Monday, February 15, 2010

Croatia's best kept secrets

Those who visit Dubrovnik or Split during the high season, when a few cruise ships are in town, or perhaps Dalmatian islands in peak season, may be surprised to read about Croatia as undiscovered country. Indeed, with so many tourists walking up and down the streets, hearing skipper’s chatter with the locals and guests on his vessel, avoiding crowded town’s beaches and watching all those boats far from the coast, one may ask how it could be undiscovered. However, there are still wonderful destinations, bays, beaches and sights that haven’t hit the tourist radar just yet.

We all have our hobbies, expectations and demands while visiting a foreign country. Many of us go online in the search for the best vacation ever, looking for local attractions, great accommodation, marinas and bays. Usually we book our holiday in well know destination only to discover there is so much more to see and do in the near vicinity. So, here are some of the secrets and wonders that you may not know.


Situated in the central part of Istria, Hum is the smallest city in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Established in the Middle Ages and w with only about 20 citizens, it has preserved all of the distinctive features of urban architecture. First mentioned in the 12th century, this little town was once the residence of one of the richest patriarchal servants and now it’s a home of Glagolitic graphite, which is one of the oldest monuments of Glagolitic script in Istria. This is the perfect place for history lovers who may want to stay overnight in the town which is possible only in one or two old houses, or you can spend your night in Opatija, Motovun, Rijeka or Moscenicka Draga. Nevertheless, prepare yourself for temptations that await you in town’s restaurant, also known as konoba. Built in classic stone and wood way, it offers you typical Istrian ham, goat cheese, homemade sausages and of course well known truffles.


Many miles away from the coast there is this magical island of ship builders, crystal-clear waters, and many secluded and peaceful beaches and bays, with historic ambience of mediaeval cities of Vis and Komiza. The sea around Vis is rich with fish, especially blue one, such as sardine, mackerel and anchovy, which all can be tasted as a part of Dalmatian meal in many restaurants on the island. Its fishermen of the 17th century developed their own type of fishing boat, called falkusa, and it was used until the second half of the 20th century. In 1998, UNESCO included the falkusa in its program of international monumental heritage. It is believed that the first grape vine in Dalmatia was planted by the ancient Greeks and that it was done on a Vis field. Whether or not it’s true, the most famous authentic white wine is definitely Vis Vugava, also present in every restaurant and home. But, this island is unique for many other reasons and the best one is the Blue Cave. Only 5km away from the island of Vis there is a smaller island Bisevo where this magnificent cave attracts many visitors. The entrance to the cave is only 1.5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide. Around 10 to 13 o'clock sunbeams that penetrate through the submarine opening in the Blue Cave, reflect from the white bottom floor and colour the cave in blue and objects in the water in silver. With this entire historical, cultural and natural heritage, it is clear why Vis is on the top of the list for those who seek unique and almost gone authentic Mediterranean way of life.


These two islands belong to the Vis archipelago and form the area called "Adriatic Volcanic Triangle". Brusnik and Jabuka are the only two islands that are completely of volcanic origin and thus known as Croatian wonders. Jabuka, which means apple in Croatian, is uninhabited island with access from the southwest side and 97 meters tall cliffs. Boats can rarely been seen around the island because it lies from all sea routes, so only those who made it their destination visit the island. The same goes for Brusnik. But, there is something wonderful and scary about these two islands. Strong wind that grinds their shores, magnetite that causes compass needles to go crazy, that feeling you’re far away from everything you know, and harsh conditions that test your mind and body. So, if you’re up for it, if others call you the biggest outdoor enthusiast they’ve ever met, you should come and visit Jabuka and Brusnik. Remember, do it only in summer months along with the experienced crew because it could be very dangerous for those unskilled skippers.


This is a spectacular island, situated in the heart of the Adriatic, and the best place to be if you want a unique holiday spend in its lighthouse and relax on one of the most beautiful beaches, Juzno Zlato. The lighthouse on the island is the largest one on the Adriatic and has its keeper and two apartments that can each accommodate four guests. Beautiful flora and fauna, the richest fish area, archaeological discoveries and underwater secrets are the reasons why Palagruza is considered to be fascinating and exceptional island. The water is clear and visibility is high especially in the morning so this is ideal place for divers who are only breath away from many fish that can rarely be found in other parts of the Adriatic. When we add a famous legend about Diomedes who, as it's believed, found his final resting place on the island which is well guarded by his warriors whose souls great Zeus transformed into birds, we definitely have another place that simply must be a part of a traveller’s itinerary.


Lastovo island is surrounded by 46 smaller islands and cliffs with untouched nature and numerous bays and is among ten Mediterranean islands that have the most preserved original value of untouched nature and beauty. It is located in Dalmatia, on the south of Croatia, and has clean and warm sea, natural beauties and is rich with fish. This island has its secret too, well hidden from the open sea and protected from the rough sea and strong wind and thus the name Skrivena Luka, which means Hidden Harbour. This is the most beautiful bay on the island, and also the hottest which makes it vulnerable to the forest fires. Hovering over the bay is Struga, one of the oldest lighthouses on the Adriatic Sea. During the summer months Lastovo transforms into the island of music, due to many festivals and music events.


