Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 39 - 2008

 

Papaligouras has a busy introduction to shipping

---New Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasios Papaligouras, has had a busy introduction to his new ministry. He launched his second week in office with a round of briefing meetings with the leaders of the Greek shipping community, the purpose of which is to get acquainted with the important issues that concern the main stakeholders of the shipping industry.
September 22, members of the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC), visited his office when he met its president, Epaminondas Embiricos, first vp Constantinos Caroussis and the third vp, John M Lyras, for the first time. He also met the leadership of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), led by president Nicos Efthymiou, and the presidents of the 14 seamen's unions (PNO), led by general secretary, John Halas.
"We had a fruitful meeting with representatives of the Committee, during which we discussed the Greek shipping industry, under a national, European and international framework," said Papaligouras after the meeting with the London owners.
Halas said the PNO's meeting was more significant than just a general discussion because "we were able to develop subjects of concern to seafarers, like employment conditions on vessels working in the unprofitable lines within the Greek domestic ferry network".
Efthymiou said that fortunately ships in the oceangoing fleet have few problems, though he said piracy, climate change and the shortage of young people coming into the industry have to be addressed.
However, the former Justice minister had already had a busy first week, for no sooner had he taken over from his predecessor, Giorgos Voulgarakis, who resigned September 15, than he found himself discussing shipping and transport issues with Greece's key maritime ally, China.
His September 16 meeting with a Chinese transport delegation, led by deputy Transport minister, Xu Zuyuan, centred on shipping relations between the two countries plus the ongoing negotiations between China's Cosco Pacific and the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) for the 30-year concession to operate two of Piraeus' three container terminals. At his swearing-in, Papaligouras had said privatisation of port services was a government priority.
The following day he was addressing some 150 representatives of government, industry, academia and international organisations attending the first ever UN conference dedicated to hinterland connections of seaports. Held at the PPA's hq the September 17-18 event was part of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) programme on how to remove the bottleneck problems to hinterland connections of seaports while taking into consideration the interests of the various stakeholders, environmental concerns and geo-political interests.
September 19 he was among keynote speakers at celebrations marking World Maritime Day and Imo's 60 years of service to shipping. Here he, in the presence of the Prime minister Costas Karamanlis, underlined the importance of shipping to the Greek economy and the role played by seafarers in Greek shipping's development. He also re-affirmed Greece's support for Imo and its efforts to deal with the industry's mounting operational and environmental challenges.
In the evening of September 19 there was a change of tempo as he opened the 'Exclusive Yachting 2008' exhibition, where the best of yachting and lifestyle products and services would be on show at the Alsity Marina Agios Kosmas, through to September 22.
The following day, September 20, it was off to Galaxidi, on the Corinthian Gulf, to play host, along with Imo's secretary general, Efthimios Mitropoulos, at the unveiling of the International Memorial to the Wife of the Seafarer. The memorial was commissioned by Mitropoulos, who hails from this historical shipping town, and Papaligouras told the evening gathering that "the wife of a seafarer is in a special category as she is the pillar of the family, bringing up the children, seeing to their educational and emotional needs". He noted that while the seafarer is away battling the elements, he is content in the knowledge "he has the support of his wife who is in charge of things at home".
-- Filed: 2008-09-23
Source: www.newsfront.gr, News Roundup Update : 26 September 2008


