Sailing in Croatia – Experiences in Mooring & Anchoring

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We have just finished our second season in the Med and we have covered a bit of ground. It has been a wonderful, rewarding experience. We loved Greece, found Spain and the Balearics friendly and fun, Italy, Sardinia and Sicily were incredible, Corsica pretty and sophisticated, in short everywhere we have been has had its own unique charms.

Croatia has its charms too, but, we feel, has decided to pimp them out to the highest bidder. Its not a cheap place to cruise.  I guess, firstly, are we’re glad we came to Croatia? Yes. Our trip around the Med would not have been complete without coming here…but it’s not all it is cracked up to be in the brochures. Below are some thoughts for people thinking of cruising in Croatia.

If you come here, be warned its expensive to use Marinas. For a 42ft yacht, you will look to pay 80-120 Euro a night if you want to stay in a marina. At weekends, as the charter boats change over they are full and you will not get a spot in peak season on Friday or Saturday nights. Once in the facilities are great, but often slightly away from the main action in town.

We like to Anchor. However in lots of bays you are not allowed to use your anchor – a picture of an upturned anchor (the Croatian symbol for “anchoring not permitted”) is displayed at the entrance to a bay – which is odd, until you understand that the government has decided to franchise off their bays to the highest bidder. The concessionaire can charge what they want for the use of “their bay”. These concession holders have installed mooring buoys in the bays and will charge you up to 50 Euro a night to use them, although more typically they will set you back about 30 Euro.

Sadly, you will also be charged for anchoring in the more popular spots such as around the island of Korcula. We were charged to anchor on four separate occasions in Croatia with prices around 100-150 Kuna.

Something else to watch out for are restaurant buoys. Restaurants fill the bays near them with their own “private buoys”. The idea here is that you get the mooring for free…but are then obliged to eat in their restaurant, and its never cheap and comes in at 400-800 Kuna for a family. Ok once in a while but not every night!!!

In short, this can make for expensive cruising. 50 Euro a night may be ok if you are splitting the cost amongst 5 crew on a charter boat, but as a family or couple cruising on a budget it is expensive. The situation changes annually and to keep cruising cheap you need to plan carefully.

This useful site shows the bays that are under concession within Croatia:

Croatia concesssions

A few thoughts on Anchoring in Croatia

In Croatia the sailing is excellent, every afternoon the wind picks up to force 4-5 and we have had some of the best and most consistent sailing of our whole time in the Mediterranean. The Sailing is wonderful.

The challenge comes at night, when you are trying to find somewhere to park your boat…and I’m assuming here that you like to use an anchor. In Croatia, anchoring can be a difficult proposition. At first glance of the map, you would think there were literarily thousands of anchorages and I guess there are…on paper. But look a little closer and the reality is that they are often deep (20m +) and are generally, in our experience very poor holding. Either a thin layer of sand over slabs of rock, or boulders, or shale and loose rock or a combination of all of the above. This is ok if it is calm, and often it is at night, but when its windy these anchorages are very poor and do not make for a fun time. We spent more afternoons than we care to remember trying to find a not too busy anchorage, with good holding at the right depth so we could safely anchor for the night.

That said, we did find some great spots to shelter when conditions got tough and I will run through these in the next few posts as we found trying to find the information wasn’t easy.

 

 

 

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