Offshore Grads Enjoy Cruising Along the Dalmatian Coast
By Cruise Leader – Folkert “Dutch” Jongkind
Twenty-four Offshore Sailing School grads cruised the Adriatic Coast of Croatia August 28-September 4, 2016. Leading the flotilla of six Sunsail 41′ monohulls, was Dutch Jongkind, one of Offshore’s most popular instructors, based in the British Virgin Islands. Here is his story and photos taken during the cruise:
Great Welcome from the Sunsail Base Team in Dubrovnik
I arrived in Dubrovnik a couple of days early to make sure all the arrangements Offshore’s management team in Florida made in advance were on track. It was a very long trip from the British Virgin Islands. Right off the bat the Sunsail team said that even though there is a 1800 start time on Sunday, they will get us on board our six yachts earlier if possible. Very different from BVI’s. Sunsail was great!!!
Then I checked the restaurant for our welcome party Sunday night. Nothing on their books, but after a lot of broken English, hands and feet communication . . . we arranged a large table and tapas/buffet style food which turned out to be great.
Our Flotilla Graduate Group Arrived Sunday
Scattered over the afternoon all our graduates arrived. Most if not all had been in Croatia or Europe for a few days already. Around 1900 we all met at the pool/restaurant to get to know each other, and enjoyed a good spread of Mediterranean food including fish, meat vegetables and bread laid out on a table.
A short hello introducing myself and alerting all crew to join the briefing the next morning was my speech for the evening, then I mingled with the different crews.
There was a birthday girl, Jenya, so I got her a slice of cake. It was good to see some familiar faces– ex-students and last year’s flotilla guests. The group seemed to gel well that night and throughout the week, with a lot of social interaction.
Under Sail Monday Morning for Sipan Island
Everyone gathered for our first morning briefing, which covered many subjects about the whole week, followed by a more detailed briefing for the destination that day. All further briefings are for Skipper and Navigator and all others who are interested.
Before long we were under sail towards Sipan Island, Sipanska Luka. The harbor master could place two of our yachts on the town quay, the other four boats picked up mooring balls, which are generally owned by a restaurant who expects you to eat there. The afternoon included lots of swimming by the crews and a short hike up to a viewpoint with a church and a miniature local produce backyard shop. I organized a group meal spread out over two tables and we had a wonderful group evening.
Tuesday to Pomena on Miljet Island
We powered for a while and In the early afternoon there was some wind to sail, which made everybody happy! Because of the beauty of this location I advised everybody to come in with time to spare. We had 6 spots on the town quay, provided by a very helpful harbor master.
Most rented bicycles to explore the national park which has two lakes with gorgeous waters for swimming and cycling paths all around. in the bigger lake is an island with an old monastery, accessible by ferries. This was a gorgeous and much-favored stop by most, if not all, crew. That night everyone went on their own for dinner.
A free of choice night for dinner.
Wednesday to Korcula
With Marina reservations made in advance, everybody came in beautifully – reversing in and all the way down to the narrowest part of the marina. Of course having done two med-moorings already the skippers and crew were getting the hang of it.
Korcula is a beautiful, old town to explore with a lot of small alleyways. As old as Dubrovnik, it’s just a lot smaller. Gail, on board the lead boat, had a friend living in town so a few of us got to experience a roof terrace and local tapas. In the evening I met up with some of the crew from different yachts to enjoy a fish dinner.
Thursday to Okuklje
We docked on a jetty owned by a restaurant, apparently one of the best en route, and yes, it was true! The very young daughter and son were helping out in this family run restaurant while on school holiday. They even ferried over a few of the crew, as it was a bit of a walk around to get to the restaurant.
This was another group meal spread over two tables, with great food and service – enjoyed by all! Once everybody was on the jetty and all swimming was out of the way, the cocktail competition started. Everybody was invited to enter, cocktails representing a yacht were mostly entered. The judging on taste and presentation was, of course, done by me and an objective volunteer, after which everybody had a taste. Some of the yachts added some great appetizers to complete this and make it in a real dock party.
Friday to Slano on the Mainland
Some crews thought we had enough group meals (two so far on route) and others wanted to anchor and not be on a dock for the night. Not being obliged to eat at a restaurant means going to a town quay or marina, and having enough space for anchoring.
So Slano rolled out of the hat as the best option all round, with a brand new marina, town quay and enough space to anchor free swinging. It is a lovely village with not much to do in the center, though there is a large five-star hotel in the bay and a resort closer to the entrance.
Some cooked on board, some went out. One yacht anchored, the others were in the brand new marina (with a pool!) chilling out. By now everybody was still enjoying all others’ company and there was a lot of casual gathering for drinks on one boat or the other. Most dined on their boats, followed by an ice cream in the village.
Saturday Back to the Sunsail Base
Saturday we sailed back to Sunsail. Of course, our flotilla was not alone, busy and crazy. but we all got in fine. Hats off to the Sunsail staff who had everything under control from day 1 to the end! An after-party was organized on the lead boat with photo op wearing the flotilla shirts. Then about 90 % of the group went to the same restaurant, hanging out with each other. For the party, all remaining booze and appetizers were brought over and mostly used up.
All agreed it was a wonderful cruise and everyone wanted to know where Offshore was planning 2017 and 2018 flotillas. Now, we know – St. Lucia and the Windward Islands in March and Procida and the Amalfi Coast of Italy next September! For more information, go to our alumni cruise page on the website.