When talking about Adriatic wonders, no one can omit Susak. The island is situated in Kvarner Bay, 10 miles southwest of Losinj Island and it is unique in the whole of the Mediterranean. Susak is completely made of sand so it can be said that it is one large beach with only 4 square kilometers of land. The best way to get to know the island is to walk around it as it has 11 kilometers long track and it only takes about three hours for this tour. With amazing beaches and gorgeous rocks it’s a combination that can rarely be found anywhere else.

You’ve probably heard about these Croatian’s wonders but never found the time to explore them. Well, now it’s time for you to book your sailing holiday and search for the secrets of coastal and sea world that awaits you throughout the whole year.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sailing in Croatia this summer? Information which you need to know


Recently nautical tourism has become one of the most attractive forms of the overall tourism offer of the Republic of Croatia. We can say that Croatia, the land of a thousand islands and a beautiful, well indented coastline is a perfect nautical destination.

All the segments of nautical tourism have been brought together under the Croatian Association of Nautical Tourism, which was established as a professional organisation under the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. This association includes four groups: the Croatian Marinas Group, the Croatian Charter Vessels Group, the Croatian Diving Tourism Group and the Cruising and Motor Sailboat Excursions Group.
Considering that nautical tourism represents one of the most attractive aspects of the tourism offer of our country, the Croatian Association of Nautical Tourism is a centre for obtaining useful and necessary information for boaters, a place where the profession presents its questions which are then resolved through the Association, and which aims to advance the tourism offer to the delight and satisfaction of boaters and guests who have selected our coast, islands and sea for their holiday.


There are 50 marinas on the Croatian Adriatic, with the capacity of over 13,200 sea berths and 4,500 dry docks. The marinas are constantly working to upgrade and enrich their services, and to adapt to the modern needs and wants of nautical guests. More and more marinas on the Croatian Adriatic have expended their services and now days are offering everything, from top quality traditional cuisine, water and electricity, health care clinics, charter company services, to the use of apartments and security services to protect the property and equipment of guests.

Adriatic Croatian International Club, better known among boaters as the ACI Club, is the leading nautical tourism company in Croatia, represented with a chain of 21 marinas stretching from Dubrovnik in the southern, to Umag in the northern Adriatic Sea.
Visitors to the well equipped Croatian marinas can expect the usual reception service in addition to technical services. Also, restaurants, snack-bars, shops, dry-cleaning and other facilities have also been added to make the guests' stay more pleasant.

Many marinas on the Croatian Adriatic have been recognised with the Blue Flag. This prestigious international recognition awarded by the European Foundation for Environmental Education symbolises a preserved, safe and pleasant environment, which is accompanied by exceptional tourism promotion.
Yacht charter in Croatia

In order to rent a vessel, guests must possess a valid recreational craft license, and must also have a radio certificate (can be obtained in all Port Authorities). Upon renting the vessel, it is necessary to fill out and certify the crew list. All changes to the crew while sailing must be reported to the Port Authority.
Licensed and recommended yacht charter company in Croatia:

Diving in Croatia

There are total of 150 diving centres operating along our coast. These have been brought together under the Croatian Diving Tourism Group of the CCC.

Maritime search and rescue

Ministry of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development of the Republic of Croatia, based on the National Plan for Maritime Search and Rescue, is responsible for the organisation and execution of search and rescue at sea. The National Plan for Search and Rescue clearly outlines the principles of structure and activity, authority, responsibility and active measures by responsible persons during search and rescue operations at sea under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Croatia. The structure of the Search and Rescue service is as follows:


  • MARITIME RESCUE SUB-CENTRES (MRSC) - regulates the operation of all Port Authorities in the Republic of Croatia - Pula, Rijeka, Senj, Zadar, Sibenik, Split, Ploce, Dubrovnik

  • COAST GUARD UNITS - all Port stations of all Port Authorities + shore-based radio stations + monitoring lighthouses

  • RESCUE UNITS - sea, air and land based units

The Republic of Croatia is a signatory of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, and as such is part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System- GMDSS.

The National Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Rijeka (MRCC RIJEKA) provides a 24 hour watch service, and in terms of jurisdiction of the Center, this includes the region of internal marine waters, territorial waters of the Republic of Croatia (marine belt wide 12 nautical miles from the shoreline towards the open sea) and the region of international waters as confirmed in treaties with neighbouring states and as reported to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Internal maritime waters and territorial marine waters are divided into sub-regions, for which the sub-centres are responsible alongside the MRCC RIJEKA.

