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Old 31-05-2012, 15:37   #1
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Croatia 2012 Debrief

Just returned from a charter on the central Dalmatian coast of Croatia and thought I would share our experience for any others considering the same

The Boat: We chose to charter a 2007 Lagoon 44 named Alexa based in Splits Marina Kastela and managed by Croatia Yachting. We only had four people going but my wife and I are test driving a variety of yachts as we should be purchasing a cruising cat within the year and we wanted to see if the Lagoon 44 was easily handled by a crew of two. It is probably larger than we will ultimately buy but it is nice to know what you are comfortable with. Overall the boat was in excellent condition, clean, and well equipped. Everything worked as advertised save a few small things. We had a problem with the shore power cord which Croatia Yachting addressed and fixed quickly even though we were way out in Vis. The transmission on the port engine decided to be finicky on one day towards the end but worked enough to get us through the day. And lastly the strap holding the main sheet block to the boom squeaked incredibly loudly. Not sure if this is normal but if it were my boat I would definitely try to mitigate the noise as it was quite unpleasant. Otherwise the boat sailed very well tacked better than any cat we have sailed thus far. Bridge deck slamming was minimal and visibility from the fly bridge was great. There was a big blind spot aft which made med mooring interesting but with a good crew was not a problem. It had two electric winches which made life much easier but we only used them when putting up or taking down the sails. Overall we were very satisfied with the boat; it had scads of space and was easily handled by my wife and I.

Croatia Yachting: We chose Croatia yachting because they had the boat we were looking for at the best price and they had a nice looking website When doing our initial research there just wasn't a whole lot of info on what some call "second tier" companies so we just rolled the dice. We were pleasantly surprised! Kastela Marina is a modern clean facility with several large charter companies operating from there. The overwhelming majority of charterers were German with a smattering of just about every other county in Europe. Very few Americans surprisingly enough, I think we were the only ones there that week. The Marina is halfway between the airport and Downtown Split. The number 37 bus runs right in front of the airport and costs about 10 kuna or about $1.60usd to get to the marina. If you decide to cab it it will run you about 140 kuna or $23usd. We arrived pretty early in the morning and the boat was not supposed to be ready until 5pm with a sleep aboard. Much to our surprise we showed up to Croatia Yachtings office at about 11:00am and they said the boat was ready and we could take care of the boat briefing straight away. Everyone at Croatia Yachting was very nice and accommodating from my first inquiries to the checkout at the end of he charter. Emails were returned promptly and there were no hidden surprises. I would definitely use them again if we go there again. We did have to pay extra for an outboard engine for the dink and towels were not included but they gave us a bunch for free as well as some swim fins at no charge. Anyway we were ready to roll by 1:00 pm but we had to wait for one of our guests who would not arrive until that evening so we just hung and watched all the action at the marina and went to the grocery to provision. Provisioning was easy as there is a large Walmart style grocery store with everything from mayonnaise to chainsaws.

Uh oh got go to work be back soon to finish cheers
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Old 31-05-2012, 19:16   #2
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Re: Croatia 2012 Debrief

Ok back to the debrief, one note on provisioning. Everything we found at the grocery we also found out on the islands including lots of fresh veggies so don't think you need to get it all in Split.

The Itinerary: Seldom does a battle plan survive first contact with the enemy and ours was no different. We had planned to make a long run north to Skradin to see Kyrka national park then move south towards Vis And Hvar but weather and time plotted against us.

Day 1 We shoved off about ten in the morning with no wind and clear skies, motored out of the harbor and headed towards Maslinica. As we got closer the wind freshened and we decided to push on to Vis. Arrived at about 5:30pm and cruised around the harbor dreading my first encounter with the infamous Med Moor. The quay was pretty full but the port authority waved us to a spot and pulled up the lazy line for us to grab. Lucky for me the weather cooperated and we backed in without incident. The fee for tying up to the quay was 730kuna or about $124usd, keep in mind that they charge cats double. The fee included water, electric and use of nice shower and bath facilities. Lots of restaurants and shops on the quay as well as lots of partying Germans, a fun atmosphere and everyone was very friendly.

