Author Archives: ancientcoasts

Sailing the Adriatic sea of Croatia & Italy

In the summer of 2009 I circumsailed the Adriatic Sea with Sailing Yacht Rosa, an Elan 434, for about 3 months. I left from Murter in Croatia and went north to Pula, Trieste and Venice and back again. After a week in the Kornati Archipel I went south to Dubrovnik visiting places like Split, Hvar, Korcula and the Elephati Islands. From there upwards to Murter again.

Below you will find an impression of the route I sailed and the different islands and cities I have visited. If these islands and cities are described in one of my posts, you will find the link to the post below it. This paga is a living thing so come back for updates.

Heading North to Venice

Week 1 – Sailing from Murter to Pula

Route: Murter – Sali – Brbinje – Silba – Mali Losinj – Sosak – Pula

Crew: Emanuel, Betina & Bas

A Night at the Office in Betina, Croatia
Some Highlights

My trip started in Bettina Murter where I have spent many days to plan the trip. Often I had dinner at this pizzeria located in a former shipyard. The family running the restaurant still had the same blood running through the vains as the original founders of the shipyard back in the 18th century. From Murter you have an excellent starting point for sailing the Kornati Archipel… wich I didn’t. I would head north to Venice, with the first stop in Sali on Dugi Otok.


Mali Losinj is the island known as the Monaco of the Adriatic whith it’s city is laying gentily at the end of a bay. This place offers everything luxury you appreciate having sailed some days. From bakeries, a fish market and some excellent pastries (you have to try the deer sausage) and the best showers of the Adriatic. It is told that on this place the Medea, the wife of Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts), ambushed her brother. An action the brother didn’t survive.

Pula, ancient Rome in Croatia

I would call Pula little Rome in Croatia. The city is so rich of Roman monuments like the Temple of Helena, an triumphal arch and the amphitheater lying next to the marina that I will always look forward to return. It was also the endpoint of my first week sailing providing me a warm feeling of mission accomplished.

Click this link to see the pictures of Week 1

Week 2 – Sailing from Pula in Croatia to Trieste, Italy

Route: Pula – Rovinj – Porec – Umag – Trieste (Italië)

Crew: Bas & Alex

Some Highlights

Rovinj of Croatia

The first city we sailed was Rovinj in the second week and what a start. First of all the view off the city is breathtaking. It is lying on a peninsula with a distinctive Campanile on top of it, legacy of it’s Venetian roots. For the fresh crew it was also breathtaking to try the quay, a mooring and finally a marina for berthing.

Bora in Umag

Although Umag is the place I wouldn’t be found death being a cheap tourist trap providing only hell-lighted arcades, loud disco’s and cheap restaurants. This was the place where we first met Bora, the fierce northern-storm this part of Croatia is notorious of. So we sheltered here for one day and measured windspeeds of more then 50 knots.

Trieste, Italy

Trieste, our destination of the week, won my unconditional love without a warning. Besides being a monumental city with a rich history with the ups and downs, the people are so relaxed, the food fantastic (I never found a Manzo similar to what I have tasted here) and Marina San Giusto had the best espresso I ever found in a harbour.

Click this link to see the pictures of Week 2

Week 3 – Sailing from Trieste to Venice

Route: Trieste – Piran (Slovenië) – Lugnano (Italië) – Venetië

Crew: Willem

Some Highlights

Piran, Slovenia

The prelude of heading to Venice is called Piran, pearl of Slovenia, and a well captured Venetian city. Before it fell under Venetian control in 1283, it was an important maritime trading centre. The whole city breaths ancient Venice and on top of the hill is an impressive Campanile modeled on the famous campanile in St. Marks Square. The view of the Campanile is fantastic as a reward for the more daring ones.

A nuked beach in Lugano, Italy

From a sailing perspective Lugnano has no significance. It’s economy is fully dependent on beach-focused people from Austria and Germany arriving in the summer. We arrived before the season had started and the millions of empty beach chairs gave me the creapy feeling of a nuked summer holiday.

Marina Isola San Giorgo Maggiore

Venice, were should I start? I guess the beauty of the city speaks for itself. For me it was the realization of a dream project that started a year earlier, a fantastic feeling. I will never be prepared though to be anchored in an harbour for which I will not find an equal for the rest of my life.

