Sailing Holidays Croatia

Sailing Holidays in Croatia are a great way to improve your experience and confidence while handling a yacht due to its varied and interesting landscape. It also has a rich culture and history, which makes for a great holiday and being able to sail to all the sights, makes it even better!
The reason I found myself in Croatia, was because I had been invited to sail with a neighbour who owned a yacht in the country; a teak floored Bavaria 41.

The neighbour in question was quite old and experienced. He had sailed the Atlantic a few years ago, but since then he had no desire to take risks. This was a little frustrating as you can imagine, for a sailing junkie like me!

But it ended up being quite fun and I gained a lot of experience in yachting.

I arrived from Gatwick to Zadar, which is a major city in Croatia and we then took a ferry to Ugljan (an island opposite Zadar). The first few days there were force 5 winds, so we couldn't go out. Croatia is made up of the mainland and 2-3 layers of islands.

We used the engine from the marina (which is in Sutomiscica, near Preko) to a port in the south of the island of Dugi Otok (means long island in Croatian) having to traverse the north of Ugljan on which the marina was. Once we were at the port, a storm encroached upon us.

We were attached to a buoy, but we were told we would have to leave, since the concrete connected to buoy was only 1 tonne, but in water is only 500kg. This was not enough weight to stop the boat from being able to pull the concrete.

Instead we were told to go to a safe anchorage nearby. The only problem was that there were two of us and we needed someone else to help. Luckily one of the coastguards helped us disconnect the yacht from the boat and helped us anchor in the safe shelter.

Once we were at the anchorage, we remained there for a further 2 days. Finally the storm died down and we visited another port further north, but still on the same island, called Sali. I was very happy that at last we would be able to sail somewhere!

After a day's sailing we reached the port and we found it home to a large town. I found some English people who were on a flotilla there and was very happy since I had not spoken English to anyone, but my neighbour for a long time. We went out for dinner and to a bar.

The flotilla was part of Activity Yachting Holidays that offers flotilla holidays in Croatia. We also saw Sunsail flotillas and others, so there is definitely a large choice of operators available.

The next day we continued our journey to some more ports further north and east. On the eleventh day we returned back to the marina and the day after that I went home to Gatwick.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but there were lots of things that I didn't like about sailing yachts:

  • On the first day we had to scrub down the yacht and power dinghy, which were covered with slime
  • Every single day I had to brush the entire boat for dust, rubbish and dirt
  • I was happy to have my own cabin, but it was cramped and the bed uncomfortable
  • There was not very much space to put my own stuff except one drawer
  • The toilet would smell if we didn't remember to dump at sea (especially in the marina)
  • Even though the rocking of the boat didn't effect me, I felt a little sick
  • Sailing a yacht is very, very different to sailing a dinghy
  • There is a lot of navigation, maps and GPS, which can be boring
  • The fact that you can't plane

However there were lots of things that I did enjoy about sailing yachts:

  • When we put up the gennaker on a broad reach, we flew!
  • Holding a huge steering wheel in my hands
  • The sound of waves against the hull of ship when I was sleeping
  • The small powerboat that went very fast and could hold two of us
  • Our fastest speed was about 7.5 knots under sail
  • The sights and sounds of the landscape and seeing much bigger boats (70 - 100 feet)
  • The way that all yachtsmen are very friendly (it is etiquette to wave to all the boats you pass!)
  • The feeling of the apparent wind on my face and body
  • And finally the fact that it was a boat you could walk and even sunbathe on!

All in all, I enjoyed the yachting experience, but I don't think it could ever compare to dinghy sailing in my opinion. In dinghy sailing you are suspended by less than 30 centimetres from the water and if you hike out a lot, the water can splash you. I love the feeling of control I have when I helm.

When you sail a yacht, it is very slow to react and there are times when you want to just change something, because there is nothing to do. In a dinghy the wind is always changing and there is always something to do, like taking lifts and headers as well as trying to go as fast as possible.

Dinghies are much more short term (a few hours to a day), whilst yachts are very long term (a day, a week, even several months!). It all depends on how interested you are to be sailing day and night, how sea sick you get and whether you would like to live in a cramped plastic box or your own home.

So its up to you whether to go for a yachting flotilla holiday or to rent a boat, which is similar to my experience (except he owned it) or of course buy a boat in Croatia.

There is a final possibilty and that is a sailing resort like SunSail or Mark Warner, which has dinghy sailing as well as non-sailing facilities.

Whatever you do, sailing holidays in Croatia are fun and enjoyable for all!

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