditional crew meeting, the boats got off ready for another leg of 23 NM towards Lemnos island, catching Northeast wind on the way, with an average speed of 12-15 knots. As the fleet got closer to Lemnos island, the wind got stronger, with the intensity up to 22 knots. Doing multiple tacks and competing with each other, boats reached Myrina port of Lemnos in the afternoon, just at the right time for an unforgettable sunset! All sailors spent an enjoyable evening in cozy Myrina and savored local products and even did some sightseeing.
The boats left Lemnos island in the morning of 28/10, after the skippers’ meeting, and traveled with engines until Mourtzephlos Cape as there was no wind. After the Mourtzephlos Cape, the fleet caught the Northeast wind and traveled upwind with the intensity of true wind up to 30 knots – the boats were literally flying! In the afternoon, the first boats reached Limenaria on Thassos island. Some crews saw for the very first time in their life the sea conditions of 5-6 Bft and that was a great opportunity for such experience in a fully safe environment of Flotilla. All crews had got their equipment and sails very well prepared in advance for this branch of Flotilla and were praised for this by the Flotilla leader. Every single crew member deserved a bravo for their behavior and seamanship during sailing.
The speed left one more impression of the day that two-rudder boats managed to develop during such sea and wind conditions. All crews happily rested after a difficult day, although there still was the last theoretical lesson for students too.
On 29/10, after the morning crew meeting – the last one for this Flotilla, all boats got off to their final destination, Keramoti, the branch of 22 NM. Weather conditions were favorable for sailing with the wind up to 8-14 knots. Doing tacks, practicing, and enjoying sailing, the Flotilla Fleet reached Keramoti base in the early afternoon, completing their sailing adventure – Bonus Miles Flotilla, with 280 NM in total.
All boats moored in the port, and crews gathered together for the final speech of the head instructor and leader of Flotilla Mr.Christoforos Gkritzelakis that congratulated and thanked all crews and each sailor individually for their participation, seamanship and cooperation during VIII Bonus Miles Flotilla. Every participant has received their Bonus Miles Certificates.
The VIII Bonus Miles Flotilla was an adventure full of surprises and everyone truly enjoyed it. As always, we made an appointment for the next Bonus Miles Flotilla in Spring 2023.