Thursday, 13 December 2007

Classic Croatian Boats

Some friends of ours here have taken on an ambitious project - the restoration of an old Croatian wooden boat. Follow progress on their newly created blog - which includes a very useful glossary of technical terms for various parts of a boat which could come in handy for anyone else who needs to know the Croatian words for hull, mast, etc!

The team behind the restoration project also run a series of kayak tours in Dalmatia as well as trips on another classic Croatian boat the Gajeta Falkuša. More news on those activities on

We'll be doing another report on the Falkuša in the new year. It's going to be the star attraction in a big exhibition of classic boats in Brest, France, in the summer. Croatia has a big space allocated to it and we'll be reporting further on how it will be filled in due course. Follow this direct link Falkusa and Vis Island to go to an earlier posting with a photo of the Falkuša and more information on Komiža, on Vis, where it was originally used.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Cruising Dalmatia - The Sydney Herald Reports

The Sydney Herald reports today on an organised cruise around Dalmatia on a 28 metre wooden ketch. We've borrowed their photo to illustrate todays posting; the full link is

It's a great account of some of the more appealing peculiarities of Dalmatia and we learnt something new - that Kurba Vela, one of the Kornati islands, actually means "big whore" and was named in the 19th century by an Austrian Governor who named it on the advice of a brazen local who assured him it was the Croatian name for the island.

Read the full story by following the link above - it will give you a real flavour for the cruising ground. For more detailed information on the various ports in the area make sure you take your copy of the Croatia Cruising Companion with you. See our Home Page for more information on that.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Croatia Cruising Companion - Out Now!

We've seen our first copy of the Croatia Cruising Companion, hot off the press, and you can find it at the Wiley Nautical stand at the Earl's Court Boat Show from 1st to 9th December. Wiley have an enormous range of other nautical books on their stand so pay them a visit on stand 1L58 (Earls Court 1).

There are plenty of other things to see at the show and plenty of events. Today was press day and if you look closely at the photo you'll see the Royal Naval Commando Display Team trying to get in without being seen!

If you can't make the boat show you can find the Croatia Cruising Companion at Amazon and all the best book stores or follow the links on this page.

Monday, 19 November 2007

The Croatian Language School Interview

Readers may be interest to read the text of an interview which we did with The Croatian Language School for their latest newsletter. Go to for the full story, direct link - You can read all about the Croatian language school in today's posting on our sister blog Croatia Online As well as regular courses in London they organise a series of immersion courses in Croatia in the summer. The new venue in Losinj combines learning the language with finding out about Croatian Cuisine.

Today's photo is of Opat in the Kornati Islands. You'll see from our interview that we were hard pressed to think of a favourite sailing area - there are so many that we could have picked, all with different attractions. However the Kornati Islands are one of them.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Split Area - Onshore News

Thanks again to all the people mentioned in our previous posting on the BavAdria Cup 2007 and to Jure Vujević for another fantastic image from the race, pictured today. We think that the two crews in the photo have temporarily forgotten about the finishing line and are discussing where to eat and who is paying!

With that tenuous link here's a quick summary of onshore news in the Split area. You can read more about Croatia Onshore on Croatia Online and we've given direct links to the relevant pages under each subject:

1. Good New Chinese Restaurant in Seget Donji
As a sweeping generalisation, and putting it mildly, Dalmatians are quite traditional and conservative in their tastes. Why not as Dalmatian food is great! However there comes a time when we all need a change from plain grilled meat and fish with boiled Blitva (Swiss chard, a bit like spinach) and potatoes. All sorts of other things make it special - when you get offered the house olive oil instead of the inferior version that sometimes sits on the table, pre booked delicious "Peka" (like a roast - meat and potatoes in a hot fire cooking in its own juices), a glass of Travarica (like grapa) to fire you up on a cold winter's day, and the list goes on....But, for a change, you can get authentic chinese food not very far from Trogir, direct link Croatia Online - New Chinese Restaurant Near Trogir
Don't confuse this restaurant with the Chinese restaurant in Split centre, which we haven't visited personally but have yet to hear a warm report from.

2. Multiplex Cinema in Split
Imagine the scenario: You've taken the kids on holiday away from their computers et al and they've realised it's not so bad learning to sail, enjoying the crystal clear waters, swimming at will from the back of the boat, and getting back to nature amongst the Dalmatian Coast Line and Islands. The skipper is doing a good job taking his charter customers safely to undiscovered Croatia and then it rains! The kids think they're too far away from civilisation to cope with another day of adult discussion on the finer points of ecology, fishing, weather, etc. The answer is to moor up in Split and take them to the cinema. They're are plenty of "rustic" cinemas in Croatia but now Split has an all mod cons multi screen that will settle the temporary home sickness and weather weariness - direct link Croatia Online - Film Lovers in Dalmatia Take Note

News, hot of the press, is that Zadar will have a similar facility in the not so distant future.

