Back to the boat there was not much to say at that time, while Thanassis was working very hard with keeping the boat in place-below you can see him in action…
We spent some time doing nothing but diving swimming and relaxing. The boat had a nice hydraulic platform which is fantastic for the living onboard. The size of the Oceanis 41 looks like a bigger boat allowing everybody to move freely and easily inside.
After quite some time under the sun we got bit of a sunburn and decided to dive once more and then start heading to Merichas port which was the closest port near Kolona bay. It is only a 5 minute distance to cover on engine.
Merichas is the main port of Kythnos (where all the ferries approach), (you have a second option for mooring in Loutra which is on the other side of the island in the south side – more packed though with more difficult mooring).
We spent some time finding a slot available, the place seemed quite packed. We were lucky enough and a rib just left the port and we somehow fitted approaching the dock. We threw 2 mooring lines in the back and we were ready to spend the night in Kythnos. I was the one that went to the port police and asked for a card to use in the electic pylars so we could connect to the shore power and recharge our batteries. The port police is the first kiosk on the left side as you look the dock from the sea. We were finally connected and I was back to the boat to have a normal shower and prepare myself for our evening tour in Kythnos.
We had dinner onboard prepared by the ladies while the sun was already set. After dinner we initially went for a walk in Mericha and decided to have an ice cream in one of the little stores located in the other side of the bay.
Here is Ioanna and Lila in the port of Mericha during our discussion of going to the ‘chora’ or not. Finally four of us decided to have a drive in the main city while the remaining two would stay onboard.
Kythnos city turned out to be very beautiful and colorful. I was glad that I finally decided to have a look since the ‘chora’ gave me another glance and perspective (more beautiful I mean) so I was quite surprised with the nightlife and island vibe.
Next morning we woke up, the weather was very calm so we decided to leave so we could have breakfast while sailing to our next island which would be Serifos. I went in a local traditional bakery, bought some hot fresh cheesepies (they had just taken them out of the oven) along with coffee for everyone went back to our boat and we left the port heading to Serifos.
Leaving Mericha port behind..
Happy people, happy faces while the Captain was heading to our next island
Somewhere along the way and while we were between Kythnos I heard Costas saying:
“The depth according to the plotter is 235 meters” he whispered. And there it was..
Engine stopped, yacht stopped and 3 of us dived without second thought..
And for those of you that have any doubts..
We approached Serifos on the east side and we were looking for a place to anchor and relax.
In Greece the story is as follows, 1st you see a bay that you like, for us it was the one below..
The closest neighbors were at that distance!
We released the anchor and OUR MAN IN CHARGE OF THE MOORING LINES AKA ‘THANASSIS” had some work to do
Under the directions of the eye of our Captain we were sure for one thing: JOB DONE
Boat moored, crystal clear waters of Serifos, Stand up paddle into the water. We were on vacation!
Shortly we started exploring the area around our boat, taking advantage of the temperature of the sea. The water was one of the most clear I had seen in my life check below:
What was I saying that the best yacht is the one that belongs to your friend?
Well lucky for me I had an invitation by my friend Thanassis who owns a Beneteau Oceanis 41.
We would be sailing along with his wife and another couple that would make 6 of us in a 41 footer..
Here is the crew…
Good thing is that the new series of Oceanis has so wide and efficient accommodation that can be compared with a 45 footer easily!
We would be sailing from the 8th of August for 6 days (only… I am too greedy, don’t you think???)
I was a bit concerned about the weather in August since in Greece the so called Meltemi seems to be blowing high level north winds in most of the times.
Lucky for us after checking the weather forecast we had calm weather and we decided to head to the Cyclades.
Our departing port was Alimos marina, where Thanassis has his boat moored.
Boat name is Dimokritos. The time he does not use her he has her under management to DREAM YACHT CHARTERS. They seem to charter the yacht and at the end of the day he gets some his money back but that’s another story we have the time to analyze at a later stage.
