Navigating the Winds: A Sailor's Guide to the Dodecanese Islands and the Aegean Sea - Sea TV

Navigating the Winds: A Sailor’s Guide to the Dodecanese Islands and the Aegean Sea

Understanding Winds in the Dodecanese Islands and the Aegean Sea


Hello Sailors, today I would like to talk about the winds in the Dodecanese Islands and the Aegean Sea during the cruising season, which typically runs from May to October.

Dominant Wind Patterns

The wind in the Dodecanese and the Aegean is primarily influenced by a large high-pressure system that settles over the Western continent. This creates a northerly flow known as the Meltemi, a wind that every sailor in the Aegean during the summer months will encounter to some degree.

The Meltemi Wind

The Meltemi, which generally comes from the north, can be very strong, sometimes exceeding 40 knots. Typically, it blows at around 25 to 30 knots. It doesn’t blow every day; it can persist for five or six days in a row before settling down. Most days, it starts in the afternoon, continues into the night, and calms down late at night until late morning.

Local Wind Variations

The direction of the wind can vary significantly depending on the specific area.

The Dodecanese Effect

In the Dodecanese, the eastern part of the Aegean, the northerly flow has an eastern component. Due to the funnel effect from the north, the wind on the west side of the islands will be more easterly, while on the east side, it will be more westerly.

Wind Effects Near Land

Land has a significant effect on wind direction and strength. For example, in the channel between Rhodes and Turkey, the wind is predominantly westerly. This is particularly strong at the northern tip of Rhodes due to the funnel effect. Similarly, along the coast of Kos, you will experience strong northerlies on the northeast side, but it will be calm south of Kos until the westerly wind picks up in the late afternoon.

Wind Patterns Around Crete

Crete, located in the southern Aegean Sea, experiences winds influenced by its massive east-west orientation. Despite isobars suggesting a northerly flow, the winds here are predominantly west and northwest.

Land Effects on Wind

When sailing, it’s crucial to consider the land effect. For instance, when sailing north from Kos to Samos in the late afternoon, the land effect can cause the northerly wind to shift to an easterly offshore wind, aiding navigation around Samos.

Other Wind Influences

While the Meltemi is the prevalent wind, it’s important to remember that it’s not constant. Winds can be affected by passing pressure systems, leading to sudden changes. For instance, a low-pressure system can bring southwesterly winds and rain, especially in the northern Aegean, or there can be periods of complete calm before the Meltemi returns.


In general, these are the wind patterns in the Dodecanese area. Sailors must rely on their experience and always watch the weather forecast to navigate these waters safely.

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