3. Vegeterians Take Heart (there's an unintentional pun there but probably in bad taste and well worn!)
Split City Centre now has its first vegetarian and macrobiotic restaurant - we've been there and, similar to the Chinese Restaurant above, it's authentic and true to its roots as well as providing an excellent lunch. Direct link Croatia Online - Vegetarians Now Welcome In Split


That's the latest onshore news but you'll need to read The Croatian Cruising Companion to get a comprehensive view of what's best about the Dalmatian Coast and Islands, where best to berth, anchor or moor and what else to do onshore.
If you're cruising with children maybe look at another Wiley Group publication - Croatia With Your Family - for some more ideas of what to do onshore. Direct link Croatia Online - Croatia With Your Family

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Kaštela Bay - BavAdria Cup 2007

Whilst Jane Cody, co-author with John Nash, of the Croatia Cruising Companion, was picking olives for her most recent posting on sister blog, Croatia Online, John was brushing up his yacht racing skills in Kaštela Bay – here’s his report.

Yachtsman, particularly racers, suffer similar tendencies to farmers who are never happy with the weather. It’s either too hot or too cold; too wet or too dry. For racers the wind is too strong, not strong enough, or in the wrong direction; the waves are too big or the sea is too flat. Last Saturday was one of those exceptional days where a group of racers all returned with glee, raving about perfect conditions and a fantastic race.

The host venue was Marina Kaštela, owned by Captain Josip Berket, who also generously provided his fleet of BavAdria charter boats for the day’s event, The BavAdria Cup 2007 - one race split into 2 classes of 44 and 46 foot Bavarias. The participants were mainly from the Split and Kaštela Bay area with a good mix of crews whose primary intention was to have a good day out. Some showed a more competitive edge than others. Teams included Kaštel City Council, the Navy, the Police, BavAdria and Marina Kaštela.

The course was two laps of a classic race triangle in the expansive bay. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and a fresh breeze was blasting down from the mountains to provide an adrenalin rush for the crews and perhaps a little concern for the host, Joško Berket, for the welfare of his fleet.

The race started at 11.00, heading off from Kaštel Gomilica, with a beat out to the first mark, then towards Split shipyard and onwards. The fleet naturally split into its two groups except for the stragglers of the larger boat class being overtaken by the rock stars in the smaller yachts.

Yachtsmen, like fishermen, also have plenty of tales of “the one that got away”. I was on board one of the 44 foot Bavarias and we dropped down below two 46 footers, including our host’s, and creamed past them effortlessly, only to fall into the single hole of zero wind that could be found all day! We won’t mention the “crash gybe” and the slight difference of opinion about the way we crossed the finish line which meant that, instead of a second in class, we were ruled non finishers. Nonetheless we had a fantastic sail. Our able skiper, Željko (Keko) Perić, Kaštela Marina’s captain, was masterly in his helming of our boat, ably assisted by his crew of marineros, who work in Marina Kaštela, and Nico, the “ringer” and secret weapon.

The line and class honours went to Pomorska Policija, (The Police!) which was an eminently diplomatic result for obvious reasons. Second in class was YC Labud and third, with Armano Zekan waving the flag for the home team, was BavAdria. The 44 footer’s class was won by Otvoreno More, a team from Slobodna Dalmacija and AdriaSail came second, and AD Plasticka was third.

The return to shore was followed by an excellent spread - fresh anchovies, olive oil and bread for starters; tuna steaks and potatoes for the main course, with just a glass or two of excellent village wine to wash it down. Onshore entertainment was provided by a trio with guitar backing, harmoniously singing all our favourite Dalmatian classics and getting a lot of help from the audience. Prize giving allowed for just a slight intermission to recharge glasses and lubricate throats ready for singing along to the next song.

Many thanks to the sponsors, organisers and workers, that made it such a great and memorable day. And of course thanks to the weather!


For more information on Marina Kaštela visit, for charter options from BavAdria go to

Thanks to Jure Vujević for today’s photo (one of many outstanding racing shots), to Keko Perić for making it all happen and to Joško Berket for his customary generosity and goodwill.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Cruising Croatia - The View from Australia

Sail World have written a great article about cruising Croatia and we've taken the liberty of using one of their spectacular photos to illustrate today's posting.

There's a great overview of the development of the nautical tourism industry and plenty of detail on what you can expect - sailing conditions, facilities and practicalities. Reassuringly, the author Christopher Longmore believes, as we do, that its one of the world's best cruising destinations - "The country is naturally blessed with sailing waters as good and varied as anywhere in the world." He also confirms that Dalmatia, the area covered by our Croatia Cruising Companion, is "where perhaps the best sailing is to be found".

