Sailing in Croatia: Day 3, Impressions of the Hanse Cup Adriatic 2018

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by Tash Pericic,
From the 21st – 25 April 2018, we attended the 6th edition of the Hanse Cup Adriatic; 3 days of sailing and fun, with over 170 participants, from 12 countries on 28 Hanse Yachts in the incredible April sun.

Croatia Yachting are the official dealer of Hanse Yachts in Croatia and 2018 was the Hanse Cup Adriatic’s 6th year running; the purpose of the regatta is to show the great balance between sailing, easy handling and comfort of Hanse yachts – with a little fun thrown in of course.

Along with 6 friends, we entered the regatta and sailed on a brand-new Hanse 455, almost the entire range of Hanse Yachts were represented in the regatta, from the petite Hanse 315 to the luxurious Hanse 588.

The first day of racing took us from Drvenik to Šibenik, with a completely downwind course, the wind was a mild 5 – 8-knots all day but gave everyone a chance to warm-up to their yachts and crew (read the full account of day 1 here).

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Day 2 took us from Šibenik to the quaint town of Vodice, where we had an upwind start, downwind leg and a pleasant 8 – 10-knots of wind for the day. The night’s dinner and entertainment in Hotel Olympia was superb and after 2 days on the water together, the overall atmosphere and vibe among the 170 + people in the room was brilliant (read the full account of day 2 here).

The final day of racing took us from Vodice to Rogoznica; unfortunately, there was only a breath of wind for the final day – the year before they had a huge 25 – 30 knots of wind, luck of the draw. While everyone would have liked better racing conditions, I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the gorgeous weather – many, I am sure were just happy to escape life for a few days.

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There is not much to talk about in regards to the racing on this day, our skipper did all the hard work on the helm, while the rest of us chilled as it was upwind for the entire course, there was an average of 5-knots for most of the day and we crawled across the finish line doing 2.1 knots on 2.7 knots of breeze. Regardless, it was still a beautiful day, we were pumped to cross the finish line and then pull into the gorgeous Marina Frapa for our final evening and awards ceremony.

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As soon as all of the yachts docked, it was easy to see that once again, everyone was in great spirits, the comradery of a regatta in full-swing, with drinks flowing, people moving between yachts and a bit of banter between the crews.

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Like I said before, the beauty of a charter regatta is the people and atmosphere. Many companies use it as team-building and many are long-time friends or have been sailing together for years, so it is a great way to come together, sail and enjoy. I took the opportunity before dinner to talk to a few other crews and managed to find some Hanse Cup Regatta regulars.

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Credit: Tash Pericic, Veni Vidi Vixi Crew another team with Frank Honan

Chatting to Frank Honan aboard the Hanse 455 ‘Jenny’ he explained that he has known and dealt with Croatia Yachting for years because he used to run the AYC Yacht Charter based in Vodice. Frank and his crew are all based in Vienna now and part of the UN Sailing Club in Vienna, but he still returns to the Hanse Cup Adriatic. When I asked why he has returned for several years, he said:

“Croatia Yachting does a great job of organising the event, which is shown by the fact that when I first came to this regatta, there were only 15 yachts entered, this year there are 28! The team are professional, they use brand-new boats, the self-tacking jib on the Hanse yachts is great to sail with, it is very international, top-class entertainment, great food, locations and overall atmosphere.”

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Credit: Tash Pericic, Frank and his crew aboard Jenny.

Rolf Das from Argo Navis, is actually the owner of the Hanse 415 which he bought from Croatia Yachting in 2017. It was his first Hanse Cup Adriatic Regatta, he was sailing with his son and friends and was impressed with the regatta.

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Credit: Tash Pericic, Owner Rolf Das aboard Argo Navis with his crew

Aboard ‘Lanas’, another Hanse 455, they had a mixed crew from: New Zealand, Croatia, UK and China but all now living in London and came to Croatia specifically for the Hanse Cup Adriatic. The ‘Twist and Shout’ Crew aboard Hanse 455, were from Germany and actually worked for Hanse (insider knowledge?), it was their third-year sailing in the Hanse Cup Adriatic – which shows the strength of support of this regatta and Croatia Yachting.

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Credit: Tash Pericic, Skipper John Cruickshank with his crew aboard Lanas.

