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 http://www.marina-kastela.hr/, for charter options from BavAdria go to http://www.bavadria.com/

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.

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