Every watersports enthusiast can name his or her favourite sailing destinations ad hoc. But where will sailors be heading this year? We have spoken to sailing travel expert Ingela Wilhelm about the trendy destinations overseas and in Europe. She is Senior Marketing Manager Germany, Northern Europe, Benelux at Sunsail and The Moorings.
Dream destination overseas: Seychelles
Ingela Wilhelm regards the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean as the strongest trend among overseas destinations. The archipelago pointes with numerous advantages, especially for Europeans: After a direct flight to the Seychelles, no long-lasting jet lag awaits the sailors. The port is located directly by the airport, so sailors needn’t anticipate any major time constraints there.
Varied area with best sailing conditions
The Seychelles offer sailors very characteristic conditions: two monsoons, each separated by a transition month with mixed weather. From May to October, under clear skies, the wind blows almost constantly from the southeast. The wind then decreases and shifts in November, becoming northwesterly between December and March. There are warm temperatures between 23 and 28 degrees all year round.
Above water, a view of a dreamlike landscape with an extraordinary animal and plant world is offered. Under water, diving and snorkeling between reefs and rocks reveals a fantastic underwater world. On land, you can explore the islands by bike or on foot and the villages with their small markets are always worth a trip.
Whether you prefer to dock directly in the places or anchor far away in a secluded bay is up to you - in both places you will find beautiful nature!
Versatility for watersports enthusiasts
The Seychelles are also an ideal charter spot for sailors who don't want to commit to just one watersport. Whether it's windsurfing, kayaking or SUP in the warm water or casting a line for tuna and sailfish from on board – the options are endless.
"Nature and the possibilities offered by the Seychelles are unique," stresses Ingela Wilhelm. The Seychelles comprise of 115 islands, which geologically consist of 42 granite and 73 coral islands. Divided according to location, there are the Inner Islands and the Outer Islands. The sea area of the Inner Islands is called the Seychelles Bank and covers an area of about 31,000 km². The islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are particularly popular. Inland, the islands are mountainous and lush with tropical rainforests, home to bird species found nowhere else in the world. On some, you can even see giant tortoises on the fine white sandy beaches. The gorgeous coral reefs and azure sea make a sailing holiday in the Seychelles an unforgettable experience.
Good things don’t have to be far away: Croatia
"Within Europe, Croatia is still a very popular destination,” says Ingela Wilhelm. While this is nothing new, she reports that the trend is rising. In times of Corona, it has been shown that places one can get to by car give sailors the assurance of reaching and chartering their boat at the designated time. German, Austrian and Swiss sailors in particular prefer to travel to the land of 1,000 islands in their own cars. “In addition”, she adds, “Croatia invests a lot in its nautical infrastructure, with marinas and city harbours, to maintain high standards for sailing tourism.” As this increased later than in other parts of Europe, Croatia’s nature is still relatively unspoilt.
The many uninhabited islands to which you can sail through crystal clear waters, the warm weather and the fresh breeze are by far not all that Croatia has to offer. "Numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, old town centres, castles and palaces as well as the culinary delights ashore are simply wonderful," enthuses Ingela Wilhelm. The hospitality of the Croatians, the cosy restaurants and small taverns that the Croatians call “Konoba” make every skipper feel right at home. "Most of the “Konobas” have their own jetties where you can moor and spend the night free of charge. So nothing stands in the way of a nice evening in the little bars, with the way home just a stone’s throw away."
According to Ingela Wilhelm, Croatia is a wonderful sailing destination, where one can choose freely between a long cruise on the open sea or more relaxed island hopping and anchoring in turquoise bays. One of the strongest downdrafts in the Croatian Adriatic is the bora, which should be handled with caution, but can also bring fantastic days of strong winds.
European jewel: Greece
Those who like to set sail in Greece will also get their money's worth in 2022. Whether it's longer cruises on the open sea with a course set to the Saronic Islands or with line-of-sight navigation through the famous Ionian Islands off the west coast – a relaxed sailing holiday in turquoise waters with a view of Greece's dreamy beaches remains popular.
Corfu and the other Ionian Islands have long been considered an ideal sailing destination thanks to Greek hospitality, the varied island landscapes and the gentle sailing breezes. It’s also a wonderful place to sail to Paxos and Antipaxos. Paxos lies south of Corfu and is one of the best recommendations for sailors in the Ionian Sea. The turquoise water is impressive and the many anchorage spots are surrounded by pure nature. At the northern tip is the harbour village of Lakka, which lies sheltered in a deep bay. Antipaxos with its turquoise water is also worth a trip.
Sailors of all experience levels will get their money's worth in the warm waters of the Ionian Sea with the easy wind conditions. From the charter spot Lefkas you can start wonderfully on a classic tour of the Greek islands. Another option is to start from Corfu for a cruise along the Greek coast and into a lush green island world with bays reminiscent of the Caribbean.
From the Saronic Gulf to the Cyclades and into the Aegean Sea, sailors encounter stronger winds for more challenging sailing.
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