The ultimate guide for choosing the best boat for your Croatian sailing holiday

Written by Marin @Danielis on May 28, 2018 in Yacht Charter Advice

With the advent of summer looming over the horizon the question of the best way to spend your holiday presents itself. As we have covered in numerous articles before, the best option is without a doubt, sailing. The complete freedom to choose your next destination and luxurious way of travel is more than a reason to choose sailing over any other option. But, then another issue seeks to resolve and that is the choice of the boat that will suit your needs the best. So, here we will present you with answers to all the questions you may have so you can enjoy your Croatian sailing holiday in the best way possible.

So you have started to pack your bags and are browsing through the many options available for your adventure across the magical Croatian islands but can't seem to settle on a boat?

Do not fret, since we will cover quite extensively all the things to keep in mind when deciding upon the perfect vessel for yourself and your family.

The first thing to keep in mind, before you decide upon the type of boat you wish to choose for your sailing holiday across Croatia is what kind of charter option are you looking for.

Bareboat, skippered or fully-crewed yacht are three options that present themselves, so first, we shall cover what each of these options bring to the table.

  • If you choose the bareboat option, you will be skippering the boat by yourself but you and your traveling companions will have the vessel all for yourselves.
  • By choosing the skippered yacht option, you will be provided with a captain during your voyage who will take care of everyday operations onboard and will guide you to the destinations you desire.
  • The fully crewed option brings with it the greatest degree of luxury since you will have not only a skipper onboard but other crew members as well, who will take care of navigation and sailing as well as meal preparation.

So how to decide upon the best option for you?

Consider going bareboat if:

  •     You have a license to skipper a boat together will all the relevant documentation
  •     You have plenty of sailing experience and are confident in your ability to navigate the boat through the Adriatic waters
  •     You desire the most private sailing experience during your sailing adventure along the coast of Croatia

Why choose bareboat yacht charter in Croatia

The bareboat option would be recommended to those who have sailed before, and are in some ways already familiar with the waters of the Adriatic. Not because of the weather of course, since the waters are quite timid during the summer, unlike at other sailing destinations, but for the many natural wonders that can elude you on your travel if they are not known to you.

If you are just starting out to sail, and have yet to tie your first knot, choosing between the skippered or fully-crewed yacht would be your best choice.

Choose the fully-crewed yacht if:

  •     You are looking for the ultimate charter experience in terms of comfort, luxury, and safety.
  •     You want delicious Croatian cuisine served to you on the boat daily
  •     You want to be able to focus on relaxing and having a fun time with your traveling companions and will not find a crew running around on deck distracting
  •     You can afford the extra fee for a full crew

Why choose a fully crewed yacht charter in Croatia

Choose the skippered yacht option if:

  •     You have minimal or no sailing experience
  •     You are looking for the perfect middle option between a fully crewed and bareboat yacht. With a skipper, you have a professional on hand to help you with itinerary planning, sailing, and safety, but you are still enjoying a relatively private experience.

Why choose a skippered yacht charter in Croatia

Deciding upon the skippered experience just might be the best option for those just starting to discover the joy and freedom to explore that only sailing can provide. Not to mention that you will be provided with an expert navigator and a tourist guide who will make sure that your stay at Croatia becomes a fond memory. You can spend the night at a different place every day, you can eat at the best restaurants Croatia has to offer and your holiday will even cost you less than a traditional hotel stay!

After deciding upon the best sailing option, comes the sweet dilemma of choosing the best boat which will provide you with a memorable and comfortable stay.

The biggest decision to make is upon the type of boat you wish, either a monohull or a catamaran so here we will bring you a total rundown of all the pros and cons of each option.

So what are the monohulls?

What are the monohulls

The most basic option you are going to come across is a monohull sailboat. This is your classic sailboat design with only one hull—as opposed to a catamaran, which has two hulls and a connected deck.

While a monohull sailboat is less roomy than a catamaran, you will find that they are still quite spacious (often with 2-6 cabins) and may be equipped with a full galley. These boats are adept at harnessing wind power, which can cut down on your fuel costs. While a monohull is not as fast as a motorboat, it is faster than a catamaran and offers unmatched maneuverability.

The monohulls truly shine during rough seas, since their design allows them to make sharper turns and navigate much more easily through narrow channels and tight spaces.

The trade-off is a noisy ride and a quick motion, which many people find uncomfortable and may cause seasickness.

Also when docking, a monohull is much easier to dock, takes up less space, and is cheaper.

The monohulls are the best option for someone wanting to go bareboat, either with his friends or family and don't mind the drawback of less space and a few rocking monohulls are prone to, but appreciate the sailing experience and enjoy speed and maneuverability.

