Friday, 6 March 2009

Croatia Cruising Companion - How Does It Compare With The Competition?

As co-author of the Croatia Cruising Companion, it could be argued that this site’s editor is not best placed to draw an effective comparison with its competition. However previous experience suggests that all healthy competition should be embraced as a good thing. From a reader's point of view, hopefully specialist authors are likely to know more about the competition, and of course the subject, than most others!
Below we try and give readers the opportunity to decide for themselves, hopefully based on facts, and ordered around what we consider to be the Croatia Cruising Companion’s top five strengths.

1. Area and Content: Dalmatia - Nautical and Onshore

As far as we are aware, the Croatia Cruising Companion is the only publication covering Croatia’s sailing heartland (the Dalmatian Coast and Islands), that also includes detailed information and contact details once you get onshore. That’s over and above all the nautical information you would expect.

If you want to maximise your overall sailing and onshore experience of Croatia’s best cruising grounds, then we would suggest that the Croatia Cruising Companion has no rivals.

If you want to find out about all of Dalmatia’s islands, especially the most undiscovered, then we would suggest that the Croatia Cruising Companions offers more than most guides, sailing or otherwise.

If you prefer an excellent, highly visual, chart based, guide for navigation in Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro, without too much narrative, then consider 777 Harbours and Anchorages.

If Croatia is just a small part of an Adriatic itinerary and you just want one book that covers the lot, then head for Imray’s Adriatic Pilot.

2. Local Knowledge Ashore and Afloat

John Nash has worked within the Croatian Marina industry for over 6 years. It’s a standing joke amongst John’s Croatian business contacts that they need to talk to him to find out what’s happening in the industry – new marina facilities, change in transit prices, additional breakwaters, etc. John is also an experienced round the world sailor and spotted Croatia’s intrinsic potential as a world class cruising destination long before most others.

Whilst writing the Croatia Cruising Companion, Jane Cody became involved in many other Croatian projects – she’s working on Time Out's Visitors’ Guide To Croatia for the fourth consecutive year – feature writing and area reviews - and last year she wrote a book supplement on Croatia for Boat International.We aren’t aware of any other authors of comparable publications that are, and have been, so intensely immersed in Croatian nautical and tourism matters, let alone have a base in Croatia. We hope the results speak for themselves.

3. Up To Date

Part of the joy of spending so much time in Croatia is that it is one long voyage of discovery. The more you get to know it, the more there is to learn, and this site is for nautical news and updates. Sister site Croatia Online was conceived a little earlier and now has over 3 years worth of postings on Croatia. We are lucky that our blogs have attracted some delightful readers, who have made the time to provide valuable additional first hand information. Many have become friends. Again we’re not aware of any similar product that is as up to date.

4. Publication Quality

Quality issues are highly subjective and therefore we must refrain from much comment other than to say that the Croatia Cruising Companion’s 256 A4 pages are packed with photos, port plans and detailed information.

We’re also told “it’s a good read” and that a good number of landlubbers have also enjoyed dipping in and out of it when contemplating their next ideal summer break.

5. General Information - Introduction

The 23 pages of introduction cover cruising strategies, weather, navigational matters, safety, boat maintenance information (including contact details for engine, sail, hull, electronic and other repairs), a guide to the Croatian language and pronunciation, communications information, “getting there” details, and background information on provisioning, entertainment, beaches, rules and regulations, health matters, etc. Again we struggle to identify rivals in this respect.

Pricing and Amazon Ratings

The Croatia Cruising Companion retails at £ 24.99, the Adriatic Pilot at £32.50, and 777 Harbours and Anchorages at £28.50. Last time we looked for the Croatian Hydrographic Pilot it cost 330 kn (about £35).

At the time of writing, price and ratings on Amazon UK were as follows:

Croatia Cruising Companion – £17.49. Ranked 4 (Croatia), 18 (Sailing), 12,384 (books)

Imray Adriatic Pilot - £32.50. Ranked 71 (Italy), 36 (Sailing), 22,002 (Books)

777 Harbours and Anchorages – not listed on Amazon

HHI Pilot – not listed on Amazon.


Standing back as far as we can, Croatia, particularly Dalmatia, is now readily acknowledged as one of the world’s best cruising grounds and if that’s the place you want to explore, in depth for a week or two (and it takes years to distil it properly!), then we think the Croatia Cruising Companion is just that – the one and only book you’ll need, devoted to the best of the Adriatic.

If you'd like to cover a wider area – on a delivery or passage perhaps - then there’s more of a choice for just that one book but, of course, some detail has to be sacrificed for the bigger quantity of coverage.

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