Thomas and I had been talking about chartering a yacht in the Med for the last couple of years. After teaching at NCP in Sibenik and hearing about the deal offered to RYA members it was a no brainer. So we met in Sibenik on October 4th for a week charter on board Neska II, Beneteau Oceanis 45. Thomas, Judith, Salomé 7 and Lionel 5 had driven from Switzerland, Gwyneth and I flew into Split from Manchester.
After a thorough cleaning schedule by the cleaning team, a handover and a safety brief we provisioned the boat and headed north to anchor in Murter with the sun setting and just enough time for a swim in the clear blue sea.
The following morning was a bluebird day with a north easterly breeze, ideal for a sail south. Two reefs in the main and half a jib gave 6 to 7 knots in comfort and we headed down to Grebrastica bay to another beautiful anchorage. We had time to go ashore and a swim. The next morning was spent exploring the area, we hiked up a hill and over looked a 16th century old fortification wall. Some more swimming amongst the colourful fish and time to head down to Primosten, one of the most beautiful town in the area. A strong northerly breeze meant a downwind berthing. The harbour master was trying to keep control of the incoming boats with his whistle which was quite comical at times as skippers were trying to jump the queue due to a limited number of berths. We berthed and spent some the next hour watching the show. I couldn’t imagine what it could be like in full season.
The next morning brought a gentle breeze which allowed us to fly the asymmetric all the way to Drvenik, a small remote anchorage where a rope was tied to the shore to avoid swinging in the night as the forecast was for the wind to veer 180 degrees. It was late and after a quick swim and a beer (or 2) it was bedtime. The next morning Gwyneth and I walked up a hill overlooking the bay with a little church on top from where I could see that the wind had swung and it was going to be a great sail back. A preventer was set up and a course just off a run was laid and off we went at a respectable 7 to 9 knots, Thomas hand steered in racing mode all the way. We eventually reached Mirine and dropped anchor once again, Thomas wore a smile all that evening. The forecast was for a moderate breeze from the south so we tucked in as far as we could and let out some extra chain, just in case. I decided to sleep in the cockpit and was rudely woken up around midnight by a gust of wind that blew my blanket away. The wind blew for around an hour and then just as quick as it had come it disappeared. We fell back to sleep until the morning a little more relaxed.
The next day was spent on Vela Krbela, a tiny island, swimming and walking, making the most of our last day. We went back to the anchorage for the night and were greeted by an amazing sunset to end a great week. We sailed back to Sibenik on Friday, not forgetting to fill up with fuel and then tied up with Ivo waiting for us on the pontoon. A quick trip on the fully solar powered water taxi to town for some sight-seeing and a last meal in town and it was time to say goodbye and start planning our next charter as there is so much to see and do in this area.
Thanks to all the staff for preparing the boat so well, and although it was the end of season everyone had a smile and made us feel welcome!