With our course set to go due north we untied our lines at Brindisi. There was a good force 4 southwest wind blowing so we hoisted our main sail whilst still in the shelter of the harbour and motored out into the Adriatic.
Once past all the ships and ferries going into the port, we unfurled our Genoa and with a reef in both sails we were comfortably cruising along at 6-7 kts.
The wind continued to increase throughout the afternoon to force 6 so we put a second reef in, the swell had also increased but we were surfing the waves at 7-8 kts.
The rules of the sea give sailing boats ‘right of way’ over vessels under power, the responsibility of the sailing ship is to keep to the same speed and course, this often takes a lot of nerve when you are waiting for a big ship to eventually change course to avoid you. It’s always amazing when large cargo and passenger ships change their course to make way for us to pass!
The sun set and took some of the wind with it but we were still able to maintain a reasonable sailing speed through the night.
It was a quiet night with no other ships around as we had passed through the main shipping lanes. In the middle of the night during my watch I was shocked by a loud bang, I thought something had broken on the boat and looked up to make sure that the mast was still there! It had woken Paul and he came up on deck as he thought we were under attack! Thankfully neither of us were right, we are not completely sure what it was but there had been a military jet flying over earlier and we believe there may have been one out breaking the sound barrier.
At 5am the wind dropped further and so we shook out the reefs and watched the sun rise over the low cloud.
By late morning the wind disappeared and the sea flattened so the sails came down and we motored the last few miles into Dubrovnik harbour.
The passage was 140 nm and we had been at sea for 26 hours, it’s not often that we get such a favourable sailing wind, so it was great to be able to set our course, and sail for virtually the entire journey.
Our first stop was at the customs dock to check in, this is straight forward in Croatia providing that you have all of the required paperwork prepared and plenty of Kuna’s to pay the cruising taxes. Last years experience stood us in good stead.
We were all done within 20 minutes and on our way again motoring out of the busy port.
Our next stop was 4 nm along the coast to where we anchored at Zaton, this is a lovely quiet picturesque bay surrounded by mountains and views of small islands. We stayed here for a relaxing couple of days.
With provisions and cooking gas running low we took a trip back to Dubrovnik port to restock. We passed under the suspension bridge this time and motored a short distance up the river where we dropped our anchor.
We launched Fred and Ed and went on a ‘dinghy adventure’ further up the river. There was a very convenient place to tie up which was close to a gas filling station and a supermarket, so we got our gas bottles filled and then loaded Fred up with as many supplies as possible and returned to ZigZag. The only problem after a big provisioning trip is finding somewhere to put it all!
We were now ready to explore Croatia. Although we visited last year, there are still many places that we have yet to see.