The art of possible
For some, a sailing holiday romance and authentic local experience define a successful vacation. For others, a sailing holiday might be the start of a new life. The first steps can be much easier than you like to think. All it takes is a few clicks to book flights, a few more to find a boat through Boatflex, and a few swipes on Navionics or on pilotage websites to plan a route…
The first day we sailed from the historical town of Trogir in Croatia, heading south through the Dalmatian archipelago. At lunch we anchored in over 10 metres of clear turquoise water in a cove off the small island of Drvenik for a long lunch and snorkel.
In the afternoon we drifted in gentle winds along the coast of Solta to moor in a bay at Milna. In the evening we made a plan for day two to head south to the Sveti Klement chain of islands.
For some unknown reason, the first time I met Thorkild, late in the afternoon of day two, we spoke in German. It was a simple conversation in which I confirmed a table and a mooring buoy reservation for the night. I then ordered two aperols for myself and my girlfriend. They were just what was needed after a long sunny sail exploring the Dalmatian Archipelago.
At dusk, we returned by dinghy to the island jetty and were guided to a raised decking overlooking olive trees and vines to watch the sun set. It was a unique experience which became much more profound when we reconnected with Thorkild as he brought the menus.
Together we learnt with surprise of our mutual Danish origins. Our stories are of making things possible and seizing a moment to live life. For many years, Thorkild and I worked a 100 metres apart in the centre of Copenhagen without knowing about each other. Six years ago, he sailed in Croatia and arrived for a lunchtime stop on Sveti Klement with some friends. They left. He stayed because he met his true love there and built a new life with her around a fish restaurant on a small island. I am still working in my office in Copenhagen, taking regular sailing vacations.
The Fisherman’s House is a restaurant that captures the possibilities offered by the Mediterranean climate for the indoors being outdoors. Thorkild’s father-in-law is the principle fisherman, and comes into the bay every morning with his catch. 3000 vines for wine, artichokes and delicious olive oil are produced on the grounds.
Thorkild and his wife run the restaurant and Pension Tonci guest house and take kids into Hvar for schooling every morning by boat. At the height of the summer, 14 people work for them to cater for boats calling in to the island. The restaurant has gained a reputation amongst locals and the well-informed sailors for quality food, atmosphere and a beautiful and secluded setting. We dined on beautifully prepared octopus salad, freshly grilled bream and sea bass.
With such an awesome experience fresh in our minds, on day three we sailed south west to explore the Island of Vis. A couple of days exploring there gave us time to enjoy this idyllic island before heading north east to the island of Hvar, to spend some time around Starigrad.
In our busy lives, some people only daydream of sailing in Croatia, finding hidden anchorages, and dining at amazing fish restaurants. However, this dream can easily become reality. Sometimes we have to take a small step towards something new, or if we are as brave as Thorkild, take an amazing leap of romantic faith.
-There are regular flights to Split and the harbours around Split contain plenty of boats of all varieties.
-Split itself can be busy, especially in the summer season, so other harbours such as Trogir are only a short taxi ride from the airport.
-Spring and autumn offer more relaxed sailing as there is much less pressure on facilities and people have more time to be hospitable.
-You can find options with or without skippers and plan your own stops with the help of pilotage books or websites.
-It’s always good to book bouys and harbour places in advance. Use the Mysea app.
-Go shopping in a supermarket on the mainland, as prices on the islands are higher.
-Ask locals about the best restaurants in the area and about restaurants offering discounts on moorings if you dine there.
MySea in app stores and at: http://my-sea.com/
The Fisherman’s House: www.sveti-klement.com
Pension Tonci: www.pension-tonci.com
On behalf of
Tim Haigh and Yulia Tchernaya