Winds of Croatia: Let's Talk Jugo

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Korcula Official

Jugo: great for sailing, terrible for the mind, quietly causes chaos.

It is humid, I am sweating, I feel lethargic and if my husband were around right now I am sure I would be a right pain in the… to ti je Jugo!

Yip, Jugo is blowing today, so it seems like the perfect opportunity to talk about this bad boy (not quite as bad as Bura, but we will get to that)!

It goes without saying that if you are sailing in Croatia, you need to pay attention to the weather –windy or pljusak will give you your daily updates for wind and weather. But there is a little more to Jugo than meteorological reports. First –

Meet Jugo

Scirocco, otherwise known as Jugo (pronounced you-go) in Croatia is a moderate to strong wind that blows from the ESE to SE and is typically accompanied by clouds, rainfall and stormy weather.

Source: Ultra-Sailing

A History of Jugo

The Republic of Dubrovnik had a collection of books written between the period of 1272 – 1808 which stipulated all manner of life and law in Dubrovnik. In it, the Republic had a provision stating that no major decisions, rulings or deliberations could be made when Jugo was blowing and punishment for crimes committed during Jugo would be reduced.

The writer Tereza Buconić Gović best explained the effects of Jugo “It is by itself a punishment; the thought is weary, life seems to run out of blurred eyes and long, tired faces. Not even yourself do you like, how then to judge others with a blurred mind“. 

Source: Visit Dubrovnik

Jugo for the Mind

I began this article stating I have a headache and am irritable, in Dalmatia these are typical symptoms of Jugo and not uncommon to hear people complaining about or even skiving off work – if it was a good enough excuse for the Republic of Dubrovnik, it’s good enough me! However, the people of Dubrovnik were a smart bunch – did you know they abolished slavery in 1416? So, it’s not just legend, there is of course some science behind what Jugo does, something to do with the low air pressure…

Jugo for Sailing

As Jugo is generally a constant wind – unlike Bura who blows in unpredictable gusts, it allows for very good sailing; with constant waves and wind, sailors can read the water, get a clear heading and wield the wind in taut sails to achieve high speeds.

Sailing to any of the outer-laying islands like Vis, Biševo or Lastovo is not advisable, as Jugo blows from the sea towards inland, it can lift the sea and make a real mess.

Anchoring or docking, is best on the Northern side of the islands. On Hvar, one can find safe anchorage around any of the numerous bays in the Pakleni islands, however docking is preferable in Stari Grad rather than Hvar town – as the waves roll in from the sea into the harbour. On the island of Korčula, the West Coast port is a more secure location than the East Port, which has Jugo blowing from the side.

Source: Croatia-Yachting

There Jugo, Making a Mess

Jugo can usually be noticed a few days in advance – with a rise in humidity and a drop in air pressure (and the accompanying headaches we talked about). Unlike Bura, it can also last for a few days and gradually gains in strength as he goes, which is exactly why he is a kind of stealthy assassin. He may not make his presence felt instantly or with as much force as Bura, but he sneaks up over a course of days and causes chaos at sea. So, he is definitely not one to be underestimated, plan your itinerary wisely if you see Jugo is blowing.

Strong winds and safe seas to those sailing and to everyone else – “pomalo” (take it easy)!


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