Holiday Sailing Area: The Dodecanese

The Dodecanese islands are located on the southeastern side of Greece, between the Cyclades and the coasts of Turkey. Less popular than the Cyclades and with a different style, these Greek islands distinguish for their Medieval architecture and the peaceful beaches. The Dodecanese, literally “twelve islands”) are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands.

Some of the Dodecannese Islands still maintain their tradition look despite the years passed by. All over the Dodecannese Islands, you will find clean and crystal clear water with sandy beaches.

MAP & INTRO

The Dodecanese islands have been inhabited since pre-Minoan times, and by the Archaic period, Rhodes and Kos had emerged as the dominant islands within the group. Distance from Athens gave the Dodecanese considerable autonomy and they were, for the most part, free to prosper unencumbered by subjugation to imperial Athens.

The Dodecanese islanders were the first Greeks to become Christians. This was through the tireless efforts of St Paul, who made two journeys to the archipelago, and through St John, who was banished to Patmos, where he had his revelation. By the early 14th century, it was the crusaders – the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, or Knights Hospitallers – who eventually became rulers of almost all the Dodecanese, building mighty fortifications,

After the Knights, the Turks ruled over the islands from 1522 until 1912. The Turks were ousted by the Italians in 1912 during a tussle over possession of Libya. The Italians, inspired by Mussolini’s vision of a vast Mediterranean empire constructed grandiose public buildings in the Fascist style, which was the antithesis of archetypal Greek architecture. More beneficially, they excavated and restored many archaeological monuments. The Dodecanese were formally returned to Greece in 1947.

 

The Dodecanese is the sunniest corner in Greece. Twelve large islands and numerous smaller ones with crystal clear waters, sandy or pebbly beaches, important archaeological finds, imposing Byzantine and medieval monuments and unique traditional settlements are waiting to be discovered. Unsure where to start? In this section, we try to shed some light on the different islands and exploring the Dodecanese by sailboat, catamaran or motor yacht.

The beaches on the Dodecanese Islands are amongst the cleanest and most beautiful in Greece. Here you will enjoy unforgettable moments under the hot Aegean Sea summer sun. You will find some of the islands in the Dodecanese cosmopolitan and full of life, but at the same time, you can easily retreat to the quiet and peaceful places. Many of the islands have retained their traditional appearances, and provide many charming photo opportunities.

 

THE BEST WAY TO SAVOR THE DODECANESE

A yacht holiday provides access that can not be achieved in any other way — your floating hotel suite allows you to travel effortlessly and provides access to the finest islands, villages, beaches, and experiences.

With so much to see and visit, we recommend you allow at least two weeks to explore this paradise. If you want to sail for a week your first decision has to be where to start; Kos, Rhodes or maybe Samos (technically not part of the Dodecanese) and what area to explore, the southern or northern Dodecanese.

WHEN TO VISIT THE DODECANESE

In the summer the prevailing wind is the Meltemi that is blowing from the N-NW. It can blow strongly in July through to September but not as strong as in the Cyclades. In the summer months, it regularly blows Force 4-6 and may on occasion reach Force 7. Temperatures in the summer can reach 35 degrees Celsius.

If you want to sail early or late summer, the Dodecanese is a good choice as this sailing area is the most southern sailing area in Greece.

 

Sailing Routes or Itineraries for the Dodecanese

DESTINATIONS IN THE DODECANESE

When sailing the Dodecanese you have two choices to start from; Rhodes or Kos. The biggest selection of quality yachts can be found in Kos. Kos is situated in the center of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is situated in the South Side of the Dodecanese. If you want to sail for two weeks and explore most of the islands of the Dodecanese I would suggest starting in Rhodes.

Greek Island yacht holidays provide the best access to the islands of the Dodecanese.

You’ll be surprised at how reasonable your private floating hotel suite (yacht with captain and cook/host) is.

Contact us now for a quotation on your magic Cyclades yacht holiday.

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SAIL AND STAY

Some of our clients like to extend their Yacht Holiday by staying a few days before or after their cruise in Kos, Rhodes or on one of the islands.