Thanassis was quite busy on Saturday and he would be arriving late. He suggested that we could gather onboard have some drinks, get used to the boat order some food from a local souvlaki place (typical Greek masterpiece..). This way we would start our vacation earlier and depart as quickly as possible!
During the evening I could hear some weird sounds as if someone was singing.. I asked Thanassis the next day.. Near the marina there is a BOUZOUKIA place (the most famous Greek singing party with live music). The place is called THEA and is well known for playing music until early morning.
Somewhere between music from far away and my dreams I heard an engine starting.. It was 07.30 and we were already off. Thanassis had already bought café and cheese pies for everyone.. We had started!!
Slowly everyone left their beds and came out after an hour or so.. We were heading for our first stop which would be Kythnos. We were estimating to reach in 5 hours or so.
The weather was not windy and we would be motoring most of the time.
Somewhere between Sounion (almost half way) we had some wind of 22-25 knots and it was a bit of a fun to see women onboard trim the sails..
We reached Kolona bay which is one of the most popular beaches where the land divides the sea into 2 pieces. Magnificent view and very clear waters.
We anchored just near the gulf and there it was. We were diving into the big blue! We had taken with us the trendy SUP by fanatic and quickly Costas and Ioanna were heading towards exploring the area.
I have been living in Greece for the last 15 years of my life. Recently I decided to explore my passion for sea and marched forward on purchasing my private sailing boat. Until that time I had some idea of dinghy sailing and have been sailing with quite a few charter companies based in Greece.
TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY??
It was my friend Vasilis who owns a property in the beautiful island of Sifnos, located in the Cyclades in a way. Vasilis was trying to convince me purchasing a sailing yacht through these management programs offered by charter companies as an investment. He said that I would pay the 50% of the yacht, I would leave it to the company to charter, I could use it in the summer and after a period of combined usage the yacht would stay with me.. Not a bad idea for someone like me that I am retired, like sailing and prefer to have my money in a yacht rather than the bank. But it was not so simple as I figured. Here is the story my end.
In Greece I found some companies offering such kind of programs:
Vernicos Yachts: www.vernicos.gr These guys are the Beneteau authorized dealers in Greece (authorized means nothing at the end as I will explain later meaning that you can buy a boat from any company as such, but as it turned out they are the official Beneteau Dealers). I spoke with Mr. Eugene Theodoridis (mid 30s) a young but still quite knowledgeable and experience person in the yachting business. Eugene gave me a lot of information to work with. Their package would be 55% downpayment, 4 weeks of sailing usage each year and 6 seasons of program, which meant that I would receive a boat in full after 6 seasons.
I left Vernicos office and headed to Dream Yacht Charters Greece. Dream Yachts is a part of the global company with bases around the world. I spoke with the General manager Efthimis Bibis who is a charter oriented, nice person around his 50’s. They seemed to offer a more attractive package since I could still pay the 55% but with 35% as a down payment and 20% after the 6 seasons. In the case of DYC sailing I could use any of the boats of their global bases. Meaning I could even go and use a boat in Seychelles or Mauritius. Not bad as an idea.. The boat I was interested in, was a 48 footer Beneteau in 2012. I was not so determined for the specific boat however it seemed that the available models were Jeanneau 50 DS, Bavaria 50 and the Oceanis 48.
Prices I had been given at that time were 285.000 Euros from Vernicos x 55% and 305.000 from DYC.
My next stop was Kyriakoulis: www.kiriacoulis.comThis is one of the most powerful companies in Greece and they are more of a Global company since they have offices in the US, Italy, France (I believe those are the ones). I met their salesman Mr. Panagiotis Foukas. He is an easy going guy around his mid 40’s. I could not trace him very easily since he was traveling however we managed to speak about management contracts and offers on Bavaria, Jeanneau and Beneteau yachts. Their prices were rather cheap and a possibility for me to sail in different bases each time. He provided a higher discount for buying a direct sale and not in program however there was something I could not follow with all suggestions. Not only Kyriacoulis but all of the companies. I will leave my assumption however when I describe all of my visits.
