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Earlier this year, in June this year 15 members from YCTC set out to the clubs’ week long sailing trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia. For some of us this would be our fourth sailing trip to Croatia but Dubrovnik was a first for us all. We selected Croatia as; it’s a wonderful place, it was away from some of the migrant problems that have occurred recently in the med and flights were readily available from Manchester.

When writing this ‘report’ I have noticed that every one of my notes started with something like beautiful place or fantastic bay etc. which is a testament to what a stunning place Croatia is and everyone was really pleased to be there. It certainly needs to be high on any sailing bucket list. Weeven managed a free day to look around Dubrovnik as we had evening flights, It’s a beautiful walled city that seems frozen in time. This was a real treat and nice end to the week.

We flew out from Manchester on the fourth of June and on arrival had a nice sunset drive down the coast to the marina at Komolac. It’s a very steep valley and the sun had just dropped so it’s beauty was not really apparent until the following morning. It was quite late in the evening we only had time for the local pizza restaurant on the marina pizza once we had checked and unpacked on the boats.

5th June – Slano

The second day was an early start to go through the normal paperwork and handover followed by a safety briefing by myself. We got underway and headed up the coast to Slano. Steve Boden planned the overall route and although all three boats were going in the same direction each had their own passage plan.

Before we could find open water we had to make our way a few miles down the long inlet from the marina and under the Dubrovnik suspension bridge. Even though the bridge was huge it’s always a relief to see that your mast has passed safely under with the perspective you get stood at the helm.

Once we arrived in open water we turned north west into a force 4 north-westerly to start our trip on a beat – something that became quite the norm on this trip! After getting our tacking sorted out and with Brian’s excellent helming we caught and passed Steve’s boat simply giving a casual wave but after a while were unable to maintain our speed whilst tight on the wind. Steve re-passed us with many cheers and claps all in a very sporting nature.

Our halliard jammer was slipping and we were struggling to keep tension in the luff of our sail, something we fixed as soon as we were back in port but for now at least I had an excuse for being overtaken. We decided to use the extreme tactic of motorsailing the remaining few miles to Slano. We were first in and secured three places along the wall front outside the stunning Admiral Grand Hotel in the beautiful little town.

6th June – Pomena

The next day saw us sail from Slano to Pomena. Steam would be a better word than sail as the wind was so light. Pomena it at the north end of the island and we were approaching from the western side around the top. You have the option of either going through the islands around the headland or staying out and giving it a good radius. Each boat took a different approach but were all rewarded by the beatify view across a lagoon style stretch of water outside adjacent to the town. We moored stern too in the marina for the night.

People in the town told us about an effervescent lake just up the hill that was fantastic in the dark so each in our flip-flops we walked up the stony path in the dark past the lake and eventually after quite a long walk we found the sea at the other side of the island. Some people dropped a stone in, some paddled and and a few brave people went deeper wondering why they water wasn’t glowing around them. Scratching our heads we walked back only to find out the following day that the lake was literally just behind the houses.

7th June – Lumbarda

The next day we set off to Lumbarda which was around 20kn with the wind right on our nose. Darren set off first and made good headway beating into the wind and as we would arrive in good time decided it was time to have a ‘play’. This gave everyone on board chance to helm and trim the sails on all points of sail. Plenty of tacking and everyone had chance to have a go at picking up a MOB under engine with Darren demonstrating a few people managing to get the MOB under sail too. It was nice to give everyone a go and eventually we sailed into the harbour where Gary had secured places for us. Lumbarda had a famous church above the bay which a few of us visited only to find out it was closed. After taking it in turns to get a leggie and look through the windows we decided that the view over the bay was fantastic and well worth climbing the hill for.

8th June – Polace

The next day we sailed down to Polace and had a nice sail into a headwind of about 15kts. Darren was first in and moored outside a lovely restaurant whilst trying to explain there were three boats and reserving space for Gary and Steve. Eventually after much confusion the restaurant owners 10 year old daughter came out and translated for us. The owner was delighted that there was three boats and not only three of us eating! A path around the village again gave beautiful views of the bay.

9th June – Sipanska Luka

The final day saw increasing winds up to Sipansha Luka which involved long beat between two islands about two miles apart so tacking every 20 minutes or so. At the end of the beat we had to negotiate a tight gap between islands that was quite busy with boats heading in all directions but Sarah’s excellent helming took us through and we were pleased we had reefed in advance as the winds were rather strong. This followed a good sail through islands right up to the town which is about 2Kn up an inlet. Gary had moored on the harbour wall and it looked like Darren would need to anchor off for the night but as we were expecting a squal we managed to sweet talk the harbour master and about half an hour later the heavens opened and the bins were being blown down the street! Thankfully the restaurant was under cover and we had a very nice tea and visited a bar called no name bar whist it blew over.

10th June – ACI Marina

The last day saw a wet start with limited visibility after the previous night’s weather. Darren and Garry decided to motor back between the islands but Steve went down the exposed side with the sails up and by all accounts had the best journey. Darren followed a cruise liner into Dubrovnik harbour and then headed up the inlet to the marina looking for the illusive fuel quay that would be easier than the one at the marina. When we realised it was a chart anomaly we set off back up the long inlet to the marina. The fuel quay is right down the side of the marina with a narrow access channel which was tricky to hold position and queue but it did stop the normal pushing in and playing for position. After Darren filled up with around £20 fuel we undertook the longest reverse ever finishing in a huge S to enter the marina in reverse and put it on the dock. Whilst reversing out Darren’s boat faced the question of who is give-way vessel when you’re going backwards and not knowing the answer to the question had to manoeuvre around an approaching vessel who seemed obliged but didn’t to the gentlemanly thing of giving way to a boat that was obviously far less manoeuvrable.

After a fantastic week we did the honourable thing of opening a beer and heading into Dubrovnik for a lovely meal.

11th June – Dubrovnik

As we were on an evening flight out we spent the day in Dubrovnik which is a most beautiful place and a really nice end to a fantastic trip.

 

Russ has made a video of the trip which can be found here however I do recommend that you shut your eyes at 1:23.