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.
With a beautiful SE breeze (Jugo) of 10 – 15 knots we leave Uvala Vinogradisce at around 09:30. Outside, we hoist our sails and set a course in a general SW direction towards Vis. After about 15 minutes we meet a group of dolphins. Three of them jump around our boat and swim along for a short while. We decide not to run for our camera, but to enjoy this beautiful experience. Therefore: no photos…
Using the favourable winds we round Rat Pelegrin at around 11:30, moving to the northern side of Hvar. Around 13:00 we arrive back in Luka Tiha. While mooring our ship here, we experience the first material breakdown in 5 years of sailing, Our electronic anchor winch is dead. After we finish mooring the boat by hand, anchor on the bow and two mooring lines from the stern to the shore, we contact our friends at Ultra Sailing. With telephone support we conclude that the controlbox for the winch must be the cause of the problem. We agree to move to Stari Grad the next morning. They will make sure that a replacement controlbox is available, including somebody to do the repairs.
Thus, we are ‘forced’ to relax for the rest of the day. Life can be tough… Air temperature is 28 degrees Celsius, water temperature is 20, and thus swimming and relaxing is no major punishment. Around our boat there is a large school of fish, and there is plenty to be seen in the rest of the bay. During the evening, our German neighbours (three elderly gentlemen with a Bavaria 39) give a free concert of sailors’ shanties and other German classics. Somehow the singing with the guitar does fit the atmosphere.
Early in the morning we leave Uvala Vinogradisce to do a reconnaissance of the eastern section of the Pakleni Otoci. We check out Uvala Stipanska at Marinkovac island, but find it is too deep to be a proper anchoring ground. The bay on the southern side of Jerolim is too shallow and narrow for our taste.
After that, we try and find a place in the harbour of Hvar town. That seems to be even more impossible than other years. The quay is packed with mainly large motor yachts. In the south-western corner of the harbour some sailing yachts are anchoring. Packed close together in water of over 20 meters depth. No Hvar for us this year. We move to the second bay in western direction coming from the harbour and anchor for a few hours. Here we enjoy ham and eggs for breakfast. After that, we take the dinghy and go buy provisions in the town of Hvar.
Around 11:00 we move our boat to the little bay on the northern side of Jerolim for some swimming. After lunch at around 14:00 we take the passage between the islets Marinkovac and Planikovac and return to Uvala Vinogradisce. The rest of the afternoon is spent on Rest & Recreation. That night we have dinner at the Restaurant Meneghello on Sveti Klement.
Around 09:30 we leave the harbour, with 20 – 25 knots of NW wind (Maestral). We sail in a W direction through the Pelješki Kanal in the general direction of Hvar. During the morning the wind steadily decreases to 12 – 15 knots, and later to 10 – 12 knots. Around 15:00 we slowly pass Šćedro towards Hvar and the Pakleni Otoci.
Near the coast of Hvar, the WNW wind becomes rather interesting. One moment it crushes down on us over the mountain ridges of Hvar, reaching 25 knots and higher. The next moment we have 5 knots or even less. We are sailing close to some Austrian yachts, and it is a beautiful sight to see how everybody responds to those gusts in his/her own way. At some stage one of the yachts turns 360 degrees around its axis when a sudden gust of wind hits. The genoa gets caught around the forestay, and it takes them some time to untangle that.
Around 18:00 we enter Uvala Vinogradisce, one of the bays on the southern side of Sveti Klement. It is busy there, around 15 yachts are anchored in this bay. We find a free spot at the eastern side, and a very happy with our limited draught of less than 1.5 meters.
That evening, a wedding is being celebrated in one of the restaurants on the shore. Fortunately it ends early (which is not usual for a Croatian wedding – they tend to continue until early morning) Furthermore, we see a Belgian yacht plough the entire bay in an attempt to anchor. Time after time they drop their (rather light) anchor and motor full speed backwards. After some time they give up and leave the bay, probably to find another field for ploughing…
Two weeks of sailing this time, leaving everything behind. Our ship this year was a Bénéteau Oceanis 373 and our route can be found below. We covered some vast distances: starting from Split to Dugi Otok, going down south to Mljet, and back to Split again. My estimate is that we sailed approximately 300 nautical miles, or over 550 kilometres. This sailing expedition was a mixture of some familiar and some new territory.
Weather circumstances were a mixed blessing. We started with some beautiful sunny weather. After that, we had some days of mixed clouds, fresh weather and even some storms. The second half of the second week was beautiful sunny again. Fortunately, this meant that there was no shortage of wind. This year we had a lot of northerlies (Bura, Tramontana en Maestral). Usually 10 – 15 knots, but heavier sometimes: 30 – 40 knots. We ‘clocked’ our ship at 9,2 knots top speed.
