Everything You Need to Know About Sailing The Meltemi

Find out everything you need to know about sailing the Meltemi in the Aegean Sea, Greece

Everything You Need to Know About Sailing The Meltemi

The Meltemi is a winds system which blows over the Aegean Sea in a southerly direction. It is created when the low Turkish surf pressure joins the high pressure over the Balkans. Commonly occurring during July and August the pressure between the two systems can create Meltemi winds up to 33 knots in open sea areas.

Considered a north wind system sailing the Meltemi frequently occurs when following the lines of both the Turkish and Greek mainlands. It is most commonly found blowing in a northerly direction in the central Aegean Sea, a north-easterly direction in the western Aegean and a north-westerly wind in the eastern Aegean.

When sailing the Meltemi it typically changes in strength and rises in the morning and dies down by sunset or early evening. It most commonly occurs during July and August and is a system which can last between three and six days at a time. While it can occur in late May to mid-September is less common than in the peak summer months.

Sailing the Meltemi provides a unique and thrilling sailing experience for experienced sailors or those with skippers or captains for the inexperienced. It is not advised for inexperienced sailors to tackle this wind system alone, if they want to do so they should with an experienced sailor.

Effects of Sailing the Meltemi

What can I expect from sailing the Meltemi? When sailing the Meltemi it can cause a few days of strong winds between islands and causes the wind to flow around islands and close to them across the Aegean Sea. Making it windier through passageways between islands and calmer on the southern coastlines of islands where the north blocks the wind out. Although sometimes the wind can curve and change directions surrounding the islands. Northern sides of islands can also be affected by swells and time on these side in the open water should be minimized.

Stronger in Open Water. When sailing the Meltemi is usually stronger in open water passages such as between islands or in channels which are not sheltered by islands. In open water, the wind speed can reach up to 40 knots and the waves can reach heights of 4 meters in the passages between the central Aegean islands of the Cyclades.

How To Sail The Meltemi

Sailing The Meltemi. While sailing the Meltemi this wind system seems like a daunting task it doesn’t have to be. While it only occurs for a small number of days at a time it can occur without notice, so its good to prepare if you are thinking of sailing in the Aegean Sea during July or August. Greece is a fabulous place to sail and it can be a once in a lifetime experience. The Meltemi isn’t all bad sailing, with the wind brings cooler air temperatures, less humidity, and clear air meaning clear navigation.

Strengths. Remember when sailing the Meltemi it can vary in strengths and not every day is as strong as the last. Traveling windward across the Aegean can be challenging, and should only be attempted by experienced sailors or crew. For those who are sailing around islands and suddenly get into the strong winds, they can always lower all sails, tie-down anything outside and motor through the winds.

Should you Sail the Meltemi?

Enjoy The Ride. For many, a wind system like this can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, it can be a thrilling experience. For those experienced sailors sailing the Meltemi is similar to sailing the Caribbean trade winds or the Gulf Stream, then they will enjoy this sailing experience.

Other Options. The Aegean Sea has many popular tourist and sailing destination which people want to visit. But there are other ways to sail it without having to worry about sailing in those conditions. Sailing between May and early June or September or October can minimize the change of experiencing the Meltemi as it’s not as strong during these months. Alternatively taking a skippered charter is a great way to help sailors during these wind conditions. Or sailors can even just take downwind routes on their itinerary and go northward via Peloponnese.

Tips for sailing the Meltemi

Tips for Sailing the Meltemi. If you decide to go sailing the Meltemi make sure you follow these tips and guidelines.

  • Don’t sail rhumb lines be prepared to alter your route.
  • Keep your itinerary flexible, re-evaluate wind conditions and alter route if required.
  • Be prepared to loop southwards in order to keep the wind on the beam.
  • Track and move northwards whenever the wind is calm.
  • Avoid swell areas.
  • Make sure you are prepared with food and provisions for the journey.
  • There’s a good chance you won’t want the spinnaker.
  • Stay in the open water as much as you can avoiding the waves and swells around the islands.

Sailing Itineraries

Islands. The Aegean Sea is filled with beautiful islands to discover. We have created some great itineraries for sailing in the Aegean Sea.

Everything You Need to Know About Sailing The Meltemi

Have you ever been sailing the Meltemi winds? What tips or recommendations would you give to others?

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