Although the coronavirus pandemic prevented us from carrying out the traditional Easter cruise this year, we never gave up and planned a spectacular autumn replacement. After a difficult season, some sailors had set out for the whole week to enjoy the sea and train whilst others gradually turned up having just escaped the tougher measures imposed in the Czech Republic.
But yachting enthusiasts are rarely taken aback and are always ready to tackle things at the last minute. Even on arrival to Croatia, a feverish exchange of crews and captains took place in a joint regatta group. No stone was left unturned but still at the joint meeting on Zlarin, a fleet of 19 boats finally came together! Given the situation, no one had expected such a large turnout.
1st Stage from the island of Zlarin to the island of Žut (approx. 39 NM)
Despite the fact that some crews had celebrated well into the night, they gathered on the pier at the launch of the fun regatta and joint morning meeting, fresh and full of determination. The pre-launch preparations were taken really seriously by some - moments before setting off from the pier, crews were still scrubbing the deck (some even repeatedly) and feverishly cleaning.
The pre-launch procedure went smoothly, so Petra began the informal race off the island of Vela Sestrica at exactly 10.30. There was no wind to begin with, yet the sportier boats with experienced captains began to slowly work their way to the front of the peloton.
But then the wind completely died off. This gave an opportunity for some swimming, cooking of multi-course meals, dancing, music and drinking. Fortunately, nobody took the opportunity for a bit of unauthorized foot propulsion.
During the second part of the stage, a pleasant wind of 17 knots finally began to blow, so we enjoyed a more lively ride in the waves and wind, employing tactics and overtaking. Most of the crews sailed to the finish line in the dark and enjoyed the romantic sunset and the joy of their newfound freedom. This was heightened by a playful pair of dolphins, who had accompanied some of the crews along the way.
What prompted the most attention and greatest respect was the boat ‘Sveti Ivan’, which reported passing the first turning point at the isolated and dangerous Greben Bacvica in last place. The four-member crew was led by novice skipper Michal, who had only got his captain's license just before the voyage! So it was his first solo voyage, and in such demanding "racing" conditions.
Glory to the winners and honour to the losers
How did the first stage turn out? The winner, Martin Lebduška, passed the finish line in his Salon 44 ‘Elva’ in 5:34 minutes, the second placed ‘Almar’ and third placed ‘Private Dancer’ fought it out until the very end. The final boat crossed the imaginary finish line after 9 hours of sailing.
1. Martin Lebduška on the boat ‘Elva’ (Salona 44)
2. Jaro Tahotný on the boat ‘Almar’ (Dufour 460)
3. Václav Lebeda on the boat ‘Private Dancer’ (Dufour 460)
The special prize and the respect of all was won by fledgling skipper Michael Jouda on the boat ‘Sveti Ivan’ (Dufour 382 Grand Large).
"As we passed the first turning point, it became clear that we would be heading for our first night at sea. Gradually I grew more nervous, after all, the wind was blowing with decent force again, we were heading between the Kornati and it was the first whole day half of the crew had been at sea. After the first hour of sailing in the moonlight, however, my stress gradually began to lessen, and with the help of the locals, we also managed the dreaded port maneuvers. 😊 When I got the prize for brave newcomers the next day, full of surprise, amazing impressions and almost in tears from the incredible applause, I knew that we would not give up on today's stage under any circumstances and that I definitely did not want to be last! ” Michal (Sveti Ivan)
2nd stage from the island of Žut to the island of Kaprije (approx. 26 NM)
Shortly after the start of the 2nd stage just off the island of Maslinjac, all the boats got stuck enjoying themselves. The crews took turns climbing the mast, grills were lit, photos of beautiful girls were posted, and people visited each other with a refreshing drink.
"We’ve lit the grill, but we’re not giving up the race. 2.5 knots and the goal is in sight :)”
After three hours, the jury even suggested shortening the race. But then everyone showed their true racing spirit! The jury was outvoted and the race continued…. on the spot. However, several crews couldn’t wait any longer and set off under engine power in search of adventure.
In hope, the rest watched the tiny rippling waves on the horizon and since they repeatedly heard on the radio that further away the wind was blowing, they swiftly stopped swimming and carefully trimmed the sails - even with the help of mooring hooks.
“Where is the rising wind? And can I see it?”
In the afternoon, however, the wind blew just a little, with boats reaching dizzying speeds of 3 knots to get them back into race.
Eventually, the 2nd stage was shortened to the first turning point at the island of Mrtovinjak, yet most boats succumbed to the racing atmosphere and continued on the sails to the finish. There they met, tired out but happy, at around 22.00 for a joint toast. After many hours and a heroic performance, 12 brave ships had finally arrived at the finish line!
Results of the 2nd stage
The winner was clearly everyone who persevered and maintained morale on their boat. However, Martin Lebduška's Salona 44 ‘Elva’ was again the first to arrive at the finish line. This time he was accompanied to the podium by another Salon 44, Lukáš Vondráček’s ‘Neda 1’ and the previous day’s podium winner Jaro Tahotný with his Dufour 460 ‘Almar’.
1. Martin Lebduška on the boat ‘Elva’ (Salona 44)
2. Lukáš Vondráček on the boat ‘Neda 1’ (Salona 44)
3. Jaro Tahotný on the boat ‘Almar’ (Dufour 460)
Congratulations to the winners and all captains and crews who participated! Thank you very much for your incredible courage, perseverance and the amazing experiences we had together at sea and on the pier. And we'll meet again in just 5 months time. The new Easter cruise begins on April 1.
The whole yachting°com team (on board ‘Petra’, ‘Get Lucky’, ‘Tardis’ and ‘Maja III’) are looking forward to seeing you)
What is the Easter cruise and why join us?Every year, the entire yachting°com team launches the yachting season with the legendary Easter cruise. It is open to all enthusiastic sailors, lovers of yachting and anyone who just loves being at sea. Usually about 40 boats take part in an informal race. At that time of year, the sea is usually deserted, prices are low and the sun is shining. Experience Easter at sea this year!
Want to join the next Easter cruise? Contact me!