'Uskršnja regata' on picturesque Hvar last weekend boasted an attendance of high-calibre sailors, industry pros and Olympic medallist, Tonči Stipanović. The annual "Easter regatta" has been running for 21 years and was the second regatta of six scheduled for the CRO-ORC 2017 Cup. A diverse mix of 41 yachts signed up, ranging both in size and crew ability. 56ft Marina Kaštela, Grand Solei 56R, was the largest yacht among a few other giants. Meanwhile, some competitors sailed smaller boats of around 30ft.
The big talking point of the weekend was a newly purchased TP52 race yacht, Polet Furioso. It was a delight to watch this impressive boat on the water; with it's dark sails and fresh black paint job, it had the appeal and masculinity of a yacht that Batman would own. The owner Niko Dešković, paid homage to his grandfather by adorning his yacht with the JK Labud logo. The 1925 established Split sailing club's success was strengthened by his grandfather, who reigned as president for 15 years. In a relaxed, Dalmatian-coast style,Dešković chose a regatta as the first time to sail this demon racing machine.
A newly assembled crew of 10 sailors worked the yacht together for the first time; none of them having ever previously sailed a TP52. To say the least, it was tense at moments. Everyone surveyed each tack and gybe with hungry apprehension. In awe, I watched the race crew accomplish a nail-biting kite-drop within a mere 5 meters of a craggy shoreline. Lady Luck seemed to be on their side, and the rookie crew shone with success, winning the Open-Race Class.
Champions of the regatta, team X-cite, competed in an indeed 'x-citing' match race with identical X-41 one-design boat, Nube. CRO-ORC regulars, Tonko Rameša helming X-cite and Mate Arapov helming Nube, were neck and neck. Ultimately, a challenging boat-handicap rating for Nube, the result of a new genneker, and a disqualification meant that X-cite pulled it out of the bag and won on corrected time. The exhilarated X-cite crew celebrated with a champagne shower, swiftly followed by a leap into the water of Hvar port; ending the evening with a proud, acoustic-guitar accompanied sing-song. First place prize was a gleaming, white Ford Fiesta and a haul of respect from their peers. Weekend well spent.
The remaining four regattas will be hosted by Šibenik; the next gust of activity kicking off on the 29th of April with the Šibenik ORC Cup.
Total Croatia Sailing will go live in June 2017, but you can follow the Croatian sailing action on the new Total Croatia Sailing Facebook page.