Evidence of Corfu being a sailing paradise are the endless masts you see in any marina or anchorage around the island. Wind and water are simply prerequisites, there are many requirements for sailing to be so enjoyable that a destination becomes a hot spot for the worlds most exclusive yachts. you need beautiful bays, lots of places to anchor and dock, supplies, services, comfortable weather, to mention just a few. Corfu has all this and more.
Winds & Waters Starting with the most essential of all ingredients the winds and waters around Corfu vary a lot in character depending on which side of the island you find yourselves.
From June onwards the predominant winds are the north westerlies, commonly known as 'maestro' (mistrals) and its uncommon to have significant winds from any other direction.
Summer has a very predictable wind pattern and forecasts tend to be very reliable. Typically you get 7-10 days of calm weather with the west coast developing a very gentle breeze during the afternoons, usually less than 10knts. The east coast is sheltered from the mountains and will have very little if any of this wind much later during the day. It is common for the west coast to have a force 4-5 breeze from midday onwards and the east coast to get a force 1-2 late in the evening, so never judge the wind of one side from the other.
This calm is abrupt broken by a short period of strong north westerlies that typically last 3 days, day two being the strongest and can often reach and sometime exceed a force 7 putting a smile on windsurfers but making power boaters rather unhappy. Sailing boats often take advantage of these winds to sail close to the east coast where the waters are flat but have enough wind to test the speed of their hulls, small cats like tornados often chase small speed boats reaching speeds over 25 knots.
The stretch of water between the east coast of Corfu and mainland Greece / Albania is the most popular sailing and boating destination of the island as it offers calm waters even when winds are well above a force 5 but is also at the centre of town with all its attractions and of course the natural marina of Gouvia, add to the above numerous green and emerald drop dead gorgeous bays, 5 star hotels and some of the best fish tavernas that you can tie up your tender next to and its not hard to understand why multi million yachts are always floating around these waters.
As you head passed the northern point of Kassiopi there is a sudden and distinct change in sea conditions since you leave the sheltere of the island, although no the roughest side of the island the water can become considerably challenging. The most difficult side of the island is from the north west point of Canal de Amoure up to Agios Stefanos which sees the biggest waves and most turbulent winds as they encounter the cliffs of Peroulades but it is a relatively short side of the island and does create any significant difficulties if you steer away from the shore.
The west coast can also get rough, but a close look at the map and predominant direction of the winds you can see that for the most part you can be in sheltered waters if you stay relatively close to the coast you just have to be careful of shallow reefs and islets which can be hard to see in the surf and there are a lot of bays you can find complete shelter even from the strongest winds. These challenges are well compensated by having some of the most spectacular bays, such as those in Paleokastritsa with several remote beaches accessible only by water.
Heading towards the south the island becomes flatter and winds smoother as there are fewer mountains to create turbulence but it lacks the dramatic scenery and stunning coastline the rest of the island is so famous for. From the Korission lagoon and down the waters are good for windsurfing and small dingy sailing but have little to offer to offshore boats until you turn past the point and into the east coast when the scenery, although relatively flat becomes lush green with smooth water and beautiful bays once again.
This enormous variety of conditions, textures and scenery coupled with a good number of marinas, boat shelters, piers, anchorages, and all the technical facilities you may need have made Corfu one of the most desirable sailing destination this side of the planet.