It was the nearing the end of the week and it only seemed like yesterday when I had stepped aboard ‘La Bora’ – my home for the upcoming week. Now I was sat in a restaurant on a Croatian island with my six new buddies waiting for the award ceremony to begin.
‘And the boat of the week goes to…La Bora!’ came the announcement.
‘Woohoo,' we all cheered as we held our trophy and posed for pictures. We had danced our way to victory, starred as pirates for the yacht race, held a toga party and basically been the life and soul of the Croatian seas (and we were the oldest boat in the fleet!)
Croatia is now one of the most popular sailing trips and anyone you meet travelling through the country is guaranteed to have sailed in Croatia. Each island around the Dalmatian Coast (named after the province of Dalmatia and not the Dalmatian dogs) offers something different and Croatia sailing holidays are a great way to meet other people, see many different islands and just relax at the same time. Plus you only need to unpack once!
Sailing is another world.
You cannot beat sitting on deck and watching the world go past as you sail to an unknown island. Then the excitement of mooring up before you tender into shore and explore. There’s such a sailing community and some of the mega yachts that you see sailing are simply amazing. Sleeping on deck under the stars and waking whilst the dawn breaks is one of the best feelings in the world.
For anyone who’s considering taking a sailing trip and may be asking the same questions that I did before I took the plunge (excuse the pun) here is an FAQ just for you…
Am I too old for a sailing trip?
What I discovered on my sailing trip in Croatia is that it really doesn’t matter how old you are, it depends on your mindset. There are of course companies who tailor more for the maturer guest such as Sailing Holidays Ltd or others like Contiki for the rowdy, party goers but if you prefer somewhere in-between MedSailors is perfect for those who wish to be sociable but also prefer to see the islands.
What are the yachts like?
Ours was a Premier Plus yacht which had four cabins each with its own bathroom including a shower head in the sink. These are generally larger than the Premier yachts where you have to share a bathroom. There's also a lounge area and kitchen but you generally spend most of your time on deck.
Where do they sail?
The sailing route can differ depending on the company you go with. With MedSailors we sailed from Split (where most sailing trips start from) to:
Sesula – a charming bay surrounded by pine-trees.
Stari Grad – one of the oldest towns in Europe with a labyrinth of cobbled streets and a vineyard where you can sample the local wines.
Vela Luka – for a bus transfer to the beautiful Old City of Korcula town.
Hvar – with a hilltop fort and the best nightlife I have come across in Croatia. They even have a party island only accesible by water taxi. We stayed in the luxurious marina of the Pakleni Islands then took a water taxi into Hvar for approx £10 each way.
Bobovisca – a sheltered cove with a wonderful restaurant.
Is there a party atmosphere?
There can be as big of a party atmosphere as you want. Sailing appears to be very sociable and you’ll often hear the saying ‘permission to come onboard’ as people boat hop to socialise with other boats. Some of the boats were quieter than others and retired to bed early yet some stay up and chat on deck so take your ear plugs if you want a good night's sleep. Hvar is the party island and has a great atmosphere at night if you love partying and there is always someone to hang out with.
Do you have to sail?
No, you don’t have to sail if you don’t want to. Our skipper showed us the ropes on the first day but it’s up to you how much you sailing you want to do. The yacht race is held towards the end of the week where the guests race against each other so you get the chance to brush up on your skills before then.
Are all meals included?
Breakfast and lunch is included but dinner isn't so you can sample the local Croatian food at the restaurants on the different islands. The skipper will usually recommend a good restaurant or even call ahead to pre-book your meals before you arrive (depending on the island).
What happens if you’re solo?
I was lucky enough to be joined by a friend for this part of the trip so we shared a cabin. There are cabins with twin single beds so you may find yourself sharing a cabin with someone else but the company should notify you beforehand and do their best to suit the person to you. You basically only sleep in your cabin anyway and spend the rest of the time on deck.
Can you sunbathe?
Yes, on the deck of the boat. Some days you may be sailing for a few hours so you don’t get much chance to relax on the beaches so the deck is a great alternative and you get a great breeze as you’re sailing.
What if I get seasick?
I do that’s why I choose Croatia instead of Turkey or Greece as the sea is much calmer. I was on the boat for a whole week and only started to get seasick on the fifth day. Just take good prevention tablets with you as a precaution. The boat does rock gently at night but it’s really comforting and helps you fall asleep.
Sailing in Croatia is a once in a lifetime experience. The memories and friendships that I made onboard will last with me forever…
TIP – The sailing season generally starts from May to September each year.
My sailing trip in Croatia was courtesy of MedSailors but all opinions are my own and Medsailors is perfect for those over 20's looking for a sociable time. (Most of our boat were over 30 and I am 37!)