After daring to pursue our dream we set sail on our maiden voyage sailing Croatia from Istria in Northern Croatia to the islands of central Croatia. 170 nautical miles via Lošinj, Žut, Šolta and Hvar and an abundance of stunning scenery. We're living our dream and believe that you can too.
Preparing To Sail In Croatia
This is the start of living our dream as we set out on our first passage sailing with thankfulness. We were fortunate enough to have a friend who's an experienced sailor come with us on the 170 nautical mile journey from the North part of Croatia to the central islands in Croatia. We're so thankful to him for his help.
After getting the engine serviced, new anti-foul and checking all of the boat systems we set about planning the trip. The main challenge was that our planned departure date, at the beginning of March, was less than ideal because of the season. We had bad weather forecasts with very strong winds on either side of a four day window.
All things considered we decided to go for it!
All ready to go shopping. This is how cold it is. We wear all of this to go shopping. We'll give you an idea of what it's like in a day of our life. Here we go. I'll pass you all the things that we need to take and then down the ladder. Stephen carries everything down so I can just hang on. I'm so thankful.
Our boat's about to go back in the water. It's on a motorised trolley transporter. It's very exciting. So they're just getting ready. They've loosened the back stay so it can be put onto the crane.
Sailing Croatia Day 1 - Pomer (Istria) to Artaturi Inlet (Lošinj)
30 Nautical Miles
It's day one of our maiden passage about seven a.m. The sky is clear and there's is zero wind. The water here is completely glassy.
Really excited, looking forward to it and I can't wait to get going. My biggest concern for the first part of the passage was crossing the Kvarner between Istria and the closest island Ulije, 16 nautical miles away. My Adriatic sea pilot book had this to say about our March passage:
The North East Bora can blow furiously with sudden gusts over 140 kilometres an hour with violent squalls. The South East Scirocco may reach gale force and give rise to heavy seas. When the wind is from the South West we can expect storms and heavy seas over four metres in height.
Adriatic Sea Pilot (paraphrased)
This is what the Bora wind does to trees in Croatia. They need concrete supports so that they aren't flattened.
The weather forecast was good but I had no idea how reliable it would be. We decided to motor across the Kvarner and get out of this stretch of water as fast as possible.
We're just about to set out on our very first sail on sailing with thankfulness and we're very excited. We've got a four day sale in front of us. It'll be amazing.
We're leaving the ACI marina and heading down to Hvar but it's time to leave the shore. We're heading out into open water. We've still got the motor on - we haven't put the sails up yet but that will be coming once we get out there. It's just a beautiful day. We're going at 5.9 knots and the motor's off. This is the stretch that could be a little bit tricky. It's the most open water that we'll be on. After this we'll have island coverage.
How are we going captain?
We're going well. We have a competent crew.
We have very competent crew and it's not me.
You might be able to notice in the distance over there that there's snow on the tops of the mountains. It's pretty cold out here and I guess that's why people aren't sailing. We're the only sailing boat.
This is my first attempt ever of cooking on the boat, on the gas, on passage. I can see snow on the mountains over there - quite amazing. I've just had to work out how to use the gimbal on the stove. We're having hot dogs. Something really simple but there you go. Everything's moving but it's actually on a gimbal so as the boat turns or moves it goes up and down and I'm just hanging on.
There's the first mate out there working out their plan for the passage.
Back to cooking. Oh my gosh. Looks like the wind's just picked up again. We had the motor on for a little bit because it dropped and now it's picking up again. I thought I'd cook while it was a little bit not as rocky but... Yep, I think this is just life on a boat. I'm sure I'll get used to it. I know where to hang on. There's a hand rail here, there's a hand rail on the top and here there's a hand rail. So there are hand rails all along.
How are we doing captain?
We're doing really well.
So day one of sailing is completed. We're at anchor and we're going to have dinner
Sailing Croatia Day 2 - Artaturi Inlet (Lošinj) to Pinizel Cove (Žut)
So that's where we're headed, over there.
It looks like an army fortified ruins over there.
This is amazing.
This is the island of Iž.
Hoping to get there late this afternoon before it gets dark. A beautiful village over on that side.
So we're currently anchored on the island of Žut which is about halfway between Zadar and Šibenik at a little cove called Pinizel Cove. We arrived here about 4:30 in the afternoon, dropped the anchor and are settling in for a comfortable night.
Sailing Croatia Day 3 - Pinizel Cove (Žut) to Šešula (Šolta)
We're on the island of Šolta. It's day three and this time we've put a line to shore as well as the anchor out the front.
Sailing Croatia Day 4 - Šešula (Šolta) to Vrboska (Hvar)
A little bit cold here this morning on Šolta. It's about 7am.
I just rowed to shore. It's about 10 meters deep, 2 meters from shore. I'm going to remove the shoreline attached to this tree so that we can set off on our fourth day to Hvar.
23 nautical miles left to go. It's a beautiful day. The island of Šolta to port. Hvar's up in front and the Pakleni islands are over there.
There's the island of Brač.