Dee Caffari: Sailing Croatia With Sunsail

Croatian mountains

One area of the world that I had regularly heard great reports on but had still never sailed myself is the sunlit coastline of Croatia and its neighbouring islands. Booking a Sunsail 444 catamaran for a week escape along the Dalmatian Coast led to an easy decision to extend the invitation to friends. Our crew was an eclectic mix of singles, couples, two children (ages 1 and 4), sailors and non-sailors. The same group had set off on an Adriatic adventure earlier in the year.

Arriving late on the Saturday, the skipper’s handover and briefing took place the following morning. We received a comprehensive overview of both the yacht and the local cruising areas. With our time limited to only a week, we had the decision to make of heading north or south from the base in Agana. Our trip coincided with the arrival of some pretty heavy weather and we were told that May had been unusually unsettled. Having assessed the anticipated weather ahead, we decided to go south in search of sunnier climes.

Dee Caffari & Partner, waterfall, catamaran

Once we had stocked up on provisioning at the local supermarket, we set off in torrential rain and 25 knots of breeze, much to the amusement of other boats around us in the marina. These were not quite the cruising conditions that our crew was expecting but we were determined to make the most of the time we had. We decided that we may as well be travelling than sitting on the dock, staring at the rain for two days.

Our first stop was the well-protected anchorage of Šešula Bay, on the island of Šolta. We were fortunate to have this serene bay entirely to ourselves. Not to be deterred by the grey skies, we donned wetsuits and tried out our auxiliary paddleboards. We were most impressed with one of our party, a first-time paddleboarder, as he took off at speed into the bay. It was only when he was safely back onboard that we discovered this was more luck than judgement as the wind had been so strong that it had swept him, at a pace, in that direction. Hot showers and cups of tea were then the order of the day to get warmed up.

On Day 2, with the rain seemingly relentless, we made our way from Šešula to Komiža on the island of Vis. This time, we opted to moor on a town quay so that everyone could stretch their legs and explore ashore. This little town had a good selection of restaurants and some lovely old streets to meander. Thankfully, we had all remembered to pack our sense of humour, so a little rain wasn’t dampening our spirits.

Dee Caffari next to a Waterfall in Croatia

By Day 3, the rain had finally stopped, but the temperature had dropped slightly. Again, we decided that it was a good day for travelling a reasonable distance between islands. We headed to Saint Clement, a recommendation from a friend that cruises in the area regularly. Upon arrival, we found a secluded bay that we occupied exclusively. The journey had been an upwind schlepp and by the time we arrived, we decided a nice warming dinner was called for. The galley was well equipped and a comforting chicken risotto for seven was rustled up in no time.

The next day, we all took the opportunity to head ashore. We enjoyed some light rock climbing and our youngster sailors sought out sea creatures in rock pools. As for the ‘big kids’, we hiked from one end of the island to the other. By late afternoon, a big yellow thing appeared in the sky. Much to our delight, the sun finally came out, and we all celebrated by taking a dip in the sea. The water along this coastline is some of the cleanest that I have ever seen and is perfect for snorkeling. With water this clear, you can see shoals of fish from the deck of the boat. Fully kitted out with snorkeling equipment, our crew got up close and personal with the incredible marine life. Later, we enjoyed a relaxing dinner ashore in a lovely restaurant overlooking the bay.

Sunsail catamaran, paddleboarders, Croatia's coast

The next morning had us making a short hop across to the island of Brač. We anchored en route in Milna Bay for lunch, and then headed on to moor overnight at the town quay in Bobovišća. By now, the weather was behaving much more appropriately for a summer cruising holiday, and we were all grateful to feel the sun and a warm breeze. Bobovišća is a small fishing town with a couple of restaurants and a play area perfect for the children. The supermarket was limited, so instead, we made another stop the following day in Milna for final provisions.

Moving onto the southeast part of the island of Drvenik, we anchored in Solinska Bay for our final day at sea. This was exactly what the brochure offered… we basked in stunning sunshine, swam in the clear waters, paddle boarded around the coastline and made the most of our last full day on the water. The reluctance was palpable as we started making our way back to Agana for our final night before departure.

The unusually bad weather at the beginning of the week was an uninvited added challenge, particularly for the younger shipmates and those who suffer from seasickness. It is much harder to occupy active minds and bodies on a boat in very wet weather! However, by the end of the week, the children had found their sea legs and were much more confident in their new environment. We were fortunate to be able to adapt our plans to suit the conditions, but it did serve as a reminder that you do need to have an open mind and be flexible if you are cruising out of season.

Dee Caffari map of cruising in Croatia

The sailings grounds were beautiful and, when the sun shone, it was pretty close to idyllic. I will definitely be returning to Croatia to explore the northern islands as we all agreed that cruising in this area was extremely special. If you are looking for a cruising destination that is a short flight from the UK, I would definitely recommend this stunning group of islands in the Adriatic Sea.

Discover Croatia from our Agana or Dubrovnik base.

Author Name: 
Dee Caffari
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