Looking Back on Hot Hot Hot 2023

Posted by Mary Coles on 25 September 2023

Day 1 - Saturday 2nd September 2023

A week or two earlier than usual, due to the more northerly latitude, crews started to assemble at Pula Airport in Croatia. The majority arrived from Birmingham, Luton and Manchester having taken crack of dawn flights. The rest of the group arrived during the day.

Transported to Marina Veruda, which was huge and occupied the whole of an enormous bay about 4 miles from the city centre, we prepared to spend the day waiting by the lovely pool for our boats, chartered from Adriatic Yacht Charter, to become available. In fact, most were ready ahead of time and the day was spent checking inventory, taking taxis to a Lidl nearby for victualling and getting to know one another.

Conveniently on site there was also a bar and restaurant where large beers and both lunch and dinner could be consumed along with all the other (mostly Germans) checking in too.

Day 2

A skippers meeting at 8am was held to discuss plans as the previously light winds expected all week had been replaced with a forecast which included a north easterly Bora over the next 72 hours. 4 boats FENERA, ELBA, CETUS and DRACO therefore opted to forego the planned island route and stay in the lee on the west side of the peninsula for shelter; only APUS decided to stick to the original plan and head for Mali Losinj.

Accordingly, 4 boats set sail past Pula Town and the National Park of Brijuni to Rovinj, about 12NM away, in a very pleasant NW 2/3 and enjoyed blue seas and warmth whilst getting to know our boats, all of which had (not much loved) in-mast furling and self-tacking jibs.  ACI Rovinj Marina was eye wateringly expensive but had been prebooked by most in case the weather blew up. ELBA, wisely picked up a buoy at a mere €30 plus water taxi. Rovinj proved to be a beautiful old town, much enjoyed by all.


Day 3

Our destination today was to be only a few miles further on but, having first sailed past the beautiful town front, we diverted for a tour of the Limski Kanal, a fjord-like feature and the largest ria in the Mediterranean, as well as anchoring up for our first swims in beautiful clear water. 3 boats managed to get into the marina at Vrsar with FENERA being obliged to anchor over the headland by the Casanova Beach Bar, due to the size of their beam! Here they watched many naked paddleboarders and canoeists. Dinner was eaten in various restaurants; the cuisine everywhere was more heavily Italian influenced than further south in the country and the seafood was delicious and plentiful.


Day 4

Threats of the Bora had abated at this point and thoughts of having to have a “day off” were abandoned. FENERA was able to rendezvous with crew member, Steve, who had flown out late due to a bout of Covid, and we all headed north, this time toward Porec. Another perfect sailing day. Not doing long distances, we were able to sail virtually port to port on every passage. A smaller marina where, as we were all close together, FENERA invited everyone for a cocktail party, all squeezing into the very generous cockpit.


Day 5

Wednesday saw the flotilla diverging for the next 24 hours. ELBA returned to Rovinj for 2 nights to hire bikes and explore on a non-sailing day, CETUS returned to Vrsar to try out paddleboarding with mixed results [obviouslty needed to be naked - ED] and DRACO and FENERA headed further north to Novagrad, another pretty town. DRACO were visited by AYC at 8pm that evening to effect a repair to the windlass. Particularly stunning sunsets were again observed, they were beautiful every night and, unusually, being on the west side, we could see them properly.

Day 6

All back to Rovinj tonight where a 3-day music festival was happening. From 7- 9pm there was a brass band with twirling majorettes parading through the streets followed by a band who were probably quite famous in Croatia as everyone seemed to know all the words. Consequently, the place was buzzing and we much enjoyed the festivities.

Day 7

Our last day sailing and the wind decided to now come from the SE (of course), at times quite strongly so another good sail back to base where we had to be by 5pm. Very efficient 2-sided fuel pontoon processed us quickly. ELBA kindly hosted a “bring your leftovers” party and we all assembled to swap stories especially with APUS, now returned from the other side. Happily, they had had a good time too. An account from “the Rebels” appears below. Restaurant Volaria was even busier than previously, but we all got fed in the end.

Pula Sunset

Day 8 and beyond

12 departed for flights home at 10.30am but the remainder of the group had all booked to stay for another 3 or 7 days. We called ourselves “The Lucky Ones” on our WhatsApp group! Most remained around Pula and were able to see the amphitheatre, soak up the atmosphere of the old town and explore more of the water, the beaches, the islands and the pools. Amazing how often we met up.

Pula Arena

Best bits

Lovely places, Rovinj and Pula especially, champagne sailing, delicious Italian type food, lots of seafood and fish, the green scenery and more than our fair share of dolphins.

Pula Cranes at Night


Most not being able to visit the islands – but that’s one for the future!

Musings from the Rebels

APUS, the meaning is “swift or without feet”, was very apt as several crew could never stand still. We headed off to Mali Losinj on Sunday, a lovely downwind sail in glorious sun, joined by a large pod of dolphins. Mali was a lovely town, as a destination it gave us several options in the face of a strengthening Bora.

Would we go to Istria's Ibiza, Rab, or Krk? After late night viewing of the canal exit and head scratching we planned to go to Cres via two canals. All that was pointless as on Monday morning, with breaking waves on the Mali canal, our only option was to travel around the west coast to Cres. Beating into 25 knots gusting 30 wasn't bad as the sea was almost flat calm.

Tuesday, with 40 knot gusts forecast, was time to eat and swim. Ross (without feet) took out the tender and returned by rowing. Anyone ever had a reliable outboard?

On Wednesday the fetch was now well up, a good breeze but a very nauseous inducing a broad reach to Trget, on the mainland. Bonza seafood, pricey but mooring free. Thursday, Maracolo on the island of Unije; crazy 4-line moorings and naked Germans, beautiful sunset and sunrise. A must visit next trip. And then motoring back to Pula in a fresh breeze. The stillness and heat in the marina meant that for the first time all week we were too hot!

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