Cruising Croatia on board Savarona, a CNB 93
Berthon’s Jennifer Stewart boarded SAVARONA, the CNB 93 which we are offering for sale, in Kasala Marina, just outside Split. She has just completed a major refit which includes new paint/decks/sails/interior and she gleams. Captain Ian (English), mate George (South African), Chef Gisele (French Canadian) and stewardess Zeynap (Turkish) are an extremely professional crew, and well in tune with each other and the needs of their guests.
The layout of SAVARONA is perfect for privacy, with owner and guests in the forward cabins, all very luxurious with high end fabrics, and of course, en-suites in each in marble and chrome. She is fully air conditioned, and the generator is virtually silent! The main salon easily seats 10 for dinner, with the galley and crew quarters aft so that they are totally separated from the guest areas.
The rumours about cruising on the Dalmatian Coast are 100% true, it is beyond spectacular. The water is crystal clear, the locals are very welcoming, the tap water is drinkable, every village and city is immaculate, and the restaurants good. Jennifer’s personal quest to have a gelato every day was not a problem! The waterways are underused, anchoring is beneath 4th century walled villages or gorgeous inlets, the sunsets amazing, and the stars an astronomer’s delight. You do know, however, you are in a different place when the road signs warn of bear, wolf & boars crossing!
The route for the week changed slightly dictated by wind shift. The first destination was Vis, which can trace inhabitants back to B.C. times, and which has only recently opened to pleasure yachts & tourists. SAVARONA dropped anchor in a lovely mooring off an old monastery with vineyards and olive groves dotting the island, and tunnels bored in to the hills to hide naval warships during the wars. Anchoring was a breeze and with the Williams jet tender 110HP, getting to shore took about 1 minute, or if you wanted to water ski, no problem. SAVARONA is fully set up for water sports of all description.
Make sure you visit the Blue Cave. The light is filtered through the limestone, creating a blue grotto inside the cave. Getting in there is an adventure in itself. The driver of a little bitty launch basically rides the swell in and out of a hole in the rock, and if you don’t duck below the gunnels at the entrance, you will lose your head (literally).
The next island was Hvar, which is a Croatian vacation island, where you go to see and be seen, and this all starts with the cocktails at 9 a.m. However, the old village itself is still lovely, and the 16th century fortress on the hill though a good hike for us is worth it as the view from the top is pretty spectacular. As usual, lots of stairs……that pretty much took care of our 10,000 steps a day requirement!
Up anchor and off to Lastovo, flying the asymmetrical spinnaker for over 5 hours, what a sail! SAVARONA has plenty of comfortable deck spots, either on foredeck with the deck seats, or on the stern sitting in the pushpit seating, or under the sailing bimini with a book. After checking the chart plotter carefully, and taking full advantage of her centerboard, we scooted into the charming small horseshoe shaped harboor, searched for the best tree and anchored again with no fuss or muss. Chef Gisele continued to surprise us with fabulous entrees, with emphasis on fresh everything – just perfect. The morning walk of course took us uphill and downhill to the village in the center of the island, complete with the required minimum of 3 churches….
Up anchor and off to Korcula, and again, what a day on the water, averaging 10.8 to 11.2 knots with no effort, making us reluctant to actually make the turn in to the harbour. Definitely the favorite anchorage of the week with the walled city perched across from SAVARONA, founded somewhere around 400 BC and it was worth staying an extra day. The competition on board was to see who could get the best sunset picture of the day and Zeynap got the best, after climbing the bell tower! We also managed to arrive at their Half New Year’s celebration, pretty crazy, with a costume parade, live band in the square, food vendors, and DJ’s – there was dancing in the streets!
The winds took us next to Mljet, a very large island, with a National Park in the centre, and another beautiful anchorage. What is great is the hike over the hills, renting bikes, and biking around the lake, very peaceful and shaded. In the centre, a 12th century Benedictine Monastery under renovation and open to be viewed. Lunch on shore today, as it was Chef Gisele’s birthday, lovely little restaurant with of course, flowers galore in the courtyard area.
Our final night in Cavtat, sailing by the walls of Dubronik en route.
We had a crew dinner on the quay, again excellent, with very good Croatian wines! This was our only night docked, and it is amusing to watch the later arrivals anchor and squeeze in to very tiny spots! The unfortunate part of being at a dock is that SAVARONA is the yacht to be seen, and to have in the background of your vacation photo, so it was a pretty constant parade.
Dubrovnik is worth spending a day or two, walking the city walls takes the morning, and the maritime museum is definitely worth a visit. A private tour is helpful just to orient you and to explain the history of the city, including the 1991 conflict. What we didn’t expect was a Beatles’ cover band playing on the steps of the Cathedral for our evening entertainment! This is of course where the wildly popular TV series Games of Thrones has done quite a bit of filming, and there were Throne stores everywhere and special tours, and so on. The walls are worth the walk around, and measure over 5m thick in some spots.
There are endless things to look at in the fish markets, the bakeries, and of course, enjoying Croatian wines which are excellent, and if you are a history buff, the architecture and ruins are endless. The old melds with the new, keeping the charm and poignancy of another age, and seeing it all from on board a private yacht is a very special experience.
SAVARONA is now heading to the South of France, and available for sale and/or charter through your Berthon broker, Jennifer Stewart, cell 1 401 855 8404. firstname.lastname@example.org.