The Southern Islands 2011 Route

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.

Tri Luke (Korčula) – Jurjeva Luka (Lastovo)

During the night one ship gets adrift in the bay, but fortunately they can re-anchor. When we wake in the morning the wind is already strong, 10-12 knots from NW. We do not manage to receive a VHF Weather forecast in this bay. Both Split Radio and Dubrovnik Radio are not available.

After a refreshing swim and breakfast we hoist anchor at 09:30. A solid lump of mud proves that the anchor had dug in well. Still in the bay we hoist our mainsail, and with 12 knots tailwind we glide out of Tri Luke.

Outside we meet firm conditions. There is 16-18 knots of wind from NW, and a strong swell. We sail a southerly course, which brings us to the west of Lastovo. Because of the strong wind we cover the distance rapidly, and about two hours later we pass the rock Pod Mrčaru on the NW side of Lastovo. An hour later we sail between the islands Vlasnik and Bratin into the bay Velji Lag. In the southwestern cove we have been before, but this time we anchor in the northwest cove Jurjeva Luka. It is a former Yugoslav army base, there are still some dilapidated buildings and we see some tunnels into the mountain. The soil here is sandy so the anchor holds well. The wind from N to NW occasionally gusts over the mountain, but otherwise it’s quiet here. On one of the banks, we see a herd of goats and at the entrance of the bay a ship of the Croatian water police has its mooring.

We swim and have lunch, and then decide to stay here. We are joined by two American ships and a Slovene. By evening, the rangers visit to collect 25 kuna per person for access to the Lastovo National Park.

ACI Palmižana (Sveti Klement) – Tri Luke (Korčula)

Today was a quiet day sailing from Sveti Klement to Korcula. We leave the Marina at 9:00. We hoist the sails almost immediately in 12-14 knots of wind from NW. Quietly we are heading along the harbour of Hvar town. Between the island and the lighthouse on Jerolim Pokonji Dol we change course to 145, towards the western end of Korčula. The next few hours pass quietly, although the wind disappears for an hour around lunch.

At 15:00 we drop anchor in Tri Luke. That is not easy, because of all the sea grass, and we have to re-anchor a few times. Other ships have the same problem. The NW wind stands firm during the evening too. During the night, we check the anchor several times, but fortunately we remain firmly fixed.

Via Lastovo to Dubrovnik 2009 Route

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.

Tri Luke (Korčula) – Luka Tiha (Hvar)

We start the day slowly, these are our holidays. At 10:00 we lift anchor. Between Korčula and Trstenik there is already 8 knots of wind from the northeast. So we hoist the sails immediately. We hardly used the engine since Dubrovnik, the batteries are getting low by now.

After passing Trstenik island and upon reaching the open sea, we sail west towards Rt Velo Dance, the southwestern tip of the island Korčula. The wind is north-northwesterly, so we do not manage to sail our desired heading in a northwesterly direction toward Pakleni Otoci, the islands off the southern coast of Hvar. For the time being we follow a more westerly course toward Vis.

During the morning the wind turns gradually to a northeasterly direction, which gradually brings our course to a more northwesterly direction. Early afternoon we sail just off the island of Sveti Klement. It is lovely sailing weather, in winds of around 15 knots. By 14:00, when we come near Sveti Klement, the wind turns back to the northwest.

Sveti Klement is rather frightening. In recent years the vicinity of Hvar became increasingly crowded, one of the reasons why we prefer to avoid that spot. But never before did we find all the bays on the south side of Sveti Klement already overcrowded with ships on anchor by 15:00 in the afternoon. Uvala Tarsće and Uvala Vinogradisče feel like Spanish Costa campsites in the August high season… We take a look at Luka Soline, but did not anchor there. It is too deep (more than 20 meters) and we find the bay not well protected. There are only some buoys at a restaurant, but all were taken already.

After some discussion we decide to sail to Tiha Luka to the north of the island of Hvar in Starogradski Zaljev, the bay of Stari Grad. The wind by now turned directly west and increased to 17 – 18 knots. We motor west along the south coast of Sveti Klement, which solves the problem of drained batteries as well. Near 16 ° 20 ‘E we sail straight north between the islands Paržanj and Borovac through. After this we hoist the sails. We pass Rt Pelegrin and sail in an easterly direction. At 17:00 we reach the entrance of Luka Tiha and take our sails down. Half an hour later we anchor in one of the smaller bays on the west side of Tiha Luka.

