Because of unfavourable weather conditions (winds remaining south-easterly), and because this spot in the centre of Hvar is too good to be true (watching all the little monkeys pass by….), we decide to add another day to our visit and stay in Hvar.
Today things get a bit more serious. The idea is to sail to Korčula, quite a long trip for one day. We leave the harbour around 10:00 AM. There is a strong southerly wind, which is just about right. All sails up and go! Around noon, we put a reef in the sails, making good progress.
However, our luck changes… Early afternoon, the wind changes to south-east (Jugo). And that is exactly the direction that we want to go. Since a sailing boat can do anything but sailing directly into the wind, we have to give up. We will not make it to Korčula if we have to tack all the time. Therefore, we change course towards the NW and sail to Hvar. We arrive around 15:00 hours, picking up the last free mooring along the quay.
During the morning, there is a short but solid rainstorm. Around noon, we leave Milna harbour and sail through Splitska Vrata. Course 210˚ towards Vis. Wind is variable, 6 – 16 knots from the south-east. When the wind disappears, the ‘iron sail’ (a.k.a. engine) needs to help and we motorsail towards Vodnjak (the most eastern island of the Pakleni Otoci south of Hvar). Here, we change course to 230˚, picking up the wind again around 14:30 in open sea. Around 17:00, we enter the bay of Vis (check out the photo-album here).
That evening, we have a great pizza in Pizzeria Karijola. From the harbour, follow the road to the left up the hill. After a 200 – 300 meter (just after passing a church) you will find the pizzeria on the right-hand side (with beautiful sea-view). Update 2005: Pizzeria unfortunately closed down!
Upon leaving Split Harbour around 18:00 hours, there is a 15 – 20 knots wind from the south-east. Mainsail is hoisted, genua unrolled, and pretty soon our speed reaches over 7 knots. Our course is 180˚. Around 19:30 we drop our sails upon approaching the harbour-mouth of Milna, a small coastal town on the island of Brač. We moor in the small harbour at the mouth of the bay, and do not continue towards the ACI Marina at the back of the bay. Dutch harbourmaster here, would you believe it!
It was quite a trip, sailing from Split all the way up to Trieste in the most northern part of the Adriatic Sea and back again. A map with our route can be found below.
At 06.00 we left Trieste, arriving in Umag at around 08.30. Here we moor our boat at the customs pier for clearing. After that, time for coffee, breakfast, shopping, gas and fresh water. We had been out of fresh water since Sunday morning.
After this we continue in south-easterly direction. We do not have any wind again today. Late in the afternoon, just south of the Istria peninsula we were joined by a school of 10 – 15 dolphins. On one photo you can see three of them who swam in our bow wave for a couple of minutes. A bit later we receive a storm warning from Rijeka Radio.
Around 21:30 the wind increases from almost nothing to 30 knots from the northeast. Bura has arrived…! We hoist our sails and start a night of hard work and heavy (but wonderful) sailing. We have gusts of more than 40 knots. Our skipper has retreated to his bunk (flu), so it is just the four of us for the night.
Together with one of the younger guys I take the first watch. I take care of steering and navigation, he takes care of the sails. We have waves of around 2 meters, and the wind reaches force 9 to 10. Around 02:30 the other team takes over. Fully clothed in my heavy weather gear I go down to my cabin and immediately fall asleep. Around 07:00 in the morning I take over the rudder again. At noon the wind disappears just as it came: all of a sudden…
Fortunately our skipper feels better by now, and he takes over the rudder again. It’s a good chance for the four of us to catch up on some sleep – until we arrive in Split around 16:00.
I still wonder who had more fun? The people on the quay watching us, or us watching the people on the quay? I guess it’s us, after all we are the sailors and they are not… During this Saturday more and more yachts enter the harbour to participate in tomorrows’ race. Matko and Emil join our team today as well.
Sunday is ‘racing day’. Although… Given the total absence of wind it is more like a ‘floating day’. It is a strange sense of nervousness just before the start. Tension is building. Between 08.00 and 09.00 thousands of boat left the harbour and got ready to race. Just before the start, some journalists from Croatian TV and sailing magazines had a short interview with our skipper.
Never in my life have I shared one square kilometre of water with 2.000 other boats. Most of which had just one thing in mind: be as close as possible to the starting line at 10.00 AM. Unfortunately, no wind at all came today. By 16.00 we covered only 7 out of 18 miles. Time for a beer. Hardly anyone finishes the race this year.
On Friday we motored to Trieste from Umag. No wind. But Trieste is great. We were moored just outside the Marina. During a regatta, there is usually more fun outside the Marina… In town there were all sorts of concerts to enjoy. On the boulevard you can see the ‘racing village’, and there are all sorts of activities going on in town.
On Thursday we sailed from Rovinj to Umag. There is not much wind today, so for most of the time we keep the motor running. Near Poreč a dolphin joined us for a while. But some fishing boats were more interesting for it (probably hoping for a free lunch).
Wednesday 8 October we continued towards Rovinj in Istria. It was a heavy day, with winds up to 30 knots. Near the evening it got quieter, which enabled me to take a beautiful sunset picture. If anybody asks me what sailing is all about: it’s moments like this!
Luckily we found a place in ACI Marina in Rovinj, which allowed our first shower in three days. I love sailing, but I like my regular shower as well… It was still quite busy here for after-season.