For those that have missed out on holidays this year, why not dream about something different and plan a sailing holiday in Croatia. Jane Cody, author of the Croatia Cruising Companion and regular writer on nautical tourism in Croatia, whets your appetite!
Many people seem to feel that a sailing holiday is beyond their reach, either because they don’t know how to sail, or because they imagine it’s way beyond their budget. So, below, are a few myths dispelled.
Whilst a round the world trip might not be a good idea for a novice and nervous group of sailors, a sailing holiday in Croatia could be just the job. Obviously you have to pay attention to the weather and basic navigational and safety rules, but if you charter a yacht with a skipper you can learn as much or as little as you like about sailing whilst exploring Croatia the way it was meant to be discovered – by sea.
As for budgets, if you do your research carefully you will find plenty of bargains to be had. If you compare the total cost of the charter holiday with what it would cost you to stay in a hotel, you could get a pleasant surprise.
Croatia, particularly the Dalmatian Coast and Islands, is particularly friendly to a variety of nautical travelers. The many islands mostly lie close to the mainland so you are never very far from land if the sea roughs up. Similarly, it’s easy to pick a route to stay in flat water if the weather conditions change. If you happen to be in a group of mixed bravado and tastes then you can leave some of the group in a fascinating historic city while the others go chasing the winds in the nearest channel. If some like to party and some don’t then seek the peace and quiet of the Pakleni Islands and send the party lovers by water taxi to Hvar town. Deserted bays may be the order of the day for romantic couples; for families perhaps Bol on Brač, or Vodice and Biograd on the mainland could provide the ideal children’s playground for a daytime stop.
Those that haven’t sailed before often aren’t aware that charter yachts are relatively luxurious – the floating equivalent of three star hotels, without the room service but with a good sized kitchen. So if you just want to potter around and enjoy cocktails on the sun deck then you can do that in style too.
We’ve yet to meet any sailors, novice or otherwise, that haven’t had a great time when they’ve sailed with a skipper. The skipper takes all the responsibility, makes himself or herself scarce when necessary, and knows exactly where to sail to in order to keep everyone happy. Those that choose a bareboat charter (without a skipper) also can’t fail to have a good time in Croatia if their sailing skills are up to it and they find other ways of getting the best of local knowledge.
And here are ten tips for making the most of your sailing holiday:
1. Travel light – pack your gear in foldable bags so they stow easily. Include a pair of jelly shoes for the pebble beaches.
2. Beware the sun – make sure a bimini (sun cover) comes as standard on your yacht and that you take a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc
3. Embrace the unexpected – don’t be to rigid in your itinerary so you can enjoy the ad hoc experiences which will make your holiday
4. Treat yourself to a bit of luxury half way through – maybe an overnight stop at a marina as a change from the quiet anchorages.
5. Learn a little Croatian – it will make the locals happy though most speak good English. For a handy phrasebook link to the Croatian Language School Phrasebook
7. Communications – for a relaxing holiday it’s best to leave the laptop behind but you’ll find WiFi almost everywhere. Mobile telephone signals are good in most places too.
8. Respect the weather – if your skipper suggests shelter to avoid a summer storm then he’ll almost always be able to find you a nearby town with plenty to explore. At worst it will be a sheltered bay with a restaurant and bars.
9. Prepare and do your research so that you can let your skipper know what sort of places you like.
10. Learn how to navigate – it’s a great and useful skill.
And below are some specific phrases that might help!
I need a berth for two days.
Treba mi vez na dva dana.
U redu, imamo slobodno mjesto, no ako rezervirate na tri dana, dobit ćete popust od 10%.
What is the depth at your pier?
Koja je dubina na vašem pristaništu?
Two metres here and four metres at the end.
Dva metra ovdje i četiri metra na kraju
What are your rates?
Kolike su vaše pristojbe?
100 Euros a day for a 14 metre boat.
100 eura dnevno za brod od 14 metara.
Gdje mogu privezati brod?
On pontoon C at the end; my colleague will help you.
Na pontonu C na kraju; moj kolega će Vam pomoći.
Does the berth have a water and power supply?
Ima li vez vodu i struju?
Yes and they are included in the price.
Da, ima i uključeni su u cijenu.
Does your marina have a 15 ton crane?
Ima li vaša marina petnaesttonsku dizalicu?
Ne, nema, ali možemo vam dogovoriti da koristite jednu u blizini.
Is there a sheltered harbour nearby?
Postoji li u blizini zaštićena luka?
There is an anchorage a little further east but it is not sheltered from the Bora.
Postoji sidrište nešto istočnije, ali nije zaklonjeno od bure.
Where is the harbour master’s office?
Gdje je lučka kapetanija?
Tamo pokraj samog crvenog svjetla.
Do you know what the weather forecast is?
Znate li kakva je vremenska prognoza?
Today’s forecast is in the marina reception.
Informacija o današnjoj prognozi je na recepciji marine.