Korčula – Tri Luke (Korčula)

A good night of sleep in Korčula marina. We get up at 07:30, shower, shop and have breakfast. Then we visit an internet cafe for weather and wind forecasts for the remaining days of our trip. Most mornings they predict Bura (north / northeast) 3 to 5 Beaufort. During the afternoon Maestral Tramontana (north west). The temperature will be fine again.

This morning we first have a strong northerly wind (Bura), 20 to 25 knots. In those conditions, ACI Korčula is always an exciting port to leave, because it is a bit cramped. You see many people use a spring line. We are lucky that our neighbors on both sides depart fairly early, so that we have more room to maneuver. Without problems we drop our lines and at 10:15 we leave the harbor. Right outside the harbor we hoist the sails, there is now a 15 knots wind from the north. We do not sail east towards Mljet, nor westward via the Peleški Kanal between Korcula and Pelješac. We sail southward, navigating between the islands and along the rocks and shallows on the east side of Korčula, round Rt Rašjnić, the eastern tip of Korčula.

Then we follow the southern coast of Korčula in a westerly direction. Here. we do not suffer the worst bouts of Bura, and the sea is much calmer and friendlier than at the north side of the island. The south side is almost empty, apart from the village of Brna there is little evidence of civilization. Over our port bow we see the island of Lastovo, and the rest is emptiness and silence.

The wind remains favorable for most of the day, although it decreases during the afternoon. All in all it takes us just over 6 hours to cover 30 nautical miles, and at 4:45 p.m. our ship anchors in Tri Luke. Soon we are in the water, cooling off again after a hot day. During the evening there are five other ships at anchor in the bay, and is very quiet. We crawl away as deep as possible inside the bay. Meanwhile, there is virtually no wind…. And from the cockpit, we have a beautiful view of the isllet of Trstenik, in front of Tri Luke.

Tri Luke (Korčula) – Skrivena Luka (Lastovo)

I wake up at 04:00 hours. Everything is quiet, but I do get up and check our anchor. Outside, there is no wind and the sky is clear. You can see the stars and the moon is almost full. Our ship is anchored rock solid. The temperature is nice, and I stay outside for a while to enjoy the peace and quiet.

After a few more hours of sleep I do get up around 07:30, Time for a swim, and listening to the weather forecast via VHF. Breakfast after that, another swim, and some time for reading. We lift our anchor around 10:30. Immediately outside the cove we hoist our sails, the wind is northwesterly (Tramontana), 6 – 9 knots. The barometer rose 4 hPa to 1018 hPa since 08:00. Our course is 150 and boat speed is 4 knots while we sail towards the western coast of the island of Lastovo. Around 12:30 we pass the rock Plič Pod Mrčaru on the northern side of Lastovo. One hour later, we sail around the island of Bratin. Soon after that we see the lighthouse at Rt Skriževa and Rt Struga, and around 14:45 we drop our anchor in Skrivena Luka.

According to the pilot guides, Skrivena Luka is the finest anchorage around Lastovo. We are not 100% convinced, the protection against winds is not as good as we hoped for. There are some holiday homes around the bay, and on its western shore there is a restaurant with its own pier (which is rather busy). Together with four other ships we anchored in the northern section of the bay, in 5 meters of water.

That evening the winds turns towards north, and increases to 15 – 20 knots. Around 19:30 I notice that the other boats are coming closer. My reference points on the coast have moved as well. In other words: our anchor started dragging… At first we try to re-anchor close to our original anchoring spot, increase our scope from 1 in 4 (20 meters of chain) to 1 in 6 (30 meters of chain). But it does not work, within 30 minutes we are dragging again.

By now it is dark, and it is time for drastic measures. We switch on the navigation lights and lift our anchor again. We move towards the center of the bay, far from the other yachts. In 7 meters of water we drop 50 meters of chain, increasing our scope to 1 in 7. Using the engine in reverse, we help the anchor dig in. It seems to work.

Soon after that we are visited by a dinghy with some crew members from a German yacht, moored at the pier. They saw us drag and re-anchor, and wanted to ensure that we are alright. By then we have the situation under control, but I do appreciate their offer. It shows the true spirit of yachting! During the next hour, I check our position a number of times. We are anchored rock solid.

