Why Croatia again ?

One of the first and most interesting but challenging aspects of organising the ECC event
- which inevitably involves long and heated discussions among the Organising Committee
- is the question of where to stage the ECC.

The participants of the ECC 2004 may remember our somewhat shocking announcement that we - being a Finnish company - were thinking of staging the 2005 event in Finland. Well, for once we could not be convinced that the Finnish sea is free of icebergs and other winter surprises in spring (albeit Finland offers a lot for an interesting and sportive holiday, including sailing - please refer to www.visitfinland.com for more information on Finland) and, after having checked the unwritten ECC rules and the map again, we suddenly realised that Finland in fact does not have a Mediterranean coast line…

So, after having celebrated our victory for a few weeks, we sat together and brought together all our ideas of all these beautiful and challenging sailing areas throughout the Mediterranean, but soon realised that the more you go into details, the more difficult it gets to choose the right location for an event of the size that the ECC has grown to be.

Matters to be considered included the availability of sufficient comparable yachts, the availability of suitably sized marinas with reasonable facilities within the distance of adequately lengthened daily events, the interests of our main sponsors, the accessibility of the chosen location (air port in the vicinity), knowledge on the typical weather (wind !) conditions during this time of the year and - of course - the financing of such an event.

We felt and still feel - and we trust that all participants of the ECC 2004 will agree (we heard that some of the ECC 2004 sailors have already returned to Split for a sailing week, some even with "our" Salona 40) - that Croatia offers an almost perfect answer for all these aspects (and this is not meant to say that other locations do not) and soon Croatia made it to the top of our shortlist.

But choosing the hosting country is not it. While we loved Split (and Pula in 2001), we were certain that Croatia has more possible locations to offer. So, after another long and heated discussion, we finally agreed on the northern Dalmatian coast as the location for the ECC 2005. The starting and finishing marina will be Biograd na Moru (approx. 25 km south of Zadar) and the daily events will take us to several challenging sailing areas and to beautiful places, including Tribunj, Šibenik, the National Park of the Kornati Islands, the nature park Telašcica Bay and the peninsula of Murter.

Another advantage of this location is the local presence of our ECC 2005 partner Sunsail with bases in both Biograd and the close Kremik marina. Apart from the availability of local personnel and knowledge on the local conditions, this has also made a distinct difference on the prices for the ECC 2005 yachts as you undoubtedly will have noted. Well, we can only repeat, it is not an easy decision to be made (take note, future Commodores and Organising Committees !) but we hope that we will enjoy a fun and sunny yet challenging ECC 2005 event in Biograd / Croatia !

Croatia - The Mediterranean as it once was

The following information and pictures have been used with the friendly authorisation of the Croatian National Tourist Board.
Croatia is a Central European and Mediterranean country, bordering Slovenia in the west, Hungary in the north, Serbia-Montenegro in the east, Bosnia-Herzegovina in the south, and has a long maritime border with Italy in the Adriatic Sea. Extending from the foothills of the Julian Alps in the north-west and the Pannonian Plain in the east over the Dinara mountain
range in its central region to the Adriatic coast in the south, Croatia covers a land area of 56.691 km2 and an additional 31.067 km2 of territorial waters. The coastline stretches over 5.835 km out which 4.058 km belong to the islands and reef coastline. 67 of the 1.185 islands are inhabited with the largest of such islands being Krk, Cres, Brac and Hvar.
Approx. 780.000 of the Croatian population of approx. 4,5 million live in the capital Zagreb, the administrative, cultural, academic and communication centre. Over 90% are Croats with the majority being Roman Catholics (other religions include Orthodox faith, Muslims and Christians of other denominations). National minorities include Serbs, Moslems, Slovenes, Italians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and others.

The east coast of the Adriatic Sea was inhabited as early as the beginning of the early Stone Age, and there is proof that most of the accessible islands were also inhabited. Thanks to the favourable geographical characteristics with its numerous bays, inlets and coves, the coastal belt has ever been a significant mercantile and nautical route.

Archaeological findings prove that in the 6th century BC the ancient Greeks had founded first colonies on the Adriatic Islands. Around 100 BC, the Romans arrived, and built palaces and summer residences, including the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the present Split around 305.

In 925, Croatia became a kingdom under the rule of King Tomislav. In 1102, after the death of Petar Svacic, the last Croatian king, Croatia formed a union with Hungary which, while going through numerous attacks and occupations by the Turks, the French and the Hungarians and the rule of the Habsburg dynasty and the Venetians, lasted until 1918 when, upon the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in World War I, Croatia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later proclaimed Yugoslavia.

In 1941, German and Italian forces occupied Yugoslavia, facing enormous resistance by the organised partisans led by Croatian antifascists under the guidance of Josip Broz Tito. In 1945, the Federative Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed with Croatia being a federative republic within Yugoslavia.

In 1990, the first elections after World War II were held in Croatia with Dr. Franco Tudjman becoming the first President. In 1991 Croatia declared its independence, resulting in a Serbian rebellion supported by the Yugoslav National Army and the occupation of one third of the Croatian territory. In May 1992, the Republic of Croatia joined the United Nations and in 1998, the last occupied parts were integrated into the country. In December 1999, Dr. Franco Tudjman died and in February 2000, Stjepan Mesic was declared the new President (the final result of the new elections in early 2005 were not yet available at the date of printing this log book).