The National Centre (MRCC RIJEKA), all the sub-centres (Port Authorities) and their port stations and all shore radio stations - Rijekaradio, Splitradio and Dubrovnikradio, provide maritime radio monitoring services on internationally confirmed frequencies and channels for emergencies and safety.

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety Program - GMDSS, operates on terrestrial and satellite technology. Terrestrial and satellite telecommunications include VHF radiotelephony, VHF DSC digital selective calling, MF/HF RT and MF/HF DSC (radiotelephony - mid/short-wave + digitally selective calling on short/long wave), Radiotelex, Navtex, the SAR radar transponder and transmission VHF radiotelephony systems. Satellite telecommunications include the COSPAS-SARSAT system as well as the satellite radio-location subsystem GMDSS and INMARSAT (the International Mobile Satellite Organization), as the communication section of the satellite subsystem GMDSS.

MRCC RIJEKA, as the maritime rescue coordination centre in Croatia operated on the frequencies and channels of the GMDSS system, as well as maintaining 24 hour service on two toll-free telephone numbers for all calls from fixed and mobile telephones at the emergency number +9155, from outside Croatia at the telephone number +385 51 9155 and by fax +385 51 312 254.

1.Weather report for the Adriatic Sea

Shore-based radio stations emit daily weather reports and weather forecasts for the upcoming 12 and 24 hour periods, both in Croatian and in English:

  • Rijekaradio - call sign 9AR - VHF ch. 04, 20, 24, 81 at 5:35, 14:35, 19:35 UTC

  • Splitradio - call sign 9AS - VHF ch. 07, 21,23, 81 at 5:45, 12:45, 19:45 UTC

  • Dubrovnikradio -call sign 9AD - VHF ch. 07,04 at 6:25, 13:20, 21:20 UTC

* UTC - universal time coordinating (= GMT, Greenwich Mean Time)

2.Constant weather forecasts on VHF - transmitters

Weather forecasts for the Croatian coastal region are provided in Croatian, English, Italian and German every ten minutes, and are updated at 7:00, 13:00 and 19:00 (local time). The weather summary a short forecast for the next 24 hours and information on air pressure.

Broadcast frequencies:

  • VHF ch. 73 for northern Adriatic/ western coast of Istria

  • VHF ch. 69 for northern Adriatic/ eastern part

  • VHF ch. 67 for central Adriatic / eastern part

  • VHF ch. 73 for southern Adriatic / eastern part

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Boat or yacht charter. Sailing in Croatia

Croatia is a jewel of the Mediterranean with majestically beautiful coastline with more than a thousand islands. Hence many sailing enthusiasts visit Croatia to explore the thrills of the real sea adventure.

Boat charter in Croatia is very simple, however there are some terms and conditions which you should follow and/or you’ll be expected to meet.

Firstly, it is needless to note that if you don’t have any experience or you are on the boat for the first time you must hire a vessel with a skipper. Croatian marine law clearly specifies that at least one (1) person on the vessel must have a valid documents and permits required to sail in Croatian territorial waters. If this condition is met, you are free to choose and charter any boat you want. Charter agency, for Sailing holidays in Croatia will provide you with experienced skipper and crew.

If you hold a valid skipper documents there are rules of navigation on the Adriatic, you must comply with. British Admiralty covers extensively the whole Mediterranean and you’ll be able to find useful information on their online digital catalogue. Website link:

On the website you’ll find all the information that you need to explore the Adriatic in full according to your own liking, not depending on a skipper or crew to guide you around.

It is important to note that caution and taking care is required at all times from all the people on board.

You’ll be able to choose between motor boats and sail boats charters of various prices. Some of the prices start under 2,000 Euros; mid range prices are between 7,000 - 10,000 Euros. If you intending to spend around 20,000 Euros you’ll be able to find a luxury vessel to make the Adriatic cruise an unforgettable experience.

The Croatian nautical as well as tourist season starts in the early April and ends late October. Therefore you can expect the prices to vary accordingly, with June, July and August being the most expensive. Arguably the best time to visit Croatia to fully enjoy the sailing experience is April, May, September and October and that is from various reasons.

Firstly, it is not high season therefore the prices are quite affordable. Secondly, at that time of the year the weather is warmish, not too cold, but still it is quite windy to enjoy the sailing fully. And finally at that time of the year the crowds haven’t arrived yet, or are well gone. Still you’ll be able to fully enjoy the Adriatic as sea is warm to take a swim in may and September.

Importantly, Croatia is reasonably inexpensive country. It is not cheap, however your money will go a long way. You’ll be much better off there than in Italy or Greece, but still it is more expensive than Turkey. Service is very good and people are very friendly.

The above are just general information and a guide to help you in answering general questions. However if you require any assistance or advice, or cannot find the vessel that matches your requirements, please feel free to contact the a charter company by e-mail , or telephone. I recommend Sailing Croatia , their friendly and experienced team will help you through the whole process and provide with more detailed information.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I must admit! Although I was born in Rijeka, the main port and biggest town in the Bay of Kvarner, I’ve never properly explored the area. Well, it’s one of those paradoxes in life, and I thought it is time to change that.

