Top 10 Croatian Regattas in 2018
An overview of the competitive sailing season.
With the Easter Regatta in Hvar in a few days, the new competitive sailing season in Croatia will commence. We have therefore reviewed the calendar of the Croatian Sailing Federation and, among 404 contests this year, selected ten regattas which are the most important or most interesting, either according to the number of participants, the quality of the sailing boats, the sailing routes or the idea behind the event itself. Some of the regattas we will present here already have an international profile and are well known to foreign sailors coming to Croatia, while others are still relatively unknown. Since we intend to present the most important sailing events in Croatia this year, we have also included some invitational regattas, for example, two TP 52 class regattas that will include the participants of famous America's Cup, as well as the European Masters Sailing Championship in the Finn class. Let us start at the beginning:
Easter Regatta (22-24 March)The Easter Regatta, which has been successfully organised by PBZ Leasing for 22 years, traditionally opens the sailing season in Croatia, and it regularly includes some 40 of the best Croatian crews. Although this is an international event which regularly brings together several teams from Slovenia and Italy, it is a regatta primarily for Croatian sailors. The regatta is known for a quite substantial prize pool for the winners. Still, top sailors and crews are more attracted by the competitive spirit and prestige, since the winners of the Easter Regatta are remembered for a long time. During its history, the regatta has changed its location; for many years it was organised at Vodice, but in the last few years it has found a new home in Hvar, much to the delight of participants. In addition to the top-quality sailing, the Easter Regatta is also known for its accompanying activities, including an entertainment programme, as well as concerts held at the Hvar Arsenal.
Photo by: The Easter Regatta
Adriatic Regatta (26 April-1 May) Vis-Palagruža-VisThe Host Sailing Club from Vis organises the longest and most demanding Croatian offshore regatta, which is sailed on a 225-nautical-mile-long route from Vis to Sveti Andrija near Dubrovnik, and then via Palagruža back to Vis. In addition to the long and very demanding route marked by three Adriatic lighthouses, the Adriatic Regatta is exceptionally difficult due to the often unpredictable and windy weather conditions in early May. That is the reason why not everyone can take part in the event, and the organising committee has the right to reject sailors and sailboats which it considers to pose a risk to themselves or the event. The Adriatic Regatta brings together Croatian and European crews on top-quality sailing boats, such as Imoca 60, Class 40, and large sailboats First and Salona.
Šibenik TP 52 Super Series Sailing Week (22-27 May)For the first time in history, the Croatian seas will hosts regattas in the prestigious TP 52 class; not just one but two, since the calendar of the TP 52 Super Series this year includes both Šibenik and Zadar (in June). This is the result primarily of the efforts made by D – Marin group which provides all the necessary infrastructure for these competitions. The TP 52 class sailing boats are the fastest monohulls in the world, and these regattas are especially important this year because they will include teams preparing to compete in upcoming America's Cup. Therefore, sailing fans in Šibenik and Zadar will have the opportunity to see in action sailing legends such as Jimmy Spithill, Sir Ben Ainsley and Vasco Vascotto, as well as many other Olympic champions and participants of regattas such as Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo by: www.52superseries.com
Sušac 100 x 2 (1-3 June)For those who do not know, Sušac is a beautiful uninhabited open sea island located some 20 km west of Lastovo and about the same distance southeast of Vis. The Mornar Sailing Club from Split organises two regattas to Sušac, one for “regular” crews, without limitation on the number of sailors on board, and the other, much better-known, for two-man teams. The number 2 in the regatta name represents the number of crew members on a sailboat, while the number 100 refers to the number of nautical miles that these crews have to navigate on the route from Split to Sušac and back. This is a very demanding event which features only exceptional sailors with long experience in offshore sailing. There are usually more than 30 crews taking part. Interestingly, at the start of the regatta, they are always seen off by hundreds of loud fans gathered near the starting line at Sustipan.
Photo by: Mornar Sailing Club
Rota Palagružona (19-24 June)Rota Palagružona is not actually a regatta, but joint navigation of crews on traditional Croatian boats – falkuša, gajeta, leut and bracera – on a 42-nautical-mile-long route from Komiža to the mythical island of Palagruža. This year, the re-inaugurated Rota Palagružona will be held for the tenth time, and a tourist ticket to board one of the accompanying ships heading to Palagruža will have to be paid dearly. The event celebrates the thousand-year-old tradition of people of Komiža to jointly go fishing on the open seas, due to security and protection reasons, all the way to the mythical Diomedes’ island, distant and dangerous, but abundant with fish on which living depended at those times. A thousand years ago, the fishermen raced to Palagruža to reach it first and find a good position to salt the oily fish on its shores. They used the falkuša boats with sails and oars, and the fishing expedition to the open sea island was an event on which the entire community depended. Rota Palagružona is nowadays a beautiful example of continuing local (and national!) maritime traditions, but also a great example of tourist experience for the few lucky ones who get an opportunity to visit the island and spend a night on its shores.
