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Old 03-01-2021, 17:26   #1
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Ahoy from Croatia

Hi everyone.

I'm another one of those poor naive "wouldn't it be grand to live on a sailboat" people this forum sees so very often! I've been lurking here for a while and expect to be posting regularly. Joining this forum is my way of ensuring everything I do gets thoroughly critiqued by its members -- all feedback is welcome (even if not constructive ).

Croatia is a weirdly-shaped country, split somewhat neatly into two by the Dinaric Alps: there's the SW part on the Adriatic with its plentiful beaches and islands, and then there's the NE part where just about the only sailing you can do is on a dinghy in an artificial lake. Alas I was born on the wrong side of the Dinarides and only experienced the sea for brief yearly Summer vacations. This was enough to make me start dreaming however.

After many years of dreaming, I've recently started getting my feet wet. Since a couple of years ago, I've bought a ton of (perhaps too many) books, read up a lot on sailing and boats in general (many books still left unread however), attended a batch of sailing courses, got my license and chartered with friends multiple times. All in all I have about a thousand miles under my belt, though over half of those were of course sailed under the guidance of people more knowledgeable than me (e.g. sailing school instructors).

There were lots of hiccups on the way: motoring through unexpected gales, misjudging the severity of weather forecasts, dragging anchor in the middle of the night, mainsail luff sliders getting hopelessly stuck mid-mast, the engine crapping out, the rudder breaking between shore and an isolated danger, sailing at night under a lightning storm, almost crashing into a pier when exiting the marina, running aground (luckily temporarily and with no real damage done), and even worst of all: a clogged head.

But all of these hiccups (or rather, sobering learning experiences) were overwhelmingly surrounded by absolute perfect days spent sailing with friends.

So, I now consider myself properly hooked.

Here's my rough plan, and please tell me if I'm being an idiot:
  • I'll buy an older, used, fiberglass sailboat in the 9 to 11 metre range. It has to be at least somewhat seaworthy already -- I'm not looking for a project boat (i.e. I'm not looking to spend months fixing her up before setting sail).
  • I'll fix any remaining major issues the boat has, or pay to have major issues fixed. Sadly, my background (electrical & software engineering) does not allow me to be too optimistic when it comes to fixing most boat issues myself -- something I'm hoping to slowly pick up as I go along. I have very little experience with boat maintenance. I see this as the biggest flaw in my plan, but please feel free to point out if you see a larger one.
  • I'll secure a (hopefully) cheap(er) slip somewhere on the Adriatic coast, though I could make do with an expensive marina temporarily.
  • I'll move onto the boat. I have the luck of being able to work remotely as long as I have any kind of Internet access.
  • I'll spend a year doing shorter trips around Croatia's coast, getting more experience.
I plan on asking the forum for more advice on each of the points above in future separate threads, but feel free to comment here if you'd like -- I appreciate all feedback.

Cheers and here's to a hopefully much better new year.
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Old 03-01-2021, 20:07   #2
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Welcome!
Pretty eventful first thousand miles I’d say!
Croatia brings back memories of 20 years ago, doing regattas in Krk, cruising the Kornati park, visiting lovely Split...
Your plan sounds reasonable, just make sure you leave some room to adjust it as you go; your education background will help you tremendously and I’m sure you’ll learn quickly.
Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 03-01-2021, 20:32   #3
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Bula from Fiji and Happy New Year,

Hoping that you'll gain help and useful information from the forum. Getting 1,000 miles under the belt is fantastic. At least now you know you like it. Too many people find that they don't but waste a great deal of money figuring that out.

Keep reading books, but above all go sailing. Dinghies are great to sail and you learn heaps. So if you're closest to the lake then get a dinghy that you can use easily and often. Also join a club; it's the best way to learn and experience different boats. Ask many questions and start them with 'why?".

I don't often recommend youtube as a means of learning but below is a link to, for me at least, an inspiring film (with a very sad ending, not due to sailing). Perhaps it will be for you too. I hope so, and I expect it is very cold at night there in Europe. So watching the film Chasing Bubbles will warm your evening (1hr 25 mins long). I'd also suggest accompanying your viewing with a nice red wine and some tasty cheeses. Do tell me what you think.

Always do feel free to post your own thoughts, questions and ideas here on CF. The forum only works when people post, and 95% of members here seem reluctant. Don't be a lurker. Also fill in the profile so we know a tad more about your good self.

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Old 03-01-2021, 20:47   #4
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Welcome from frigid New England! You are so far ahead of your average "new person". And your list of mishaps sounds pretty run-of-the-mill to me. You came out of it wanting to take the next step, so you're golden.