A few days in Kos or Rhodes can be a great holiday starter, and if your group is flying in from different or distant countries this allows you time to catch up and recover from jet lag before your cruise. If you’re interested in history and art you may enjoy a visit to the

We are happy to recommend great places to stay, dine, explore and shop and can book your hotels and arrange airport and port transfers for you.

If you plan to spend some days on one of the islands, here is a brief overview of tourist numbers you can expect to encounter.

TOURISM IN THE DODECANESE

The Dodecanese have been popular with visitors for centuries and they are a perfect choice for a sailing and island holiday in Greece.

 

 

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ANTIQUITIES

The Dodecanese have been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the Neopalatial period on Crete, the islands were heavily Minoanized (contact beginning in the second millennium BC). Following the downfall of the Minoans, the islands were ruled by the Mycenaean Greeks from circa 1400 BC, until the arrival of the Dorians circa 1100 BC. It is in the Dorian period that they began to prosper as an independent entity, developing a thriving economy and culture through the following centuries. By the early Archaic period, Rhodes and Kos emerged as the major islands in the group, and in the 6th century BC, the Dorians founded three major cities on Rhodes (Lindos, Kameiros, and Ialyssos). Together with the island of Kos and the cities of Knidos and Halicarnassos on the mainland of Asia Minor, these made up the Dorian Hexapolis.

This development was interrupted around 499 BC by the Persian Wars, during which the islands were captured by the Persians for a brief period. Following the defeat of the Persians by the Athenians in 478 BC, the cities joined the Athenian-dominated Delian League. When the Peloponnesian War broke out in 431 BC, they remained largely neutral although they were still members of the League.

The Peloponnesian War had weakened the entire Greek civilization’s military strength that it lay open to invasion. In 357 BC, the islands were conquered by the king Mausolus of Caria, then in 340 BC by the Persians. But this second period of Persian rule proved to be nearly as short as the first, and the islands became part of the rapidly growing Macedonian Empire as Alexander the Great swept through and defeated the Persians in 332 BC, to the great relief of the islands’ inhabitants.

Following the death of Alexander, the islands, and even Rhodes itself, were split up among the many generals who contended to succeed him. The islands formed strong commercial ties with the Ptolemies in Egypt, and together they formed the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance which controlled trade throughout the Aegean in the 3rd century BC.

In 164 BC, Rhodes signed a treaty with Rome, and the islands became aligned to a greater or lesser extent with the Roman Republic while mostly maintaining their autonomy. Rhodes quickly became a major schooling center for Roman noble families, and, as the islands (and particularly Rhodes) were important allies of Rome, they enjoyed numerous privileges and generally friendly relations. These were eventually lost in 42 BC, in the turmoil following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, after which Cassius invaded and sacked the islands.

In the 1st century, Saint Paul visited the islands twice, and Saint John visited numerous times; they succeeded in converting the islands to Christianity, placing them among the first dominantly Christian regions. Saint John eventually came to reside among them, being exiled to Patmos, where he wrote his famous Revelation.

During the Byzantine years, the inhabitants of the Dodecanese followed Christianity. In the centuries that followed, they suffered a lot from the Persians, Arabs, Venetians, Genouates, and Ottomans. Under these circumstances, the inhabitants were forced to abandon their houses and retreat to the mountainous regions. After the first Crusades and the indulgence of the privileges from the Pope, the order of Knights of Saint John started was developed as a strong military and political power. In 1312 AC the order of Knights occupies Rhodes and the rest of its neighboring islands. Rhodes was greatly influenced by the western culture and its port became one of the most important trading centers in the Dodecanese. During that long period, Rhodes shined in art, sculpture, architecture, and letters. The order of Knights fortified the whole town of Rhodes with strong walls to protect the Aegean from the Turkish invasions.

In 1523, with the arrival of sultan Souleiman, Dodecanese is no longer under the rule of the Knights but under the Ottoman occupation. This is one of the darkest periods in the Dodecanese characterized by terror and destruction. The churches are turned into mosques and personal belongings are damaged. Above all, their act of participation in the Greek revolution was greatly punished with slaughters and holocausts.

In 1912, the Ottomans sold the Dodecanese islands to the Italians and a new period of occupation starts. Although the Italians made many public works, including ports, official buildings, and even restored the Medieval Town of Rhodes, the locals were always fighting for their independence. Finally, in 1947 with the Treaty of Paris, the Dodecanese islands became officially part of Greece.