The plan is to board the traditional Croatian vessel and go island hopping for few days around Kvarner, to experience it on the best way – from the sea. My journey starts and ends at Opatija , cruising around the Bay of Kvarner to explore the islands of Krk, Cres, Losinj, Rab, Pag.

The town of Opatija is the first resort on the Adriatic. Due to its mild climate it was a favourite all year destination for Austrian royalty in 19 century. The town is full of stunning villas build in that period by Austrians as their holiday mansions. Opatija has a persistent charm with its long promenade shaded by palm trees, exclusive restaurants, elegant villas and casinos. If you need to describe it in one word, that word would be- posh.

In the morning we board the boat and set sails for Krk, the first destination on our itinerary. The sea is calm and we sail smoothly and the best thing to do is to lie on the deck and just listen to the sea spray as the boat sails along. As we sail along the coast of the island Krk we can see small harbours filled with anchored sailboats, people jumping to the sea and enjoying the deserted harbour and beach – their own piece of paradise, I guess.

We arrived in Baska, a small Mediterranean town as any other. However this town is famous for 2 km long pebble beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of the Adriatic. As well as, Baska is the home of The Bascanska Ploca, an important, stone-carved monument of medieval Croatia. Baska is a very nice place, although a bit touristy, it is typical town for this part of the Mediterranean, with great gastronomic offer and lively night life and it is worthwhile to visit at least to enjoy the beach and see The Bascanska Ploca monument.

After night spent in Baska we sail away towards islands Rab and Pag. Rab, along with the Pag which is just south of it, forms the western coast of the Velebit channel – a strip of sea running along the foot of the mountain like a strait. Its waters are usually calm, because the islands serve as a natural breakwater. As we sail trough he channel we can’t see anything but rocks. There is no vegetation what so ever, not even Mediterranean shrubs which famously grow here despite the harsh conditions. The thing is that when building Venice, Venetians cut all the trees around this area leaving just soil, and the local strong wind called bura did the rest by blowing away the soil that has left, leaving nothing just bare rocks.

Pag and Rab are geographically close together however in every respect they are very different.

Rab was centre of culture and religion from medieval times with its mixed Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Rab Town (same name as the island itself) is a charming huddle of medieval stone buildings.

Rab is famous for nudism and if you fancy swimming, camping and spending time with your gear off, this is the place for you. Rab’s northern tip has some of the most beautiful sand beaches on the Adriatic. As I hear these are more than worthwhile to enjoy, with or without your swimsuits, whichever way you prefer.

On the other hand Pag is a very quiet place where life is slow, or at least was up to few years ago. It is most famous for Paski Sir, a cheese verity which can be bluntly described as local version of Parmesan. A very delicious parmesan though. However now days the island is popular destination for party goers. Clubs and bars on Zrce beach near Novalja are the only places in Croatia with 24 hour licence, so go figure.

We anchor in Novalja with a plan to hit the clubs on Zrce beach. The white pebble beach of Zrce boasts two clubs, and a beach bar, that play dance music non-stop. You right to think of Ibiza at this point, because this place is Croatian response to the famous Spanish party island. A lot of; loud music, drinks, young and young at heart people packed in at very beautiful beach having a good time.

Next day, after night of partying we set sails for Losinj. After about 4 hours of smooth sailing we anchor in Mali Losinj town, the main event centre on the Island. We disembark deciding to spend the afternoon exploring the town.

The sight on town is dominated by the local church’s bell tower, standing out from all other buildings in the town. It is a very romantic place with very long promenade covered by pine trees connecting Mali Losin and Veli Losinj, the two largest towns on the island. After afternoon spent walking the waterfront and exploring the town, we return to the boat for our last dinner on this cruise, a barbecued fresh fish with silverbeet and potato as a side dish – simple but delicious.

No our ultimate day on this cruise we set sails for Cres, our last destination in exploring the Bay of Kvarner. Long thought to be second biggest island on Adriatic but according to the latest surveys it is the same size as the biggest island on the Adriatic, Krk – 406m2.

We anchor in small and picturesque village of Valun and disembark. We were told that there are two beautiful pebble beaches near the village and that the harbour is full of small coves, all best to see by kayak. As we peddle along it’s easy to forget about time around here: crystal sea, blue sky, great scenery and Mediterranean scents – what else could you possibly want? A perfect day!

The same evening we board the boat to sail towards Opatija the where our journey ends. In all respects it’s been a perfect few days, filled with stories about: history, culture and intriguing trivia. As well as a lot of great food and unbelievable kindness of local people and boat’s crew. And most importantly, it’s been a lot of fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gulet sailing cruise

Just spoke on the phone with always friendly agent Patricia from and she gave me the best itinerary for a Gulet cruise in Croatia I have seen in a long time. So I will share it with you.

