After 15 years of sailing I finally decided to write down a couple of words for sailing enthusiasts like I was when started sailing.
First,let me start with the nice charter things. You are sitting in your cockpit, catching the sun, drinking a nice cocktail, beer or a glass of wine with an option to jump in the sea at any time and go for a swim or maybe pick up an anchor and go further. It is a freedom, which no other vacation can offer, nothing to say against it.
That all is just small fraction of everything else involved. You have to be sea worthy as first, wise as second and tolerant as third, especially if you will go for a charter business and have clients that never stood on the boat before. It can be a god damn passion killer, but to encourage you it is 99% of the clients that are just lovely, but that 1% can be a deal breaker for the season sometimes and you constantly worry each Saturday what will lottery bring you this week. Hahahah, it is the truth, I swear. We are all scared shitless, all the skippers.
So let me continue with a tricky stuff. If you are a marina operative, which would be the guys that are picking up and passing those ropes which we call the mooring, you would every Saturday see people arriving on the boats and next Saturday leaving the boats. Sometimes people come in excited and happy and return excited and happy. Sometimes they come excited and happy and leave grim, angry or depressed and sometimes they arrive grim, angry and depressed and they leave like that as well.
Maybe Jerome K. Jerome would explain it better
In the book the author say something like this, as I remember : “ For most of the people it is excitement when they come on the boat, which last for the whole day. On the second day, they are already starting to loose patience as they do not know what to do. On the third, fourth and fifth day, they are considering suicide and on the sixth day, just before return they start to relax again. On the seventh day, they will speak of great time and how they must do it again.” -from Three man in the boat (not to mention the dog)
But he does say to plan longer sailing journeys to understand!
Where did we stop, aha, yes, skippers. Skippers are the people that have to be present in all of the situations. Most of us are drunks, different kind of drug addicts (both legal or illegal) or we burn down and get enlightened and get a second chance in life, like it happened to me and pass to water. That I just do not care if I will work anymore or not. The responsibility of skipper, what is hard for many clients to comprehend is those same clients, security of the vessel (which usually cost as least as flat or apartment where they live in (not necessary own) and finally skippers humble safety. So it is a triple trouble. But this just can’t break the brain barrier of some people.
I had clients once asking me with coming thunder storm to take them on one of the most isolated islands in Croatia, it was so difficult to explain to them why I wont, that I took them back to the base on the next day, picked up my stuff and left. Damn proud about that one.
Conclusion for that one: Skippers are paid professionals, note some 3rd century trireme slave oarsman.
What is the weather forecast? Where should we go? Which side of the island we should choose for the night? Did we get some food and water?
These are the main questions which both skipper and the crew should consider. And if you are the charterer, do not ask for anchoring night, your skipper wont like it as he is the only that will witness the anchoring night while all of you will pass out while the sun is at its last and your poor old skipper if he gets any sleep, will have to work the next day, while you will sleep again, sunbath, basically relax or be in some of the previously mentioned conditions. Do not make your skipper dislike you! Any way, most of us will accept maybe one night on anchor during the week, unless it is agreed that someone else will be on watch during the nights.
But as the popular Game of thrones would say: “The night is dark and full of horrors” Ha ha ha, now I am just playing with you. It is only with the storm!
Now there is always our favorite debate, when we get some cheap people, that worship money more than life itself and would say, but you are making great money. Let’s clarify that. A skipper works from 10–20 weeks in average. He gets 150 EUR per day plus food and drinks. He has responsibility for 24/7. So the simple math is 150/24= 6,25 EUR/per hour and most of the times he or she needs to give a cut to someone, so not even that. Get it? And when you take those guys that work 20 weeks and more, they maybe bring home to their families, which they did not see for the season, 21000 EUR if they did not spent a cent! The rest of the year we spend gathering strength for the next season.
While it is unclear what effects the sun will have on us, psychological effects of half year on sea, half year on land, everyone should respect their skipper. Most of us are nice guys, unlike some drill/military types that will make a horror of your vacation.
As on the picture above, you will notice that good skippers always watch the sea, even if most of the time you wont see anything. But like driving the car you have to be on watch to avoid hitting something. Piece of wood, piece of boat, container from some overloaded cargo boat, etc.
Knowing where to go.
I will dedicate this article to the people I know and which I consider the best skippers on Adriatic. They are not some rip of people that will sail you to the most expensive and overloaded places (they will if you insist), but people that are greeted and accepted by locals, which is for us very important. not all skippers are favorite everywhere. So if you are coming to Croatia, you may ask for Ivan Paskvan (Pale), Marin Tironi (Tirke), Davor (Chubba), Mario Kundih (Kundara), Marko Kasel, Alen Jekešić (Jeke), Luka Lulić, Josip Kovačev (Jo), Marko Zurunić (Zurka). These beautiful young people wont be only your skippers, they will become your friends if you will have luck to get them. And they do deserve to be mentioned as they are a huge part of the Adriatic Sea. Everywhere, everyone knows them and like them.
Good skipper will never take a cut from the restaurant. Good skipper gets the best service!
For the end of this article and as a start for the upcoming one:
TAKE THE WET SUIT! :)-I will write about my experiences and dangers.
I look forward writing about sailing in days to come and I hope that you have enjoyed the article. If not, please forget the names of the people that I mentioned and me. :)