That night, I sleep in the cockpit again. Every two hours I get up and check the anchor. Around 02:00 the wind dies. From that moment on I sleep a bit more comfortable. However, I do feel rather exhausted when I get up at 07:00. This is vacation, remember…

I share my story about the dragging anchor in Skrivena Luka with a friend of mine, who is a local skipper, later that week. He explains the mystery to me. The northern section of Skrivena Luka has a rocky bottom with a thin layer of sand and mud. Your anchor will not dig in here. The central and southern sections of the bay do have a proper layer of sand and mud, which will hold your anchor well. Something to remember.

Lučice (Brač) – Tri Luke (Korčula)

During the night the wind turns northeasterly (Bura), with nasty gusts over our cockpit. Around 04:00 I go inside, to wake up again around 07:00. That is a great time of the day for another refreshing swim.

While having breakfast, we discuss a number of possible plans for the day. We do not really have an objective, but plan to go where the wind will carry us. Will it be Jelsa, Sumartin, Vis or Komiža? We listen to the 07:45 weather forecast on Split Radio via VHF. Expectations are not very good for the morning, predicting local rain- and thundershowers. By that time we see dark threatening clouds on the northern horizon. Around 09:00 we drop our line and move south, our course is 210 towards Rt Pelegrin, the western tip of the island of Hvar. Our boat speed is 4.5 knots, in 12 knots of northerly wind. The rain shower follows us when we round Rt Pelegrin at 10:15 and when we sail through the Pakleni Kanal along Hvar-town towards the lighthouse on the island of Pokonji Dol. Things look busy as usual in Hvar town, so we do not even try to moor there.

Keeping Pokonji Dol to port, we change our course to 140 towards the western point of the island of Korčula. It is now 10:45 and we leave the rain showers behind, sailing towards the blue skies. We make good speed in 10 – 12 knots of wind, and around 15:00 we round Rt Velo Dance, the southwestern tip of Korčula. Half an hour later we drop anchor in Tri Luke bay. At that moment we are the only ship there, but later that afternoon two more ships arrive. The rest of the afternoon we take it easy, go swimming and read.

Around Korčula 2008 Route

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.

Tri Luke (Korčula) – Luka Tiha (Hvar) via Vela Luka and Hvar town

Early that morning (06:30) I am in the cockpit to experience the beautiful sunrise. There is no sign of life on the other yachts, nor at the various houses around the bay. I always find this one of the most beautiful moments of the day. An hour later, the nautical weather report tells us that an area of high pressure will stay firmly above the Adriatic Sea for the next few days. In short: it’s great summer weather, and also in terms of the wind we expect no change.

Around 08:00 we leave the bay and motor around the peninsula and the cape Rat Velo Dance to Vela Luka. We want to refuel to ensure that we need no harbour during the coming days. A small tanker ship is just bringing in new supplies, so we have to wait for half an hour.

Vela Luka looks beautiful from a distance, but up close it seems messy and not very authentic. We feel no urge to stay around longer. By 10:30 hours we anchor in the lagoon behind the island Gubeša. That bay can be found some 3 miles west of Vela Luka on the north side of Zaljev Vela Luka. It looks like a very promising bay on paper. It is shallow with an open connection to the sea. But even here there is a lot of human activity around the bay, and there is not much life in the bay. It is, however, an excellent place for anchoring, with a depth of 6 meters and a sandy bottom.

Around noon the wind starts to blow, 15-18 knots from NW direction. We hoist the anchor and leave the bay. Once we round Cape Rat Proizd we sail a course 320 – 330 degrees toward the island of Hvar. Purely out of curiosity we sail a round in the harbour of Hvar town around 16:30. It is extremely busy, the port is literally brimming with yachts of all shapes and sizes. The port authorities have put mooring buoys at all possible places in the harbour, and they are all taken. Even outside the port you see sailing yachts and motor yachts everywhere. Five years ago, this was a nice place drop by occasionally, but for now they will not see me here.

We continue in a westerly direction through Pakleni Kanal. By now we are using the engine, because the wind has decreased and changed direction, straight on our bow. After rounding Rat Pelegrin we continue ENE towards Rat Kabal. By 19:00 hours we anchor in Luka Tiha. We still have time for a pasta and a glass of wine before it gets dark.