I've always longed to charter in Croatia. It seems like a fantastic place to cruise. Can't wait to hear your updates.
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Old 04-01-2021, 02:57   #5
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, tramuntana.
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:36   #6
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Quote:
Originally Posted by tramuntana View Post
. Alas I was born on the wrong side of the Dinarides
I thought I am the only one ...

Dobro došao!
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:43   #7
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Quote:
Originally Posted by tramuntana View Post
Hi everyone.

I'm another one of those poor naive "wouldn't it be grand to live on a sailboat" people this forum sees so very often! I've been lurking here for a while and expect to be posting regularly. Joining this forum is my way of ensuring everything I do gets thoroughly critiqued by its members -- all feedback is welcome (even if not constructive ).

Croatia is a weirdly-shaped country, split somewhat neatly into two by the Dinaric Alps: there's the SW part on the Adriatic with its plentiful beaches and islands, and then there's the NE part where just about the only sailing you can do is on a dinghy in an artificial lake. Alas I was born on the wrong side of the Dinarides and only experienced the sea for brief yearly Summer vacations. This was enough to make me start dreaming however.

After many years of dreaming, I've recently started getting my feet wet. Since a couple of years ago, I've bought a ton of (perhaps too many) books, read up a lot on sailing and boats in general (many books still left unread however), attended a batch of sailing courses, got my license and chartered with friends multiple times. All in all I have about a thousand miles under my belt, though over half of those were of course sailed under the guidance of people more knowledgeable than me (e.g. sailing school instructors).

There were lots of hiccups on the way: motoring through unexpected gales, misjudging the severity of weather forecasts, dragging anchor in the middle of the night, mainsail luff sliders getting hopelessly stuck mid-mast, the engine crapping out, the rudder breaking between shore and an isolated danger, sailing at night under a lightning storm, almost crashing into a pier when exiting the marina, running aground (luckily temporarily and with no real damage done), and even worst of all: a clogged head.

But all of these hiccups (or rather, sobering learning experiences) were overwhelmingly surrounded by absolute perfect days spent sailing with friends.

So, I now consider myself properly hooked.

Here's my rough plan, and please tell me if I'm being an idiot:
  • I'll buy an older, used, fiberglass sailboat in the 9 to 11 metre range. It has to be at least somewhat seaworthy already -- I'm not looking for a project boat (i.e. I'm not looking to spend months fixing her up before setting sail).
  • I'll fix any remaining major issues the boat has, or pay to have major issues fixed. Sadly, my background (electrical & software engineering) does not allow me to be too optimistic when it comes to fixing most boat issues myself -- something I'm hoping to slowly pick up as I go along. I have very little experience with boat maintenance. I see this as the biggest flaw in my plan, but please feel free to point out if you see a larger one.
  • I'll secure a (hopefully) cheap(er) slip somewhere on the Adriatic coast, though I could make do with an expensive marina temporarily.
  • I'll move onto the boat. I have the luck of being able to work remotely as long as I have any kind of Internet access.
  • I'll spend a year doing shorter trips around Croatia's coast, getting more experience.
I plan on asking the forum for more advice on each of the points above in future separate threads, but feel free to comment here if you'd like -- I appreciate all feedback.

Cheers and here's to a hopefully much better new year.

Good but old 10-11metre will run 30-40 k euros , you can buy cheaper ( old ex charters will be about 25k , but often need quite a bit of upgrading )

Slips in Croatia add not cheap , you’ll need to do a lot of searching and accept living “ out of the way “ , long term mooring will require a lot of searching. There is a huge demand for mooring all over the Adriatic ( the Italian side is cheapest ) Greece is a bit cheaper but catching up fast ( full service marina berths at 11M running at about 6K)

Best of luck
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:57   #8
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Sounds a fantastic plan and I hope to hear that you make it happen!!

I waited a few more years than I had to before buying my sailboat and moving to Ibiza to live on it. Looking back, I found that I was making excuses on what could be wrong about it rather than the amazing positives. Now I work remote and really enjoy life onboard.

So go for it and enjoy the adventure! As for choosing the boat, with your limited maintenance experience, the better the boat and spec, the more you'll enjoy it. I've saw people taking on projects yet never go sailing. So if you can sacrifice some things now and save more funds, then you'll be glad when you're living onboard and actually sailing.

Croatia is a great place to cruise, although can be pretty expensive especially in July/August, so perhaps find a place further down the coast as your base?