After the last General Elections in November 2003 the current government headed by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was formed, led by Dr. Ivo Sanader as the Prime Minister. In June 2004, Croatia received the status of a candidate country for the European Union.

Apart from the destinations of the ECC 2005 which are described in more detail in the later chapter "Itinerary", Croatia has numerous places to visit, from historical towns and UNESCO world heritage sites like Dubrovnik with the stunning old town, Trogir with the famous St. Lawrence church, Split with the Diocletian palace, Korcula (the alleged birthplace of Marco Polo) and the like, to beautiful beaches with crystal water, quiet bays and various sailing areas and eight National Parks, including the Krka waterfalls and the Plitvice lakes. Do make sure to taste the great Croatian cuisine influenced by many Mediterranean regions including Pršut (Dalmatian smoked ham), pag cheese, numerous fish dishes and great wines.

As they say, "Croatia like a picture, a picture like Croatia".

Sailing Information

Weather conditions in the Adriatic are affected by high pressure systems (anticyclones) from the Azores and Siberia and low pressure systems (cyclones) from Iceland. General summer weather consists of light north-westerly winds. In the evenings it is common for a gentle land breeze to develop due to cool air from the land rushing in to fill the gap left by warm air rising from over the sea. The main winds of the Adriatic are:

  • The Mistral is a north-westerly wind that appears in periods of high air pressure accompanied by white cumulus clouds, usually around 11.00 a.m. and brings good weather. It can reach a force up to 5 in the afternoon and cause rough seas. It dies down in the late afternoon and will, after a calm night, start blowing at a similar force the next day.
  • The Bora is a strong dry cold north-easterly wind that appears in periods of high air pressure, blowing from the mainland towards the sea in powerful gusts. It is hardly predictable, both in onset and length. A warning sign can be seen in the coastal mountain peaks being covered by small clouds and in spume on the sea surface. Fine weather usually follows the Bora.
  • The Jugo (Scirocco) is a warm and humid south-easterly wind which can bring rain. Calm seas, heavy cloud cover in the south and changeable winds are signs of the Jugo approaching and raising high waves. Typically, the Jugo will develop slowly and reach its full force after 2 days. While the Jugo is a consistent wind which does not blow in large gusts, it should be taken into account that it can change its direction in just a few minutes and turn into a very strong north-easterly Bora.
  • The Nevera is a very strong westerly wind accompanied by thunder that brings bad weather. Preceded by hot and humid weather, it will strike suddenly with a sudden drop of air pressure and rough seas but will normally last for a few hours only.
High and stable air pressure usually brings blowing from the mainland at night and from the sea during daytime.

Weather forecasts will be distributed in the daily skipper meetings.

Sea currents in the Adriatic are rather weak and are influenced by wind and tides. There is a constant sea current flowing up the Adriatic coast in a north-westerly direction with a speed of approx. 0,5 - 1 knot.

Generally, the tide difference in the Adriatic is around 15-30 cm but is affected rather by atmospheric pressure than the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. During periods of high pressure, the water level can drop as much as 40 cm and during periods of low pressure, the water level can rise by up to 70 cm.

Please refer to the later chapter "Rules and Regulations" for further sailing instructions.

Required Documentation

Please check with your local embassies about the required immigration documents for entering into Croatia (passport / visa / etc.).

Note that Croatia is not yet a member of the European Union, hence the Schengen Treaty does not apply.

Please ensure that all sailing documents are available for the take-over of the yachts on Saturday, including sailing licenses, VHF license and a detailed crew list (which should also be completed and sent to the ECC Organising Committee prior to the event) which is required to register the yachts at the respective harbours / moorings / National Park. All mooring and National Park fees are included in the yacht charter price - the administration will be handled by Sunsail, but of course only if all required information is available.

Money Matters

The exchange rate for some major currencies against the Croatian Kuna (HRK) are as follows (valid as of January 2004 which may substantially vary at the time of exchanging money):

1 EUR ~ approx. 7,65 HRK
1 GBP ~ approx. 10,93 HRK
1 CHF ~ approx. 4,95 HRK
1 USD ~ approx. 5,84 HRK
1 CAD ~ approx. 4,80 HRK

Please ensure that you have sufficient cash available as some restaurants and shops may not accept credit cards (if you intend to use the offered ECC bus service from and to Split airport or Zadar airport or if you intend to use the offered Sunsail provisioning service, you must pay these services in cash).

(Very) Basic Croatian

While most Croatians will speak English and / or German (all Sunsail staff speak English), you may find the following basic Croatian expressions useful during your stay in Croatia (and will almost certainly trigger a friendly smile as reward for you trying...):

English Croatian English Croatian
Good Morning dobro jutro Croatia Hvratska
Good Day dobar dan Yes da
Good Evening dobro veče No ne
Good Night laku noć Good dobro
Thank you hvala Very good jako dobro
Please molim Bill / Receipt račun
Excuse me oprostite Beer pivo
I am ja sam White Wine bijelo vino
I would like ja želim Red Wine crno vino
Where ? gdje ? Coffee kava
When ? kada ? Water voda
Who ? koji / koja ? 1 - 2 - 3 jedan - dva - tri
How much ? koliko ? 4 - 5 - 6 četiri - pet - šest
Do you speak English ? govorite li engleski ? 7 - 8 sedam - osam