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Eifion Owen, Commodore at Pwllheli Sailing Club, has shared with us his highlights from a recent family bareboat charter to Croatia’s Krka National Park. The park is famous for its beautiful waterfalls, one of the country’s natural wonders and a must-see for any sailor chartering the region.
Are you an experienced sailor?
Annual family holidays usually involve water, boats or, hopefully, a bit of both. We had a great time when we chartered a Beneteau Oceanis 38 out of Kastella near Split, Croatia. I had been told “beware of the Bora “, but I thought this was just baroom boasting. Little did I expect +45 knots in the Adriatic in August, which wiped out the first day of sailing.
Where did you sail in Croatia?
Our itinerary was based on reaching Krka National Park. I had heard about Plitvice lakes but further investigation revealed we could sail into Skradin, which is a 45 minute bike ride from Krka Waterfalls. Skradin has an ACI marina (which is very nice and expensive) five miles inland from the sea.
How was the sail to Skradin?
The journey from the sea to Skradin was a mini adventure in itself as there are two large bridges and a commercial bungee jump outfit working off one of them. People are jumping off as you motor past. Also, the ravine is only 150m wide at the narrowest point and it is reminiscent of the scene in Jason and the Argonauts where the canyon starts to close and the Goddess Athena keeps it open. Luckily for us the canyon did not close and we motored through safely!
The most sobering part of our first evening in Skradin was an exhibition of local pictures from the civil war between 1991 and 1995. It must be quite strange for people who are now civilians to be reminded of the recent fighting in their town.
How did you find sailing to Krka National Park?
The plan for the following day was to have an early start to beat the queues to Krka. However, having three teenagers in a party of five makes getting up early virtually impossible so at 9.45am I joined the long queue to buy tickets to enter the park.
We finally arrived in Krka at around 11am with lots of other people. The Krka falls are definitely worth a visit and the swim at the base at lunchtime was extremely refreshing. We left that evening as the budget would only stretch to one evening at Skradin and sailed to Otok Kaprije, taking an restaurant mooring for the evening.
That night was spent at anchor in the bay with a distant thunderstorm reminding us not to sleep too deeply. The following day we woke up to 25-knot winds on the beam, which allowed us to sail back towards Split. This was true champagne sailing but it’s true, “beware of the Bora”!
Was it easy getting a berth?
Skradin has the usual mix of very shiny motor yachts with fully professional crews to all kinds of sailing boats. As I had booked my August berth in March, I had no problem getting a berth but it still seemed a bit of whoever shouts the loudest on Ch 17 gets the remaining berths.
How did you find the boat?
If Beneteau had offered me a deal, I would wax lyrically about the perfectly balanced sailpan and how easy it was to sail at speeds between 8 and 9.6 knots , but they haven’t so I wont!
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