PLACES TO VISIT

 

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REVIEWS

02-09/07/2016

Dear Captain Peter, Andriana, and beautiful Malena…from the very first moment stepped on Malena you have treated us very lovely and since then the time has flown, and here we are on our last night on board. We would like to thank you for all the good memories and your hospitality. Peter, you are a great Captain with a big sense of humor, you were always been available for us and you did your best, to make all have an unforgettable time. With your guideless, we ‘ve seen beautiful places, dined at wonderful tavernas, swimming in amazing waters. It was an unforgettable week for us and we would definitely come back to explore new places and to live a new adventure with you if possible. From now on you have a family in Istanbul and we know that we have a friend in Greece! Thank you again for the unforgettable journey!

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Kelly Marchetti
Kelly Marchetti
19:58 03 Oct 19
Unmatched Ionian Islands Sailing Adventure!! I recently traveled to Greece with a group of friends to go on a chartered sailing adventure and it surpassed any and all expectations. It's not hard to fall in love with all the beauty Greece has to offer, but a great sailing vacation (even in Greece) can be dampened by a less than stellar boat charter or skipper. I was beyond thrilled that my experience with Greek Island Yacht Holiday, by far, made for the best vacation of my life! The captain, Walter, was an expert in sailing and knew all the good places to explore, both on sea and land. Most importantly, he took the time to understand what we wanted out of our vacation and helped develop an agenda that, combined with his local knowledge, maximized our time there. And we made changes along the way depending upon what we felt like doing or seeing, which wasn't a problem at all. He emphasized it was our vacation and he made everything happen. Walter was the perfect guide – super friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. We mixed great sailing with docking at villages that provided us with local culture and we even rented a car one day to go further inland to see some sights on our list. When we wanted a break from the docks, we anchored, made dinner on board and enjoyed the quiet. I didn't sleep inside the entire week. I slept on deck so I could look at the clear skies and brilliant stars. I can't recommend Walter and his company highly enough and can't wait to go back next year!!
ori goren
ori goren
16:36 21 Nov 18
We sailed with a charted boat this November, both Walter and the boat were amazing, Walter was super cool, had a lot of patience during our inquirys before, gave us the bast recommendations and tips. All and all great service, lots of fun.
Gilad de Vries
Gilad de Vries
20:06 20 Nov 18
Amazing welcome and service by Walter, highly recommended. Very trustworthy and worked really hard to make us happy customers!
Gal Sivan
Gal Sivan
19:38 20 Nov 18
We chartered a bare boat from Walter and had a great time. We really enjoyed the boat and the service of Walter was super. All our needs and wishes were attended with a smile. Checkin and our were quick and effective. Everything was as agreed and described - Walter is surely trustworthy and we highly recommend his services. We hope to do it again soon!
Yvette Yong
Yvette Yong
00:31 03 Nov 18
Walter was fantastic! We left the itinerary up to him and he planned the perfect trip. He's an extremely capable skipper and excellent company as well. Highly recommended!
Ben Duncan
Ben Duncan
14:57 27 Sep 18
Before my wife and I even arrived to bareboat charter ‘Argo’ for two weeks in September '18, Walter had provided us with exceptional communication and service that was a step above any regular company. When we eventually arrived to the immaculately prepared and meticulously maintained 'Argo' we immediately knew he was true to his word, and the boat was exactly as described. Cruising the Cyclades aboard ‘Argo’ was effortless and stress-free knowing the highest level of care and attention had gone into the boat – it felt like our own yacht, not a charter boat with thousands of miles under her keel! We found Walter to be highly professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and his local knowledge and advice aided us to have a wonderful two weeks on board. Thank you again Walter, and we hope to see you again for our next Greek Islands adventure!!