Persian Gulf tanker rates may rise on improved demand
---September 27, 2008
Bloomberg reported that the cost of shipping Middle East crude oil to Asia may snap a 9 day decline as more October cargoes emerge.
According to a report from Paris based shipbroker Barry Rogliano Salles, Oil companies already hired 21 out of about 105 very large crude carriers or VLCCs, they need to load in October. It said that Sixty-six VLCCs are available and can get to the region within the next 30 days.
According to Barry Rogliano, SK Energy Company hired the tanker Asian Progress II to load a cargo on October 3rd for 100 Worldscale points. That's 5.3% above the London based Baltic Exchange's benchmark rate of 95.08 points for cargoes to Asia. The Baltic Exchange's daily price assessments will be used to settle USD 150 billion of freight derivatives contracts this year, estimates SSY Futures Limited a unit of the world's second largest shipbroker.
Worldscale points are a percentage of a nominal rate or flat rate for more than 320,000 specific routes. Flat rates for every voyage quoted in US dollars tonnes are revised annually by the Worldscale Association in London to reflect changing fuel costs, port tariffs and exchange rates.
Each flat rate assessment gives owners and oil companies a starting point for negotiating hire rates without having to calculate the value of each deal from scratch. A rate of 95.08 Worldscale points gives VLCC owners a daily income of USD 47,718 once fuel and port fees are paid. Frontline Limited said that August 21st it needs USD 31,400 a day to break even on each of its supertankers.
Source: http://steelguru.com/news/index/2008/09/23/NjM5NDk%3D/Persian_Gulf_tanker_rates_may_rise_on_improved_demand.html


Bank Of Greece: Cut bad loans
---Greek commercial banks should drastically contain their non-performing loans, Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos stressed on Tuesday.
Addressing a conference in Athens focusing on the Greek banking sector, organised by Financial Times, Provopoulos stressed that the central bank would force all commercial banks to comply with this policy, while he warned that banks would be obliged to move on with equity capital increases if they failed to do so.
Commenting on the impact of an international credit crisis on the domestic banking system, Provopoulos sounded optimistic, saying "it remains basically stable and its fundamentals are satisfactory".
The Greek central banker added that banks' liquidity were at satisfactory levels, although the cost of raising new capital to finance credit expansion has risen.
Provopoulos said Greece has suffered less compared with other countries from an international credit crisis so far, attributing this development to the minimal exposure of domestic banks to "toxic" investments. He said the crisis was the most difficult of the last decades, with shrinking growth and accelerating inflation.
Provopoulos urged for the coordination not only of central banks but of all supervisory agencies to overcome the ongoing international credit crisis. He noted that state interventions so far have helped to "avoid the worse".
Source: 24/09/08-01:20, http://www.express.gr/news/news-in-english/79008oz_2008092479008.php3


Economic cooperation agreement signed between Greece and S. Korea
---Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas and South Korean Ambassador Young-han Bae on Tuesday signed an economic cooperation agreement between Greece and South Korea for the strengthening of the already high and broad economic relations between the two countries.
The agreement foresees "the strengthening of bilateral relations, particularly in the sectors of industry, ship building, agriculture, transport and tourism."
Greece is one of the best customers of Korean ship building industry which during the period 2003-2006, has received 500 orders for ships of Greek interests, while during the period 2003-2005, 150 Greek ships were built, worth 1.2 billion $ dollars per year.
Source: www.ana.gr


Shots fired at ship owner's car
---Unidentified shooters fired nine rounds against the car of a ship owner while it was parked outside his home in the Athens seaside suburb of Voula.
The incident occurred on Sunday night and police believe that financial or professional differences may have been the motive for the attack.
Source: http://www.hri.org/news/greek/ana/2008/08-09-23.ana.html#32


Ship owner Restis sets up fund targeting digital services
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com


Restis Group Invests In Nuclear Energy
---Nuclear Energy may be a taboo issue in Greece, however it has been making an impressive comeback abroad, owing to high oil prices and the need to reduce gas emissions. The International Energy Agency estimates that nuclear energy production will rise by 51% by 2030.
Most of the companies are listed on big bourses like the NYSE. Two ETFs already trade on NYSE, based on indices like the S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index and theWNA Nuclear Energy Index (WNAI). DAXglobal Nuclear Energy Index (DXNE) is trading on the German stock market.
Yet another venture fund of Oxygen Capital was established this week, in which TANEO will participate. The Neoventures Fund has started investing capitals of up to 30 million euro in the field of on-line business.
Source: 25/9/2008, 11:25, Nikos Chrissikopoulos, nikos.chrissikopoulos@capital.gr


