In September 2011, we sailed for two weeks along the Croatian coast. The ship was a Bénéteau Oceanis 323 and the entire route can be found below.
We logged approximately 240 nautical miles. From Split to Vis via Brac, Hvar and Korcula then through to Lastovo, then to Mljet. Then leisurely via Korcula and Hvar back to Split. We visited some new places again, and had 8 nights on our anchor (or buoy) and only two nights in a harbour.
The weather was very good, plenty of sunshine every day and temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius and above. We had good sailing winds, especially from the NW, and the sea temperature was 24-25 degrees Celsius.
In early September the dark comes early (before 20:00). The temperature dropped overnight to around 20 degrees Celsius.
Monday morning at 07:45 am is the time for the weather report via Split radio on VHF. It does not look very promising. It is cloudy. The prediction is that the westerly winds (Jugo) afternoon turns to northeast (Bura). This is accompanied by showers and thunderstorms.
Vis is no safe haven during Bura so we slip our mooring at 09:15 am. We plan to sail towards the island of Korcula. Outside Viska Luka we hoist the sails in 8 knots of wind from the southeast, and follow course 90. On the northern horizon a big grey cloud hangs over the island Solta. Which is getting darker, and by 10:30 we see solid rain and numerous lightning flashes on the horizon. During the next hour we shift our course to 20, sailing towards the Pakleni Otoci, and then the race between us and Mother Nature begins. And of course, Mother Nature wins. while we are sailing into the channel between the islands Paržanj and Borovac it starts to rain. Big fat drops quickly go into a downpour that reduces visibility to 50 to 100 meters. After the channel we sail an easterly course. Everywhere around us we see flashes of lightning, within seconds with the accompanying thunder. The storm is right above us.
After half an hour we reach ACI Marina Palmižana on the northside of the island Sveti Klement. Just before we sail into the harbour it stops raining and after we moored it clears up and the sun comes out. Around us we see a number of vessels that have sought refuge here during the storm. You see vapour coming out, literally, because everyone dries his equipment. Unfortunately we have no pictures of the storm, because we were too busy. All we have is a picture of our drying equipment…
We eat a hearty lunch and have a refreshing shower. In the afternoon it is actually still 31 degrees with a bright sun in a cloudless sky. In the evening we take the water taxi to Hvar and go out for dinner at Lucullus.
This morning we take it slow. Swimming, long breakfast and tidying and organizing the boat.
We slip our mooring and hoist the anchor at 10:15.We sail out of the bay on our engine, but once offshore we catch wind again. From the east this time, Jugo, about 9 knots. We hoist the sails and head directly towards Vodnjak 200, the westernmost of the Pakleni Otoci. Pretty soon we see a group of dolphins, probably the same group as last night.
In the following hours the wind varies between 2 and 18 knots. Above 12 knots, we are at work, below that it is relaxed sailing. We sail in the direction of Vis. After arrival we first explore the bay to the west of the city, Luka Rogacic. Which is very busy, but looks pretty good for a stay (if the wind does not come from the (north) east).
While we were sailing into the bay Viska Luka we still doubt whether we will moor or anchor. As we prepare to moor the ship one of our fenders flies overboard. A good exercise for a ‘man overboard’ situation. In 16 to 18 knots of wind the fender moves away rapidly, but our third attempt we rescue this unfortunate crew member from the water. Not bad, but it should actually be better …
We see that there are also moorings in the harbour of Vis available now. Around 16:00 we pick up one of these. Because of the strong wind, we lay a double line. The cost is quite reasonable, in our view, the rate for our ship of 10.0 meters 100 kuna (about EUR 14).
Later that evening we have the beautiful image of a big ferry boat sailing straight at us. Naturally, he turns in time. It is very busy that night in Vis. Well after dark the yachts are still coming in. The quay and all buoys have been busy, so most try to anchor. That is not easy, and some yachts drift. Because of the wind and the swell is a restless night.
We sailed along the Croatian coast for two weeks in September 2009. Our ship was a Bénéteau Oceanis 323 and the entire route can be found below.
We sailed approximately 335 miles in total. Starting in Split via Brač, Korčula and Lastovo, then via the Elaphite Islands to Dubrovnik. Taking it easy, we sailed back via Mljet, Korčula, Hvar and Vis to Trogir, after which we returned to Split. Anchoring for 9 nights, and 4 harbours.