Jorge G
Jorge G
19:47 26 Jun 18
We have been sailing some years always operating with charter companies all around the world. I can only say that GIYH has been the BEST. The attention and support from Walter Kurk was incredible at all time. Thank you for this amazing holidays! Jorge
Brianna Niles
Brianna Niles
22:15 16 Dec 16
Best vacation of my life! I was hesitant about being on a sailboat with 2 toddlers, but Walter's abilities and attention to our family (along with his wife, loveliest ever, Aleca) made us feel right at home and in trustworthy hands. Walter considered all of our needs and wishes and was willing to go out of his way at any point and time. I not only hold this trip dear to my heart, but Walter and Aleca as well.
Stas Blokhin
Stas Blokhin
00:07 16 Dec 16
Thanks to Ocean Nomads! I had one week on board of "Argo". Yacht is good, clean, and it is very easy to sail. Walter is an owner, and he assist with all issues. Great man and experienced skipper. Highly recommended!
Claude Cloutier
Claude Cloutier
17:27 11 Apr 16
We spent one week touring Athens and the surrounding area and then ten days touring the islands by sailboat. One of the highlights was swimming in the caldera at Santorini and another was watching the pod of dolphins swim by the sailboat. Walter and his wife, who's a fabulous cook, we're the most gracious hosts. Walter arranged for everything we could ask for. We loved our vacation and would do it again in a heartbeat. You can't go wrong with Ocean Nomads!
Pete Popov
Pete Popov
22:57 26 Feb 16
Since 2007, Walter has been our skipper every summer. Sailing in the Mediterranean is my favorite summer experience. So many unforgettable memories. Walter is a great sailor and a fantastic skipper. He quickly became a friend and someone we enjoy having with us on the boat, at dinner, etc, summer after summer. Walter knows the Med very well - the swimming spots, the good tavernas, the marinas and the anchoring spots, the local hidden bars and other gems. Highly recommended.
Christian Billen
Christian Billen
14:58 24 Feb 16
My family sailed with Walter and his wife and we had the most amazing vacation. The sailboat was in perfect condition, the sites changed every day and were beautiful, his wife prepared fresh meals for us every day from the different local markets where the boat docked. We highly recommend this experience of a lifetime to anyone.
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Greek Island Yacht Holiday
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Best Value Buttons
2019-10-12T13:23:38+0000
What a great sailing trip on the Ionian Sea! Our seasoned captain, Walter, was very knowledgeable. He provided lots of options and recommendations for our every desire.Happy highlights include a surprise sighting of dolphins, sleeping under the stars, an excursion to Shipwreck beach on Zakynthos island, visiting Myrtos beach on Kefalonia island, dropping anchor at Skorpios and swimming by Aristotle and Jackie O's house, great food, picturesque island villages, beautiful cliffs and quaint country side. Highly recommend!read more
Kelly Marchetti
Kelly Marchetti
2019-10-03T19:49:19+0000
Unmatched Ionian Islands Sailing Adventure!! I recently traveled to Greece with a group of friends to go on a chartered sailing adventure and it surpassed any and all expectations. It's not hard to fall in love with all the beauty Greece has to offer, but a great sailing vacation (even in Greece) can be dampened by a less than stellar boat charter or skipper. I was beyond thrilled that my experience with Greek Island Yacht Holiday, by far, made for the best vacation of my life! The captain, Walter, was an expert in sailing and knew all the good places to explore, both on sea and land. Most importantly, he took the time to understand what we wanted out of our vacation and helped develop an agenda that, combined with his local knowledge, maximized our time there. And we made changes along the way depending upon what we felt like doing or seeing, which wasn't a problem at all. He emphasized it was our vacation and he made everything happen. Walter was the perfect guide – super friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. We mixed great sailing with docking at villages that provided us with local culture and we even rented a car one day to go further inland to see some sights on our list. When we wanted a break from the docks, we anchored, made dinner on board and enjoyed the quiet. I didn't sleep inside the entire week. I slept on deck so I could look at the clear skies and brilliant stars. I can't recommend Walter and his company highly enough and can't wait to go back next year!!read more
