Trip on Paradise starting 2008-06-02 in BSAJuly08
Neilson Flotilla Holiday in Croatia 2nd to 9th June 2008 – report by Sonia Russé
Jane Jenkyn and myself, her two sisters Christine and Frances and her brother in law, Ian (Skipper) chartered a Beneteau 393 to sail around the Dubrovnik area of the Dalmatian coast line.
Up to the date of our arrival the weather had been superb, 27˚C with light winds however flight conditions suggested a major change. So bumpy, the food and drinks service was abandoned while we cut through high dense cloud for the entire journey. The 5-day forecast had indeed indicated thunder and lightning, black clouds and rain though in reality this proved to be nowhere near as bad. We did however experience something of everything .
Following arrival at Dubrovnik airport we had a two hour coach drive along a spectacular coast road to Orebic on the Peljesac peninsular and then a 45 min crossing in a small cramped ferry to the island of Korcula and the Marina base at Lumbarda.
As is the style of flotilla sailing we had skipper briefings every morning and were impressed with the full briefing on the use of distress flares. Every morning before leaving we completed radio checks with the lead boat and restaurant rendez vous every evening which, while casual were full of fun. Mooring fees for the week came in at about £110 however diesel costs were included in the charter fee.
The flotilla was the first of the season and the Croatian authorities were being difficult in issuing work permits to the lead crews resulting in just two young fellows, Mark and Mark (19 and 21yrs of age) being in full charge of 13 boats and crews. Big maturing curve there, nevertheless they handled it brilliantly. The boats however, had been rigged in haste by Croatian riggers and due to this, several crews including ours had some concerns about the rigging of their mainsails.
Our boat ‘Paradise’, the largest in the group, was very clean, in good condition, adequately equipped except for a missing boat hook which proved difficult with lazy lines to handle. More importantly, there were only coloured plastic mugs for the G & T s… totally unacceptable! However the boat was spacious with a three cabin layout, two heads, easy controls and a superb engine. Excellent galley, large fridge and saloon area with 6ft 3in head room.
The first passage was a short hop to Tristenic, 11km due east back on the Peljesac peninsular where we rafted up alongside. The next day we sailed 25km to Luka on the Isle of Sipan. On the third day we sailed to Dubrovnik about 15km away where we motored under the asymmetric cable bridge up the inlet to the very classy marina at Rotat. Here we caught the regular buses in and out of Dubrovnik, a delightful town catering well for the tourist though relatively quiet at this time of the season. .
On the fourth day we had a rather bumpy 23km motor-sail on a following moderate to rough sea, with winds 3 to 4 gusting 5 over to the easterly end of the island of Mijet to the bay of Okuklje which was lovely. Here we participated in the obligatory flotilla challenge of dropping a raw egg from the top of the mast to the deck without breaking the shell. We achieved this, by suspending the egg in a condom within an elaborate cardboard structure …. Well, it was that sort of night!!
Moving swiftly on……the next day we headed west 18kms to Pomena at the other end of the island and equally lovely, particularly in the sunshine. Finally on Day 6 we sailed back to Lumbarda about 14kms due west and enjoyed a super meal and sunset in the very pretty town of Korcula where the Croatians were celebrating one of their earlier football successes.
Personally I would definitely sail with Neilsons again, and again, along this stunning coastline boasting over 1000 islands, relatively unspoilt and pleasant people. I am sure Jane will agree with me it was a lovely sailing break and we recommend it to you.