The weather was good, sunshine every day and temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius and even higher. We had one day with rain and thunderstorms during this trip. The Bura winds gave us a great finale. Most days we had northerly (Bura) and northwesterly winds (Tramontana), and one day we had Jugo winds (southeasterly). Seawater temperature was 24 – 25 degrees Celsius – great for swimming.
Darkness came early (20:00) given that it was already late season. During the night, the temperature dropped to around 20 degrees Celsius. It was still pretty busy in the popular ports and bays.
05:15 am. It is still dark and the port of Vis is vast asleep. But our alarm beeps. We get dressed and go on deck. I take in the power cable and store the ramp. At 05:30 hours, coinciding with the Jadrolinija ferry, we start the engine. We drop the lines and slip out of our mooring. Everything goes smooth and in the wake of the ferry we sail out of Viška Luka. Outside, there is no wind. We change our course to 355, towards the western tip of Šolta island.
Not much later we see a beautiful sunrise over Hvar. At 06:30 a northerly wind (Bura) rises, rapidly increasing to 8 knots. We hoist the sails, switch off our engine, and keep our course of 355.
A large cargo ship passes us about a mile to port. For the rest the sea is empty. It remains empty during the next hours, while we steadily cover the miles between Vis and Šolta. Around ten o’clock we pass Šolta, and half an hour later we drop our anchor in the western arm of Uvala Solinska, a bay on the southside of the island Veli Drvenik. This is a beautiful bay, not too big, and very suitable for swimming. You can anchor deep in the bay. The water is crystal clear, you see the bottom, and there are lots of fish swimming around. We swim and snorkel around the bay and take a nap after our early start this morning. Then we have a big lunch. As usual during the last week, the winds dies down around noon. Since there is not much to do in the open, the conditions are excellent for a long break.
At 13:00 hours the wind rises again, now from a northwesterly direction (10 knots). This is our ‘anchor up’ signal. Outside Uvala Solinska we hoist the sails. With the wind 120 degrees to port we sail along the coast and along Krknjaš Veli and Drvenik Veli. Then we sail straight north towards the rocks and islets in front of Trogirski Zaljev, the bay of Trogir. The wind rose sharply once we left the shelter of Drvenik Veli. A northwesterly wind of 17 – 19 knots is blowing from Venički Kanal. We sail between the rocks Mali Pišćena and Galera (with beacon). Once we pass Rt Okruk we turn to starboard and with wind from behind, we set the mainsail to port and jib to starboard. Course 45, and with a speed of 5.5 knots we soon pass Rt Čubrijan; Trogir is in sight. Way too soon it is time to lower the sails. Since we have to hand over the ship again tomorrow, we fill up the fuel tank at the petrol station in Trogir. Only 19 liters, and that for the entire stretch from Dubrovnik to Trogir.
While refueling, threatening clouds appear over the mountains north of us. An ominous thunder strikes. Luckily refueling does not take long, and at 15:00 hours we moor in ACI Marina Trogir. We did not visit Trogir since 2004, but nothing has changed. Like ACI Marina Korčula it is a somewhat outdated and very cramped port, with the added disadvantage that it is directly under the flightpath of Split airport. But the view of the old town of Trogir compensates that! That evening we eat pizza on the promenade of Trogir.
Vis, that beautiful island about 30 miles south of Split. Last year we spent a night in a bay here, but we did not visit the town of Vis for years. Today we go to visit an old friend. He is a sailing instructor at Ultra Sailing, and is currently training with a group in this area.
We stay in bed until after 09:00 am, too late for the weather forecast. Around 10:30 we lift anchor and sail out of the bay. There is enough wind to hoist the sails immediately. There is a light wind from northwest, 6 knots. We make a number of tacks that bring us slowly toward Rt Pelegrin. During one of these tacks we see a group of dolphins about 100 meters from the boat, but they decide not to come close to our ship.
When rounding Rt Pelegrin around 13:15, it is very crowded with sailboats, motorboats and a ferry. We quickly leave the crowds behind us and slip between the islands Paržanj and Borovac, heading south this time. We see the island of Vis on our bow already. The wind gradually increases to 11 – 12 knots and turns slightly west. Perfect for our course. We do not drop our sails until deep in the bay Viška Luka. The whole day we’ve seen people going around on engine, even though the sailing conditions are excellent.