Day 2 Woke up this morning with a 30kt Jugo blowing out of the ESE. Decided to stay another night paid the fee and set about to explore the island. we rented some bikes and rode around the entire island, about 30km. Beautiful ride with great views, vineyards, and little beach restaurants. Beware though, the climb from Komiza over th hill towards Vis is a killer but worth the effort. My brother and father rented motorscooters and had a much easier time of it. There is a little wine shop next to the port office and you can get a bottle of the Lipanovich Cabernet for 95kuna well worth it!

Day 3 planned to cruise over to Komiza to have lunch but there was a large swell plus headwinds so we turned around and set off on a broad reach in 15 kts of wind towards the Palkeni islands. We arrived about 6pm and pulled into a delightful little anchorage on the west side of Marinkovak. We grabbed a mooring ball and took the dink into the little restaurant there to pay for the mooring. We were told there was no fee so we sat down and had a delicious octopus salad and a bottle of wine. Turned in early after a beautiful sunset and slept like a rock.

To be continued
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:06   #3
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Hi Clipper,

I'm fairly new to sailing I'm planning a trip to Croatia early Oct. any helpful tips?

Thanks
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Old 12-06-2012, 23:43   #4
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Re: Croatia 2012 Debrief

Sorry for the delay things have been crazy back home but here goes for rest of our charter.

Day 4: Woke up early to get my brother to Hvar to catch a ferry back to Split. It was a short ride motoring to Hvar, the harbor had cleared out and there was plenty of space on the city quay to tie up, this was at about 0930 in the morning. The fee was 830 kuna or about $135.00 usd, this included water and electricity. The town was great and due to the fact we were early in the season not too crowded. The city did not provide showers but there is a place close by that did for a nominal fee. They also had laundry facilities. We walked to the Hotel Amphora for lunch then hiked up to the fort. It was $5 usd to go in in and there is a little cafe too. Well worth it as the views are fantastic. By this time the quay was totally full as well as the mooring balls. Ate dinner aboard went out for some drinks and hung out with a Romanian group tied up next to us.

Day 5 : Loafed around till about 1100 and finally got underway. We planned on going back to the same anchorage in the Palkenis and just for giggles sailed around the whole island chain took about three hours, picked up a mooring ball around 1530 and explored the island. We called Antonio's and made our dinner selection for later. Just as we were getting in the dink for the short ride to the restaurant a Bora blew in with rain and wind blowing up to 35 kts. It was short lived and we enjoyed a wonderful meal of grilled fish, calamari, and scampi. As usual the food was fantastic and our bill was about $120usd and that included two bottles of wine.

Day 6 : Our final day. Left the Palkenis at about 0900 for the 25 or so run back to Split. Keep in mind there are no fueling facilities at the charter base so you have to fill up somewhere else. Milna is a popular spot to spend your last night and as we sailed past there was a steady stream of boats leaving, unfortunately the fuel dock closes at noon so we sailed to the town of Rogac on Solta. We had to wait about twenty min for our turn but it was easy in and out and we were delighted by the fact that after six days we only burned about 30 gallons of diesel. The wind freshened in the afternoon and we were able to make 8kts back into the harbor and arrived back at the marina at about 1600.

The Check Out : We called Leo the base manager to let him know we were on the way in and he told us where to park. They were were there when we arrived at the slip and helped us park. As soon as the lines were secured we went through the boat and signed off on everything except the sails as it was too windy to roll them out. We slept aboard that night had some good pizza and wine and slept great dreaming about our next visit. The next morning we checked the sails got our Ä2500 euro deposit back and caught a taxi to the airport by 0900.

Final thoughts : Overall a very positive experience. Croatia Yachting was great and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone else. Croatia was affordable charming. The people were incredibly friendly and eager to share what they have to offer. We will definitely coming back, probably out of Zadar to see the Kornati national park and the falls at Kyrka. One other thing, the weather. One word Unpredictable! Keep that in mind, when you think it is going to do one thing it will probably throw you a curve ball

Anyway hope this helps and feel free to PM me or email for more info at
Wshouston07@gmail.com

Cheers
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