George Makes His Move
Based upon 20,508,575 shares outstanding less his holdings of 4,133,133 shares, which cost $43.5 million (average $10.52), Mr. Economou would pay $98.25 million for the balance at $6 per share. For a total assumed price of $141.7 million, Mr. Economou purchases a mixed fleet of 17 ships on the water and 6 newbuilding product carriers to be constructed at SPP in South Korea with delivery in the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2009. The average age of the on the water fleet is 12.8 years split between the tankers at 15 years and the bulkers at 7.4 years.
Interestingly, the middle-aged vessels, including all of the Suezmax tankers and most of the product tankers are chartered-in with the charters expiring in 2011-2012. The more modern vessels are owned (5 bulkers & 2 product carriers). In terms of employment, the newbuildings are bareboat chartered out for 7 to 10 years and the bulkers for 2 to 5 years. The product tankers are time chartered for 2 years with the Suezmax predominantly spot.
Clearly, Mr. Economou knows value. According to Clarkson the current cost to build a new Handymax product carrier is $53 million or $318 million for the 6. Then there is the owned bulk fleet, comprising 3 Panamax, 1 Handymax and 1 Supramax, which are all fixed. And finally, we presume the chartered-in vessels will provide positive cash flow from the spread.
Not a bad deal at all.
Source: http://www.marinemoney.com/freshlyminted/PDFFiles/2008/FreshlyMinted-Current.pdf


