Rhodes Kos Dodecanese

Rhodes Kos Dodecanese

The Dodecanese, which means ‘ the Twelve Islands’ in Greek, lie in a crescent chain down the Asiatic Turkish coast curving west towards Crete. The islands are for the most part bare of vegetation although not to such an extent as the Cyclades. Several of the islands with abundant natural springs, notably Kos and Rhodes, are relatively green and wooded. Typically, charter yachts use Rhodes (Rodos) as a jumping off point due to the regular and frequent air service from Athens. From Rodos, the yachts can head North West up the Turkish coast taking the smoothest route on the lee side of the islands of Kos and Kalymnos and creeping all the way up to Samos using the many Turkish peninsulas that jut out into the Aegean sea as protection from the NW wind.

Wind and Weather Conditions – Intermediate to Advanced

In the summer the prevailing wind is the Meltemi blowing from the NW-W. It starts fitfully in June, blows strongly in July through to September and again fitfully in October. In the summer months it regularly blows Force 4-6 and may on occasion reach Force 7. It does not blow every day, but may blow without break for 5-10 days. When the Meltemi is blowing at full strength in July and August the gusts off the lee side of an island can be considerably stronger than the wind strength in the open sea. Gusts are particularly strong off Patmos, Kalymnos, Kos, Nissyros, Tilos, Karpathos and Astypalea. In the comparatively open stretch of sea between Astypalea and Karpathos a large and distributed sea is set up when the Meltemi blows for days on end. Although it is possible to go N when the Meltemi is blowing, it makes better sense to plan to be heading S in July and August. The typical short seas it sets up make sailing or motoring to windward arduous and tiring. In spring the Meltemi blows mainly SE and is not very strong. During the winter it usually blows SE and sometimes N or S. Temperatures in the summer can reach 35 degrees Celsius.


The island of Rhodes has dominated this part of the Aegean since ancient times. The islands were under turkish occupation until 1912. Despite the long period of their occupation they remained Greek. After the Venetian war the islands were under Italian occupation until the second world war. In 1947 they became Greek again.
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