Iakovos Papadopoulos
Iakovos Papadopoulos
2019-07-05T10:06:29+0000
Full recommended!Great experience!
Yvette Yong
Yvette Yong
2018-11-03T00:27:31+0000
Walter was fantastic! We left the itinerary up to him and he planned the perfect trip. He's an extremely capable skipper and excellent company as well. Highly recommended!read more
Ben Duncan
Ben Duncan
2018-09-27T14:54:01+0000
Before my wife and I even arrived to bareboat charter ‘Argo’ for two weeks in September '18, Walter had provided us with exceptional communication and service that was a step above any regular company. When we eventually arrived to the immaculately prepared and meticulously maintained 'Argo' we immediately knew he was true to his word, and the boat was exactly as described. Cruising the Cyclades aboard ‘Argo’ was effortless and stress-free knowing the highest level of care and attention had gone into the boat – it felt like our own yacht, not a charter boat with thousands of miles under her keel! We found Walter to be highly professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and his local knowledge and advice aided us to have a wonderful two weeks on board. Thank you again Walter, and we hope to see you again for our next Greek Islands adventure!!read more
François Dugast
François Dugast
2018-09-15T09:02:42+0000
We spent two weeks sailing around the Cyclades with a bunch of friends and captain Walter. If there is a word that can describe these vacation it is: perfect. Perfect skipper, perfect routes, perfect tavernas, perfect beaches, perfect sea, perfect food. Thank you Walter. We’ll try to come back next year.read more
Brent Jones
Brent Jones
2018-07-16T19:28:59+0000
My wife and I spent a fabulous 2 weeks with Captain Walter on board the “Argo” exploring the Cyclades Islands. It was the proverbial trip of a lifetime every stop seemed to be more beautiful than the last and every morning I felt like I was waking up in a picture postcard. Walter’s many years of sailing experience in the area made him the perfect travel advisor giving us valuable advice on where to go and what to see when we were in port as well as helping us navigate the various Greek specialties on the menus of the local “Taverna’s As a non sailor non boater of any type I was a little nervous about being on a sail boat for two weeks never mind concerns about motion sickness but after a few days watching Walter in action I could see he was a very safe and experienced sailor, in addition after 2 or 3 days of sailing I was happy to find my sea legs and didn’t require any anti nausea medication whatsoever! In conclusion I highly recommend Captain Walter and Greek Island Yacht Holiday you will not be disappointed 👍🏼😎read more
Mark Loon-en
Mark Loon-en
2018-07-14T06:55:17+0000
Sailing => ok i have (18yrs) and 1500+ hours of sailing/cruising, sail racing (yachts& dinghy) and about the same hours on repairs and maintenance in Canada... and read many books on sailing around the world. The opportunity came up to sail the Greek Islands by sailboat... and i have never done “International Sailing” and I said = for sure... and with another couple we signed up with Walter & Argo for 2 week Greek Island trip beginning of May 2018. Walter was great & we explored approx 17 islands, learned a bit about the history, ancient sites, local culinary foods, language, greek mannerisms, caving, snorkelling, hiking, swimming in hot springs, shopping, and good sailing... the list goes on and I am still not finished sorting photos Walter is also very safe on the water and I was totally comfortable even in high winds as his sailing skills are extremely good. I definitely learned a few extra sailing & boat handling tricks. I was completely relaxed and totally rested by the end of this vacation.. Would I go again = yes.. and longer Absolutely appreciated Mark Member of the LMYC Lower Mainland Yachtread more
Bobi Asenov
Bobi Asenov
2018-03-30T16:30:41+0000
Camellia Andreeva
Camellia Andreeva
2018-03-16T15:33:28+0000
BE HAPPY AND GO TO TRAVELING WITH ISLAND YACHT HOLIDAY!!! CAMELLIA ANDREEVA GENIUS OF THE WORLD