Cosmoship fleet renewal gathers pace as bulker tally hits 10
---Cosmoship Management of Greece continues to renew its fleet with an order at South Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard for four 37,000-dwt bulkers due for delivery in the second half of 2011.
Company boss Nikos Savvas was unwilling to disclose the price but brokers say yards are quoting around $40m for vessels of this size at the moment.
Earlier this summer, the company ordered six 30,000-dwt bulkers at New Times Shipyard in China. The first two are due for delivery in November and December of 2010, the second two in January and February of 2011 and the remaining pair in August and October of the same year. Again, prices were not revealed but are estimated at around $35m per ship.
Cosmoship controls five bulkers and one general cargoship, all built in the 1980s.
The bulker order comes almost a year after the company moved into chemical tankers. The owner has six 25,000-dwt vessels on order at South Korea's Dae Sun Shipbuilding for a reported $41m each. TradeWinds reported the company booking eight but it lists only six.
Cosmoship is mostly known for its containerships. It currently has eight and is at the tailend of taking delivery of a series of 10 boxships from Dae Sun. The final two 1,024-teu units from this series will be delivered next year.
The company also has another two 1,740-teu boxships on order at Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China with delivery in 2010.
Savvas says the company has a positive outlook on the shipping market when the bulkers will be delivered. He says the current economic upheaval is a result of the US economy going through some internal house cleaning after the Bush administration's two costly wars.
Regardless of how long this stabilisation process will take, Savvas argues that the world's need to transport goods is not expected to slow down. On the contrary, he says commodity trades are expected to increase in the foreseeable future.
By Yiota Gousas, Athens
published: 26 September 2008
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Arcade Acquisition Corp. Enters Into Definitive Agreements to Purchase Ten Container Vessels for a Total Consideration of $262 Million
---Sep 22, 2008 08:19 ET
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 22, 2008) - Arcade Acquisition Corp. (OTCBB: ACDQU) (OTCBB: ACDQ) (OTCBB: ACDQW) announced today that it has entered into a series of agreements pursuant to which it has agreed to acquire ten (10) feeder service containerships (with a total capacity of 21,135 TEU) for an aggregate purchase price of $261.7 million (the "Acquisition"). Six of the ten vessels will be purchased from Palmosa Shipping Corp. ("Palmosa") in exchange for common stock and the repayment of debt and four will be acquired from companies whose ships are managed by Tsakos Shipping & Trading S.A. ("TST") for a combination of cash and common stock.
In order to effect the Acquisition, Arcade and its newly-formed Marshall Islands subsidiary, Conbulk Corporation ("Conbulk" or the "Company"), will enter into an agreement and plan of merger (the "Merger Agreement") pursuant to which Arcade will merge with and into Conbulk with Conbulk being the surviving entity (the "Redomiciliation Merger"). Conbulk will be the only U.S.-listed public container company focusing on providing feeder service and operating smaller vessels which accommodate regional trade flows around the world. Conbulk intends to apply for listing on the NASDAQ Global Market either upon the closing or shortly thereafter.
Conbulk has approximately three years remaining on its time charters, and anticipates generating approximately $60.3 million in revenue and $38.2 million in EBITDA in its first full year of operations, which represents a purchase price multiple of 6.85x the first year's EBITDA.
The Acquisition, which will take place pursuant to a series of closings, will be financed by the issuance of approximately 9.7 million shares of Conbulk common stock ($76.1 million) to be issued to designees of Palmosa and TST (based on a stock price of $7.88), approximately $68.0 million of cash held in Arcade's trust account, and borrowings of $126.4 million from an expected $200.0 million credit facility. All of the consideration paid to Palmosa will be in stock. On a primary basis following the final closing, 47.9% of the Company will be owned by designees of Palmosa and TST, 9.3% by the Arcade sponsors and 42.8% by the public. The agreement also includes an earn-out incentive to Conbulk Management Ltd. ("Conbulk Management"), a Marshall Islands company jointly owned and controlled by Palmosa and Tsakos interests that will provide commercial and technical management services to the Company's fleet after the Acquisition, of up to 3,500,000 additional shares should the Company achieve targeted EBITDA of $50-58 million and $70-78 million in the 2nd and 3rd years of operations, respectively.
