Interview with Giorgos Gialitakis, owner of a yacht charter base in Greece

September 2011: Dominik, Giorgos and I were sailing for a couple of days from Athens in the Saronic Sea. Our purpose: To watch out for nice bays and places for the Flotilla 2012 in Greece. We were very happy that Giorgos, as a local, friend and yacht charter, was with us showing us the most beautiful areas. Giorgos and Dominik have been friends for several years. Giorgos also has known Join The Crew since it started. We conducted this interview while peacefully sailing through the Greek waters…

Barbara: Giorgos, while we are doing this interview, you are sailing together with Dominik for a couple of days. The purpose: to show him the nicest places for the flotilla next year. How is your feedback for the trip?
Giorgos: This trip is one of the most relaxed trips of the last few years. I am not stressed with something, the telephone is not ringing. I have time to talk with Dominik, because when we meet in the summer we are both so stressed and we don´t even have time for some coffee.

Barbara: When did you meet Dominik for the first time?
Giorgos: I met Dominik five years ago. That´s when he was chartering the first boat. I gave him some information about Greece, where he could go sailing, and where to find interesting places. Inside his heart he had a feeling for how life is like in Greece: often not very organized, but eventually they find a solution for everything… I also learned from Dominik. I like the way he is in contact with the people. For him, it´s not first about the money, but he wants to make people happy.

Barbara: How did you start your business as a charter company?
Giorgos: When I was very young it was my dream to have boats. Later it meant the exit to freedom for me: I was working in Athens, driving a lot in the car. I was selling alcohol in Athens (that´s maybe why I don´t like alcohol so much anymore). 
It all started when I bought a cheap boat which was in very bad condition. It was only nine meters long and very simple. It didn´t have a gps, a bimini or a sprayhood. I didn´t even know how to sail then. First I got the boat and repaired it by myself, then I took sailing lessons. 
And I really can say that I made a hobby a profession!

Barbara: What´s important for you in your work?
Giorgos: For me, all the importance of the business is the trust. Then comes the money. We have several people who cooperate with us and we first establish a friendship with them. After some years in the business I know which people fit to my ideas. So they are like members of a family. Also we have personal contact with our customers. We don´t have so many boats – we could have more – but then we would lose the personal contact.

Barbara: Did you also work as a skipper?
Giorgos: Yes I did. In the beginning, when I started the company, I also earned some money as a skipper. It was a really nice time. There were always nice people. And from my work as a skipper I know so many nice places in Greece.

Barbara: You have crew changes every week, and at times there are some damages. How are you able to repair the boats in just a few hours?
Giorgos: It is important for us that no boat leaves the harbor without its main parts in good condition, so that the boat is safe. Some things we fix in the winter time.

Barbara: What´s your impression of Join The Crew?
Giorgos: For me it´s nice as I have seen Join The Crew already when it was a baby. Now I see it growing. But the spirit did not change.

Barbara: And what about the people of Join The Crew?
Giorgos: When I see other boats coming back to the harbor, I see that some people are happy and some are not. In the boats of Join The Crew everybody is happy. There you see: if the trip is good, it is not because of the good boats or good weather conditions, but because of preparation and the good contact with the people.

Barbara: Thank you very much for the interview!
Giorgos: You‘re welcome. I look forward to meeting the people of Join The Crew in Athens.