Day 1:

Departure from Dubrovnik to Ston, the best shell growing site on Ad

riatic. You'll be satisfied with restaurant's offer as well. During sailing you will visit islets in the area of Dubrovnik: Lopoud, Kolocep and Elafiti (Sipan and Jakljan). Ston is a small town situated on peninsula Peljesac known by quality wines. Overnight stay in Ston.

Day 2:

Departure in direction of national park Mljet. You should spent whole day on that beautiful island. You can choose between offered activities on the island: canoe, hiking, cycling... This is also great place for relaxation and to enjoy in the nature. Overnight stay on Mljet.

Day 3:

Old town Korcula, surrounded with walls on the island Korcula. You can visit house in which was born Marco Polo. In the near is a small picturesque place Lumbarda with vineyards of excellent wine named Grk. Considering cultural events, maybe you'll be on Korcula in the time when knights playing "Moreska". Historical and few centuries old knights game, play. Korcula is also very interesting as gastro destination with few exquisite restaurants.

Your further route depends on wind. If there will be fair wind, you will proceed to Lastovo or to Scedro - islet in Korcula's channel. You will find there ruins of old monastery.

Day 4:

Next destination is Vis. This is highly recommended gastro destination on Adriatic. Our references are for restaurant Pojoda in Kut on island Vis. Vis was strongest pirate's trade place in the time of Napoleon. Pirates attacked Napoleon's ships under the flag of Her Majesty. Vis offers great hiking potentiality. Island that worth of 2-3 days staying.

Day 5:

Hvar - the oldest theatre in this part of the world, authentically, small Mediterranean town. The most famous Croatian wine's sorts are on Hvar. Departure in direction of Omis, town situated on the mouth of river Cetina. Visit to the well known restaurant Radmanove mlinice (Radman's mills), specialty of the house - the eels. Possibilities that offer this area are canoe, rafting or just taking a walk by Cetina.

Day 6:

Village Pucisca on island Brac. Just a village worth of whole day staying. There is a well known quarry and also famous stone-dresser's school. Whole village is full of stone sculptures that stone-dresser's school donate. White House in Washington is built of the stone from that old quarry!

If you like lamb, on the top of the hill in the near Vidova Gora you have possibility to taste great lamb's meat. That's is also beautiful gazebo, belvedere from where you can see whole area.

On the island Brac there is monastery Bace where is old library, with the most diligently fund in this part of Europe. Some precious books and documents still kept in that library.

Day 7:

Solta. Agricultural, quite island. Great and fresh fish, vegetables and wine. Perfect peace. departure in direction of Trogir, renesans town under protection of UNESC.

Day 8:

Departure for Split. We recommend earlier check-out and disembarkation. Split is beautiful town with lots of historical spots - Diocletian's palace - residence of Roman imperator Diocletian (today this is the old core of a town). Also under protection of UNESCO.

Thanks again goes to wonderful yacht charter company

Monday, June 25, 2007


Seven days with an elderly British couple (she 74, he 72) at the sea on a 33 feet sailing boat, and aware of the fact that this is going to be their first contact with the sailing boat in their lives- it was definitely a challenge.

The decision to spend their holidays in such an adventurous spirit, in harmony with the laws of nature, was brought a couple of months before the same departure; that's why our contacts were so frequent. They were bothered by many questions, starting from the clothes, weather, marinas, prices, safety of sailing and many more.

They haven't left anything to chance what has been to expect from the people with rich life experience. The day of departure has finally arrived.


Trogir is the city of great history and fantastic tourist offer. ACY marina with its____ posts, one of the most frequent Adriatic marinas, brings together nautical guests who rarely miss a chance to have a walk in the old part of the city.

The guests arrive on our 10 meter sailing boat with luggage and food, which we discussed over together through our many contacts and, after official acquaintance; we start with the organization of life on the boat. We discuss the possible risks and I prepare the crew for the sailing. I convince them that we're ready for sailing, that we can do it and that we will do it, but in the same time I'm aware of these great question marks hanging over their heads which we will deal with as we proceed.

Filled with food and drinks we are heading to Milna on the island of Brač, the weather forecast is satisfying. They get to know the helm, winches, ropes, knots; there are less and less questions. We would have come to Milna if the weather hadn't changed, unfortunately.

The sea in front of the Brač channel was literally boiling; wind 25-30 knots which in the channel blows from east, sea 3.

I'm cutting the route and we're sailing next to Šolta heading to the small village Stomorska. I'm calling Mladen, the most important person for moorings in a village which doesn't have too many of them, ca.10. The reservation is made- now we can breathe more easily.

The crew didn't expect such a mess on board the first day but they accepted it as a sort of baptism of fire and added that new experience to the old ones.

Stomorska primarily offers you peace and excellent gastronomy with very, I say, very reasonable prices. The young and everyone else feeling young can spend a great time at the amusement centre with good music, snooker, darts and football game.