Jonathan Furer, Arcade's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "The partnership brings together highly experienced management teams from the Dalakouras family and TST that have a long and established track record in international shipping. Palmosa is led by Dimitris Dalakouras, a member of the Dalakouras family which has acquired over 110 vessels in its 40 year history in the shipping industry. The Tsakos family is a leader in the global shipping industry with expertise in international tanker, dry bulk and container shipping. We intend to capitalize on the successful track record of Arcade management in private equity and the SPAC market, including the IPO and subsequent business combination for Stone Arcade Acquisition Corp., now KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. (NASDAQ: KPPC)." KapStone is a leading North American producer of kraft paper, linerboard and saturating kraft paper and recently completed the $475 million acquisition of the Charleston Kraft Business from MeadWestvaco.
Michael Jolliffe will become Conbulk's non-executive Chairman. Mr. Jolliffe is currently Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of Tsakos Energy Navigation (NYSE: TNP) and Non-Executive Chairman of StealthGas (NASDAQ: GASS). Dimitris Dalakouras of Palmosa will be the Chief Executive Officer, Maria Tsakos will be President, George Bamiotis, co-owner of Palmosa will be the Chief Operating Officer, and Stefanos Kardamakis will be the Chief Financial Officer. In addition, Jonathan Furer and John Chapman, Arcade's Chief Financial Officer, along with Dimitris Potamitis and Frans Malmros, will serve on Conbulk's nine-member Board of Directors.
Upon the final closing of the Acquisition, Conbulk will own and operate 10 feeder service container vessels which are chartered out to large container liner operators under time charter contracts with an average remaining term of three years. The Company will be focused on smaller and more versatile containerships (under 4,000 TEU) providing feeder service worldwide. Nine out of the 10 vessels are chartered out to two of the three largest container liner companies (MSC and CMA CGM wholly-owned subsidiary, Cheng Lie Navigation), while the tenth vessel is chartered to CCNI, a large cargo transportation operator based in Chile. These vessels will run charter routes in Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa/ India, Australia and across eastern Asia.
The Palmosa and TST designees and Arcade's founding stockholders have opted to defer a portion of their dividends in the first year in order to offer to public investors an initial special dividend rate of $0.22 per share, implying a dividend yield of 11.2% based on a share price of $7.88. In line with management's growth strategy for the Company, the targeted dividend rate for subsequent years is expected to be approximately $0.16 per share, or 8.1% per annum based on a share price of $7.88. Conbulk intends to pay dividends, on a quarterly basis, beginning with the first quarter following the closing.
Global demand has driven significant growth of container use and consequently container shipping over the past 10 years. Conbulk's management believes that container shipping, especially the feeder segment, is under-represented in the public markets. None of the three current U.S. public container companies focuses on smaller vessels providing feeder service. Feeder service is essential to international trade as it provides service to both short and long routes that lack the volume demand to warrant service from larger vessels. Feeder vessels have access to smaller ports, straits and waterways that cannot be accessed by larger vessels and support growth of developing countries by providing regular services from and between local developing ports and large hub ports. Furthermore, according to industry sources, the new vessel order book for small containerships (1,000-4,000 TEU) stands only at 22% of the current worldwide fleet as compared to 175% for larger containerships (over 7,500 TEU).
The Company will continue to target vessels of 1,000 to 4,000 TEU and anticipates acquiring up to eight additional vessels by early 2011 through its acquisition program. Management believes that rising containership demand and the thin order book for smaller containerships will create conditions to support market prices and charter rates for smaller containerships in the coming years.
Commenting on the transaction, Mr. Dalakouras stated: "We are particularly excited with the partnership, and we are looking forward to presenting this transaction to Arcade's stockholders for their approval. We believe this transaction offers the Arcade stockholders a favorable multiple and an attractive dividend rate. Our plans are to grow by taking advantage of the positive fundamentals of the feeder segment of the containership market, which we believe will enable us to enhance stockholder value. Following completion of the Acquisition, and assuming no redemptions, our net debt to enterprise value will be approximately 41%, below the level of our public peers. With the potential funds from warrant exercises, access to bank financing and by borrowing closer to industry levels, we expect to have the necessary funds to execute our fleet expansion plans. Conbulk's strategy is to seek strong and predictable cash flows based on medium to long-term time charters with first class charterers, enabling us to implement an attractive and sustainable dividend policy without compromising our growth potential."
Source: SOURCE: Arcade Acquisition Corp. http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Arcade-Acquisition-Corp-NASDAQ-KPPC-902240.html


