Catamaran Tiki 26 Sailing 1000 Miles of the Adriatic Sea. We left Izola on the 2nd of September in 2004 at 9am. My friend Janez Puharic was on board in the first part of the journey. First we landed on the 4th of September at 10pm in a small fishermen dock called Portorose 10 NM north of Pescara.
Janez left the catamaran there and returned to Slovenia by train while I waited for the weather to settle. From the Italian Portorose (no lighthouses and the small light is for boats with draft of 1m max only), I sailed out on the 6th of September at 5 pm and the next day on the 8th of September at 7pm I landed on the Gargano peninsula in the town of Rodi Garganico. I only slept over there and set off the very next morning at 7 am. After a quiet sailing I found myself in the middle of 4 m waves during the night. This night surfing dance started late in the afternoon and has not stopped until 8 am when I sailed to a marine at the army airport in Brindisi.
In marine I met friends: a 24 meter wooden sailboat Barbarosa. We were celebrating our meeting for the next two days. Luckily our wine supplies never ran out. Of course the Italians were extremely excited about the Slovene wine Refošk. So I drank their wine and they drank mine.
The way back was less stressful. Early in the morning I sailed out of the harbor, late in the afternoon, normally at daylight, I sailed to a new marine. There was hardly any wind. Ariki was moving with the speed of a snail from 0 to 3 NM/h max. That is why daily routes were shorter. I landed in Monopoli for the first time on the old dock under a fortress and the next day in Santo Spirito. Before the entrance my Tomos motor would not start, and the sails were already put down. There was 8 NM wind blowing from exactly the right way. So with 1.4 NM I sailed into the dock without sails. And the last 100 m I was pulled by very kind locals – fishermen.
From Spirito Santo to Vieste Tomos was roaring all the way. The wind came in the evening when I already sailed into the dock. From the side came such a strong blow that I hardly made Ariki flow past a rocky jetty.
From Vieste I set off the very next morning, when there was still dark. I was in a hurry due to the arrival of a new weather front. I was longing for cheaper beer and Slovene words. In Italy you pay 3,5 EUR for a beer.
I spent an hour dealing with it in the middle of a heavy boat traffic in the Adriatic Sea. Boats were sailing past Ariki up and down and I could not go anywhere. And then the wind started to blow. Easily for the first half an hour and then it got stronger and stronger. For the last 20 NM to Lastovo Ariki was facing 2,5 m waves, It was 3 NM before I would reach the island when the wind stopped. It started raining. In half an hour I sailed to Skrivena Luka when it was pouring down with rain and I hugged a big refrigerator full of Slovene beer.
I stayed on Lastovo for two days and I meet Iztok and Nejka from Kamnik there. They were hitchhiking so I gave them a lift to Stari grad on Hvar. That is where Mira and my 10-year-old Špela were waiting for Ariki because Špela got a week off from school.
First we sailed off to Jaki in Stiniva. Already last year when he was living in Kranj I promised to him that I will show him my catamaran… so I sailed to him since I was close by. Also several charter boats sailed to Stiniva. Austrians on a large motorboat that nearly broke the pier while sailing in and there was a boat with a Slovene couple on it from Bled.
You rarely meet a sailboat on the Italian side of the Adriatic. I met only a couple of them per day and sometimes I met none. Therefore there were many fishermen out there. Thousands of them sailing in the territorial zone.
In Croatia it is exactly the opposite: fishing boats come rarely and all you see are thousands of plastic wannabe boats. Although September is in it 2nd half already, in the evening all bays are full.
Our family sailing ended without any trouble. We left from Hvar for Šolta and slept over in a nice bay on the other side of the island. Already the next day we were walking around the Jezera on Murter.
There I was woken up by fishermen at four in the morning. The crew was asleep while I sailed towards Tjelaščica on Dugi otok. I anchored exactly when it was time for breakfast. Afterwards we enjoyed in swimming and doing nothing.
The next day we sailed on to the inner side of the island in Sali and then to the Rivanj island and to Sestrunj where we enjoyed a long walk.
It was the first thing in the morning that we sailed on towards Susak and landed there at 5 pm.
Weather forecast is no good. Spela needs to go back to school tomorrow so I put the “crew” on the boat for Losinj, luckily it was the last one before a storm. I was alone on Ariki again. So I walked around the island and “met people”. Wine from Sanseg is great, you only pay 60 Croatian KN per liter in a bar for it. There are hardly no tourists here anymore, even though there are many locals there. Good company guaranteed.
Velebit was put in a white snow coat and wind came above the sea. Bora over 60 knots. Austrians on a charter boat few miles away from Susak were in trouble. When trying to save the boat one member of the crew fell into water and drowned. She was found after a few days on the Italian side. Also the boat was found, several miles in front of Ravena, completely unharmed. Again SOS call due to panic and the lack of virtue?
I waited five days for the weather to settle and on the 6th day I was headed for Pula. Kvarner stroke again. I was tumbled, stirred and shocked like never before. I only got 5 knots wind, and the waves steep and up to 1.5 m but so short that they could not have been any shorter.
In the evening I anchored in front of Barbariga and spent a quiet night there. The next day in the evening I was drinking beer in Novi grad. The next morning a warm wind from the South was blowing. I sailed close to the shore, around the cape of Savudrija and reached Yachting center around noon in the Izola shipyard.
I returned home! 1000 miles of Adriatic without an autopilot. I sailed like they used to sail in the old days. Hours and hours on a bench with a steering in my hand. It was nice no matter if the sun was burning, if the moon was shining, or a storm was raging.