06 Sep Sail Week in Croatia, why you should book for 2018 now!
by Sindy Lee Smith from Australia
Croatia, sailing by Sindy Lee Smith
Every Australian winter, hundreds if not thousands of Aussies pack up their bikinis and thongs (flip flops not underwear!!) and head off to soak up the European sun. Just as Bali and Thailand are typical Australian getaways, Croatia and Greece are flooded with Australians who are typically partaking in the famous Sail Week (aka Yacht Week). Because why fly 24 hours on a plane to Europe to escape winter and NOT go somewhere with sweltering heat, Insta-worthy views, cheap alcohol, and a week’s worth of island hopping on a yacht?
Croatia, sunset in Makarska by Sindy Lee Smith
This July I attended Sail Week in Croatia, a seven-day roundtrip sailing from Split to Supetar, Makarska, Bol, Komiza, and Hvar. In this blog post I will give a summary of Sail Week involves and some tips for anyone wanting to board a yacht next summer!
Croatia, Arriving in Makarska by Sindy Lee Smith
First off, think of your itinerary as a guide. Weather and sea conditions may affect the planned route of your sail. Late night thunderstorms prevented our fleet from departing Makarska on day two, which meant we missed out on the island of Vis. I have to emphasize that this doesn’t happen often and being stuck somewhere isn’t actually a bad thing. This actually meant we could have an extra day to explore Makarska and party once more in the cave club there. Some people even hired cars for the day and visited waterfalls, while others hit the beach and walked around the island’s centre.
Croatia, sailing to Bol by Sindy Lee Smith
Now let’s talk accommodation – the sailboat. Generally there are 8-10 people on a boat, and two people to a bedroom. The rooms are small with one double bed or bunk bed, a shelf and some room for luggage but it becomes quite squishy. But hey you’re on a yacht and your Sail Week should not be spent in bed!
Croatia, returning to Split by Sindy Lee Smith
Worried about food? Your Sail Week includes the costs of groceries and you are allowed to bring food and drinks (even alcohol) on board. This is not the case for all tour companies so be sure to check before booking. The groceries generally consist of fruit, bread, cheese, spaghetti/pasta, sauce, ham, juice, and plenty of drinking water. The groceries may depend on any dietary requirements of the people on board your boat, but are generally basic food items to cook breakfasts, lunches, and some dinners. However, it is common to eat out on each of the islands at least a few nights of the week. Meals are cheap in Croatia and the seafood is excellent!
Croatia, docked fleet by Sindy Lee Smith
Now for the important part – the sailing and the partying!
Once you board your boat, you will meet your Sail Week family and immediately start sharing beers. Everyday you wake up, cook breakfast, go swimming somewhere in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, dock at a new island, eat dinner, and then go out partying. Sound like fun? It is.
Croatia, departing from Makarska by Sindy Lee Smith
For me, swimming in the middle of the ocean and seeing nothing but endless blue skies and seas was the highlight of each day and even the entire week. I would give up everything right now to be back in that moment surrounded by peace and quiet, floating in the warm salty water.
If you are lucky, your skipper will be really cool and take you places off the typical sail route. Our skipper (Ivan) took us to the Green Cave where we went snorkeling and cave jumping. He even let us, or rather made us, rope jump off the boats buoys into the water!
The days mostly consist of swimming and sun baking atop the front of the boat while sailing to the next island where you’ll indulge in delicious seafood and wine all before heading to a new party.
The parties thrown on this week aren’t just your regular pub-crawls or nightclubs though. You get to party in beach clubs, caves, and foam parties all within meters of the ocean. I remember one night coming out of a beach club and running straight for the water and another night skinny-dipping next to the yacht before going to sleep. One morning we even watched the sunrise on the yacht after coming home from dancing all night in Hvar.
Croatia, making sangria by Sindy Lee Smith
Hvar is one of the country’s most famous islands and also home to some great nightlife. While it is a bit pricier than the other islands, it certainly lives up to all expectations. In Hvar you MUST party at Carpe Diem Beach Club. It is the islands most prestigious nightclub and unlike anywhere I have ever been. And that is saying something! I’ve danced until dawn at Tresor in Berlin and all weekend at De School in Amsterdam, and yet Carpe Diem takes you to another world.
Croatia, croatian flag in Makarska by Sindy Lee Smith
I won’t give away all the details but to get to Carpe Diem, you are whisked away on a private boat to a secluded part of Hvar. This boat starts running from midnight until the next morning when the club closes. On arrival you are greeted by circus clowns and a free shot to start the night. To enter, you walk through red curtains and behind them you are met with an outdoor beach club, pounding techno beats, clowns for bartenders, and performers juggling fire! Carpe Diem is a circus like no other and you are as much of a performer as the dancers on stage. Don’t miss it!
Croatia, Makarska by Sindy Lee Smith
Other than parties, there are a bunch of optional extras like skydiving, scuba diving, zip lining, and more. The island of Bol in particular has tonnes of water activities.
Bring a spare music speaker – there were some hiccups with the one on our boat
Mingle with people from your boat and other boat
Bring close-toed shoes as well as sandals/flip flops – foam parties get messy
Keep your cabin and everything below deck clean – it can get smelly and messy real quick
Don’t bring valuables unless necessary – boats aren’t locked but skippers are on watch 24/7
You can read other by Sindy Lee Smith on sindyleesmith
Top 10 tips
Bring a deck of cards – good for icebreakers and drinking games
If you get seasick or unsure if you do, bring meds
Don’t expect to be sleeping much
No doing number 2s on the boat soo get your business done when on land
Bring a pool floaty! You can buy these in Split and worth it for the raft parties