I then headed to Athenian Yachts http://www.athenian-yachts.gr/en/ .They are the official Jeanneau dealers in Greece. I spoke with Mrs. Dionyssia who was very friendly and kind. They seem to know the job quite well and seemed willing to hear what I was saying. In any case they did not offer a management program under which they would finance the percentage of my boat. They were mainly interested to sell a boat on a cash basis. What I found nice was that most of the yachts were available for me to see, Alimos marina pier 2 where they keep their base. The man in charge there was Tolis, who is very helpful and cheerful most of the times (except Saturdays.. in Summer I guess). I believe that although the explanation they gave me for selling a boat only in cash but with a higher discount was the most honest out of the other competitors (except maybe Dream Yachts) that has the management programs as the major sales asset.
Now let’s see the facts from a closer distance and in bullet questions and answers:
Who owns the boat? Ok, I agree to pay a 55% (to any of the companies) which means I was about to pay between 155 to 170K Euros. Will I own the boat? The answer is NO the boat will be owned by the company (that most of the times has taken a loan for the boat therefore the boat actually is held by a mortgage to the bank until the 6 years of management season comes to an end.
Can’t I own the boat and the company places a mortgage under their name in the registry? This is not possible for 2 reasons: a) most of the times they have been financed to buy the boat so they cannot sell it under my ownership until the bank is paid, b) Can my ownership be eligible not to pay Vat and have a chart business as my profession? Even if I could this would create a conflict to the companies since the boat is actually their’ s for 6 years.
TRICKY QUESTION: Ok and what happens If the company does not pay the loan of the boat and after 6 years I found out that I cannot transfer the ownership since there is still a mortgage? Well, the only think you can do is try to have everything with official signatures, force the company to sign a document that will pay the lease amount to the bank, find out what this lease plan is in terms of dates and payments and keep close to check if everything is paid as agreed. After all this is the key issue in this business. You can post a question if you wish, I believe I have become wiser after my 5 month extensive sailing research.
After 6 seasons what will be the value of my sailing boat?? Well nobody can answer that. My guess is around 60% of the todays value..
If this is the case why should I put my money in such investment? Well I cannot answer this question. There are reasons to do so though. You will sail freely in any destination you wish each time, you will have your money placed in an asset, after some time you will own a boat etc. Each of us has to see the real question behind yacht management programs and decide if it suits his needs. For example My dear friend John, bought a Sun Odyssey 409 from Dreamyachtarters, has sailed all over the world and is super happy with his investment. On the other hand I did not..
Conclusion: I finally decided that the money for me to invest in such a case was not worth the asset for my personal perspective. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying it is not worth it. I am just saying what I did at the end. I was not convinced that for a person like myself that I have been living in Greece for the last 15 years, 4 or 6 weeks of sailing would be enough to cover my investment.
Have you ever heard the expression ‘the best boat is the one owned by my friend…’.
This can be the case if you are lucky enough to have a friend that owns a yacht. If not, then you can still do that with yacht chartering. There are hundreds of companies in Greece that offer sailing yachts for charter. From very cheap to the latest models. The competition is so enormous that you can get a very good deal for your wallet. Imagine that after I gave up the yacht management program I inquired to see how much should I pay for a Jeanneau 509 chartering for a week. I contacted many charter companies including Dream Yacht Charter in Greece under firstname.lastname@example.org spoke with Aghis the man in charge, Fyly yachting under email@example.com spoke with Helen who was the head of bareboat chartering, and lastly Athenian Yachts who are the Jeanneau dealers in Greece.
Prices were: 5013 Euros for DYC for a week of June
5400 Euros for the same week in Athenian yachts
5200 Euros for the Fyly team.
I understand that there are plenty of owners and other charter agencies that I can book directly however there are several issues I had in mind which I will be happy to expand in detail in my other section.