The last 10 years of the Croatia Yacht Rally have all been good but perfect sailing conditions this year, at least during the first week took the 2012 event to a new level.
The westerly Maestral breeze arrived daily, usually at a comfortable 12 – 15 knots, and pushed the one design Beneteau First 45 fleet along at speeds not normally experienced on yachts from charter yachts…and all across a flat Adriatic Sea with ne’er a wave in sight.
In all five friendly races so far less than four minutes have separated first and last on the water and on handicap the fleet was tied on 7 points all at the end of race four. It’s still anyone’s game.
Of course the racing, the sailing and the yachts all came second to Croatia the place; the food, the people, the history and the architecture making for a delicious cocktail of experiences.
Paul Crockett from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club said to Trevor Joyce from Mariner Boating Holidays, the organiser of the event, “every one of the places we have been to has been better than the one before it and the sailing has been simply spectacular. You can’t possibly keep it up. If we had come by ourselves”, he continued “we’d have missed half of it and spent a good part of the rest of the time arguing about what we were going to do next”.
Mornington Yacht Club commodore,Tony Donnellan, with his wife Bev, were on their way to Bev’s 50th. birthday celebration on Skopelos in Greece. He said “Skopelos will have to be really good to be better than this”. About the yacht he said,“The First 45 is the best all round yacht I have ever sailed on” and he races Shamrock, a Reichel Pugh 46 in Victoria and on the high seas. “The furniture below decks lets it down a bit but otherwise it is terrific and to have the boats all the same is such a huge plus”.
Jim and Judy Dunstan from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron did their first Croatia Yacht Rally several years ago and commented that Croatia had changed significantly since their last visit, for the better. Similarly, Paul and Pam Wood from the RPAYC did the RPA rally in 2007 and said that Croatia has a completely different feel to it these days.
The Croatia Yacht Rally continues next week to Dubrovnik via Miljet, Sipan and the Stonski Channel and culminates in two nights of luxury at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel. Competition, already keen, will continue at the final night dinner as the crews attempt to establish thespian superiority.
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