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.
It is our last sailing day… Cloudy, but dry. The wind is W, 10 – 12 knots. Great for ‘butterflying’ towards Split, due east. When the wind catches up, we still manage to squeeze out 5 – 6 knots of speed. But around 16:30, the wind is gone and rain starts again. So, again, we motor into the harbour and moor the boat in pouring rain.
The weather forecast remains bleak for the rest of the week. After leaving Hvar, we sail in NW direction towards the western edge of Šolta. We stop for lunch in Uvala Šešula, a nice and well-protected bay, but a bit small. After lunch, the course is N towards Trogir. While approaching the coast, we have a great view of developing thundershowers. The moment we moor the boat in Trogir, the rain starts pouring down like I never saw it before. Fortunately, it is dry during the night so that we can still go out for a pizza.
During the night the rain starts pouring down. It’s looking like Ireland again! It continues all morning, and the weather forecast does not show any improvement. Around 10:30 AM we start the engine and sail between the Pakleni Otoci islands to the harbour of the town of Hvar. We are lucky to find one of the last free places along the main quay.
In the morning, we stow a load of fresh cookies from Cukarin on our ship…. Then it’s off in NW direction through the Peljeski Kanal. The wind is varying between SE and NE, so it’s great for ‘butterflying’. Around us, there is a couple of dozens of yachts on the same course, which gives a great view (despite the dark weather).
Our plan was to sail to Šćedro, and anchor in the bay on the northern side of this island (Lovišće). But progress is good, so we continue to Sveti Klement to anchor in Palmižana Cove.
Around 15:00 the wind dies down again, so in comes the ‘iron sail’. That happened just a little too often during this trip. Around us, the weather is dark and gloomy, with low clouds and drizzle. It looks like the UK or Ireland, not like the (normally) sunny Adriatic! Around 18:00, it is ‘anchor down’ in Palmižana Cove, where we find some 15 other yachts.
After yesterday’s battle, we take it easy today. We have a sunny morning, which has not been that common during this trip… Around 13:00 we lift anchor, and sail for Korčula. The wind, 15 knots from north-westerly directions, is ideal for our course of 330˚, and we make a steady 7 knots plus. The gap between Mljet and Korčula is bridged in a bit over two hours. The wind still tries to trick us around the little islands which are situated NE of Korčula, but around 16:00 we reach the harbour.
Here it becomes obvious that the season has really started. The Marina fills up completely, and there are various ‘near-accidents’ while mooring. While talking to one of the ACI-staff members, he comments ‘We treat every arrival as a potential accident’. That is one way to look at things… In this harbour we also find one of the trainings ships from Ultra Sailing. A nice chance to have a beer and catch up with the instructor, with whom we sailed a couple of years back.
Just before 10:00 AM we leave ACI Marina Komolac. Upon leaving the estuary of Rijeka Dubrovacka, which runs between high mountain ranges, we can hoist the sails. The wind is 10 – 15 knots from the north-west. Our choice is to sail along the southern coast of Mljet. Around noon, the wind change to more westerly and strengthens a bit. By now, our speed is well over 7 knots, and we continue tacking westward.
During the afternoon, the wind rose to 20 – 35 knots from the NW. That is a bit more than the predicted 10 – 12 knots! There is a strong swell as well. We put one, later two reefs in the mainsail, and continue the battle against wind and waves. Around 19:30 we arrive in Pomena, on the north-western tip of Mljet. The quay in front of the hotel is already full, but the bay behind the hotel is a superb anchoring ground. We stay out late in the cockpit, and I also sleep there. Out at sea, the only place where you can still see a star-spangled sky!
The day starts fine, with sunny weather and wind from the north-west, around 10 knots. Around 10:00 Am we leave the harbour and zet sail for Dubrovnik (SE). Around 13:00 the wind dies completely. The ‘morning breeze from the north-west comes back around 15:00. We hoist mainsail and blister, making 4 – 5 knots in light seas. However, again it does not last, so in comes the ‘iron sail’ again. Sick and tired of this ‘on-and-off’ sailing, we decide to make it for Dubrovnik still today. Around 19:30 we approach the estuary of the Rijeka Dubrovacka, with its beautiful Coastal Highway bridge. From there, it is another 2 nautical miles to ACI Marina in Komolac. We moor just before dark.
Still no wind, but we would like to get to Korčula somehow…. In comes the ‘iron sail’ again. With winds of maximum 5 – 6 knots, and almost no swell, an easy job for the autopilot. A good eating suggestion in Korčula is Restaurant Millenium, which you can find on top of the city-wall on the eastern side of town. The best steak I ate in quite a while. Another good tip is Cukarin, a cookies and pastry store in town. It shows why Croatia is famous for its pastries…. Update 2006: Millenium unfortunately closed down! Cukarin still exists, and cookies are still great.