Yacht Chartering in Croatia
Astronauts say that from space the seas have different colours The Red sea is red, the Black Sea is black and the Adriatic, well that is the blue sea, beautiful and clear, reflecting the sky off of it's clear waters. If it looks good from space I say it looks even better close up.
Each year our site spotlights a different country. 2005 was Croatia's turn. We chartered for two weeks in early June from Kremik Marina outside Primošten.
First of all some statistics for you; all 1,185 islands and islets seem to be made out of beautiful white stone (indeed this is where the stone used for the White House comes from). The country is bathed by 2,700 hours of sunshine each year which gives it a sea temperature of between 12 and 26 degrees centigrade (not bad when you come from Scotland where we consider ourselves lucky if the air is that warm!). There are over 50 well appointed marinas with a total of more than 20,000 berths. Only once did we find there was no room for us in a Marina and the next one was only 10 minutes along the coast. Little wonder then that since Croatia gained independence in 1992, its Adriatic coast has become one of the hottest spots for sailing in Europe.
We found the food served in the tiny homely restaurants in the island bays to be superb and great value. The influence of the long list of conquerors such as the Greeks, Italians, Turks and Austrians has left a culinary legacy.
Croatia has the normal Mediterranean weather pattern of light airs in the mornings, building in the afternoons from the north west between 10-20 knots. It also offers sudden strong gusts. Because of this the majority of yachts tend to use only the genoa when going downwind (no spinnaker or mainsail) and reef early when going upwind. We did this and it paid off.
We went in early June which I think is the best time of year because the winds are good (they calm down in July and August), the temperature is a couple of degrees cooler, marinas are 10% cheaper and not so busy.
So what are the downsides of chartering in Croatia? We found very few. Some people dislike the abundance of German charterers and Italian chatterers but we did not see either as being a problem. We did find that the marinas and grocery shopping are not cheap and you cannot seem to buy decent biscuits anywhere. A small price to pay for sailing in such a beautiful country though.
With over 260 charter companies serving the Adriatic coast of Croatia you have plenty of choice.
Lonely Planet declared Croatia their number one destination of 2005. Read our log book and see why we are inclined to agree.
We chartered our boat from NCP who were very helpful right from the start. The booking process was straightforward and clear and they answered any queries we had by replying to our emails within a few hours.
When we arrived at the boat it was very clean and ready for us by the time the charter was to start. The induction to the boat was comprehensive and answered all my questions.
The Croatian people are very amiable. NCP's staff were no different and I think would go to any lengths to make sure their customers are happy. We had not brought a lighter to use with the stove. Sinisa immediately offered us his own, even though he had no other. Also, on discovering that onboard radio/cassette player would not switch on they had their electrician swap it for a new radio/CD within thirty minutes. Very impressive.
Our home for the two weeks was an Elan 431 Team. There are many of these boats available to charter around Europe and due to their age offer good value if you are looking for a medium sized yacht with 4 cabins, 3 heads and a good sized salon.
I was very impressed with the way the boat sailed, mainly due to her tall rig (54m2 Genoa and 38m2 mainsail) and her wide beam (4m). I was also very happy with the accommodation below and the spacious cockpit/bathing platform.
As well as the Team version we sailed which has bunk beds in the 2 forward cabins there is also a 3 cabin Owner version which has a more usual double bed up front.
As with all older charter yachts be prepared for the possibility of some of the items failing if the boat is an older model and has not had a thorough refit.