This was the fourth time the club has organized a full week of sailing activities in Croatia and the seventh time in succession we have visited the area at this time of year.
This year the format was changed to a single inclusive event over seven days, chartering a ten boat matching fleet of Bavaria 40S’s from Adriatic Challenge based at ACI Marina Split. 51 sailors competed for the VISC Bob Pitt Memorial Award. The racing took place under that well known club sailing instruction devised by Bob, Rule 11: ‘Don’t take it too seriously’! There would be four skippers who had either only qualified a year ago and/or were taking charge of a boat for the first time.
The crews mostly made their way by car from Vienna on Saturday 21st October, checking in their boats from Adriatic Challenge and being briefed about the boats before spending a free evening exploring the old town of Split.
Day 1: Sunday 22nd October 2017
The day started at 09.00 with an introduction from Frank Honan and the Skipper’s briefing by Race Officer John Plumb who outlined the plan for the week. The proposal was for Sunday to be a practise day, with the crews meeting up in the evening at Restaurant Split just outside the marina for dinner. Nine of the ten boats would sail as a single fleet, starting at the same time, with the Race Officer boat starting when he could in pursuit. In a change from previous events, this year there would be a different Officer of the Day (OOD) each day allowing Race Officer John to participate in the races. After explaining the start line countdown and flag procedure, John left the skippers to finalise their boat check-in and crew lists and complete their preparations for departure.
A start line was set based on navigation buoys about a mile from Split harbour. Two practice races were sailed. Afterwards the crews returned to their home marina for the Welcome Dinner at Restaurant Split where all the crews introduced themselves and outlined their expectations for the week. An extremely lively evening was enjoyed by everyone.
Day 2: Monday 23rd October 2017
Once again the skippers had to report to Race Control at 10.00hrs for a briefing from the Race Officer. Unfortunately, overnight, the Bora had arrived and was forecast to stay a few days and it was decided that it was too windy for the fleet to sail and the planned Rest Day would be brought forward.
Day 3: Tuesday 24th October 2017
The forecast for Tuesday was that there would be a lull in the strong NE winds around midday, returning again in the evening. Race 1 starting at 11.10 took the fleet from Split across to Milna on Otok Brac. Morning Glory took line honours, followed by Screwdriver and B-52.
The fleet of Bavaria 40S yachts were all named after well-known cocktails. As the sun set at the cocktail hour of 18.00, on the quayside at Milna, each of the boat crews presented their own Croatian version of their cocktail boat name. Everyone participated in the tasting and judging, but eventually the winners could not be split, with a tie between B-52 and Casablanca.
Day 4: Wednesday 25th October 2017
OOD Frank Honan started Race 2 from the western tip of Brac, north round Otocic Mrduja then south towards the town of Hvar on Otok Hvar. The residual Bora made the starting beat quite a challenge, a complete contrast to the finish where the boats drifted across the finish south of O. Galisnik. Morning Glory was again first home, followed by Long Island and Black Magic. All 10 boats moored on Hvar town quay and as the sun came out swimming and climbing to the castle for the fabulous views were the principle activities. The crews spent the evening quietly either eating on-board or in the restaurants of Hvar town.
Day 5: Thursday 26th October 2017
The strong winds of earlier in the week had now dissipated and the problem became having enough wind to start a race. Today’s OOD Jools Brooks decided to try to get a short race using the morning breeze south of Sveti Klement before sending the fleet to the next overnight stop. Race 3 was started at the second attempt at 11.40 between the islands of Mlin and Stambedar. Long Island led to the line with Hurricane and Manhattan close behind.
The fleet then motored to the west end of Otok Solta with the aim of sailing a second short race but this was not possible. Mooring for the night was in the town of Maslinica with all 10 boats lined up together for a great photo opportunity. After a group photo on the harbour wall, the crew of Screwdriver provided a very entertaining ‘Radio Quiz’. The crews remained on their boats and the questions were transmitted by VHF. The other charter boats in the harbour said this was the most amusing incident of their week!
Day 6: Friday 27th October 2017
Another relatively calm forecast led OOD Andrew Parker to propose two possibilities for Race 4, either round the islands west of Solta in the morning or return to the Sunday and Tuesday venue off Split. In the event he was able to get enough breeze for a start outside Maslinica round the islands of O.Grmej and O. Radula. Two laps were sailed and once again, Morning Glory was uncatchable, leading Long Island and Manhattan over the finish line. The boats then made a leisurely return to Split to check-out the boats and pack for the journey home, in time for the Prize-giving Dinner at Restaurant Velum in Split Marina.
During Checkout, Adriatic Challenge noted damage to three boats, one grounding, one lost batten and one broken window which had been stepped on. Each of the three crews lost their €75 deposit excess as the deposit insurance came into play. In addition one boat paid €30 for losing two boat hooks.
Prizes were awarded to all boats; just for surviving the week safely, but the principal trophies were awarded as follows:
|Winner of the Bob Pitt Memorial Award||Morning Glory|
|Runner up||Long Island|
A big thank you goes to our sponsors, Dream Yacht Charter for providing the team shirts and logistical aids.
In addition our appreciation goes to to the representatives of the Vienna Pipes and Drums on Manhattan for their interventions at various points during the week. Croatians are not familiar with bag-pipes playing as the fleet left the various harbours and it is probably the first time Rebecca has heard them playing Happy Birthday at 00.01.
My personal thanks go to Frank, Liz, Andrew and Jools for all their assistance and for letting me join the races this year. Also thanks to all the 51 participants for respecting Rule 11 both on and off the water to make the week so enjoyable and memorable.
The results including practice races are summarised below. A RaceQs regatta page has been set up showing all six races sailed, take a look at http://raceqs.com/regattas/61566. There is still time to upload any tracks you may have missed.