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Plain Sailing

With more than a thousand islands and many sheltered bays between them, Croatia’s Adriatic coast is the ideal place to practise the art of sailing – especially for first-timers


The Skalice sails past Ravni Žakan – one of 89 small islands within Croatia’s Kornati National Park

DAY 1: Sibenik to Zlarin

An olive tree stands next to a side door of Zlarin’s early 18th-century Church of the Assumption of Mary
Bowline on the bite.

It’s a golden late afternoon at the marina, and nothing is moving among the white forest of masts except for a lone swan; anybody with ambitious plans for the day has long since sailed. One mile away across a natural harbour, the quayside cafés of ibenik are filling up, as bells toll above the city’s stone streets. Almost exactly midway along the island-fringed Croatian coast, in the historic region of Dalmatia, this port makes a most fitting point to launch voyages of exploration.

Mate Bedrica at the wheel of the Skalice

Moored at one of the jetties in Mandalina Marina is the Skalice (pronounced ska-lit-say). At just over 13 metres long, the boat is built on a smaller scale to the megayachts moored nearby, but she fits three snug cabins and a kitchen below deck, and when her sails are up she can go at quite a pace. None of that is thanks to me, though; I start the week knowing little more about sailing than the difference between port, starboard, bow and stern (and I have to think about the last two).

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - August 2016
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