At last, despite Covid fears of flying and quarantining putting an end to our long-awaited holiday, the Autumn Rally to Kos was a great success. 6 yachts, 26 crew and 7 islands in the Dodecanese, with plenty of wind of the first few days and calm seas on the last. We were pleased to be joined by charter yacht crewed by Ashdown Sailing Club.
Some OOSC members flew out to Kos before the charter started for some land-based relaxation. Some stayed in Kos town, some in beach resorts. Some hired various vehicles – Mad Max beach buggies, quad bike, scooter and taxi – to explore the island and visit the archaeological sites at Pyli and Asklipieion.
Andy and Jane arrived in Kos on Stiletto to meet up with old friends. They had sailed their yacht out from the UK to Andreas’ Greek home island of Ikaria, conveniently close to our cruising area and it proved invaluable to have their local knowledge.
The plan was that we would spend most of the week working our way north into the prevailing strong Meltemi winds so that we could then be blown rapidly downwind back to Kos over the last day or two. The first half went according to plan with some great sailing into stiff breezes. Sod’s law then kicked in and the winds died as we reached our northernmost islands leaving us to motor much of the way back to Kos. This had the benefit of some delightful calm harbours and anchorages in beautiful settings.
On Saturday morning we all met up at Kos Marina. -Serenity and Ocyrhoe escaped at 5pm to overnight at Pserimos. We arrived as the sun was setting in a calm, protected harbour and practised stern-to mooring for the first time in ages. Dinner at a traditional beachside restaurant. The other three were not quite ready in time to get away that afternoon as cleaning and getting the final bits of the inventory sorted made it too late to leave.
On Sunday all the charter yachts met up in Vathi on Kalymnos. The metlemi wind provided lively sailing and winds Force 5-6 – on the nose, of course. Challenging stern to morning in a small harbour with crosswinds, with helpful (or not) instructions shouted from the quayside by the local Captain Manolis.
On Monday the meltemi wind was again in full song and we had some fantastic sailing under clear blue skies. Finally, the 5 charter yachts met up with Andy and Jane on Stiletto and all yachts anchored in a large scenic bay at Xerocampos on Leros. We had fun and games getting most of the crews ashore in dinghies for an OOSC group dinner.
Good winds again on Tuesday and dolphins spotted. Lipsos is a pretty Greek harbour with a disproportionately large church, a sandy beach and an excellent bakery/cafe.
Andy organised a splendid Meze supper for the entire group of 26 with a presentation of the Rear Commodore pennant to Kevin Roberts and OOSC beer mats to Howard and Andy for organising the trip, kindly presented by Richard.
Wednesday was a short sail to Scala on Patmos in the morning – for the first time, no tacking was involved!
Some people visited the hilltop Hora in the afternoon, some in the evening and some the next morning for a trip to the famous Cave of the Apocalypse where John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelations and the fortress-like monastery. The views from the top were amazing.
Very light winds on Thursday with Dolphins spotted in the harbour. Most yachts stopped at Marathos for a swim. It was such an idyllic bay that Athena decided to stay the night with dinner at the pirate restaurant and lucky Stiletto stayed for three nights.
The other yachts headed south to Lakki on Leros with some sailing but rather more motoring to split the 50-mile sail back to Kos.
On Friday, just when we hoped for the NW meltemi to blow us downwind to Kos, there was no wind at all and most of the day was spent under motor. Three of the yachts had a final lunch stop in a calm and scenic (but plastic strewn) bay on the north side of Pserimos and then home to Kos.
The wind finally picked up late afternoon allowing a gentle final sail to the marina on headsail.
The Rally finished with Commodore’s pirate party on the dock and a last dinner together in Kos.
A memorable trip in a beautiful part of the world, that I’m sure we will all remember for a long time.
PS So glad we didn’t go to the gentle Ionian, which suffered two hurricanes while we were in Kos, with several charter yachts sunk!
CREW LIST OF KOS RALLY 2020
Howard Richardson – Commodore
Jeremy Taylor – Vice Commodore
Kevin Roberts – Rear Commodore
|ATHENA – Ashdown Sailing Club
Jane Fowler – Commodore