Click this link to see the pictures of Week 3

Week 4 & 5 – Returning to Murter and the Kornati Archipel

Route: Venice – Porec (Croatia) – Rovinj – Pula – Mali Losinj – Luka Kraijil – Molat – Iz Veli – Sali – Vrulje – Murter

Crew: Boele, Emke & Oscar


Some Highlights

After leaving Venice we crossed the Adriatic Sea immediately for Porec in Croatia. After having done the customs and other formalities for our entrance into Croatia (I have learned here to take this more seriously) we sailed southward along the coast to Pula. From there we left the Istrian peninsula for the islands in the Kvarner Gulf. First to Mali Losinj and then we had the opportunity to sail into the unknown…


First to Luka Krijal, a small village lying on the west coast of Otok Premuda. The village is protected from the pounding gulfs of the Adriatic by a small chain of rocks and islets. This channel between the island and the off-lying reefs provides an excellent anchorage to enjoy the sunset.

Tranquile Molat

About 12 miles further to the south-east lies Otok Molat. The highlands of the mainland behind the island are impressinve. There are three villages on the island and one of them is Molat. This village main goal is providing ease for the Croatians of the mainland arriving by the ferry in the weekends. It has a church, post office, a supermarket besides around 20 houses and a graveyard. The village is the proof that tranquility is something to aim for.

From here we sailed further south and returned to Murter via the Kornati Archipel (see further below).

Click this link to see the pictures of this week

Hungarian Intermezzo

Week 6 – Looking for Shelter for the Bora

Route: Murter – Zagreb – Budapest – Murter

Crew: Saab 900 T16S

The third encounter with Bora made me visit a friend in Budapest. Having been boated for more then 6 weeks, it is such a joy being in the city again. Good food and espresso’s, large terraces and fast internet do belong to my life necessities more then I would like to admit.


Heading South to Dubrovnik

Week 7 – Roundtrip Kornati Archipel

Route: Murter – Plavsa – Vodice – Murter

Crew: Bas, Mariola, Job & Sanne

The Highlight

On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown His work and thus created Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath.

George Bernard Shaw

Click this link to see the pictures of Week 7

Week 8 – Sailing from Murter to Split

Route: Murter – Telascica – Prvic – Rogoznica – Stomorska – Trogir – Split

Crew: Kate

The Highlights


Telascica Bay on the island Dugi Otok is a national park on itself. On the south-west side of the bay you can go ashore for a walk to a Jerezo Mir a saltwater lake cut off from the sea by a norrwo barrier. In the east side of he bay you’ll find a small bay called Uvala Krusevica. There is a small pittoresque restaurant where you can have fresh grilled fresh if you are lucky. The owner and patron of this place is known for shutting down the restuarant and leave for a hike on Dugi Otok for several days. So don’t expect too much when visiting the bay…

Otok Prvic, Croatia

It was the unexpected meeting of a long time friend which made Prvic one of the hghlights of the week. About five years earlier I was here before and had the tradional Croatian meal called Pecca. It is the stew of squid, potato and tomatoes and some secret ingredients and needs to be put under hot coal for circa 2,5 hours to prepare.


The old town Trogir, built on the foundations of ancient Greek Tragurion, is one of the most seductive towns on the Dalmatian coast with it’s fortress, Venetian-kind of palaces and houses along the streets. The Cathedral Sv Lovre is famous for it’s 13th century carved doorway (known as Radovan’s Portal) but personally I like the north aisle of the cathedral most. There you’ll find in St John of Trogir’s Chapel at the centre of the ceiling God the Creator surrounded by hundreds of angels, under God’s view tens of life-sized statues of saints are placed.

Click this link to see the pictures of Week 8

Week 9 – Sailing from Split to Dubrovnik

Route: Split – Hvar – Vis – Vela Luka – Korcula – Sipan – Dubrovnik

Crew: Rutger, Robert & Alex

Click this link to see the pictures of Week 9

Week 10 – Sailing from Dubrovnik to Split


Route: Dubrovnik – Ston – Korcula – Loviste – Hvar – Lucice – Split

Crew: Robert-Jan, Thomas & Jeroen

Click this link to see the pictures of Week 10

Week 11 – Returning S/Y Rosa to Murter


Route: Split – Vinisce – Zlarin – Murter

Crew: José


Shameless Appetizer for Sardegna

Two more weeks before sailing in Sardegna, found the clip on YouTube doing my research, counting down the days 🙂

Added two more books to my library for this trip. The pilot for Corsica and North Sardinia and the Rough Guide to Sardinia.

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First impressions: the Maddelena Archipelago will be beautiful and I hope we can make the crossing to Corsica from Sardinia as Bonifacio looks as a place not to be missed.

