Boat Life Croatia

Getting ready to sail: a full time job for a small nation

Written by Renato Matiolli

People keep asking us… “So what do you dooooo?! Why haven’t you set sails yet?!

I took me almost one year to find the right boat, but finding it is just half way there.

Well, here is a list of what we have done since we got here.


Boat upgrades:

  • Installing a barbecue for the many fish to come (hopefully). The barbecue saga is a post that exemplifies how each one of the bullets bellow take such a long time;
  • Installing watermaker to have Watermaker
    fresh water when we are not onshore;
  • Installing a salt water foot pump and tap for the kitchen to save on fresh water when we are not onshore;
  • Installing air conditioning and valves into the cabins so that Feijão does not suffer from the heat :);
  • Building stainless steel rackfor solar panel and installing solar panel, regulator and monitor to have energy when we are not onshore;
  • Installing fans in each room and cabin to save on the Air Con sometimes;
  • Installing washing machine to have always fresh linens and towels;
  • Installing dive compressor to be able to dive as much as we want;
  • Turning one of our refrigerators into a freezer so that Sarah can have ice cream and we can have frozen food for the longer passages;
  • Installing inverter to have 220v sockets working even when not onshore;
  • Installing AIS system to help navigation, to be able to see and be seen by other boats;
  • GennakerInstalling gennaker (bigger front sail) and its furling system to be able to sail faster on week winds. It is quite useful for longer passages;
  • Installing hooks on the cockpit ceiling for the surfboards;
  • Installing rod holders for fishing gear;
  • Installing Spot trace to be able to send satellite signals so that people can know where we are through our website;
  • Installing new stickers on the boat hull, boom, dinghy and lazy bag so it reads “Ipanema” :).


Boat maintenance:

  • Servicing Volvo engines;
  • Servicing Onan Generator;
  • Servicing sails (main and genoa), lazy bag and bimini top;
  • Cleaning and painting hulls with antifouling paint;
  • Polishing the hulls;
  • Servicing the toilets.


New purchases:

  • Stronger and faster outboard engine for the dinghy;
  • Pilates gear for my knee physiotherapy session;
  • New towels, pillows, cushions and linens so that Sarah is happy;
  • New silverware, knifes, pots, pans, plates, cups, bows, and everything else for the kitchen, so that Sarah is even happier;
  • Additional lines and block swivel for the gennaker and the heavier dinghy;
  • Toaster, vacuum cleaner, blender, toaster grill so that Sarah is thrilling;
  • Set of tools so that Renato is happy;
  • New binoculars and search light to look for buoys at night;
  • Set of safety flares as ours expires on April 2015;Signaling equipment
  • Set of new life jacket, with safety tether and light as the ones on the boat were too bulky and outdated;
  • Professional drogue for the rough weather;
  • Portable VHF radio do be with the person that goes out with the dinghy, paddle board, kitting, surfing, etc;
  • Additional safety equipment such as EPIRB, Safety equipmentPersonal Location Beacon (PBL) and Personal AIS as the boat did not have this before;
  • New runway as the current one is about to collapse;
  • Set of fishing gear for the longer crossings;
  • Dive bottles, belt and weight to go with our dive compressor and unlimited diving deal;
  • Cleaning products for the deck, teak, stainless steel, leather and inside of the boat;
  • New set of batteries for the drone as the old ones were not lasting too long and the flights have been quite scary;
  • Offshore clothing for the colder and wet days to come.


Purchases for the trip:

  • Maintenance kit and spare parts for the two Volvo engines on the boat;
  • Maintenance kit and spare parts for the Honda outboard engines on the boat;
  • Maintenance kit for the spare Yamaha outboard engines on the boat;Volvo Spare parts
  • Maintenance kit and spare parts for the generator on the boat;
  • Maintenance kit and spare parts for the dive compressor on the boat;
  • Maintenance kit and spare parts for the watermaker on the boat;
  • Spare parts from lagoon such as locks and hinges for the hatches, curtains, hinges and locks for the doors, lamps, etc
  • Pump for draining the toilets, fresh water pump and bilge pump.


Fixing the boat:

  • Wind meter has broken down since we got here due to really strong winds (more than to 50km/h!!) and it needed to be fixed;
  • Dinghy swivel broke into pieces and needed to be replaced;
  • Gel coat is coming of the deck in some places and needs to be filled in;
  • Fix the air conditioning for the salon.


Creating content:

  • Taking and downloading pictures;
  • Creating our Facebook page and updating our Instagram;
  • Creating our website and writing posts;
  • Planning the next destinations.


Bureaucracy and paper work:

  • Getting my Croatian ID (OIB);
  • Opening a bank account in Croatia;
  • Transferring money from Brazil to Europe (believe it or not this is quite a challenge);
  • Getting the boat documents in order and translated (deletion certificate, bill of sale, builder certificate, boat registration, declaration of conformity)
  • Getting insurance for the boat;
  • Getting our international health insurance;
  • Obtaining a vignette (license to sail in Croatia);
  • Exporting the boat;
  • Getting a Croatian phone number and Internet.


Well, of course Sarah and I did a lot of the work, but we could not had done this without our “Croatian angels” Ino Hot and Marina Poljak from Nava Boat Nautika Centar. I could not think of a better place and better people to help us. They took us under their wings and did a superb job making sure that everything would get ready perfectly, and pointed us on the right direction when needed.

Guys, thank you so much for everything!

If there is anyone out there as stupid as we are to do something like this, we highly recommend Croatia and specially Nava Boat Nautika Centar to make your dream come true. They also charter boats for Croatia if you want to have a try out period before fully getting into the longer-term adventure.

Ipanema at Nava away

About the author

Renato Matiolli

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