Sahka Urumova
Sahka Urumova
2018-03-16T15:32:07+0000
Била съм в Гърция по работа с личния си автомобил, обикалях много. Това което видях е направо рай. Едно място докоснато от Бог, което си заслужава да видите и изживейте.read more
Ray Zandvoort
Ray Zandvoort
2017-12-08T20:52:33+0000
Rex Bleau
Rex Bleau
2017-12-08T20:21:54+0000
Bonjour. Excellente page avec toujours de belles photos invitants au voyage. Merci
Erwin Kruk
Erwin Kruk
2017-12-08T18:34:39+0000
Donald Maureen Conrath McKay
Donald Maureen Conrath McKay
2017-11-15T15:23:14+0000
A wonderful way to explore Greece and learn about the culture. If you are prone to sea sickness, Walter has the cure down pat. He supervises you steering the big wheel while staring at a given point on the horizon! Amazing!read more
Snejanka Pantcheva
Snejanka Pantcheva
2017-09-24T15:28:58+0000
It was exceptional experience. Thank you, Ocean Nomads and thank you, Walter, for making it possible for the first timers to fall in love with sailing in Greece.read more
Cnneal Wang
Cnneal Wang
2017-06-29T22:00:04+0000
Ricardo Ortiz
Ricardo Ortiz
2017-06-29T14:28:35+0000
Keith Shirlaw
Keith Shirlaw
2016-12-14T17:02:36+0000
Had a absolutely fabulous time on ARGO in July this year all around the Greek Islands, the boat was immaculate on boarding for our adventure and Walter made us feel right at home.We sailed with 3 persons on the boat and really appreciated the stability and speed of ARGO, A great time on a great boat,well done Walter and Ocean Nomads Greece.You guys rock !!!!!!read more
Evgeni Shatzki
Evgeni Shatzki
2016-11-10T11:10:58+0000
Отличный скиппер,замечательный человек. Много знает и многому может научить. Рядом с ним на яхте ты чувствуешь себя уверенным.Две недели проведенные вместе многому меня научили.read more
Keri Vincent-Dykes
Keri Vincent-Dykes
2015-07-16T14:57:23+0000
We enjoyed everything about our time with Walter and Alexandra!!! If you want a great experience----look no farther!!!!This is who you want for your boat charter. Beautiful coves- great meals-definitely a 5 star experience.read more
Mark Dykes
Mark Dykes
2015-07-09T07:41:50+0000
I can't say enough about Ocean Nomads with Captain Walter and Aleka. If you ever considered a crewed Greek charter you must do it with these guys. My entire family loved this charter more than any other and it's because everything was done top notch and the trip was truly carefree. Feel lucky we found them!read more
Soeredj Monorath
Soeredj Monorath
2015-04-16T13:22:59+0000
Great life needs active sailing with Walter and his crew! Thanks again for a wonderful two weeks of sailing. See you next year!read more
Dan Mitchell
Dan Mitchell
2014-06-29T05:43:46+0000
Taraneh Lajevardi
Taraneh Lajevardi
2014-06-28T16:31:02+0000
Dimitris Anafiotis
Dimitris Anafiotis
2014-03-20T18:42:54+0000
Luigi Theunissen
Luigi Theunissen
2014-03-02T23:45:49+0000
Riza Pipe Akter
Riza Pipe Akter
2013-12-14T22:50:56+0000
Douglas Wagar
Douglas Wagar
2013-12-09T22:52:09+0000
Sheila Anne White
Sheila Anne White
2013-10-22T18:49:45+0000
Eugenia Tigris Altaica
Eugenia Tigris Altaica
2013-09-29T20:40:18+0000
Fer Corallo
Fer Corallo
2013-09-19T03:33:40+0000
Romualdo Silva
Romualdo Silva
2013-09-18T23:07:02+0000
Gilberto Menhinick Messeder
Gilberto Menhinick Messeder
2013-09-12T09:48:22+0000
Ricardo Gil
Ricardo Gil
2013-09-09T21:08:15+0000
Monica Terço de Menezes
Monica Terço de Menezes
2013-09-09T20:05:41+0000

Site Reviews

  • A fantastic week sailing! | Erik
    We are a family of 8 and wanted to sail for a week on the Greek islands. As we are not advanced sailors, we chose to hire a skipper. We had the luck to get Walter as a skipper in the Piraeus Marina, where we started for our week in the Saronic Sea. Arriving on Saturday, we started our sail ...
  • Sailing the Argo-Saronicos in July 2017 | Melissa
    My two daughters and I sailed with Walter and Aleka in the Argo-Saronic in July and couldn’t possibly have had a better experience. From the planning stages, it was a pleasure. He was helpful finding a sailboat that fit our needs and budget. We were very inexperienced in sailing, so his input led to the right boat and the right ...
  • Thanks to Ocean Nomads! Highly recommended!
    I had one week on board of “Argo”. Yacht is good, clean, and it is very easy to sail. Walter is an owner, and he assist with all issues. Great man and experienced skipper. Highly recommended! Stas Blokhin