Next to the grocery store and a cash machine there is also the post office and the new toilet for the boaters with the shower facilities. Apart from the ensured berths there are also the electricity supplies and the drinking water.

At stronger north wind the sea level can rise a little so the nights can sometimes be «wobbly».


Waking up, breakfast, short morning walk and Stomorska sightseeing. The weather wasn't promising, so we decided to sail the yesterday's route-Milna, on the island of Brač. It was a short route, welcomed by everyone. Milna is a small town, very popular among the boaters. That certainly guarantees bustling crowds-a complete opposite to Stomorska.

Two marinas, some ten waitresses, restaurants and pizzerias can satisfy even the most demanding guests. The prices are fairly reasonable.

We had lunch at the tavern «Two dolphins»-a nice little tavern with a warm and welcoming ambiance. The fish was on our menu. We took hors-d' oeuvre, soup, 1.5 kg grouper with potatoes and one bottle of good wine. It cost us 100 euros- satisfying.

The rain made us look for shelter so we came back to our boat and it turned out to be an excellent idea after such a plentiful lunch. After the afternoon rest we went for a walk. The map we got at the tourist office includes the sightseeing of the century- old churches, chapels and a cemetery. It was an unforgettable feeling.


Sunny morning, traditional English breakfast that lasted for almost half an hour. We do it more quickly. I ran from the boat to buy today's lunch that will also serve as a surprise to the guests.

I'm buying the anchovies from the fisherman called Ante (how else!?). Perfect.

We're heading for Palmižana at Pakleni otoci, my personal marina number one. The reason for that doesn't lie in the fact that there one can see the Croatian and world jet-set but the fact that such a beautiful nature, beaches, caves and natural purity one can rarely find along the Adriatic coast nowadays.

The only downside of this place is the numerous guests who come from the neighbouring island of Hvar.

I'm sending my guests to the beach announcing that I'll be the chef for today and that the whole thing will be a surprise.

Everything is set-anchovies, salt, tomatoes and vine. The guests have also arrived. They're not trying to hide their enthusiasm. They are paying me so many compliments; I don't know which way to look. Well, young and too shy.

This simple and genuine sailor's lunch stayed in their memory, I'll presume, for a long time.

We dined at «Toto» restaurant, heartily recommended. The personnel consist of the young, capable and pleasantly talkative people. The dinner was in a complete accordance with the today's lunch. Home cooking- squids, the speciality of the house. They were fresh, put on the hot oil for a minute or two, than braised for another 40 minutes with a variety of Mediterranean spices and with cooked potatoes or polenta (maize porridge) as a side-dish, and regardless the predominated black colour- it was delicious! A+!

Stuffed with all the food we had eaten, we all went towards the boat. The whole crew went to sleep while I ... well, I visited a fantastic little new café bar in marina situated near the sea and to the sounds of some relaxing instrumental music and a sorbet tried to help to my «suffering» stomach.


The weather forecast was not promising-strong wind NW. We're getting the boat and all our knowledge ready. We’re heading to Šolta but this time towards its western part- the village Maslenica. The sea has risen quite a lot but, now we are a much more experienced crew enjoying every wave.

Maslenica is a small fisherman's village very similar to Stomorska, but at the same time, very different.

This part of the island seems to be lover and gentler. There are around fifteen berths. At western winds the sea can really be rough so the staying is sometimes quite unpleasant. There are water and power supplies but without toilets, I'm afraid.

There are grocery store, tourist office (with the possibility of exchanging the money), three taverns, a café bar and Martinis Marchi, a very fancy restaurant, placed within a recently restored estate- a remarkable edifice which apart from the excellent gastronomy offers top- quality lodging.

They aim towards the so- called elitist tourism, so the prices are formed according to that orientation. The beaches are easily reachable by ten minutes walk. We had meat for dinner accompanied by the good home-made red vine which was a pleasant change.


The morning started with swimming. Our guests were brave, but it was too cold for me.

The weather forecast was finally promising-a real summer day, so we headed for Drvenik Veli to visit Dražen. He is the owner of a restaurant «Jere» and is considered to be the master of the octopus made in baking lid or «pod pekom». No one knows what he does or how he does it, but it's always delicious. We've known each other for so many years, but as far as the recipe is concerned, his lips are sealed.

He will talk... eventually! Everything comes to those who wait.

We are dropping anchorage, letting go almost 40 meters of chain. The sea is deep and covered with seaweed so the depth is actually welcoming.

We're mooring the boat in the port which doesn't offer water or power supplies. Dražen and his great cuisine and a homey atmosphere were just as I expected them to be. Our guests were more than pleased. The village itself has got a post, a grocery store and a car-ferry service with Vinjerac.


The morning began with the walk. Everyone was busy preparing for the last day of our cruise. On our way back we are stopping next to the tuna hatchery. They are feeding them well. The cage is about to explode. With the approval of the divers and the employees, one can dive and watch that big sea animals. This time, we aren't going to do that.

