Boat Life Croatia People & Culture

Adriatic Lagoon Regatta: with the Nautika Centar Nava family

Written by Renato Matiolli

Sarah and I thought we were just joining a group of people to sail around for a couple of days, but this weekend turned out to be one of the most memorable days of our lives. Our trip could not have had a better start.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 6_FotorTo begin with, we had the coolest and most skillful skipper (Fabian) and crew onboard: Marina, Katarina, Duje, Vicky, Jelena and Ana. A full-blown Croatian team! We certainly did not feel that our boat was the one carrying “the outsiders”, nor “the gringos”.

We arrived in Split on Friday night and went straight to the welcome dinner and party, in the Split marina. When we woke up the next day, the Nava team was already putting stickers and flags on our boat, cleaning our rooms and toilets, bringing champagne glasses, additional cutlery, lines, towels, etc. They also started to stock up our boat with food and drinks to feed a small army through a long Russian winter, and this was just a three days event. (I am quite sure this was a strategy to get our boat heavy and therefore not win the race, but I can’t really prove it). Anyways, it was really unbelievable how professional and well-organized Nava’s team was and how efficient they managed to get the boat “of the bloody Brazilians who arrived in the last minute” ready.

Later that morning our boat left Split Marina with 14 other catamarans, all of them hoisting cyan blue Lagoon flags parading through Riva. Looking back at Dioklecijan palace on your stern with all those boats was a quite an unique sight.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 5_FotorThe weather was perfect! … for riding our paddle board or water skiing… there was no wind whatsoever, the sea looked liked a mirror. So we started to drink… when we got to the start line, most of the crew was already tipsy. Nevertheless, even with the limited wind, the regatta started and we floated around for a while. The wind was so slow that we were able to take off the drone from the boat and take some aerial pictures of the regatta. Luckily the wind picked up towards the afternoon and it was lot’s of fun! On this first day, our start was epic, but our position at the finish line, not so memorable. Well, at least we like to believe that we were the most fun boat! This first day finished at a marina located at Maslinica village, in Solta Island.

11209741_1083559761658321_5986919336879512408_nTo our luck, it happened that this year, one of the main sponsors of the Regatta was Rendez-Vous, which is a five-month festival around Croatia to share French culture. Since all the Catamarans were Lagoons, which is a French boat brand from Bordeaux (fancy hun?), this regatta was part of the festival and soon we figured out that not only the French ambassador was attending the event, but also the first dinner was going to be prepared by French chef, Vivien Durand, who owns a Michelin start restaurant in Bordeaux and who had closed out his restaurant for the three days to come and cook for us. How incredible is that?
And to complement, the venue for the dinner was an amazing castle in Solta island. This was more or less the moment when Sarah looked at me and said: “Is this really happening?“ “Are you sure we are in the right place?” “Should we really be here?” “People will soon figure out we are impostors or something like that”.

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IMG_6049Next day, we woke up and went straight to the regatta… the wind was quite good and again we had a great start. We led the race for more than half of it, even though we were not the largest boat, nor the lightest, nor the one with the best sails. We didn’t end up in first but our position was enough to bring a trophy home for third place! How cool is that?! Of course that this was only possible thanks to our amazing super nice and skillful skipper, Fabijan “the trimmer”.

DSC00361This second day ended up in Palmizana and the sunset was followed by more delicious food and drinks, in one of those dinners with countless course meals. At the dinner, we not only received our Regatta award, but decided to participate on a prize draw with some incredible prizes. We bought an entry ticket for each of us and Sarah wouldn’t shut up saying she wanted to win the prize which was a gift certificate to go shopping at Musto, this kick ass English brand that sells Sailing clothes. And guess what?? She won!!!! When her ticket number was called out, she started jumping up and downfoto and ran to receive it…. And now that we are back in Split, she can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning and go on a shopping spree.

On the last day, we left the Pakleni island and went for a walk and hike around Hvar, followed by a brunch at Gariful. I guess that Hvar needs no introduction. It remains one on the most beautiful places in the Med. While Sarah was looking at shops and was not paying attention, some of the cutest local girls were staring at me.

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On our way back to Split, we used for the first time our brand new “gennaker” sail! We are happy and confident that the boat is in good condition to start our journey.DSC00375_Fotor

Of course, the places, food, drinks and weather, were more than perfect, however, the really unique part of these few days were the people we met. Like the super great and fun Reniers family from Belgium, who shared the table with us on both nights and who was as amazed as we were by all the fancy dinners and venues. This super nice Slovenian guy, Igor, who was actually also the first owner of our friend Daniel’s boat, the Baydreamer, which is sailing around the world; our extremely patient and skillfull skipper Fabian; our guests: Marina, Katarina, Duje, Vicky, Ana and Jelena, and; of course, all the Nava team who were amazing hosts and to whom we already feel part of their family… sort of the “bastard Brazilian nephews” or something like that.

Check out the full video of the Adriatic Lagoon Regatta 2015 !!!

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The more we stay here in Croatia, the more we know it is not going to be easy to leave this country.

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Renato Matiolli

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