Danaos Corporation adds two new 4,253 TEU containerships to its fleet.
"We enthusiastically welcome the latest deliveries," said Dr. Coustas, Chief Executive Officer of Danaos. "We are pleased to have taken delivery, approximately a month earlier than scheduled, of our two latest containerships from Samsung Heavy Industries. Both vessels have already commenced their 12 year time charter with Zim Line, one of the largest containership liner companies in the world. The vessels are chartered at an accretive fixed charter rate which provides Danaos with an effective hedge against market charter rate fluctuations. We expect that this addition to our fleet, along with another 32 vessels currently on order will contribute substantially to our distributable cash flow and net earnings and will continue to support a solid base for our dividend policy while boosting shareholder value.
About Danaos Corporation
Danaos Corporation is an international owner of containerships, chartering its vessels to many of the world's largest liner companies. Our current fleet of 39 containerships aggregating 155,123 TEUs ranks Danaos among the largest containership charter owners in the world based on total TEU capacity. Danaos is the largest US listed containership company based on fleet size. Furthermore, the company has a contracted fleet of 32 additional containerships aggregating 234,962 TEU with scheduled deliveries up to 2011. The company's shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "DAC".
Forward-Looking Statement
Risks and uncertainties are further described in reports filed by Danaos Corporation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Visit our website at www.danaos.com
Company Contact:
Dimitri Andritsoyiannis
Chief Financial Officer
Danaos Corporation
Athens, Greece
Tel: +30 210 419 6481
E-Mail: cfo@danaos.com
Iraklis Prokopakis
Chief Operating Officer
Danaos Corporation
Athens, Greece
Tel. +30 210 419 6400
E-Mail: coo@danaos.com
Source: www.danaos.com