The wind is strong. Maybe a little bit too strong, but for this reason we are sailing fast towards Trogir, our starting point. On arrival to Trogir, we exchange our addresses, say goodbyes, ″hugs and kisses″ and we part. It’s usually like at the end of every cruise, fast and without any special emotions.

But when the thoughts, emotions and experiences settle down... now, that's another story. This time was the same.

Among all the words of thanks, the thing that means the most to me is that the next summer they will be joining me again with the rest of their family. Wonderful people!

Thanks again to YACHT-BASE for providing such a excellent service for both guests and skippers.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bavaria 44

Presenting BAVARIA 44 a true sailing yacht.

Like all of Bavaria's sailing range, the 44's lines are from the European company J & J Design. The hull is full-bodied, powerful and beamy, with a long, low-slung coachroof which looks good in profile and goes against the trend towards raised deck cruisers.

Construction is to Lloyds Register CE certification. The topsides and deck are constructed of fibreglass/closed cell foam sandwich, while the hull below the waterline is solid fibreglass incorporating Kevlar fabric for added strength around the forefoot and the keel flange. An outer layer of isophthalic resin in combination with a powder-bound layer of fibreglass matt provides protection against osmosis.

Below decks the Bavaria feels very roomy. The forward cabin includes a very large and comfortable double island berth rather than a V-berth. The joinery includes five storage compartments along each side of the hull above the bunk; a system which is repeated throughout the interior. These compartments have doors which can be propped up and open on springs while you rummage inside for sunglasses or whatever.

Aft of the island berth on the port side is a padded seat where you can sit and relax before or after a siesta. Aft of that is a reasonably sized hanging locker.

On the starboard side is an ensuite bathroom with blue synthetic bench tops on the vanity unit and plenty of storage space, a big mirror and a Jabsco manual toilet. There is a fibreglass cover which can be pulled down over the toilet and used as a seat when you have a shower. The pressurised hot and cold water nozzle doubles for the sink and shower.

Moving aft into the saloon, the galley runs along the port side of the hull and is brightened by the use of the same blue synthetic surfacing on the benchtops as seen in the ensuite. At the forward end is a fairly shallow double sink, with a mixer tap for the pressurised hot and cold water supply next to a top-loading ice box, and then the two-burner stove and oven. Aft of that is a very big top-loading icebox with a 12V cooling compressor.

Cutouts and fold-away covers allow all of the benchtops to be used for food preparation if required. There is storage space under the sink, as well as above the galley in more of the timber cupboards repeated on the opposite side of the saloon and elsewhere. The curved galley front is something to lean against when moving around the saloon in bumpy water, and although there are no handholds to reach for up above, there is a good handhold on the back of the two-person benchseat next to the galley.

There is ample seating for up to eight or nine people on this benchseat. Opposite is a U-shaped lounge which curves around the large saloon table, and has storage compartments built into its base. At the forward end is a timber support base for the deck-stepped mast, adjacent to the bulkhead-mounted bottle rack, while the tie-rods linking the shrouds to the hull/keel structural grid can be seen to either side of the hull.

There's a big opening hatch above the saloon table, a dorade vent slightly further forward and additional light from the series of portlights along the side of the coachhouse, and the long, sliding companionway hatch which is clear perspex.

Glossed mahogany veneers and solid joinery throughout provide a traditional look which may be a little dark to some tastes. Bavaria's use of brown flowcoat on some of the internal mouldings (eg, under the nav station and the bunk bases) is certainly not to my taste, which would be for a lighter tone, but this is a minor quibble.

The sombre browns are lifted by the use of cream-coloured vinyl wall and head liners, floorboards with a teak and holly look and fabric for the saloon seating with a white suede look. This upholstery looks great while flying in the face of practicality; keeping the settees clean may provide quite a challenge. Covers will probably be made for use during club racing.

Aft of the dinette on the starboard side is a fairly large and traditional navigation station with a comfy benchseat and a large chart table. This area is set up with the electrics switchboard, which includes a voltmeter, 12V and 230V sockets for shore power and facility for battery charger, a Blaupunkt CD player, Raymarine RC320 chartplotter and an ICOM ICM45 VHF marine radio, all included in the standard issue electronics package.

Opposite is the main bathroom, which duplicates the facilities of the forward ensuite. The one thing missing from the Bavaria 44's interior configuration, compared to some other new cruising-orientated production yachts in this size range, is a separate shower stall.

In the conventional position under the companionway is the Volvo MD22L marine diesel saildrive, a 55hp model which should certainly not be under-specified for this application.

To either side in the aft quarters are two big double cabins, each with hanging lockers, wall-mounted storage compartments and open shelving, plus a benchseat for taking your boots off before hitting the rack. Light and ventilation are catered for with the inclusion of opening hatches outboard, inboard (to the cockpit) and overhead.

A four cabin version is available, the only differences being in the forward cabin. The double bunk is reduced in size and moved forward while the ensuite is shifted to the port side, to make way for a small fourth cabin with twin bunk beds to starboard.