Lot of wind to be expected though, crossing the Bonifacio Strait between the islands. The well-known Venturi effect (kiting paradise) will create gale-force winds. Some people will not like it being aboard…

Just as a reminder for myself, the latest weather forecastfor sailing of Sardinia: SardegnaARPA

First Race of the North Sea Regatta 2010

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One of the better races of the Netherlands, was held this weekend in Scheveningen. The Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta 2010, a three day sailing event along the coast of the North Sea.

I was invited to participate the first races on GfK, a Beneteau First of 40.7 foot. The weather conditions Friday were light, northern wind of around 10-15 knots.

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Around 13:00 the races started in two shifts.

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The Start

It was quite a straight parcours in line with the wind direction. It had a bouy with a spreader in the North and a Gate in the South. Boats were going up and down along the same rhumbline, you just had to be careful not getting sandwiched.

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Sailing the rhumbline

Unfortunately the weather conditions changed to the worse. The second race was cancelled due to fog and we had to return to the harbour. We were not the only ones there.

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For the record, we finished second in our class (ORC-1) that day, just 32 seconds (on 1,5 hours) behind the overall winner of the NSR 2010.

For more pictures see the Flickr Slideshow

Reflection #2: Impressions of S/Y Colombe

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What to say about a classic designed Swan from 1979, the lean and mean racing machine?

First thing is that such a classic racing boat certainly has a charm you feel directly. The very spartan interior doesn’t change the instant affection for the boat, not to mention the sailing.

Cool to be on such a boat during the race for La Ruta de la Sal. Everyone focused on speed and speed only. A slight change in wind and everyone was running to change the sail for the newborn circumstances.

Yelling heist, heist, heist and the Genua 3 was changed into a Genua 4 in less then a minute. Lot of sails and lines on a racing boat although. Could still prefer a good old cruising boat for sailing the Ancient Coasts.

Below my impression of Sailing Yacht Colombe.

The Toolset

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The Wheel The Grinder The Winch

The Mainsail

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The Genua

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Pulling The Lines The Genua

Raising the Spi

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Colombe Sailing

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The complete set can also be view as a Flickr Slideshow (click link)

Reflection #1 on La Ruta de la Sal

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Returned from La Ruta de la Sal for about 3 weeks and (finally) time to look back to the sailing race from Barcelona to Ibiza with S/Y Colombe.

First impression from the pink cloud of experiences, is about the impact of just little week of sailing on your ability to process complex questions about the purpose of life. Sailing has definitely a different impact then holidays like skiing or 3 weeks in France.

So if you ever have some challenging complex thoughts about the purpose of  sitting in the office 8 hours a day. About having a screensharing “Live Meeting” with your colleagues all over the world by phone and internet. About the why of living in a rainy climate with glasshouse grown vegetables or defrosted fresh fish. Just do some sailing!

Whether it is in Spain or along the coast of any other Mediterranean country (Carib might do as well), be gifted by the lightness of thinking!

Schopenhauer: You have to depart before you can arrive

Departure from Schiphol, Amsterdam

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The Road (not so less travelled)

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Arrival at Port Vell, Barcelona

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Colombe , our ship for the race, has it’s homebase in Port Vell in the centre of Barcelona (you can see it in the center of the picture from the plane), although sailing under Dutch flag. The old Cathedral or the Ramblas just a 5-minutes walk. Next to the harbour: Barceloneta, the former dangerous slumps of Barcelona, a good place to go out for drinks and tapas. May I recommend you the Foc bar?

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PS It is more that I would like to dedicate my most “philosophical” quote in this post to Schopenhauer. I don’t think there is anything said close to being well thought off. It is just that there was philosophical course at the University of Groningen called after him during my study. By just only subscribing to it, you got a grant of the government for an extra year studying…

Preparing Colombe

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Colombe is a classic designed Swan 441 R designed by Ron Holland and built in 1979. It has 2 main sails, 4 genua’s, a Genaker and a Spi. No fancy cabins and bedrooms inside, just a large compartment for the sails and to sleep in (although a decent toilet). A lean and mean racing machine.

Without proper preparations no racing, mind you, preparations can make the difference between winning and complete failure. In trying to capture the tension of preparing  the yacht, I attached my camera to the bow and programmed it to take a picture every 30 seconds using an interval timer. The movie is made of circa 450 pictures that have been glued together. The ground idea of this movie came form the inspiring movie Sandpit on Vimeo.

See below “Preparing Colombe” which took us in total about 5 hours. Bear in mind, a mean and lean racing machine designed and designated to win!

Preparing Colombe for the Ruta de la Sal 2010 from Ancient Coasts on Vimeo.

Next Post

So long the preparations, next post will provide you with full disclosure of the ship, the race and it’s crew. So stay tuned.

