LARNACA, Cyprus – Around 25 sailboats from Israel are expected to arrive at Larnaca marina toward the end of the month for the Hebrew Passover, which overlaps with the Greek Orthodox Easter period, according to the marina chief Christos Petrides.
On board, he said, will be around 130 Israelis, who will spend their holidays, between April 25 and 29, in Larnaca. The visitors will be staying on board their vessels but have also organized a number of field trips around the island.
During the last few years arrivals of Israeli boats at Larnaca marina increased, Petrides said. The closest Israeli port to Larnaca is Tel Aviv which is around 25 sailing hours away, depending on the wind, he said, adding that occasionally boats arrive from Lebanon as well, but in much smaller numbers, usually one or two yachts.
The arrival of the Israelis holidaymakers is a great opportunity to promote Larnaca marina as a tourism destination in Israel, Petrides said.
Ties with Israelis in marine matters have increased over the past few years, he said, culminating in the annual Cyprus-Israel Regatta, which will take place on October 15-20 this year.
During the event, Israeli sailboats arrive to take compete in races off the coast of Larnaca with Cypriot crews. There is also an offshore race from Larnaca to Tel Aviv.
The annual regatta has been co-organized by the Israel Yacht Club (IYC) and the Famagusta District Sailing Club Begafigo since 2011. The two clubs had participated in the Israeli championship in 2010, and decided to enhance their relationship to an international level, but also to encourage participants from other Mediterranean countries.
The aim is to promote sailing in the eastern Mediterranean and make this regatta an annual international event. Last year, 23 yachts took part from Cyprus and Israel, including one from Russia.