Because it keeps on raining, we do not get out of bed until 09:00 CET. The weather looks rotten. But it is Saturday today, the day that most charters change crew, and thus are in their home ports. That means that Hvar, the one place where everybody wants to go, will be relatively quiet.
We lift anchor at 10:30 CET. Slowly we motor through the shallow channel between Marinkovac and Planikovac, two small islands east of Sveti Klement, Around 11:00 CET we sail into the harbour of Hvar town in the rain. We sail several rounds there, but no harbourmaster shows up. Because we do not feel like anchoring, one of our crew members steps off at the ferry quay. He walks over and fishes out a mooring line for us. With three people on the boat we moor the boat according to the book. The storm damage is still visible on the quay walls, and a lot of moorings are missing.
Half an hour later, after the rain has stopped, the harbourmaster appears. ‘It rained…’ he says. It does not make me appreciate him more, but unfortunately this kind of behaviour is quite common in Hvar. Fortunately, the sun comes out, and we can still enjoy our day in the ‘Saint-Tropez of Croatia’. We get our laundry done (there is a launderette at the open market next to the cathedral) and we also do some shopping. Investments in Hvar are obviously picking up: two hotels around the harbour are closed for renovation. But some things do not change: Prices in Hvar are on average 50% higher than in Split or Zagreb. For the privilege of mooring your boat on this quay for a night you will pay as much as in a marina.
During the night, the wind turns again. This causes a nasty swell in the harbour. We now have a swell from the north-west, and the wind from north-east. We veer out the lines, so that we get our ship at 1,5 – 2,0 meters from the quay, and pull the mooring line at the bow. The rolling is very uncomfortable. Fortunately, there is enough distance between the ships due to the missing mooring lines from last week’s storm. Usually the boats are moored so close together that there is a serious risk of the stays getting tangled.
Near Vis, south-west from us, we can see a huge thunderstorm. If that would come our way the harbour of Hvar would become outright dangerous. Thus, we make sure that we are completely ready for departure. At 01:00 CET we even fill up the water tanks. We are taking turns keeping the watch for the rest of the night. Some other yachts are obviously making the same preparations as we do. I would rather be outside than inside the harbour during a heavy storm. Fortunately, the storm passes west of Hvar, and our discomfort stays limited to the rolling, the party people and the weather conditions.
In the morning, the wind is from a south-easterly direction again. Fortunately, that does not last long. Around 10:45 CET, while we are sailing south of Rat Movar, the wind turns from south-east to north-west in just a couple of minutes, and increases to 10 – 13 knots. That makes for some great sailing. Thus, we leave Šolta to our port side, and continue towards Hvar. Around noon, we are joined by a group of dolphins again – it is always a fantastic experience.
There is a brief period without any wind during the afternoon, but for the rest the wind remains stuck where it was: north-west. At the end of the afternoon we reach Sveti Klement, where we sail to the Vinogradisce cove. We drop anchor here at around 18:00 CET.
During the night, the wind turns north-east and increases: Bura is here. Even in this well-protected bay we get gusts of wind of around 20 knots. I get up regularly to check our anchor, but we do not run into any problems. Around 05:00 CET it starts to rain, and it looks like it will not stop again.
This time we sailed for a week from our home base in Split. The ship was a Bénéteau Oceanis 311 and the full route can be found below. A week with beautiful weather. Every day well above 30 degrees, and only one (partly) cloudy day. A week also with beautiful wind. Every day a good sailing wind, usually around 15 knots, mostly from the NW direction (Tramontana).
Taking it easy today. There are clouds, and the weather-forecast talks of rain showers. The clouds diminish, and the showers don’t show up at all. But it is time for a visit to the Zoo. In other words: we would like to moor along the Riva (quay) in Hvar again.
We will regret that later, though. Around 02:00 the next morning, some still-awake visitors and locals start throwing a party on the quay. This because of a general lack of pubs that are still open at this time of the night (at least in pre-season. Three guitars and a drum. Continuing until 06:00 AM.
We hebben trouwens goed gegeten bij Restaurant Luna.
No wind during the morning. We haven’t got a clue where we are heading, but we do know that we want to leave the harbour. In the end we motor towards Sveti Klement, one of the Pakleni Otoci. However, the wind starts building up! Again, that solid north-westerly, 15 – 20 knots! So it’s sailing time again. We try and find dolphins between Vis, Šolta and Hvar. Unfortunately, we do not find them this year.
Late afternoon, we sail back to Sveti Klement and anchor in Palmižana Cove.
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