UPDATE 2-Excel CEO says credit crunch hurting shipping
* Goods stranded on docks
* System in "a state of chaos"
* Ships on order may not be built
* Underlying trade fundamentals strong thanks to Asia (Adds CEO comment on Asian markets, updates stock action)
By Nick Carey
---CHICAGO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The credit crunch is sucking liquidity out of global trade and the shipping business, leaving cargoes stranded on docks and threatening to bring down shipyards and ship owners alike, the top executive of Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd said on Friday.
"The banks have ceased lending and a lack of liquidity affects trade," Stamatis Molaris told Reuters in a telephone interview. "The demand for goods is there; there is just not enough liquidity to move those goods around."
"If the credit crunch lasts beyond the short term, then shipyards -- especially the newer ones -- are going to fall like a house of cards," he added.
Molaris said that throughout the industry and in numerous markets, some cargoes have been left on the dock because it is hard to find banks willing to fund the movement of the goods.
"It has happened to us and it is happening everywhere to everyone," he said. "The whole system has come to a state of chaos."
The Baltic Exchange's chief sea freight index .BADI> for global raw materials has fallen nearly 70 percent since hitting a lifetime high in May, when it was buoyed by booming demand for natural resources in China and India.
Now, however, the index is weighed down by troubled financial markets, weaker commodity prices, and concerns over Asian demand. It fell 10 percent on Friday to reach a two-year low.
Molaris said the index has fallen despite a fundamentally strong bulk shipping market, with massive infrastructure projects underway in developing Asian markets.
"The need for those raw materials has not changed," he said.
More than 90 percent of the world's traded goods by volume is carried by sea.
Excel has a fleet of 47 ships that haul raw materials -- iron ore, coal, grain, cement and such -- in bulk. The company is somewhat insulated from falling daily freight rates for dry bulk ships, as most of its fleet is on long-term charters at fixed rates. Sixty percent of its fleet is on such charters, and 50 percent is on fixed rates through 2010.
"If the crisis is over within two and a half years, then we are in a good position," said Molaris, whose company bought Quintana Maritime Ltd for $2.45 billion earlier this year.
He said tight credit may force smaller companies to try to sell off new ships for which they cannot obtain funding. But even firms like Excel with strong balance sheets may find it hard to raise funds for new acquisitions in the current environment, he said.
"Get me funding and I'll look at a ship," he said. "I cannot stress this enough: The banks are not lending any money."
Excel shares were down $3.24, or more than 16 percent, at $16.49 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Earlier in the day they hit a new 12-month low of $16.33, down nearly 80 percent from a 12-month high of $81.99 on Oct. 23, 2007. (Reporting by Nick Carey, editing by John Wallace)
Source: Friday September 26 2008, http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/7830602/print * Reuters* ,


Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation Confirms Investment Policy
---PIRAEUS, Greece,, Sept. 24 -- In light of recent developments in the US financial markets, Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation ("Navios Acquisition") (NYSE: NNA.U, NNA, NNA WS) today confirmed its policy of investing the Company's proceeds in trust in United States Treasury Bills having a maturity of 180 days or less.
The proceeds in trust are held by Marfin Popular Bank. Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company is the trustee. Navios Acquisition retains ultimate discretion on investment decisions and does not allow investment in any security other than treasury bills.
About Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation
Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation is a newly organized special purpose acquisition company formed for the purpose of acquiring one or more assets or operating businesses in the marine transportation and logistics industries. Navios Acquisition raised gross proceeds of $253,000,000 through an initial public offering on July 1, 2008.
Forward Looking Statements - Safe Harbor
This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements inherently involve risks and uncertainties that are detailed in the Company's prospectus and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and, therefore, actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. The Company assumes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Public & Investor Relations Contact:
Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation
Investor Relations
+1.212.279.8820
investors@navios.com
SOURCE Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation
Investor Relations of Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation, +1-212-279-8820, investors@navios.com,
Source: Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation


