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Corfu Flotilla Sailing Journal by Isla, Nautilus Yachting

Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

I had the incredible experience of working as part of a lead crew as the flotilla host in Corfu in 2022.  I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity to visit some spectacular destinations and meet fantastic people who will be friends for life.  Here is my experience of what a typical week of flotilla life is like.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 1 - SATURDAY- Gouvia Marina

While our clients are getting excited to board their plane to Corfu, at the base my skipper and would be working hard to prepare the yachts for our new guest's arrivals. Skipper Steven checks all the lines, sails, and lockers to ensure everything is as it should be and I would lay out the welcome packs onboard each boat, polish the finishing touches and make sure everything is ship shape! Then between 4.00 and 5.00pm, we greet everyone as they arrive at the marina and introduce them to their boat and prepare them for our main flotilla briefing in the morning at 9.30 am.  I would also recommend some restaurants in Gouvia for an evening meal; check out Harry's and Taki's for traditional Greek taverna food and Gerekos is the only place for fish!


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 2 - SUNDAY- Sivota

Sunday morning on flotilla always starts with the main flotilla briefing, which is the first opportunity for the whole flotilla to meet one another.  Steven and I give the flotilla briefing which is an overview of how the flotilla will run that week and any weather conditions to be aware of.  Once the flotilla briefing is complete, we assist everyone departing the marina to set sail for their first day on the water.  The sea between Corfu and the mainland always seems calm, which makes for an easy first day and an amazing mid-afternoon swim in the middle of the sea!  Once we arrive at Sivota Mourtos I head to Georgeos Family taverna to confirm the booking for our first group meal. Then we would grab a Freddo Espresso from Bamboo Place before our guest's arrival at 4.30 pm. We help moor up all yachts with stern to with anchor on the town quay or stern to with lazy lines in the marina. Once everyone is safely in harbour it is a quick turnaround to get ready for our first group meal. After an amazing dinner at Georgeos, where they have (in my opinion) the best courgette balls, I lead the group to Bamboo Place for the best cocktails.  Some weeks there would be more cocktails than others!  


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 3 - MONDAY- Lakka

We start our day with a briefing at Bamboo Place followed by a trip to the bakery for some tasty pastries.  During the morning briefings each day Steven covers the navigational aspects and I tell the clients what to expect from our evening destination; if there are any showers or toilets, if there are any shops, a bakery or a cash machine, whether there is an option to have power and water and if there was an evening activity.  We offer assistance for leaving the town quay and then set off.  From leaving Sivota I would always take the helm on the first half of the journey as I loved to motor past and look at the Blue Lagoon area on our port side. The sea is always choppier once we pass the bottom of Corfu as it’s an open body of water all the way from Italy.  One week I forgot to shut the hatches and needless to say I didn’t make that mistake again!  I saw dolphins at the entrance to Lakka a couple of times which is always a special thing to see. Arriving at Lakka you are greeted by the prettiest bay in the North Ionian. Crystal blue water with white sandy beaches surrounding parts of the bay, different fish swimming around and always a nice selection of boats to look at.  Once I drop the anchor, there is usually time for a swim. The water is always so warm, like getting into a bath! I take the snorkel mask with me to check the anchor. I always enjoy helping our guests drop their anchor as it means whizzing around the bay in our dinghy. Nionios taverna is where we head for a group meal in Lakka. Run by the incredible Gianni who is always so enthusiastic about his food, the menu changes daily, so we are always lucky to try a new speciality dish!  Some nights we would end up in Romanticas bar dancing and sipping some more cocktails.  Then it was a giggly dinghy ride back to the lead boat for the night.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 4 - TUESDAY- Mongonisi