At 16:00 hours, the quay of Vis is already very crowded. It seems to be operated as a marina, with rates to match. For 300 kuna (about EUR 40) we can moor our 32-footer overnight, and use of the (not very clean) showers will take another 30 kuna. Anyway, a bit later we sit behind huge mugs of beer to catch up and share the latest news and local sailing gossip.
That evening we eat at Bufet Vis on the quay. The restaurant does not look like anything, but the food is delicious. A wonderful lukewarm salata od hobotnica (octopus salad) and a red risotto, complemented by an excellent grilled fresh fish with garlic and fresh parsley. After this we board the Ultra training vessel for some fine wine. At 22:30 (late for our standards) we are in our bunks. And that while we have early plans for tomorrow morning.
After our previous sailing adventure, we took another week of sailing in September. This time we stayed in the Croatian coastal waters. The ship was a Bénéteau Oceanis 323 and the route can be found here. We travelled approximately 175 nautical miles in total. From Split and Hvar we sailed to Vis and Korčula, where we did a complete tour around the island. Despite having just one week, we did visit some new places. The only harbours included were our starting point Marina Kaštela in Split and ACI Marina Korčula. The other nights we spent at anchor in various bays.
The weather was better than we have ever had during our sailing. Every day we had plenty of sun and temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and above. We had two rain showers, both fell during the night. And, very unusual in such weather, we had excellent sailing wind. Most days the wind started around noon, usually from the northwest (Maestral Tramontana). The wind usually peaked around 15-16 knots (Force 4), sometimes 22-24 knots (6 Beaufort). The seawater temperature was 24-25 degrees Celsius – a great swimming temperature. In the early morning the water was slightly warmer than the air, ideal for an early morning swim.
Darkness fell early (20:00) given that it was already late season. During the night, the temperature dropped to around 20 degrees Celsius. It was still pretty busy in the popular ports and bays. However, various charterers complained that the summer had been relatively quiet. Due to the economic situation, there were fewer Italian tourists than in previous years.
Early in the morning, at 06:00 hours, I wake up because the wind turned to the north. This bay offers no protection for that, and the swell makes our stay rather uncomfortable. I woke up twice during the night, because it was raining. It seems to be a southern extension of the storms in the northern coastal area. Time for us to go south.
Despite the early hour, we lift our anchor and we sail from the bay. Our course is 100° towards Korčula. The nautical weather forecast at 07:45 confirms this choice. At 09:00 we pass Šćedro island. We see the contours of the lighthouse on the island Pločica on the horizon, we will hold it on our portside.
After a beautiful sunrise through the clouds, the weather clears up a bit. Unfortunately, that means that there is no wind at all. But it is rather busy on the water, with many fishing boats and some cargo ships. The latter are probably on their way to Neum, the seaport of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Later that morning we enjoy a group of dolphins in the vicinity of our ship. They are not very close, but it is still a beautiful sight.
By 12:30 hours, we anchor in the bay behind the rock Plič Vrbovica, a bay about 3 miles west of Korčula. We take our time for a quiet lunch and a round of swimming. There is quite some human activity around the bay (including the construction of holiday homes), and there is (as a result?) not so much life in the bay. Not really an interesting place to dive. An hour later we sail on, and a little after 14:00 hours we moor the boat into the rear corner of ACI Marina Korčula. Time for a shower…
That evening we have a delicious dinner at Konoba Mareta.
At 07:45 I listen to the nautical weather forecast via Split Radio via VHF (announced on VHF Channel 16). The weather looks good again for today. No change in temperature, and during the course of the morning a good sailing breeze is expected. However, for the evening and night a storm is forecasted in the northern coastal area. We will monitor how far this storm will extend to the south.
During the morning we take it easy. Some swimming, some snorkeling, and catching up on some sleep. There are large groups of small fish in this bay. A great sight while snorkeling.
Around noon we leave the bay and head W to Rat Pelegrin, the western tip of the island of Hvar. The first hour the wind is still unstable. Headsail on and off and on and off… Conditions change after we pass Rat Pelegrin, and the island Vodnjak (the most western of the Pakleni Otoci, the group of islands south of Hvar). The wind is now from SSW direction and increases to 15 knots average.
Sailing with a pleasant speed we head towards the island of Vis. We decide not to go to the town with the same name, but go slightly further east to Uvala Stončica, a bay on the northeastern tip of the island of Vis. Here we anchor around 16:30 in the small bay on the west side. Given the high temperature (over 30 degrees Celsius), it is time for a dip in the water.
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).
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