Peloponnesus worth a stop on any voyage near Greece
---September 24,2008 By Capt. John Campbell has been yacht captain for more than 20 years and a sailor all life. He is currently in command of the 35m Codecasa M/Y Laymar II. Comments on this story are welcome at editorial@the-triton.com .
Methoni
Greece has two well-known cruising areas: The Ionian on the west coast and the Aegean to the east, between Greece and Turkey.
There is a third area, however, that is comparatively little known and relatively rarely visited, and that is Peloponnesus.
Peloponnesus is actually an island, separated from the rest of Greece by the Gulf of Corinth and the canal. In summer, the prevailing winds at the southern end of Peloponnesus are westerlies, which can often be quite strong; 30 knots and more is not uncommon. Whilst such winds may not trouble a vessel passing eastward, they can prove daunting for those attempting to go west, when a passage through the Corinth canal looks ever more attractive.
Many vessels use the canal, as many folk seem intent on getting to Athens as quickly as possible and the eastern end of the canal is quite close to Athens. So the waters of Peloponnesus tend to be little visited by boats on passage and few cruising boats see it as a destination.
It is a shame, because Peloponnesus offers some good cruising as well as interesting places to visit. Best of all, it is too far west to be much affected by the dreaded Meltemi.
Poros
If coming eastbound through the canal, instead of automatically turning north for Athens, think about going south to Poros. You can go stern-to off the west side of the town, or anchor out in one of the bays a mile or two to the west. Most basic supplies including fuel are available in Poros. There is a regular fast-ferry and hydrofoil service to Piraeus, from where it is a relatively short taxi-ride to view the sights of Athens.
Epidhavros
A little north of Poros is the bay of Epidhavros. This is an OK anchorage, although there are restrictions about where you can anchor.
The attraction is that it is a short taxi ride to the amphitheatre of Epidhavros. This is well worth a visit if you have even the mildest interest in antiquities and a modicum of imagination.
It is also a fairly easy drive to Epidhavros from Ermioni or Porto Heli to the south. In both locations it is possible to rent cars.
Ermioni
Ermioni is a small village straddling a peninsula. You can go stern-to the village on the south side, where most of the restaurants are situated. There can be a problem there in the summer though, with smells from the overloaded drainage system. There is a lot of space to anchor out in the south bay.
The northern bay is prettier and better protected in bad weather, but the available space for anchoring is less. You have to leave room for the ferries to come and go and you may need to put a rope ashore to stop your boat swinging out into the fairway. Most basic supplies are available.
The northern side of the town has several small supermarkets, a few restaurants, and excellent fruit and vegetable shops as well as a basic chandlery. There are also a couple of banks on that side.
If you walk over the hill from south to north, following the start of the one-way traffic system, near the top of the hill you will pass a very good bakery with the best cheese pies in town.
Porto Heli
A few miles to the south of Ermioni is Porto Heli. This is one of the more boat-orientated towns in the area and it has become our base while cruising in Peloponnesus. There is a regular fast-ferry and hydrofoil service to Athens, about three hours away. There is a large, well-sheltered bay, with lots of space to anchor, but be aware that the northeast side of the bay gets very shallow.
On the public dock there is space reserved for visiting yachts at the southern end. There is maybe a hundred meters of wall available where you can go stern-to. There is a tempting section of wall to the north, but that is reserved for the ferries, hydrofoils and the Port Police, not to mention the skippers of the ferries will get very grumpy if you try and berth there.
This is the best place in the area for provisioning. There is an excellent deli with a sign of a black cat almost over the road from where the boats dock. In the first small square are two fruit and vegetable shops, and just behind a small supermarket. This is not as well stocked as the bigger one at the head of the bay, but they speak some English there, are very helpful and will deliver your purchases to the yacht or dinghy. The large supermarket at the north end of the bay is well stocked with most things.
There is no water or shore power on the dock, but there is a water truck that passes regularly and can supply reasonable water for a small charge.
There is a basic chandlery in town, near the fountain in the small plaza, beneath a somewhat incongruous yellow plastic palm tree. It is run by a chap called Fotis who speaks good English and is extraordinarily helpful. What he does not have he can get, usually quite quickly, from Athens. He has been happy for us to use him as a mail-drop and is much more reliable than the post office. He has yet to enter the electronic age, but his phone number is +30 6973054151.
Spetses
Facing the entrance to Porto Heli is the island of Spetses. Whilst not quite as well-know as nearby Hydra, it is still a popular island to visit, with some reasonably up-market shops and sophisticated restaurants. Do not try and find a berth in the old port; you will not find space. It is possible though to berth stern-to on the rough stone quay toward the western end of town. If there is space, then pick your side according the wind and swell. Be careful about going on the windward side if there is any chance of the wind picking up.
The town is built around the small ferry-port, which is where all the water taxis as well as the larger ferries berth. It is a constant hive of activity. Overlooking this small harbor is a large terrace with several bars and restaurants. At the eastern end is a bar/cafe that arguably has the best cheese pies in the whole of Greece, or perhaps in all of the entire known universe.
A short walk to the east of the town is the old port. Although you are most unlikely to find a berth there, it is worth a walk; there are several small, basic shipyards there, catering mainly to the fishing fleet. You will always see a variety of craft pulled ashore on wooden skids and usually there are several traditional wooden boats being built on the beach.
Navplion
Navplion is 22 miles to the northwest of Porto Heli, at the head of the bay. This is a fairly large industrial town and port.
You can usually find space to go alongside or stern-to on the dock to the northwest of the town. The suburbs are not too attractive, but the old town is nice. There are several attractive streets and tree-shaded squares, with a profusion of bougainvillea. You can find most provisions and stores in Navplion.
For me the most interesting thing is the Venetian citadel on the top of the gigantic rock overlooking the town. There are reputed to be 999 steps, but we get a different number each time we try to count them, and it depends where in the citadel you stop counting.
However many there are, it is worth the climb for the views and to see the citadel itself.
Monemvasia
This is my favorite place in Peloponnesus. Monemvasia is about 35 miles south of Porto Heli. It is an island, connected to the mainland by a causeway. On the southeast corner of the island is the old fortified village. It is Byzantine in origin, but was rebuilt and used by the Venetians. It has survived remarkably intact, complete with old wooden gates with iron studs at the entrance. No cars can enter, and it does not need great imagination to picture life as it was for the Venetians.
Above the village are extensive ruins of what has been quite a large settlement. I really enjoy walking up there in the cool pre-dawn and watch the sun rise over the ruins. On the way back down you can stop for a cold drink or breakfast in one of the cafes that will be coming to life for the early morning trade.
The new town of Yefira on the mainland has basic provisions, and an office of the Port Police. They seem little interested in our visits when I go to see them.
You can anchor south of the causeway if a northerly wind is blowing. If there is a strong Meltemi in the Aegean then you may have a bit of swell, but usually it is a good anchorage. In light winds or rare southerlies, anchor north of the causeway. You can moor at the pier at the eastern end of the north side, but make sure a ferry is not expected.
Elafonisos
The best beach is in the bay on the south side of Elafonisos Island, at the southern end of Peloponnesus. In Ornos Sarakiniko there is a beach about a mile long, and as yet it is unexploited by hotels, or indeed too many people. The bay gives good shelter from the Meltemi and reasonable shelter from the winds blowing down the Ionian.
In a strong westerly, swell does come into the bay. At those times, it is best to move to Ornos Levki on the east coast, or to anchor off the town of Elafonisos at the north end of the island. Elafonisos is a cute little town and most basic provisions can be found there.
About 3 miles to the east of Elafonisos town is the larger town of Neapolis. There are bigger supermarkets and a fish market there, but otherwise it has little to recommend it. If you are hanging out in or around Elafonisos, and have a large enough tender, it is a handy place to send the chef for shopping.
Methoni
The west side of Peloponnesus can be a bit wild and windy in summer. It is not unusual for the wind to be above 30 knots for weeks at a time. We have found a good forecast Web site at www.poseidon.ncmr.gr/weather_forecast.html. It is updated regularly and gives a forecast for Greek waters at 6-hour intervals. Another good one is www.passageweather.com.
If you do find yourself on the west side, one handy stopping point is Methoni. It offers excellent shelter in northerly, or indeed northwest winds. The entrance is guarded by a well-preserved Venetian fort. Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, was a prisoner there for a while. Most provisions are available in the town.
These are just a few of the many possibilities for Peloponnesus. There are many more bays, villages and towns that can be visited, depending on the wind, weather and interest of the guests and crew.
Source: http://www.the-triton.com/megayachtnews/index.php?news=2829