This year we went sailing for two weeks in September. Our ship this year was the same Bénéteau Oceanis 311 (Tamara) we used in 2005 and our route can be found below. The trip was a combination of days covering relatively large distances, and days spent in bays for necessary rest & relaxation. We visited quite a few new places.
The weather was good. Again, a lot of northerly winds (Bura, Tramontana and Maestral). Usually between 10 – 15 knots, sometimes a bit more, but never more than 25 knots. We started with some beautiful summer weather, followed by a few days of cloudy, cool and rainy weather. Near the end of the first week temperatures were back at 26 – 28 degrees Celsius and the clouds were gone, and we kept that type of weather until the end of the trip. Because of the cold weather in the first week, seawater temperatures did drop from 23 – 24 degrees Celsius to 20 – 21 degrees Celsius.
We did notice that we were sailing later in the season. Darkness came early (no later than 20:00) and occasionally the nights became very cold. Furthermore, most harbours and bays were busier than we were used during our ‘normal’ sailing period late May.
Around ten we leave Milna harbour. Outside, there is a breeze (8 knots) from NNW. We hoist our sails and sail west, along the islet of Mrduja and turn to port through Splitska Vrata.
At ‘the other side’ the wind turns to WNW and slowly increases to 12 – 14 knots. We quietly tack in a westerly direction along the southern coast of the island of Šolta. Around 14:30 we arrive in Uvala Šešula which can be found at the south-western tip of the island. It is a narrow bay and it is busy there, but we are able to moor our boat three-point in the back end of the bay.
Again, we take it easy for the rest of the day, enjoying the beautiful weather and surroundings. That night, 17 ships are anchored in this small bay. It makes me wonder how things were in the real high season (July and August). Later that night, when sitting in the cockpit with a glass of wine, we enjoy the enormous amount of stars as well as the clearly visible Milky Way. Our reward is a rain of falling stars.
It was a cold night, very cold. We used all blankets on the boat. Inland, there is snow in the mountains. First snow comes early this year. The northerly winds carry some of that cold to the coast. Fortunately, with the sun climbing above the mountains, a comfortable temperature returns rapidly. One advantage: early morning, the seawater temperature (20 degrees C) is better than air, making it easier to jump in. We spend some time snorkelling before breakfast, enjoying the large schools of small fish.
We take it easy that morning. Around noon, we clean up the boat, take in the mooring lines, take the dinghy on board and lift the anchor. There is a light wind from N to NW directions. We hoist our sails while still in the bay, and with just one tack we sail out through Starogradski Zaljev and into the Hvarski Kanal. The wind changes constantly between N and W, varying between 5 and 15 knots.
Using the wind, we enter the Splitska Vrata in a nice curve. As soon as we reach the northern side of this channel the wind just disappears completely. Splitska Vrata is notorious for this phenomenon: totally different circumstances on either side of the channel. After some waiting to see whether the wind returns we start the engine and enter Milna bay. At around 16:00 we take a berth in a quiet corner of ACI Marina Milna. During the following hours the marina (which includes a large part of the village quay) gets completely filled up with charter yachts in all shapes and (mainly large) sizes.
Today is ‘back to Split’ day, still 25 nautical miles. It is obvious that all charters have to be in harbour tomorrow morning: Sailing yachts are appearing from all directions towards Splitska Vrata. The water is busier than we saw anywhere this week.
With some light Jugo winds in our back, we slowly move through the Pakleni Kanal between Hvar and the Pakleni Otoci towards Rt Pelegrin (the most western tip of Hvar). There, we turn sharp north towards Splitska Vrata. Meanwhile, the wind changes to north-westerly directions (Tramontana again). By the time we reach Splitska Vrata, there is a stiff breeze. We turn towards Milna to gas up. Thanks to the great winds this week, we only used 10 litres of diesel.
We anchor for a couple of hours in one of the small bays just off Milna. One more swim, one more time enjoying the Adriatic sunshine. The water is clear, the sun is strong, and my beer is cold – what else do you want from life?
Around 17:00 we lift anchor and hoist the sails. Our course is 0 degrees, due north towards Split. In the end, the wind leaves us half an hour before we reach Split, so we have to motor the last few miles.
It was quite an adventure, our first charter trip, having trained for two years with the sailing school. Very educational indeed. We had some great sailing, despite the not-so-good weather this year. Below you find our route.
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!
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