'In the October half term, ten students set sail on the first ever Cokethorpe sailing trip to Greece.
The team was a wonderful mix of ages, comprised of students from Third Form to Lower Sixth, and all students were part of the Cokethorpe Sailing Team. However, this time we were swapping our small dinghies and the surrounds of Farmoor Reservoir for a slightly more up-market fifty-one foot luxury cruising yacht and the Ionian seas off the west coast of Greece. Incredible!
Our sailing Coach George Barker was our skipper for the trip, and the team were responsible for learning on the job and crewing the yacht. It was a wonderful experience for all and the team learned so much, with many earning credit towards their Competent Crew Qualification from their efforts.
Each day the team were allocated roles, distributing responsibility for organising breakfast, lunch and dinner, helming the yacht, navigating, crewing and writing the log book of the day’s activities. We’d set sail in the morning and head to a nice swimming spot or somewhere to moor up and have lunch. Mostly we would lunch onboard the boat, whipping up lots of sandwiches and fresh Greek salads, and then moor up in a harbour in the evening and head out to a Greek taverna for dinner. We certainly didn’t starve on this trip and the team were brilliant at trying new foods, sampling many delicious traditional Greek dishes.
We spent our days cruising around a number of the Ionian Islands, including Ithaca, Meganisi, Lefkas, and Kalamos. There was a lot of swimming, paddling, paddle-boarding, rowing and diving off the boat into the beautiful clear waters. The weather was fantastic, maintaining a warm 22ºC for most of the week, but with a couple of spectacular thunder and lightning storms thrown in for good measure.
A highlight of the week was spotting dolphins and enjoying watching them swim alongside our bow, as well as finding ourselves accidentally in a sailing race where we managed to actually beat two other boats to the windward mark. Overall, it was the wonderful team that made the trip; with endless laughter and great friendships made. I think this will be the first of many Cokethorpe Sailing trips to Greece.'