Sailing School: Day 3; Match-Race (Video)

From June 11, 2017, Total Croatia Sailing attended sailing school with Ultra Sailing in Split, to learn the ins and outs of sailing. TCN writer Goran Antonijević, gives us his account of the week. Here we go, day 3...

Day three. My Swiss colleagues and I are already experienced sailors. We even manage to tie a couple of bowline knots without our skipper’s assistance. The wind was again the very refreshing and steady Maestral, so we sailed to Čiovo, to start our match race training.


Toni inflated two buoys and anchored them just a couple of hundred meters away from each other. As I am an experienced sport reporter and had seen more than one match-race, I quickly did my math and calculated we will have to change course every minute.

So, it started. Thirty seconds of sailing upwind on a port-side tack, then a quick tack to the starboard-side. Passing the upwind buoy, bearing away, and jibbing just a couple seconds after that.

Ten more seconds downwind, and then reaching in, followed by the port-side tack all over again. A few rounds on the rudder, and then changing position, few rounds on the mainsail, and then taking care of the jib winch. 

winch 2.jpg

Fortunately, we missed our course a few times, (I admit I did it on purpose once) so we had a bit more time for rest, while Toni was explaining what went wrong.

The match-race continued for hours, but I am proud to say that as the sun was starting to set down in the west, I realized that I no longer think about my actions. It became a routine, and Toni just sat on the side of the sailing boat and smiled.

He made me a sailor, and even though the skin on my palms was hurting, my muscles were tight as the ropes I was tightening for three days now, I was proud. Next time my friends invite me for a weekend at sea, I will refuse the beer-man duty with contempt!

The collecting of the buoys then became a “man overboard” exercise, as it is one more procedure one should be familiar with when at sea. And we had a great time watching Toni getting wet in the process, as the waves were a bit too much for an easy exercise.

While I was assisting him, my brand new “Hajduk” sneakers got wet too, one more lesson for me, not to mock others when in trouble.

After we saved our buoys and got wet in the process, we had a downwind all the way to our home port. Just as we set our sails to the right position, and thought we had some 4 miles of easy sailing, our skipper noticed the sailboat that was catching up with us.

Him, being a member of the Croatian sailing team at the World Championships could not have that. We saw a beautiful sailboat, but for him, it was a red flag. He jumped up and started giving orders.

We will not allow them to overtake us! We began jibing, and our relaxing cruise suddenly turned into a proper race. Unfortunately, the skipper on the other sailboat seemed to be as eager as Toni, so we were in for a challenge.

I was proud that Toni selected me to steer, but I was not sure if I will survive if I lose this race. He was our tactic guy and gave orders when to jib. The other sailboat seemed to catch up with us, but as we were close to the harbor, he suddenly changed his course and went towards Brač.

It was then I realized that he wanted to race with us, and even changed course for it, as he was obviously not going to Split, but accepted our challenge. Toni was happy for the win, and that other skipper waved at us and went on his way.

Crazy people those sailors.

We were up for two more days of sailing, but the events that followed changed our plans. More about that in our next, and final sailing school diary.

If you are interested in learning to sail in Split, check out Ultra-Sailing here

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