Sun, fun, turquoise water, good food and short daytrips to go to the next bay. This sums up what you will experience in Croatia during a sailing trip. Croatia is an absolutely fantastic cruising ground if you want your family or friends to have a really relaxing sailing experience. Over the last couple of years I had the chance to sail the whole stretch from up north (Pula) all the way down to the south where you will find the city of Dubrovnik. The diversity of possibilities will blow your mind. Whether you are after a real sailing adventure, a family vacation, “sailing” with your buddies or a romantic week with your partner. Croatia offers it all. What you really need to know is how you tie off your boat in Croatia. You probably heard about Med Mooring or Anchoring off Stern to with a Landline. Well, you will find all that in Croatia and even more weird ways of berthing your boat. But don’t be afraid. It isn’t all that complicated to do.
1. In Marinas. In Croatian Marinas you are berthing stern-to. You bring out two sternlines and the “Marinero” will hand you one or two Moorings (or slimelines as some like to call them). Slimelines run all the way from the dock to a underwater concrete block round about 20 meters from the dock. The slimelines have small feeder lines attached to lift the actual line out of the water. You will now run this line from your stern to the bow and tie it off the bow cleat. Now the skipper puts some slack on the sternlines to move the boat more towards the concrete block. Tie of the line and make sure there is absolutely no slack in it. Now the skipper can reverse the boat towards the dock to take the slack out of the stern lines and you are ready to go off to enjoy a nice dinner in town. When leaving the Marina make sure to tie off the slimeline first and watch it until its back on the ground, otherwise you will get around your prop, which will end up in a mess and most often means the end of your vacation.
2. Mooring Balls. You are approaching a romantic bay and you want to anchor off? Well you can try, but most of the times somebody appears out of the blue and forces you to take one of the mooring balls that they put out there everywhere. Similar to some places in the Caribbean. What happened here is that the State of Croatia is licensing out the bays to local families and allows them to put out a number of moorings. Mostly these moorings fields have family-run restaurants at the beach and if you eat at their place they don’t charge you for taking a mooring ball. At other places they charge you whether or not you are eating at their place. Well, that also depends on the season. In July and August everybody goes crazy anyways. Taking up a mooring is pretty simple. You can even do it under sail. Basically you approach the mooring ball close to the wind and you want to make sure that you pick up the ball on the side where the wind hits the boat. The very last moment you point the boat into the wind and that usually lets it stop. Pick up the mooring and tie it off with a line that you have prepared on one of the bow cleats. Feed the line up again and tie it off on the other bow cleat. The end result looks like a “V”, whereas the bottom of the “V” points towards the ball. Depending on the weather conditions you might also like to loop the line twice through the eye of the ball or even attach it underneath the ball and directly to the Mooring line.
3. Stern-To With A Landline. I personally like this option best. There are hundreds of inlets, islands and bays where you can go stern-to to the land. Make sure you have plenty of depth and a solid tree, rock or anything else on land. Prepare two long lines to bring out to land. You can do that by swimming or with your dinghy. Totally up to you. Swimming is by far the most adventurous way to do it. Start with reversing in on your picked spot. Throw the anchor at some point. That is your decision but I always go with a min of 6 times the depth as for the length of the chain I am letting out. I usually get some more chain out to steer the boat even closer to land to make it easier for the person who brings out the lines on land. Usually your boat will hang in the anchor and won’t move at all as long as you keep her in reverse. You can even helm her to move to port or starboard. During your anchor maneuver one can jump in the water and tie off one line to shore. Don’t forget to tie it off the boat as well. Once the anchor settled you can take out the slack ON the boat. Now your boat is save. Bring out the second line and adjust your boat accordingly. That’s it.
4. One Line Land Mooring. I don’t even know if this is the correct phrase for this type of mooring, but occasionally you see it in Croatia. Mostly in very remote and narrow spots. What they do is to have a mooring line attached on land or very close to land, which runs all the way out to a concrete block under water. There is a feeder line swimming above the concrete block, which you pick up when approaching. I usually go in there “bows-to”. Ideally you need two people on the bow. Pick up the feeder line and mooring at the bow and hand one to the one person and walk the other other part to the stern as the boat comes in. Once you have reached your perfect position tie the line off the stern first. This will work as a spring line to not let the boat go forward anymore. Now the other person on the bow is tying of the very same line on the bow cleat. Pretty cool, isn’t it. Your boat is hanging on one line, which you have attached on the bow and the stern at the same time. Be careful though. Depending on your location you don’t want to be there in high winds. Well, at least I wouldn’t.
5. Anchoring Off. This is pretty much the same as everywhere else in the world. I don’t want to tell you how to anchor off as I am assuming you know what you are doing. BUT. The challenge is not you but the others. Croatia has a big charter boat industry. In the summer month you virtually have thousands of charter boats pottering around in Croatia. Some with experienced crew, most of them not. In most cases you don’t have enough room to swing around and boats that approach the anchorages later in the day just throw their anchor anywhere near you without knowing what they are doing. Be careful if you see boats coming in that would only let out about 1,5 the amount of the actual depth. Please don’t laugh, but this happens more than once. So. The tricky part with anchoring off is not what you are doing (if you do it right) but to watch the other to do you and your boat no harm.
Here you have it. “The 5 Things You Need To Know When Sailing In Croatia”.
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