Best of Luck!!
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Old 04-01-2021, 16:12   #9
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Good but old 10-11metre will run 30-40 k euros , you can buy cheaper ( old ex charters will be about 25k , but often need quite a bit of upgrading )

Slips in Croatia add not cheap , you’ll need to do a lot of searching and accept living “ out of the way “ , long term mooring will require a lot of searching. There is a huge demand for mooring all over the Adriatic ( the Italian side is cheapest ) Greece is a bit cheaper but catching up fast ( full service marina berths at 11M running at about 6K)

Best of luck
Izzat 6k per year? Or per month?
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Old 04-01-2021, 16:30   #10
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

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Izzat 6k per year? Or per month?
A year lol,for 11 metre
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Old 04-01-2021, 21:43   #11
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

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A year lol,for 11 metre
I gotta move to Croatia. Boston has places where, during the peak months, it's $5,000 a month.
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Old 06-01-2021, 11:37   #12
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

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Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
I don't often recommend youtube as a means of learning but below is a link to, for me at least, an inspiring film (with a very sad ending, not due to sailing). Perhaps it will be for you too. I hope so, and I expect it is very cold at night there in Europe. So watching the film Chasing Bubbles will warm your evening (1hr 25 mins long). I'd also suggest accompanying your viewing with a nice red wine and some tasty cheeses. Do tell me what you think.
A very enjoyable watch! I had no idea documentaries like these existed.

I'll confess I do see him as a lunatic, however. Buying a boat without having ever sailed is one thing. But thinking sailing courses are a waste of time, running aground nine times and then deciding to head out to the Caribbean without a chart on board, no life jackets, nothing? I'm not saying one should be /overly/ cautious, but there's room at least for being aware of one's limits...

His crewmates are brave people!

That said, the movie /is/ inspiring. I personally don't intend to leave the Adriatic anytime soon, but it helps to know that even with relatively little experience (and a good boat) a person can cross oceans without anyone being seriously harmed. And have a wonderful experience doing so.
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Old 06-01-2021, 11:44   #13
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

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Originally Posted by etoimene View Post
I thought I am the only one ... :biggrin
Pozdrav!

I've asked around but had no luck -- do you know any liveaboards in Croatia? So far the only ones I've seen are part-time liveaboards: well-off pensioners from Germany or Austria that stay in the marina for the entire Summer, but then leave back home soon after. And I've seen two cases mentioned in the media: a foreign couple living on their boat in Split, and a recent divorcee coming back from Canada to Zadar living on his boat there.
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:20   #14
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

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Good but old 10-11metre will run 30-40 k euros , you can buy cheaper ( old ex charters will be about 25k , but often need quite a bit of upgrading )
The issue of price is definitely something that's been on my mind a lot lately. I'm fearful of investing /too much/ into my first boat -- I don't want to spend too much on boat X only to realize a year down the line that what I really needed is boat Y.

I'd be okay with a 9 metre boat, and given that I'll be living on it solo that sounds like a large enough size. There are cheap boats out there, for significantly less than €25k, but I imagine there's likely at least something wrong with them. I've been reading books such as "This Old Boat" and "Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual". My plan is to visit each interesting boat in person and attempt a survey. The boats that I feel comfortable with I'd pay a professional survey for.

Quote:
Slips in Croatia add not cheap , you’ll need to do a lot of searching and accept living “ out of the way “ , long term mooring will require a lot of searching. There is a huge demand for mooring all over the Adriatic ( the Italian side is cheapest ) Greece is a bit cheaper but catching up fast ( full service marina berths at 11M running at about 6K)
Ouff, tell me about it. From what I see, Croatia's marinas charge about $5k yearly for a 10 metre boat. It's tolerable in the short term, but I wouldn't want to be stuck in them every year. Especially considering there's a lot of Adriatic to see and it's hard to imagine being stuck in one place the entire Summer.

If anyone knows of cheaper marinas in Croatia, please let me know!
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:24   #15
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Re: Ahoy from Croatia

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Originally Posted by SailingOneLife View Post
I waited a few more years than I had to before buying my sailboat and moving to Ibiza to live on it. Looking back, I found that I was making excuses on what could be wrong about it rather than the amazing positives. Now I work remote and really enjoy life onboard.
I'm envious and hope to meet you in Ibiza one day!

Quote:
Croatia is a great place to cruise, although can be pretty expensive especially in July/August, so perhaps find a place further down the coast as your base?
This sounds like a good idea. I don't yet have an international license, but am scheduled to get one during February. Moving down to Montenegro or similar could work out!
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