Photo by: Facebook/Rota Palagružona
South Dalmatia Regatta (3-5 August)If you want to take part in an organized sailing expedition to the most beautiful landscapes of southern Dalmatia, be sure to sign up for the South Dalmatia Regatta, a four-day event organized by the Orsan Sailing Club from Dubrovnik, which takes the participants in three stages from Orebić, to Pomena and Prožura on Mljet, all the way to Dubrovnik. The regatta is scheduled for early August, in the very heart of the tourist season, and it regularly gathers some 40 Croatian and international crews for which berths and catering are organised at all ports. This is the only Croatian regatta which visits the beautiful island of Mljet.
Photo by: Srdan Kurajica/One Frame Media
Finn Masters European Championship (11-14 September) The Split Sailing ClubThe list of the most important sailing events in Croatia this year includes one for the Olympic classes – the Finn Masters European Championship, which will be held in Split in mid-September and will gather more than a hundred veteran sailors who will be divided into several age categories to sail in this prestigious Olympic class. For decades, Croatia has had top sailors in the Finn class. Fans of sailing certainly know about Minski Fabris, Lukša Cicarelli, Karlo Kuret, Ivan Kljaković-Gašpić, and local sailing clubs have hosted numerous international and European championships in junior, senior and veteran categories. Until now, these competitions were mostly organised by the Labud Sailing Club, the most famous for the Finn class sailors in Croatia, but the host of this year's masters championship is the club on the other side of the Marjan Hill in Split – the Split Sailing Club.
Photo by: finnmastersec.org
The Mrduja Regatta (29 September)If we had to select just one Croatian regatta to be a representative of sailing in Croatia, we would probably choose Mrduja, or Croatian Barcolana as it is often called, because it is the oldest and most massive Croatian regatta, bringing together more than 300 sailing boats from all over the Adriatic Sea and beyond. Mrduja is the one regatta on the calendar which should not be missed. It is considered a matter of decency to take part in it, whether you are a member of a highly-trained crew on an expensive racing sailboat or just a family sailing 11 miles from Split to the island between Brač and Šolta and back. The Mrduja Regatta is a true sailing festival, and therefore, if you are in Dalmatia in late September, be sure to take part in the event organised by the Labud Sailing Club from Split. You will not regret it!
Photo by: Labud Sailing Club
The Vis Regatta (12-14 October)The Vis Regatta is known as the strongest Adriatic offshore competition: this is a hardcore regatta sailed in two stages from Split to the island of Vis and back, and it regularly brings together some 150 top-of-the-line sailboats. The event is held at the end of the sailing season and is more international than any other – last year it featured skippers and crews from 12 countries. The regatta is special because it includes a weekend at the magical island of Vis, which is, at a time when there are no more tourists, suddenly overtaken by over a thousand sailors, who wander around the whole island on Friday and Saturday. Because the regatta is held in mid-October, usually in harsh weather conditions, masts often brake down, and sails are torn apart, but participants are aware of the risks to which they expose themselves. That is the reason why only those who are ready for serious challenges dare to set sail towards Vis. The Labud Sailing Club is a flawless organiser of the regatta and always provides support boats so that nothing can go seriously wrong.
Photo by: Labud Sailing Club
The Jabuka Regatta (9-11 November)If the Vis Regatta is the strongest, Jabuka is the most extreme Croatian regatta, as it takes place in the winter weather season in early November, on the open seas, on the route from Vodice to the volcanic island of Jabuka and back. Although 15 years ago it was first organized as a regatta for few highly-trained crews (just 15 teams took part in the first edition), over time the Jabuka Regatta has become increasingly more popular, and for many sailors it has become something like a holy grail, an opportunity to earn their reputation and prove their sailing excellence. The status of the Jabuka Regatta is best shown by the fact that it has even been included in songs – Gego i Picigin Band sing about their (not very happy) experience of sailing towards the island. It is also interesting that the Jabuka Regatta is becoming more and more international – last year, it brought together the record 106 sailboats, of which more than half sailed under foreign flags. The regatta is organised by the Tijat Sailing Club from Vodice.
Photo by: Hrvoje Duvancic/regate.com.hr