On the other hand, catamarans offer much greater advantages in almost every aspect:

Advantages of sailing a catamaran

One of the major advantages of a catamaran versus a monohull is their inherent stability. That is a big plus for families, especially if you have small children. Since the boat is not as susceptible to effects of waves, as a monohull is, it is much easier to walk around on deck as well as within the interior of the yacht while it is underway.

So if you plan to spend a lot of time close to the coastline, a catamaran is generally a better choice than a monohull sailboat.

The added stability is of a big help while cooking since there will be no rocking and rolling as would be the case with monohulls.

As far as space and privacy go, you cannot beat a catamaran. If you are traveling with a large group you will have a lot more space both on and below deck. Having two separate hulls can also increase privacy. Children in particular, will have a great experience playing on the extended deck of a catamaran and they will stay out of the way of adults and crew members.

Perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, catamarans also are faster than monohulls. Less of their surface area is in touch with the water, which means that they experience less drag. This means that they make for excellent racing vessels—when they are allowed to compete! These days, you are unlikely to find catamarans racing against monohulls since they have too much of an advantage.

You would think that all of these added benefits come at a greater price, but you would be surprised!

The prices for a monohull and a catamaran are actually quite similar, the only bigger difference comes in port fees since the larger catamarans pay double the price of berthing.

The history of the catamarans is also quite interesting.

History of catamarans

The catamarans trace their origins back to the Polynesian seafarers thousands of years ago, as late as 1500 BC. They have become known thanks to the observations of William Dampier, an English privateer in the 17th century. Dampier was visiting Tamil Nadu, South India when he noticed that the locals there were using an unusual watercraft that roughly matches the description of a catamaran.

Modern catamarans which more closely resemble the designs we see today really didn’t get started until the 19th century, however. Circa 1870, a designer named Nathanael Herreshoff constructed a boat that became the basis of today’s catamarans. From that point on, the popularity of catamarans increased swiftly.

First hobie catamaran

Compared with monohulls, catamarans provide far more living space in the main salon, galley, and cockpit. The cabins are more spacious and luxurious and there is a greater separation between the main living space and the cabins, making it easier for the kids to fall asleep at a reasonable time.

The galley, main salon, and cockpit are all on one level, above the water line, which is greatly appreciated for absorbing the view of the beautiful eastern coast of the Adriatic. Also, the shallow draft of the cat allows you to anchor straight to the beach to take a swim!

The visibility is also much superior to the monohulls since many new catamarans have raised or flybridge helms, so you can have a commanding view of everything while navigating the vessel.

While sailing, comfort is of utmost importance. If you are traveling with a larger group, proper ventilation is essential, and cats make the need for air conditioning less important since the majority of the living space is above the waterline.

If you are sailing for the first time, you may have wondered about the safety of the boat. Well, you may rest assured that the catamarans are so stable, that even if you poke a hole in it, they will float. Cats have so much buoyancy built in that they are next to impossible to sink.

With regards to, the ease of sailing, cats with their twin motors and twin rudders take the cake. They are much easier to dock and far less tiring to sail.

Of course, while sailing you should enjoy it as well. What better place to sunbathe after an extensive swimming session than on the deck of a beautiful ship?

Well, cats are much easier to board thanks to their huge swimming platforms, which can be useful when scuba diving as well, and have ample space for sunbathing or lounging in the moonlight.

Catamarans do have their drawback though.

Because a wide bridge is trapped between the two hulls, you can experience some slapping or pounding while in rougher seas, but the coast of Croatia is known for its many bays which serve as a shelter and the sea is generally calm.

While catamarans are much easier to sail, they lack maneuverability during high winds since they don't really heal, so you must be vigilant and know when to reduce sail.

If you decide for the skippered option though, you will have a professional taking care of all the tasks of navigating and sailing the boat, so that isn't an issue at all.

In a nutshell, these are the biggest differences between choosing a monohull and a catamaran.

Choose a monohull if:

-    You are choosing a bareboat option
-    You do not require as much space and want to cut back on being costs
-    You like sailing in rough weather
-    You are a true sailing enthusiast who enjoys handling the boat

Choose a catamaran if:

-    You have decided on a skippered or fully-crewed option
-    You are traveling with a larger group, especially if you're traveling with children
-    You enjoy ample space both on and below the deck
-    You wish to stick to calmer waters near the shore
-    You are going to do a lot of swimming, snorkeling, and other water-based activities
-    You wish to enjoy a delicious meal without much rocking and rolling

Take your time and decide upon the things that are most important to you. When you decide upon the option that will best suit your needs, pack up your bag and prepare for the most memorable Croatian sailing holiday!