Goran Pavlović on the Hanse 415 ‘Mickey’ has been coming to the Hanse Cup Adriatic consecutively for the last 5 years with the same crew. He couldn’t speak highly enough about the regatta and event, in specific he mentioned how great the Croatia Yachting team is – pointing out Ivana, one of the amazing women you will find in reservations and bookings, praising how wonderful she is to work with. He said, “every year it gets better and better, the organisation is perfect, the regatta itself is a little less competitive, which we really enjoy as a crew and the atmosphere is amazing – I leave my deposit with Ivana every year because I know I’ll be back!”

Jürgen Brunner was the skipper and owner of ‘Summer Wind’, Hanse 400 it was his first time in the Hanse Cup Adriatic and they were positive they will be returning!

Once everyone was in and ready, we headed to the ‘Dragon’s Eye’ lake which is situated directly beside Marina Frapa, a stunning natural phenomenon with many myths attached to it. Then, it was time for another group photo in the picturesque setting before we moved on to dinner.

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Dinner was another gorgeous buffet spread by Marina Frapa, with live music setting the tone – so far, every night’s entertainment had been unique. Then the moment everyone was patiently waiting for – the announcement of the winners of the regatta.

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The yachts were divided into 4 classes and the first three places of every class were awarded a prize, while the overall winners of the regatta were also calculated on a points system. The winners of the Hanse 300’s, were ‘Sunny Day’ on the Hanse 388, with skipper Erwin Lienemann.

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For their first time entering the Hanse Cup Adriatic, ‘Summer Wind’ on the Hanse 400, won their group with skipper Jürgen Brunner.

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‘Bare Necessities’ took out the largest group on the Hanse 455, with Jens Gerhardt on the helm.

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Bare Necessities, winner of their class and overall winner of the regatta

And, for the Hanse 500’s, ‘Simply the Best’ on the gorgeous Hanse 548 won their group with skipper Markus Sofje.

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The overall winner of the regatta was ‘Bare Necessities’ (Hanse 455), followed by ‘Twist and Shout’ (Hanse 455) helmed by Henry Bleck in 2nd, and ‘Simply the Best’ on the Hanse 548 came 3rd overall. So, it was a German white-wash of the Hanse Cup Adriatic this year.

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Twist and Shout Crew, overall 2nd in the regatta

There was also an award for crowd favourite, which deservedly went to Goran Pavlović as the most loyal supporter of the Hanse Cup Adriatic.

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Crowd favourite went to the loyal Goran Pavlović aboard ‘Mickey’, Hanse 415

Another fabulous evening and that rounded-out the Hanse Cup Adriatic 2018. My personal highlights? Sailing on a brand-new Hanse 455, it handled brilliantly and was more than enough space for our crew of 7. The overall organisation and professionalism of the Croatia yachting team was hard to miss, from the small touches, like walking around in the mornings and evenings chatting to all of the crews, responding on the spot to last-minute mishaps – like our winches or surprising one of the participants with a birthday cake! And it goes without saying that the locations, venues and entertainment, were a highlight for most, a perfect way to kickstart the 2018 sailing season.

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The lovely Ivana from Croatia Yachting, surprising one of the participants with a birthday cake.

But something that really stayed with me, is how a charter regatta is a perfect opportunity to get people, with little-to-no experience, involved with sailing and racing. Two of our crew members – Peter Milic and Mirela Rus had almost zero sailing experience walking into this regatta, yet, after 3 days at sea, everyone was moving around the boat like a pro. We were extremely lucky to have a very experienced skipper (Nick Hathaway), who was patiently guiding and teaching the whole way and they both took to sailing like ducks to water. Their verdict? We have converted them both! Peter was already asking when the next regatta is and Mirela has not stopped raving about the experience – “I don’t know where the days at sea passed, I only know that if I were to do it again, I would be packed and at the door in 5 minutes!”

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Credit: Tash Pericic, Peter, Mirela and Mila – all smiles and all in love with sailing!

I believe everyone should experience sailing just once in their life and I guarantee, once you do, you will never be the same.

Here is the incredible video made by Bruno Bilonić from the regatta, a short teaser which shows the vibe of the regatta perfectly.

So, if the opportunity to enter a regatta comes along, grab it with both hands or consider chartering any of these gorgeous Hanse Yachts from Croatia Yachting (you can also charter with a skipper), you can find more information on their website here.

Thanks again to Croatia Yachting and everyone involved this year, see you all for the Hanse Cup Adriatic 2019!

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Unless otherwise stated, all photos copyright and courtesy of Croatia Yachting.

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