“Back in February, before the world turned upside down, we booked an early season getaway to wonderfully windy Vassiliki on the Greek island of Lefkada’s southern tip. As we all know, COVID-19 reared its ugly head in late Feb and the chances of us jetting off to sunnier climes in Spring for my birthday looked remote, if not impossible…
As with everyone else in the nation, our holiday was cancelled but we were offered the19th July as an alternative date. Without knowing what to expect we took up the offer and had no idea whether or not we would feel safe enough to take our family of young boys through airports and on a plane to Greece. But as July approached and the world was starting to get back to normal, we amazingly got a call from Club Vass to let us know our holiday dates would, in fact, be the very first trips running this season! It took us all of 5 minutes to decide to go for it, so armed with face masks, tonnes of hand sanitiser and anti-bac wipes we headed off to the airport.
We are a family of windsurfers, I’ve windsurfed since I was 10 years old as my mother set up Rye Watersports in 1986. Teaching in my holidays before travelling the world in search of windy locations to windsurf, I ended up meeting my future husband George at Balmoral windsurfing in Sydney, where his boss Jono gave me a job after George’s recommendation in 2000. Our boys are now 9, 11 & 13yrs, and having visited Vass to windsurf before having kids as well as 5 years ago when they were all quite small, we knew that this was going to be the perfect holiday for them all to improve and really get going with their windsurfing.
Despite feeling slight anxiety about the airport, the fact that everyone was wearing masks & copiously applying hand sanitiser every 2 seconds allayed my fears. All seemed very safe, quiet and organised. Only a few shops were open & we just waited in our own space, happily socially distanced, before going to the gate. We couldn’t believe we were really going! After the intensity of lockdown, working from home & homeschooling this holiday was one we had so wanted to make happen.
As soon as we landed we checked the forecast & realised with great excitement that we would be arriving in Vass just as the wind kicked in. The legendary local wind phenomenon (or Eric as its know in Vass) was absolutely cranking when we arrived.
Our accommodation was Club Vass’s self-catering option at Andromeda, set out in the olive groves. The apartments had simple cooking facilities & were super clean & comfortable. There was a gorgeous pool, a small bar serving light lunches, ice creams & drinks… and only a 10-minute walk from the Club down on the beachfront.
So onto the windsurfing. Vass is actually perfect for a variety of ability levels from beginners right through to advanced sailors. You have super light winds in the morning between a Force 1–3 and if Eric is working his magic anything from a Force 4 up to Force 6 in the afternoon… be warned the gusts can be pretty brutal! July and August are the most consistently windy months (although you can visit btw May-Sept) … we found Windguru a good benchmark for reference on historic wind stats should you want to take a look before planning your trip. We had wind every day & by wind I mean full on windy! I didn’t take a sail out bigger than a 4.7m or any board larger than an 85 litre all week. George didn’t sail on anything bigger than a 5.8 … so we were super happy.
Logistics wise on this family holiday with kids, things are really smooth running. After arrival & all being welcome to take any kit out the very first moment we got to the centre on the beach, we had our first night at Andromeda and turned up at the club for our ‘welcome chat’ & group choices at 10.30 am on Monday morning. Our two older boys are both planing in the harness so they went into the Pro Kids club & the youngest who’s intermediate was in the less advanced group.
Bearing in mind that as Tony (co-owner of Club Vass) had said they were only at 50% capacity due to Coronavirus, groups were super small and there were only about 10 kids in total having the coaching. The enthusiastic staff who inspire the kids with this awesome sport is what Club Vass is all about & that carries through to the adult groups too. My husband George was lucky enough to have Max Rowe (PWA professional UK windsurfer) as his coach for the week. He was just great with the perfect balance of encouragement & enthusiasm for his group to achieve and try out all those moves they’d either not done for years, or practice new ones that the consistent wind allowed them to really refine.
This year’s kit includes Fanatic, Severne, RRD, JP and Goya boards with Severne and Duotone sails. Vass has a great mix of freestyle wave boards mostly set up with tri-fins for stability in the chop and super smooth turns. Sails I used were the Severne Blades which were light & manoeuvrable, powerful enough to get you up and planing quickly but when hit by those gusts they felt really easy to control. For those wanting the bigger kit, the club has literally everything you need to get out on the water, including foils if you fancy trying them too. My favourite combination was the 85 litre Severne Dyno & Severne Blade 4.2!
Alongside the windsurfing, you have the beautiful backdrop of Vassiliki town. If you’re coming here with non-windsurfing partners they won’t be disappointed. It is a truly stunning fishing village with gorgeous little coves just the other side of the harbour in easy walking distance. Once we had dropped the boys at the club we would jump on our moped and head over to these beaches for an hour or so to swim & relax before the afternoons anticipated windsurf session. Day trips can be made to Agiofilli or Porto Katziki as well as longer boat trips to Kefalonia or Ithaca, islands that can be seen in the distance whilst looking out across the bay.
Being in self-catering accommodation we were free to explore the different restaurants in town or make salads/lunches at the apartment. Here are our favourites:
For Pizza — Alex’s Woodfired Pizza
For Amazing Seafood — Ocean’s Restaurant (the prawns are the best)
Gyros — It has to be Yanni’s
The Kiosk on the corner of the harbour road in the street selling chargrilled corn was a firm favourite with the boys. There is also a fantastic bakery on the main road that we used daily for pastries and croissants & the best Spanikopita (filo pastry/spinach/pine nuts).
Safety in times of Coronavirus
Clear Coronavirus Safety Precautions
At Club Vass they’ve worked hard to put measures in place to make you feel safe. Social distancing enforced with tables set a good distance apart, hand sanitisers around the centre & clear areas marked out for hiring kit. Likewise in the town with most eating areas being outside we were able to enjoy going out for meals, something we’d not done in a long time!
The windsurfing conditions worked so well for our whole family. The youngest really enjoyed the mornings and was still able to hang on in the stronger afternoon winds, as nearer the beach the wind wasn’t as strong as on the outside up under the hills. The two older boys loved blasting with us in the afternoons when the wind kicked in. Often we wouldn’t go out ourselves until 4/4.30 pm when the wind filled in and became consistently strong. When it’s just filling in the wind can be gusty so you have to brace yourself for this! On reflection, I can’t recommend a holiday like this one with Club Vass more highly. If you love windsurfing or active holidays, all being out on the water together is a brilliant experience & one I will always remember. Coronavirus has affected everyone differently, but for our family, it has reinforced the importance of sharing experiences as a family and in Vassiliki, we were lucky enough to create some more amazing memories together.
Booked through Club Vass, Package included:
- Return morning flights from Heathrow with BA
- Fly AM. and Sail PM.
- Overseas transfers
- Club Vass Hotel (waterfront) or Andromeda Studio Apartments (only for Club Vass guests)
- Full windsurf tuition program & unlimited kit usage
- Kids Club and ProKids
- Sunshades on the beach
- Flight Time 3 Hours
- Greece is 2 hours ahead of GMT
- Transfer from Preveza to Vassiliki is 1hr 15mins
- Local Currency: Euros
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – ROSIE CLARK – “My name is Rosie Clark, I Love to Windsurf, Kitesurf, practice Yoga, Swim & Run. Mum of 3 boys alongside being a Facebook/Instagram Ad consultant & freelance writer!