First impressions on deck are of a big boat with ocean-going capabilities, due at least in part to the solid teak gunwales and bulwarks which rise towards the bow.

Up the front is a split pulpit, teak bowseat and large anchorlocker housing a plough anchor and 50m of chain. The forestay is set up with a Selden roller furler for the No 2 genoa which is included in the standard equipment.

The Selden aluminium rig is set up with two sets of swept-back spreaders, sidestays, lowers and intermediates, plus a backstay which is tensioned via a wormdrive unit, using a standard winch handle.

The standard mainsail is a fully battened set-up with Selden RCB Sliding System batten cars and lazy jacks which pull forward out of the way when not in use, as well as Selden's single-line reefing system. The boom is supported by a solid Selden boom vang.

The owner of this yacht has opted for a decent set of club racing sails from the Sydney Quantum loft, including a triple-reefed mainsail, plus non-furling No 1 and No 3 headsails and a symmetrical spinnaker.

There are substantial handholds along the coachroof which I tripped over the first time I moved around the deck, one of those traps you hopefully fall into once only.

The main traveller is positioned on the coachhouse in front of the companionway, with the mainsheet, halyards and control lines leading back to self-tailing winches either side of the companionway. When extra grunt is required, you can lead any of these lines back to the primaries, which are electric-powered Harken 48 two-speed self-tailers mounted on the broad cockpit coamings. The electric winch power is optional rather than standard issue, and it's great, especially when you're sailing short-handed. It's probably another one of those things that you don't miss until you've had it, and then find it hard to live without.

The deck hardware, such as blocks, jammers for the roller furling, and the mainsheet traveller, is mostly Rutgerson brand.

There is no doubt that the twin wheel arrangement opens up the aft end of the cockpit for easy access, while also allowing the steerer to perch comfortably to windward or leeward, as preferred. The stern can be opened right up to the generous boarding platform through the removal of a central fibreglass transom moulding.

The broad cockpit coamings are quite stylish and the teak-laid cockpit seats have big, deep lockers which can house all sorts of gear. Separate storage for LP gas bottles is provided under the transom seating, where the emergency tiller position can also be found.

A neat little fibreglass hatch on the boarding platform lifts up to reveal the telescopic stainless steel boarding ladder, and there is a cockpit shower with hot and cold water.

A fresh southerly wind gusting from 15-30kt gave us excellent boat testing conditions in Sydney's Pittwater. We began the day optimistically with the big No 1 genoa, which when goosewinged downwind dragged us northwards past Scotland Island at speeds of around 7kt at the lower end of the wind range.

The boat was manageable upwind under this headsail, powering along in the high 6kt range, but as the wind built there was going to be no reward or thanks in flogging the big overlapping sail, and we changed down to the high-clewed No 3.

Under this sail and the full main, the Bavaria 44 was happy and no problems to handle right up into the strongest gusts. Reaching at 100o apparent wind angle, it easily sat on 8kt plus, and the Whitlock steering was not heavy in spite of the chain attachment of a Raymarine ST6000+ autopilot (I wouldn't have noticed its existence if not for being told it was there).

Sailing upwind under this rig we sat on 7-7.5kt speeds at 30-35o degrees apparent wind angle or better in 22-23kt of breeze, holding pace but pointing higher in the stronger gusts.

The boat seemed stiff, we didn't have any round-ups at all, and it was comfy to steer from a seated position on the windward rail, or standing behind either wheel. When the boat heeled through some of the strongest gusts, I thought a strategically-positioned foot brace on the cockpit sole could have contributed a sense of security. But there we were slipping into race mode rather than more relaxed cruising mode, which after all is more in keeping with the spirit of this boat.

It was very easy to move around the cockpit, with the large centre table providing no hindrance to working and something to hang onto at times. Some rope bags near the companionway were badly needed to deal with the miles of rope we seemed to accumulate in the cockpit.

I wasn't crazy about the positioning of the Raymarine ST60 Tridata, wind and autopilot units on the aft face of the cockpit table, which seemed well out of the steerer's line of vision when positioned anywhere except sitting on the transom, but at least the big Plastimo binnacle compasses were well-located on the steering pedestals.

Under motor the Volvo proved very quiet (more than once I had a quick look over the gunwale at the water-cooled exhaust to verify that the engine was actually running), and it pushed us along at an effortless 8kt plus at less than 2500 revs, which could be very reassuring on some grim occasion involving a lee shore.

There's a lot of boat here for the price tag, with true sailaway specification.
Handling characteristics under sail or power are reliable and sure.
The extra interior space gained by moving into the 42ft+ size range has been very well utilised in the three cabin layout.

Dark-toned interior timberwork and brown fibreglass mouldings may not suit all tastes.
One or two rough edges down below mean the finish isn't to superyacht standard, but neither is the price.

Bavaria 44 ready to charter