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Summer holiday help please - family break with kids sailing in Greece?

(11 Posts)
BiddyPop Tue 01-Nov-16 16:38:06

Hi all you seasoned travelers, I am hoping you can give me some guidance please.

We want some sun next summer. No - we NEED some sun next summer!!

DH and I have never really been "sit on a beach for a week" type holiday-makers. We've twice done a week in Gran Canaria for some winter sun (one was our honeymoon as not much available from Ireland back then) but spent most of it walking or going around the island with some swimming rather than just laying out. DH loves the heat (spent 4 years working in South Africa), whereas I manage but start to wilt at around 30 degrees (I have traditional Irish pale skin so tend towards burning - but that's what sunscreen is for!). But I am happy if there is water to swim in and places to retreat to shade.

DD (10) is sports mad and doesn't "do" relaxation or sitting still. We had another Centre Parcs holiday this summer, which was good as she was kept busy, but things tended to be an hour long mostly for her or need us involved. So we didn't actually relax much ourselves.

DD is a good sailor and is already working on level 4 in RYA sailing (sails a topper or pico mostly but is happy across a wide range of boats in our local sailing school).

So we both had a brainwave over the weekend (when we realized why we were so wrecked - no proper break and relaxation in over 2 years, with a LOT going on in that time!) - to go for a Mediterranean holiday for some heat and nice swimming, but with sailing that DD would enjoy and keep her busy and give us some time to actually unwind, read a book, have a long snooze or have a quiet walk without Tigger bouncing around us all the time!

(As an aside, I have done a basic dinghy course and enjoyed it, I'd like to do more, and DH has been out a few times in larger boats and would like to learn a bit too - but that is another "bonus marks" part).

We like to self cater with some eating out, but would be happy half-board (did that skiing in Austria before). I would like a balcony or space to sit outside ourselves at night (while we'd hope DD would make friends and head off some evenings, she doesn't tend to do that easily, and is so busy with activity by day that she needs reasonable sleep, so we anticipate sitting with a glass of wine once she is gone to bed).

Have any of you seasoned travelers any recommendations? In terms of places to look at or companies that do this kind of holiday or previous experiences (good or bad)?

We would normally fly from Dublin, but I have heard it suggested that UK companies may offer what we want as a package so we'd be happy enough to fly to London or Manchester if need be. Since DD arrived, most of our holidays have tended to be things like CP (3 separate years), a massive extended family adventure in Canada but otherwise a lot of self-catering in Ireland. And we know we need to plan ahead on next year for our own sanity......

imsorryiasked Tue 01-Nov-16 17:30:59

I'm sure someone with more experience well be along soon but have a look at Neilson holidays - they do sailing holidays in Grecce but also lots of other activity types.

rookiemere Tue 01-Nov-16 21:11:03

Not done it myself, but friends highly recommend Neilson holidays for this and it was Greece where they stayed. Hardly saw their DCs at all as they were so keen to participate in the activities grin.

fiorentina Wed 09-Nov-16 20:32:54

Mark Warner is worth a look for sailing.

mummymeister Thu 10-Nov-16 10:40:50

Ocean elements in Vasiliki Greece, does sailing and windsurfing. it was fantastic. message me if you want more details.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 10-Nov-16 10:43:08

Best holiday we've ever had! Though DD2 has developed a fear of water so we won't be going again anytime soon sad

SplinteryBottom Thu 10-Nov-16 10:47:56

Neilson would be my absolute first choice for you.
Phone up, be honest about your Dh's level of experience and see if they'll let him charter a yacht for a flotilla holiday (you'll get lots of help parking etc).
If he's not at that level yet you can do a two-week 'villa flotilla', where you have a week of combining onshore activities (and there are LOADS at a Nielson base) with yacht training, then a week flotilla sailing (in company but on your own yacht). Time it right and there are even kids-focussed flotillas so your DD would have more kids to hang out with.

On shore they do LOADS of actiivties for kids, something called Hot Shots where you do extra watersports would be good for your DD as she'd learn loads she could transfer onto the yacht week, and then you and your DH could have lots of time to really work on your sailing.

LAst time I went to Neilson there were lots of IRish families benefitting from the fact that they can go out of British shcool holidays too.

I don't work for neilson (promise!) but have been several times and they would be your absolute best solution here.

Don't, whatever you do, phone up a cheap yacht charter company and get a 'bareboat' charter where you take a yacht on your own unless BOTH you and DH do a lot more training between now and then and even then I'd say no for your first charter-.

AlannaOfTrebond Thu 10-Nov-16 11:02:20

I second what others have suggested.

You could do a clubs style holiday (land based with lots of sailing activities) with Neilson or Ocean Elements. There is also a new company called Horizon Watersports based on Lefkas in Greece who are worth a look.

I think you could also really enjoy a flotilla holiday, where you have a yacht to yourselves and a crew on their own boat who look after a group of yachts. My recommendation for flotilla holidays would be Sailing Holidays followed by Neilson.

I worked in marine tourism for 10 years and would recommend either of these options from your description of your family. You're welcome to pm me if you have any questions.

BiddyPop Thu 10-Nov-16 11:38:01

Oooh, thanks all - there's a lot to think about there.

I must admit, I had thought of a land-based accommodation holiday, but the notion of 1 week on land and a second "at sea", is possibly something to look into! Absolutely, we are NOT getting into boats before we are ready! I wouldn't even be comfortable going out myself yet (I can just about handle the topper!) although I know DD is very happy in 1720s too.

I think perhaps yes, a phonecall each to Neilson, Mark Warners, Ocean Elements and Sailing Holidays looks like my next main step.

I may well be back with questions, but that is a great help in pointing me in the right direction on my research. Thanks all!

specialsubject Fri 11-Nov-16 20:38:28

To take a yacht on flotilla you need two trained adults. That means a several day course which is fun but needs effort.

I would suggest one of the above companies with a skippered day yacht option, and a decent sailing kids club for your daughter. At her level she needs a club that doesn't just muck about, she will get fed up with that. Not sure which resorts do it now but the companies should advise.

I bet she would love Minorca sailing as they have real kit and good tuition but they are £££££.

AlannaOfTrebond Fri 11-Nov-16 23:41:04

Whether you need two trained adults to go on flot depends on the company and the sailing area. Most ask for two able bodies adults but only one needs sailing experience and in some areas you can have a helper to teach you for the first couple of days, so you don't need any experience.

Requirements do differ dependent on location, you need very little experience for a beginners sailing area like the Ionian in Greece, but would need more for places like Croatia or the Caribbean.

This is a common preconception that puts many people off taking the chance on an amazing holiday and the satisfaction of gaining a new skill. I speak from experience of five years as flotilla lead crew looking after guests with all levels of experience.

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