On these kind of trips you need a plan. If you don’t then we find you can sometimes end up a little aimless. In croatia, we did get a little aimless for a while and Heather found it a bit troubling.
Our original plan was to get up to Venice, but its a long up wind sail in the Adriatic where the wind blows form the north east daily at 15-20 knots. When you add on your apparent you are generally sailing in to 20-25 knots which can be tough going. Once you have spent weeks island hoping a sort of lethargy can set in and we could have easily turned around and headed downwind to return to Greece for the winter without visiting Venice, but that didn’t seem right. We shook of the island hopping lethargy and headed up to Venice. For 5 days we sailed between 35 and 50NM punching into the wind and the weather. High wind, more storms and lots of waves. But for our final 75NM hop from Pula to Venice we got a break and ended up motoring overnight in flat clam seas. We usually don’t like to motor, but it was bliss to have smooth seas and a nearly full moon.
Arriving into Venice on a yacht isn’t the most relaxing experience. There are boats of every kind coming at you in all directions. Heather was at the helm and built up quite a sweat as the kids and I soaked up our initial glimpses of venice. Through a friend we had been given the details of a small yacht club, on the island of San Giorgio called Compagina Della Vella. It was located right opposite to St Marks Square. Our phone calls with them had been tricky – Italian marina staff don’t speak much english – and we speak no Italian, so we were a bit skeptical there would be a spot waiting for us as we arrived. However, we needn’t have worried as there was a spot and within 5 minutes we were secured to the wharf looking across at St Marks square – it is an incredible a spot, surely one of the best placed yacht clubs in the world and super friendly to boot!
We wandered the streets, drank Prosecco, people watched and soaked up Venice in all its glory. It is a truly wonderful city to spend time in with heaps to see and do. The whole city is connected by river boats which you can hop on and off wherever you want. Every corner you turn reveals an architectural master piece. There are great shops and art galleries galore.
Being in Venice with kids, we made our visit very Arts focussed. Architecture, galleries and sketching were the main events. Both kids loved the modern art gallery which was cool, but Ben was less inspired by the Peggy Guggenheim collection although Milly seemed to really enjoy it and with her “20 most influential artists” book under her arm went off in search of Dalis, Mandrians and, Pollocks.
Its a wonderful city to spend time in and we are very glad we made the effort to head this far north, its been a real highlight of the trip. In fact, Italy as a whole has been fantastic. We could have spent days watching the world go by in Venice, cruising the network of canals and visiting museums, but we needed to head south again and back to warmer waters!
Compagnia Della Vella
If you are arriving into venice on a Sail boat up to 45 ft long then, without doubt, this is the spot to stay – call them on +393394787488.