Go to for the full story and don't forget to check out our home page Croatia Cruising Companion Home Page, for full details of the latest and most up to date Cruising Guide that will help you explore the Dalmatian coast and islands safely and to the full. For more information on Croatia in general, visit our sister site Croatia Online where today's posting reports on out latest culinary discovery - a new Chinese restaurant near Trogir.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Komiža on Vis Island And The Gajeta Falkuša

Today's photo shows the Gajeta Falkuša, a traditional Dalmatian fishing boat that was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1998. It was reconstructed for the Lisbon EXPO exhibition in the same year and is currently wintering in Marina Kaštela.
During the summer it can be seen in Split Harbour where it is available for day and multi day tours which provide an immersion in the old fishing life of the region - guests are given lectures on the maritime heritage of Dalmatia, taught to cook authentic Dalmatian food and instructed on rowing or sailing the boat.
The boat originates from Komiža on Vis island which, from the 16th century onwards, was one of Dalmatia's most prosperous fishing villages. The fishermen maximised their catches by fishing in the open sea and needed a boat that would suit all weather conditions. Thus the hull of the Falkuša was built exclusively from pine from the island of Svetac - a volcanic island exposed to frequent strong winds which resulted in pine wood that was exceptionally tough and durable. In still conditions, the boat comes equipped with a set of oars.
Komiža on Vis remains one of our favourite places. For sailors, the well equipped visitors berths have lazylines (for mooring bow or stern to), electricity and water. Nearby there's a laundry, and toilet and shower facilities, and in the compact centre a number of good restaurants and bars. Around the bay from the visitors moorings is Konoba Bako, a great restaurant with its own beach and a small archaelogical collection.
Visit Lifejacket Adventures for more information about trips on the Falkuša and for information on Konoba Bako. For more details of what Vis Island has to offer onshore and for for those that are visiting by ferry, visit our sister site, direct link Croatia Online - Vis Revisited
Thanks to Lifejacket Adventures for today's photo.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Kaštel Lukšić

This large Maltese boat had no problem mooring alongside Kaštel Lukšić's outer breakwater this weekend but hasn't left much room for the local boats. Kaštel Lukšić is the middle village of the 7 Kaštelas, each with their own castle, which lie in a large bay between Split and Trogir. Lukšić is probably the trendiest of the group and the main tourist office is located in its castle which overlooks the harbour. Depths are between 2 and 4 metres where Seagull II is berthed. The inner harbour is better protected but really only suitable for shallow draught boats. The harbour is not lit at night.

You'll find a number of lively and tastefully kitted out bars in the small centre, and a few restaurants. Our favourite bar is Bugsy's, just east of the harbour. It's named after Bugsy Malone and the inside is full of memorabilia from that era.

If you prefer to berth in marinas then Marina Kaštela is located in the next village east, Kaštel Gomilica. One of the newer marinas in Croatia it has three phase power, a great restaurant, modern facilities and is built to cope with larger yachts. There are a number of good charter companies based here and an RYA Sailing School if you want to learn to sail or improve your skills.

Go to for more information on the marina and for details of the sailing school.

For more information on Croatia in general, visit our sister site -

And, of course, look out for our Croatia Cruising Companion, being launched at the Earls Court boat show in early December, which will give you all the information you need to cruise the Dalmatian Coast and islands safely and to the full. It's one of the very few books of its kind that includes full contact details, including websites, for all the marinas in Dalmatia as well as chandlers, boat repair yards, and much more. You can order it now, direct from the publishers, or from Amazon and other reputable bookshops. See our previous postings for more details.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Sample Page - Kaštel Gomilica

Not quite the same as looking at the glorious glossy technicolour version (we've just seen the real thing - the latest addition to the cruising companion series and it looks great) but this sample page will give you an idea of the layout.
The page covers Kaštel Gomilica, one of the seven "Kaštel" villages, each with its own castle, between Trogir and Split. It's the site of one of Croatia's newest marinas, Marina Kaštela, which we spotted in the early stages of development four years ago.
The overview charts, earlier on in the chapter, show the approach so the chart here is very localised and detailed. The navigation notes will tell you which landmarks to look out for and highlight any special considerations. Under the Berthing heading you'll find all you need to know about depths, capacity, electricity and water supplies, prices and contact details. Useful Information, at the end of the section, tells you more about the marina's facilities and any other nautical facilities in the area, where to find cashpoints, post offices, supermarkets and shops, transport connections, entertainment, cultural attractions and the lowdown on the best places to eat. The photos aim to help with navigation, where possible, as well as giving the reader a feel for the location.
Clearly there's more to say on some locations than others but we've done our best to give all the essential facts on every marina, port, harbour and anchorage in the area - at the last count there were around 300, each with their own individual charms.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Acknowledgements To Our Canine Crew

Today's photo shows one of the unsung heros of the Croatia Cruising Companion. Though Rosie didn't manage to make it into the acknowledgements, she did sneak into a couple of photos.

