Episode #030: Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast Sailing in Croatia – Getting Organized for our Charter
I’m back! Sorry I have been MIA. Had a few things to deal with that had me traveling and such. Anyway, back at it and I just got back from 2 wonderful weeks sailing in Croatia! For this episode I’m going to talk about chartering, how I got involved in this flotilla, what are my qualifications, what did I research prior to going, what did I pack… and more!
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Here are my most recent episodes:
#61: Sails – Finding a Sailmaker – Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast
Other episodes to check out:
- EP 4: Off-Season Training: What can I do during the off-season?
- EP 19: Which Sailing Course Do I Take?
- EP 26: Sailing with your spouse
How did I get involved in a flotilla?
So to start off, my friend Bob approached me a few years back to see if I would be interested in skippering a boat for a flotilla. At the time I was still really busy with work, kids, etc., and the timing just wasn’t there. Then COVID hit and then it was definitely not happening!
Fast-forward two years and the flotilla to Croatia is back on! I have now met the driving force behind these trips, Marla, and I’m eager to join!
Who organized what?
Marla is the driving force behind these flotillas, however Bob also helps her out a lot. She has actually now organized 12 sailing flotillas over the years! There is a lot of work involved which includes matching crews to boats/skippers, securing boats through the charter company, coordinating dates, … lots of moving pieces. I was very thankful that Marla (and others) had so much experience doing this and I was looking forward to diving into the world of chartering with support.
The itinerary for the flotilla had been drafted up by Marla and Bob, so I had a rough idea of where we were going, now I just needed to fill my boat!
What are my qualifications?
I get asked this question a lot as people are wondering what they need to charter a sailboat. It is good to call up the charter company you are planning to sail with, but for the most part you need:
- a basic or intermediate sailing course
- your VHF radio certification
- if in Europe, the International Certificate of Competency (ICC) or equivalent cert
- a sailor resume
So for me for the purposes of sailing in Croatia and what our charter company needed, I am an Advanced Cruising Instructor with my VHF certification and ICC. I also keep track every year of the courses I teach (# courses + # students) as well as any pleasure sailing I do. Then I throw that into my resume to update it. Again, your best bet is to contact the charter company directly to see which certificates they want to see.
What did I research prior to the trip?
This is always my favourite part!! I totally geeked out and I purchased the chart for sailing in Croatia, a cruising guide as well as the newest edition of Lonely Planet. As always, I used my favourite nautical book store, The Nautical Mind, and started reading up! I also found a few great blog sites including The Blonde Abroad.
Basically for me I am researching all of the water aspects that I need to think about as a skipper while sailing in Croatia. Secure and safe anchorages for various wind directions. Fuel and marina services. Docking and facilities for crew and available boat maintenance. I’m also checking tide and current tables (negligible in the area) as well as any navigational hazards along our planned route. I will make notes and marks on the chart to make sure I’m keeping everything together.
What did I pack?
As we were traveling a very long distance with several flights, we didn’t want to check our bags. So, the first thing I did was upgrade my luggage to something soft sided and carry on size. By recommendation I purchased a Biaggi and it was awesome! I would have also looked at a 50L Patagonia duffel, as I love their bags, but I really like having wheels for the airports.
For clothing I went simple and packed enough clothes for 1 week with the expectation of doing laundry half way through the trip. Several t-shirts, couple pairs of shorts, one sweatshirt, two pairs of pants, socks, underwear, bras, 2 bathing suits = done. Pretty straight forward. I did not bring any of my sailing specific gear like foul weather gear, inflatable PFD, sailing gloves, binoculars, charting tools,… all of that was on our charter vessel or could be purchased there if needed.
What were my expectations of sailing in Croatia?
Honestly I really did not know what to expect while sailing in Croatia. I was told that the weather would be a pleasant 25-30 degrees, the winds were probably going to be light, not much rain, excellent seafood dinners, great beers, … sounds fantastic!
But what did I actually experience in the end… ? Stay tuned for next weeks episode to find out.