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Kornati Cup Regatta 2017 - Sailing with Team X-cite

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Total Croatia Sailing will go live this month; the new addition to the Total Croatia News family. We will be covering events accross the Adriatic all Summer, including the most up-to-date action from the world of competitive sailing. Total Croatia Sailing was a part of the Kornati Cup 2017 from May 1st to May 4th.

 

Total Croatia Sailing was delighted to be invited to the long-established Kornati Cup 2017 Regatta by Angelina Yacht Tours. Sailing Team Angelina, on their X-41 yacht X-cite, have been winning everything and this regatta was no exception. 

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The Kornati Cup has been running for over 30 years; well organised and ever-popular, this regatta boasts competitors from all around Europe. Over 100 boats signed up this year, each with crews of around eight. The Kornati Cup is one of the largest regattas in Croatia. Most competing boats are charter yachts; however, the crew-members are lifelong sailors and there is the same hunger to win that you would find at an official race event. Each day, as the first announcement crackles over the radio, there is a lift in the atmosphere, the air becomes thicker somehow. The boats start to sail a little more aggressively; sharks circling around one another, eyeing up the competition.

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Monday enjoyed two windward-leeward races in a gentle breeze of around 5-8 knots in front of Pakoštane before crews stopped at Marina Piškera for the night. Tuesday brought 10-15 knots from the Northwest; the Kornati channel and the Žutski channel were navigated. The Kornati islands, with their softly sloping hills, were a beautiful, somehow quite female backdrop to the racecourse; their femininity exaggerated further by the sharp, horizon-cutting sails of the yacht fleet. Tiny, three-foot churches, religious shrines from the past, sat on the headlands that jutted into the racecourse here and there; gently reminding crews of the charm, spirit and history of the National Park they sailed through. Upon arrival in Marina Žut that evening, all competitors were happy with two decent races.

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As the last few boats docked after the second day of racing, I said a quick hello to an “all-girl” Austrian sailing team; they claimed the atmosphere on an all-female crewed boat was completely different to that on a mixed-sex yacht. One very friendly crew member, who had been sailing since the age of seven joked that “when women don’t know what to do, they shut up. Even when men don’t have a clue what to do, they all still want to have a shout about it”. Even though this statement did make me laugh, I will hastily add that the views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect that of the writer.  

 

On Wednesday, crews waited for wind near Žut before following the starting vessel to Island Gnalić; many boats tied together, some fished and from a safe distance, I witnessed one competitor skinny dipping. A navigational race was held in a light wind of around 7 knots, around the islands Ošljak Mali, Ošljak Veli, Gnalić, Artica Vela and Mala. The finish line ran alongside the Biograd pier. The evening celebration included a stand-up-paddleboard contest and spirited, live music. The wind report for Thursday was not promising; from different directions and no more than 5 knots. Races were scheduled and attempted; the Bavaria 41’s were able to cross the finish line, all other classes were abandoned. The atmosphere was jovial at the prize giving and many immediately registered for next year’s regatta.

 

Some stand out, non-race related moments, that I have Angelina Yachts Charters to thank for, was seeing dolphins swimming a mere five metres from our yacht. The smooth, grey creatures against the candy-coloured spinnakers of the Bavaria’s was truly gorgeous. Another, was watching a huge, noisy, red and yellow firefighter plane swoop down and scoop up sea water alongside the racecourse. All competitors gawked at the toy-like aircraft as it ascended, almost too closely to some approaching masts. 

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Luka Šangulin, of Angelina Yacht Charter was helming yacht X-cite for this regatta. Named after Luka’s grandmother, the family-run charter company has over 120 different sail and motor yachts and, in 2015, was awarded Best Charter Company in Croatia. They are regulars at the Kornati Cup and they were proud to add another 1st place to their ever-growing list of wins. Lunch onboard X-cite was not the usual pre-made sandwiches, but a little picnic. The wood-plank passerelle was retrieved, rebirthed as a make-shift table and Croatian meats and cheeses were rationed out. It was a charming moment and I felt I was eating with family. The sailing crew that eats together, stays together…. and apparently wins quite a lot too. 

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