Tuesday morning we all jump in the dinghies and go ashore to meet at Harbour Lights where the lovely Louise would look after us during the morning briefing. After a trip to the best bakery on our route, we head back to the lead boat and wait for the radio calls from our clients to say they were weighing anchor and heading for a sail around the beautiful island of Paxos, taking a lunch stop at Emerald Bay on Antipaxos, before heading to the secluded bay of Mongonisi. On our arrival, I pop over to MongonisiBeach restaurant where Maria and I would create the seating plan for the flotilla guests over a cold drink under the gorgeous tree canopy.  Whilst waiting to hear ‘Cleo Cleo this is Paradeisos Paradeisos over’, I dive off the bow of the boat and have a delightful afternoon swim with all the different fish that were living in the bay.  A quick dry-off in the sun before jumping ashore to catch our clients’ stern lines whilst Steven is in the dinghy assisting boats to get into the correct position for dropping anchor. Then time for a cocktail party on the quay, all yachts make their own drink and the lead crew chooses a winner.  We once had an incredible poem to assist the presentation of an amazing cherry-based cocktail and the most interesting cocktail this season was one based on a Greek salad with cucumber, tomato and feta cheese!!  We head into the restaurant for an incredibly tasty dinner followed by an evening of Greek dancing which was always a hit! The dancers would always take me up to join in and I would grab the hand of a client to join me too, we would laugh and dance around the restaurant all evening.  Mongonisi was always such a fun destination and I look forward to going back there with my family and friends.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 5 - WEDNESDAY- Plataria

We are usally  joined by a few sore heads for the morning briefing on Wednesdays, which is quickly sorted by a fresh orange juice or fabulous breakfast at Mongonisi Beach.  Sometimes I would join the clients for a quick swim after morning briefing before waving our clients off on their journey up to Plataria.  We always have a brilliant sail up to Plataria, with both sails out doing some great tacks. The wind funnelled down the channel to Plataria and we achieved 10.2 knots one day!  After mooring up stern to with anchor I head over to Olga’s where I am greeted with a big cuddle from Olga who is now my Greek auntie. Olga always likes to have the food orders in before we go to dinner, so once each boat was safely moored up on lazy lines I ask them to pop over and see her to place their orders and highly recommend the oven-baked feta with oats and honey – the best starter!  The sunsets in Plataria are always stunning and were always a treat to see. We always have a really delicious meal at Olga’s and the waiters are so friendly.  Some nights we end up in Decks cocktail bar, where they serve the best Aperols and Pina Coladas in the North Ionian


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 6 - THURSDAY- Mandraki

Breakfast at Olga’s is the most amazing bacon sandwich which I try to eat sneakily during the morning briefing behind Steven’s destination whiteboard.  After saying bye to Auntie Olga off we go towards Corfu and Mandraki Harbour, which is underneath the Old Fortress of Corfu Town.  This was a special place to visit at the end of the week.  The University of Classical Music is also above the harbour, so we hear music each time we enter! We have a free evening in Mandraki as there are so many places to choose to eat in Corfu town and it gives everyone an opportunity to explore the UNESCO heritage "Old Town" too.  I always go for a walk around the Old Fort at nighttime, the view looking up at the moon was always so ethereal.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 7 - FRIDAY- Gouvia Marina

Friday mornings are always a little sad as it means the last day of the flotilla, we hold our last morning briefing and thank all our guests for an amazing week!  We head straight back to Gouvia and prepare the lazy lines for our client’s arrival. After their last lunch and swim we wave the clients over to pontoon A and if they are lucky they see me doing handstands and cartwheels whilst reversing into their spot.  I pass over the lazy line and catch a stern line with Steven. Then I jump on board and have a chat with them about their week and explain what happens this evening and their departure plans for the following morning.  Sometimes I organise restaurant bookings for my clients last night and give them suggestions of the best restaurants in and around Gouvia.  Friday night I am able to get an early night after a busy week on flotilla which I always need before I do it all again on Saturday.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 8 - SATURDAY- GOUVIA MARINA

Saturday mornings meant an early start as it is change-over day. Guests depart at 09.00am and that is the start of our busy day getting the fleet ready for the next set of excited sailors arriving for embarkation at 5.00pm.  Saying goodbye to our wonderful friends from the week before is always sad and I was very lucky to have had fantastic guests each week who made my job so enjoyable!