Rich History of Vis Regatta: From Just Six Crews in 1934 to Over 1,000 Sailors Today

By 17 October 2019

October 17, 2019 - The Vis Regatta kicks off this weekend for its 75th edition, but much do you know? A closer look by TCN contributor Valentino Komusar. 

More than 1,000 sailors and more than 150 crews from all over Europe are expected at the 75th edition of the Vis Regatta this weekend. The Labud Sailing Club from Split will gather the best Croatian and European sailors. The most prestigious Croatian regatta will provide sport and entertainment this year, both to the participants, their friends, and their guests, while many celebrities will not only attend, but also participate. 

Since the 1st of July 1934, the Labud Sailing Club has organized this unique event. On that day, only six crews participated and they competed in sailing in maestral and western wind, and even during the night because, thanks to the favorable wind, the regatta was completed in one day. The first-ever trophy was won by the helmsman of ‘Zuluma’ - Vinko Reić. It’s an interesting fact that the trophy was transitional, and the only way you could own it permanently was if you would win the regatta three times in a row or four times with interruptions. 

In 1936, the Vis Regatta grew significantly more popular due to one decision - a sailing boat larger than 9 meters was allowed to participate. There was even a prize for that category, which was a silver plaque made by the wife of the president of the Labud Sailing Club, Mrs. Delfina Dešković. Two years later, for the first time, an Italian sailboat participated, while in 1940 was the last pre-World War II Vis Regatta. 

From 1950 and 1999, there were 48th editions of the Regatta, since the event was cancelled due to the Croatian War of Independence in 1991 and 1993. Despite having the first-ever edition of the Regatta in July, since the 1950s and just like today, this prestigious event takes place in October for three days at the end of the sailing season. 

For many years, the Vis Regatta changed its destination. Thus, one year, you would sail to the port of Vis and the next to Komiža. Extraordinary friendly relations with both of the destinations created and for generations preserved, excellent cooperation. However, many times, at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, bad weather and storms would damage anchored boats in the port of Komiža. Therefore, the Labud Sailing Club decided that during the Vis Regatta, sailors would sail only to the port of Vis, but stayed in a great relationship with Komiža because they decided to organize Komiža Regatta, which had its 28th edition in May of this year. 

For the past 20 years, the Vis Regatta became one of the strongest Adriatic offshore competitions, which is sailed in two stages from Split to the island of Vis and back. It is more international than any other and it often welcomes skippers and crews from many different countries. Just like previous years, this weekend, more than a thousand sailors will take over beautiful Vis. 

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