This was the fourth time the club has organised a full week of sailing activities in Croatia and the seventh time in succession we have visited the area at this time of year.
This year we chartered a ten boat matching fleet of Bavaria 40s based in Split, via Frank Honan (Sail Charter International). 51 sailors competed for the VISC Bob Pitt Memorial Award. The racing took place under that well known club sailing instruction devised by Bob, Rule 11: Don’t take it too seriously!, especially as this year there would be four skippers who had either only qualified a year ago and/or were taking charge of a boat for the first time.
The crews made their way to Split on Saturday 21st October, checking in their boats at the marina and being briefed about the boats before spending a free evening exploring the old town of Split.
Our week of sailing began on the Sunday with a regatta meeting at 09.00, including an introduction from Frank Honan and the Skippers’ briefing by Race Officer John Plumb who outlined the plan for the week. The proposal was for Sunday to be a practise day, with the crews meeting up in the evening at Restaurant Split just outside the marina for dinner. Nine of the ten boats would sail as a single fleet, starting at the same time, with the Race Officer boat starting when he could in pursuit. In a change from previous events, this year there would be a different Officer of the Day (OOD) each day allowing Race Officer John to participate in the races. After explaining the start line countdown and flag procedure, John left the skippers to finalise their boat check-in and crew lists and complete their preparations for departure. After the practise day, the crews returned to the home marina for the Welcome Dinner at Restaurant Split where all the crews introduced themselves and outlined their expectations for the week. An extremely lively evening was enjoyed by everyone.
During our regatta week we had skippers’ briefings every morning at 10:00, and through the week we sailed around and to Milna on Otok Brac, Hvar on Otok Hvar, Maslinica on Otok Solta, and back to Split. We had four “qualifying” races and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and competitiveness within the club. Finally, of course, the fantastic fun and club atmosphere experienced during our evening activities and dinners at various restaurants/venues.
A big thank you goes to Frank Honan of Sail Charter International for organising the charter fleet, also arranging sponsorship for our team shirts and logistical aids.
In addition our appreciation goes to the representatives of the Vienna Pipes and Drums race crew for their musical interventions at various points during the week. Croatians are not familiar with bag-pipes playing as the fleet left the various harbours and it is probably the first time Rebecca has heard them playing Happy Birthday at 00.01.
My personal thanks go to Frank, Liz, Andrew and Jools for all their assistance and for letting me join the races this year. Also thanks to all the 51 participants for respecting Rule 11 both on and off the water to make the week so enjoyable and memorable.
John (VISC Race Officer)
(The full week regatta report is made on the club website)
NOTE: Vienna International Sailing Club – the VISC was established in 1998 to promote sailing amongst the staff of the international organisations and missions in Vienna, including the UN, OSCE, IAEA, and others.