Dear members and friends of Aegean Cargo Sailing,
Just as 2022 starts, I would like to share with you my recount of the previous difficult and at the same time very constructive year that created the foundation of our optimistic outlook for the future.
You all know that 2021 was the second year of the pandemic that has seriously restricted our activity. We could not freely move across Greece for a few months nor sail to the islands until the end of May. We used this time to reorganise and prepare the funding proposal to the Greek Green Fund for the electrification of the sailboat PELAGO with the decisive help of DOCK, the office of assistance to social enterprises. The proposal was successful and it was granted 49k€ for the project that started officially in SeptemberThis success was augmented by the encouragement we received from DOCK to participate in the Greek Green Ideas innovation projects competition, which resulted in gaining a prize of 5000€. We subsequently became aware of other innovation competitions and by the end of the year we have competed and gained two grants from ClimAccelerator Beyond worth 13 000€ and one more from the Venture Impact Awards of 10 000 US$.
During the summer months, June to end of August, despite the slow start of the tourist season our regular donors (see: summer months report) supported our budget and helped our effort to complete two more sailing tours of the Aegean, successfully transporting both products and paying crew, expanding the network of producers and merchants including more islands on the way. We had the pleasure to sail with excellent paying crew and volunteers who added greatly to the strength of our team.
We were not able, because of limited resources, to bring to fruition the plan of filming in Kea the first story of the Aegean Cargo Sailing. But we have not completely abandoned the idea. The persistence and the ecological relevance of our project has attracted the interest of two ERT TV documentary projects: Generation 17s (Γενιά των 17) and Green Stories (Πράσινες Ιστορίες) that filmed on a separate sailboat in early and mid October short presentations of our project. Both these TV episodes will play on ERT3 in late January / February. We will post the exact timing as soon as it is confirmed.
Also in mid October, on the same sailboat we organised, with the “Wine Trails” magazine, a Seawind Wine and Cheese tasting session that was artfully converted into two articles in specialist publications just before the end of the year, dated 2022: Wine Trails, Tyrokomos.
We confirmed in the summer orders for products of the islands coming from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. So we started the third autumn tour of the Aegean on LAFRI with a paying crew and a long list of products to load. Unfortunately Nikolas the owner and captain of LAFRI realised towards the end of the Aegean tour that his newly acquired sailboat was not properly fit for the long trip to Italy. We were in a position to use our contacts among sailing professionals and hire the 13m sailboat FLORA, to sail off at the end of October to Italy. We spent one day loading 1200 liters of olive oil from the historic TOMBAZIS ESTATE in Galata (Poros) with the help of high school students who learned on-site on the history of the estate and the Aegean Cargo Sailing project. The event was filmed.
With the winds being favourable, we sailed around the Peloponnese to Sicily Straight, the mythological Skyla and Harybdis, and on to LaSpezia in the record time of 10 days, quite rapid even for regular fossil fuel propulsion. Our volunteers that were delayed by a COVID infection recovered on time to join us for the return trip and we had an excellent opportunity to practice together “commercial wind sailing”.
The Italian and the Swiss organisations of SlowFood received us warmly and unloaded the great variety of products they had ordered. Our friends (and paying crew) from Germany combined their trip to Italy with unloading their order of wine from Skyros in LaSpezia. Our friend Wolfgang loaded his more than one ton olive oil order on a Biofuel truck in the port of Arenzano (Genoa), destination Zurich, ready for new orders of more Greek products. The return trip was delayed by a couple of storms but that gave us the opportunity to create a new contact for the distribution of wind transported Greek products from Rome. Also, during the return trip, we resolved the problem of winterizing the sail boat for cold and stormy conditions.
Thus the New Year arrived, finding us in a much more hopeful condition.
The most promising financial condition of any other start of the year up to now.
Expanded network of producers, merchants, islands, points of distribution in Greece and abroad,
New personnel for ISTIA AIGAIOU and the Green Fund electrification project.
A systematic marketing and publicity effort
Tested volunteer crew members ready to become paid skippers
TV documentary and printed publicity of our projects
New reservations and declared interest for the coming summer tours of the Aegean and the trips to Italian ports
Satisfied paying crew who already spread the word and organize publicity events in European venues.
We wish everyone a happy 2022 and we look forward to further expansion of our projects
Captain SailMed – Aegean Cargo Sailing