She's accompanied us throughout our travels in Croatia, on sea and on land, and has a few tales to tell of her own. She played a very valuable part in a number of ways. Over sundowners, once we'd found our berth for the night, she could normally be seen watching out on the stern for likely pals and, recognising the uniform, greeting the harbourmaster with a respectful woof. Invariably, she was fought over by the crew for the right to take her ashore in the tender when at anchor. Often she just preferred to take one of us for a swim so she could leave her mark on new and undiscovered territories. Fortunately she always obeyed the skipper's orders though has yet to learn to do anything nautical but catch a rope.

Those that want to take their dog with them when sailing in Croatia will be pleased to know that Croatia is part of the Pets' Passport Scheme and the standard of veterinary care is high. Note however that Montenegro is not yet part of the scheme.

Croatians, especially outside of the major cities, are generally less indulgent to dogs than the Brits, however visiting dogs are generally well received. Be aware that, in the height of the summer season, dogs aren't welcome on designated beaches or indoors in some restaurants, especially close to the kitchens. However, Rosie's rarely been refused entry in most hotels and restaurants and, quite often, the table in our regular haunts is reserved in her name!

For more information on what you can expect for your dog from Croatia visit our sister site, Croatia Online. The direct link to our latest posting on this subject is Croatia Online - A Dog's Life In Dalmatia which includes links to earlier postings on the same theme and the latest DEFRA guidance on the Pet Passport Scheme.

To find out more about The Croatia Cruising Companion, browse these pages or go straight to our Home Page.

To order direct from the publishers, go to Wiley Nautical - Order Online

Sunday, 21 October 2007


Cavtat, south east of Dubrovnik and close to the airport, was one of our favourite towns in Southern Dalmatia. It's much easier to clear customs here than in Dubrovnik, if you're entering Croatian waters from Montenegro. The port has good facilities and is popular with the superyachts. The town itelf is charming and unspoilt with plenty of restaurants.

You'll need to read Chapter 8 for the full details, useful information, navigation, berthing notes and a port plan but in this, and subsequent postings, we'll be highlighting some of the very special places that are included in the Cruising Companion.

The Definitive Guide

Here it is at last! Probably one of the most challenging projects we've taken on to date - how do you do justice to one of the finest cruising grounds in the world?

The Dalmatian Coast and Islands, were ranked 7th in the worlds top ten island destinations by US magazine Travel and Leisure. Next year, we believe the ranking will be higher now that Croatia is firmly on the map for discriminating American travellers.

We've been extolling Croatia's virtues for the five years we've been exploring it, at sea and on land. We've been writing about it for almost as long: for Time Out Publications, now putting together their third annual Magazine for Visitors to Croatia; for the great English speaking internet public, on our blog, Croatia Online; and now for Wiley Nautical as one of a series of Cruising Companions covering those "must sail" destinations.

Here's what Wiley say about it:

The Dalmatian coast, with its many unspoilt islands and crystal clear waters, ranks high amongst the best cruising areas in the world. Share its secrets, get an inside track on the latest cruising and destination news, and obtain all the facts, photos and chartlets you need to cruise it safely, discover its hidden gems, and enjoy it to the full.

This book features:

  • Port guides - where to eat, shop & visit as well as local facilities, chandlers and engineers.
  • Pilotage - clear pilotage directions, aerial approach shots.
  • Colour charts to simplify harbour approaches, carefully selected approach and entrance waypoints.
  • History and culture - useful background information about these important aspects of the cruising region.
  • Eating and drinking - restaurant tips for each harbour, local cuisines and wine cellars.
Hardcover, 256 pages, £24.99 / €37.50

The Croatia Cruising Companion is being launched at the Earl's Court Boat Show, which takes place from 1st to 9th December, and is available for pre-ordering at all the best bookshops and internet sites.

Follow this link to order direct from the publishers by internet Wiley - The Croatia Cruising Companion
If you want to keep up with Croatian travel, tourism, business, lifestyle and other news, check out our sister site Croatia Online.

Bookmark this page for updates on the Cruising Companion and the latest news on Croatia's ongoing rapid development as a world class cruising destination - new marinas, improved facilities, undiscovered bays, best restaurants, entertainment onshore and much more.

Please also let us have your comments - whilst we spend much of our time travelling around Croatia looking out for new finds and developments, there's no substitute for eagled eyed readers and those that don't mind sharing their latest discovery!