Week in the life of a Flotilla Skipper Lefkas, Greece - Alexander Haywood

At the beginning of May we had our first guests arrive. I was chosen to take the first flotilla of the season out. I had a Flotilla Technician who was very experienced having done five flotilla seasons already and I soaked up all his knowledge. This was perfect for me as I learnt lots straight away, from how to moor up 10 yachts in a very confined space using the famous Mediterranean ‘side to’, rafts, and bow wedges. It was very impressive seeing how many yachts you could safely moor up in such a confined space. He also taught me a lot to do with the technical side and any issue’s the guests had with their yachts. I also had a host on board who specifically dealt with the entertainment and social side of things. Before our first guests arrived in May I had to study the charts and almanac and make my own route for the week.


The usual week of a flotilla in Lefkas would start on a Sunday when the guests arrive. This was our busiest day saying goodbye to our guests in the morning from the previous week and then with the support of the base technical and cleaning teams, turning over the boats inside and out until the new guests came in the evening. We would then greet the guests with a boat brief in the evening. 


On the Monday morning we would have our main briefing regarding our sailing plan to let the guests know what to expect in the week. Initially when I did this I was nervous in front of 40 guests, however a couple of weeks in I did it naturally adding humour to relax the new yacht sailors while going through everything.


Every morning I would look at the route and destination on the chart gathering information for the morning brief, things like distance, things to look out for and beautiful places to visit! I would also check the weather with three different sources since they weren’t always the most accurate out in Greece. If it was above a force 6 I had to make the decision that we’re stormbound and keep the flotilla in the harbour for the day


After the briefing in the morning, I would help and instruct our guests to exit the berth and out into the Ionian waters. Quite often we had guests who had just learnt to sail the week before, so I was more than happy to help on any subject they needed a re-cap on.


Once we got everyone off from the Marina we would quickly sail or power over to our next destination depending on the weather, the distance, and how much time we had to get there. During the day the guests would go off and do what they like however they could always get hold of us on the VHF or mobile if they had any issues and we would ensure to assist.


During the early evening our guests would start to arrive. I then instructed them on the handheld radio what they need to set up for mooring and how I need them to make their approach. I also used lots of hand signals to clearly communicate and avoid shouting directions. Most moorings were stern to with an anchor and two stern line to attach to the harbour. As flotilla skippers we had a little competition between ourselves to get the least crossed anchors amongst our boats for the season and I won, having only two crossed.


In the evening my flotilla host arranged a group meal and entertainment with the guests, something I was heavily involved with as well as making sure our guests are more than happy. We would be on call 24 hours a day in case an anchor slipped during the night, which happened a couple of times due to the seabed condition.


Over Six months of flotillas I was out for 15 weeks with up to 13 yachts to look after. During the other weeks I spent my time doing deliveries or boat maintenance. This was good fun and I learnt so much.


At the end of every week we had a BBQ or pontoon party with the guests and did some entertaining speeches to bring the flotilla to a close. My flotilla host would also go around with the customer feedback surveys getting them to fill out 30 questions regarding many things from the week. From how the crew did to the yachts themselves, we always received great feedback, which made us feel so pleased to have exceeded their expectations.


Finally, we would then say goodbye to the guests the following morning just before we start our busy turnover day. This day would usually consist of myself going around the vessels doing my skippers checks which included things like checking the number and condition of lines and making sure the guard rails and shrouds were tight. These checks would normally take me all day right through to the evening where we would then meet our new guests for the following week of flotilla 

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