FROM THE windsurfer who flits across the water, setting his sail to catch the next gust of wind, to the solo transatlantic yachtsman and his lonely quest to achieve a goal, sailing is a sport that has captured the hearts of many. Most share an innate desire to go to sea, but each faces the challenge it brings in a different way. For me, the real pleasure of sailing is to combine the excitement and uncertainty of the sea with the exploration of a beautiful stretch of coastline or group of islands. Such a mix can be experienced on a flotilla holiday. Sunsail is one of the largest flotilla specialists in the Mediterranean and offers a wide range of boats and holidays for all levels of experience. We chose to cruise in the island-peppered waters of the south Ionian, to follow in the wake of Odysseus, one of Greeces greatest mythological characters. Our boat, a thirty-foot sloop, was snug, simple and easy to handle. Half-a-mile out from the attractive old port of Parga – our starting point on the mainland – we were scudding through the water towards Gaois at a steady five to six knots, the boat already handling well in the variable Greek winds.