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Finished the “Ruta de la Sal” 2010

Yesterday we finished the Ruta de la Sal to finish around 13:30. Not everyone was completely happy with the result as we finished as second in our class and 10th overall.

Analysis of the results will follow. For now below our sailed route from Barcelona to Ibiza.

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The “Ruta de la Sal” to the Knight Templars of Malta

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From April 1st to the 4th I will be participating in the Spanish sailing race “Ruta de la Sal“. A regata from Barcelona to Ibiza over a distance of circa 140 nautical Miles and about 300 yachts participating. We will be sailing the race with a Swan 441 R from 1979 and a crew of 10. For sure you will read more about the race in time but today I bought my airplane ticket to Barcelona and had a look at the site.

Some Background

In 1989 the first race was held based on this historic event. The origins of this regata seem to go back to May 1846. At that time Barcelona was under siege by the Carlists armies which led to a disastrous shortage of salt. To end the peril a race was set up. The first ship to arrive with a good load of salt would be paid in gold. The winner was a 30 meter schooner called “Maltese Falcon” from Baltimore with a Greek skipper called Andreas Portus.

The Maltese Falcon? I heard that name before…

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The Maltese Falcon

Every time I read something about a ship called “The Maltese Falcon“, I have to think of the 290 feet high-tech ship built by venture capitalist Tom Perkins for about US$ 130 million. A square rigged ship with 3 free standing carbon fiber masts and more then 75 motors to control the 15 sails. With its three 20-story masts fully rigged the yacht can cross the Atlantic in 10 days. The ship was sold recently (August 2009) by Tom Perkins for “only” US$ 100 million, after he had to reduce the ask price with more then US$ 40 million. Yep, it is a buying market these days.

For more about this ship you could read the the book “Mine’s Bigger: Tom Perkins and the Making of the Greatest Sailing Machine Ever Built” by David A. Kaplan (

But as as my research went further, this ship’s name can be referred back to the movie “The Maltese Falcon” with Humphrey Bogart. A movie from 1941 and one that many film historians consider as the first of the “film noir” genre in Hollywood. In the IMDB ranking it can be found as number 7 in the list of the best movies ever made.

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The story, based on the book by Dashiell Hammett, tells about three adventurers who want to steal the Maltese Falcon and a detective (Humphrey Bogart) trying to prevent it.

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But my research didn’t end here. Because the “Maltese Falcon” itself is reportedly based on the “Kniphausen Hawk” a ceremonial pouring vessel made in 1697 for George William von Kniphausen, Count of the Holy Roman. It is modeled after a hawk perched on a rock and is encrusted with red garnets, amethysts, emeralds and blue sapphires. The vessel is currently owned by the Duke of Devonshire and is an integral piece of the Chatsworth House collection.

Knight Templars of Malta

But it goes on, this is still not the ealiest mentioning of the “Maltese Falcon”. In 1539, the Knight Templars of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with the rarest jewels. But pirates seized the galley carrying the priceless token and the fate of the [original] Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day…

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Final words about the Maltese Falcon I am glad to leave to Adam Savage, a longtime special effects artist and host of “MythBusters” on the Discovery Channel. His fascination for Dodo’s lead to… the Maltese Falcon.

Sailing from Molat to Iz Veli

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Todays Daily Picture was taken when sailing from the tranquille Molat to Iz Veli in the fourth week of my trip in Croatia.

The sailing was wonderfull. We were heading south and had between 15 – 20 knots wind from the south. We were sailing between islands and could make nice tacks. Because we had no water in the tanks anymore, it was sailing with Speed with the capital S switched on.

We left Molat totally relaxed, however we had to expect bad compay in Iz Veli.

We got Austrian neighboors there, ai, about 2 boats with 8 people each. They kept us awake up to 03:30 hours by drinking, stupid jokes and loud laughing, despite being asked to silence up frequently. I never go to Austria again! But maybe that has more to do on some stupidity on my side when driving back to the Netherlands. I didn’t by a vignette (of ca. EUR 10,=) at the border for the Austrian highways and I was checked before buying one. They fined me with EUR 120,=, how inappropriate ; – )

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Daily Picture: The Lions of Trieste

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Feel like the lions of Trieste today. Had a good party yesterday evening. Lot of friends I didn’t see for quite some time, excellent live band so all together a lot of fun.

So now I feel strong… although a little bit peeled on the outside.

Pictures above were taken in Trieste and part of my “Street Signatures”. What you see are the ornaments on the doors of an old church on Riva 3 Novembre.

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