OUR AEGEAN CARGO SAILING 2018 TRIP WAS SUCCESSFUL
Following on the success of the 2017 Aegean Cargo Sailing trip we organised a longer tour during the months of May and June 2018. This time the aim was to cover all the island regions of the Aegean Sea: the Cyclades, the Sporadies, the North Aegean Islands and the Dodecanese. Geography dictated the sailing plan, starting from the port of Lavrion moving northeast to Limnos and then south all the way to Astypalea, and back through the Cyclades. In all we aimed to sail to 18 islands during two months.
We prepared to make contacts with producers of local products and with merchants of organic and local products on every island to demonstrate that it is possible to transport the products by sail and to promote an expanded market for the "Blue Economy" combining sustainable production and sail transport. We also aimed to spread the idea of sail transport and the Blue Economy by contacting and giving live presentations to all interested and important actors on the islands.
PELAGO, the sloop we sailed to six islands in 2017, is not large nor fast enough for this plan. But we had the support of the ARGOLIS sailboat chartering company that offered us, at a sponsoring price, the 13 m sloop AVRORA that served our needs extremely well. We outfitted AVRORA with our solar panels to be energy independent and we sailed off on May 7.
Now that the journey in the Aegean is completed, we can draw some conclusions.
1. With modern sailing ships, we can efficiently circumnavigate the Aegean . We completed the tour of the 18 islands in 45 days and it is fairly easy to achieve 35 days and even 30 if we do not stop for a long time on the islands.
2. Solar energy covers all electricity needs. The solar panel system allowed us to continuously operate the refrigerator and to transport products that need cooling such as cheese. It also covered all instrument, lighting and autopilot energy needs during several night crossings.
3. The third and very important fact, is the very positive response we found on all the islands. We approached Local Government, Nautical Associations, Ecological Associations, producers and merchants who all tell us that we must try to bring this project to maturity, to continue and develop it. We hope that all this good reception will translate into real help so that next year we'll organise a better tour of the Aegean.
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