Q: In which moment you realized you want to be a skipper? After all, this is a big responsibility.
A: I started skipping as a student while studying information technology at the University of Split. I was thinking about what I could do as a student to pay for tuition and this was an ideal opportunity because I love nature, sea and sailing.
Q: What was your first experience as a skipper on board like?
A: I remember well my first skipper engagement. The guests were a family from England. It was my first sail with the guests and their first contact with sailing on charter boats. I was nervous, but I didn’t want to show it. Preparation is the most important part before each sailing, which I did thoroughly well, introducing the guests to everything they can expect. After leaving, I earned their trust because they felt safe, which is most important for the guests when sailing.
Q: What was the craziest situation with guests on board?
A: The craziest situation was with a group of guys who had a stag weekend. One of the guys was so “happy” that he missed the boat we were on and went on someone else’s sailboat. When we were supposed to set sail from the marina, he was not there so we looked for him around the island. He finally called from the other island because the boat he was on sailed earlier in the morning.
Q: What was the most dangerous situation you encountered as a skipper?
A: The skipper’s most important task is to anticipate and avoid dangerous situations according to the “Safety First” rule. I start every sailing with this message because it is important that guests keep in mind that they are at sea that should be respected. Yet with all the effort, dangerous situations do happen. My most dangerous situation happened without guests on board. I was transferring a boat from Dubrovnik to Split and somewhere near cape Pelegrin, a strong wind blew and raised big waves. I thought I could pass, but the waves were getting bigger and eventually they were so big that I stood still with full engine power very close to shore. Eventually, the engine shut down and I was forced to use the sails and give up passing. Exhausted, I hid in a nearby marina until the wind eased.
Q: As a skipper, you have been in contact with hundreds of guests. What do they like the most about Croatia and what they complain about the most?
A: Most of the complaints are about the crowds when they charter boats in high season. But they forget that with the first jump into the sea. Major of visitors are amazed by the history of Croatia, diverse gastronomy and indented coastline. Among the younger ones, the favourite destination is Hvar, if we are talking about Central Dalmatia, while families and the more mature population like quieter places and bays.
Q: Many of our visitors may not know you are also an IT manager within Orvas Yachting. How an IT guy ends up being a skipper?
A: Well, it’s more about love for the sea and sailing. Being a skipper is, as you mentioned earlier, a very big responsibility. It is not always easy to balance safety and guest requirements. That is why I would recommend to all guests to be as open as possible in communication with the skipper and ready to compromise. After all, it is important for the skipper that you are satisfied, but the skipper must not compromise safety.
Q: You’re also a big fan of regattas. In how many you have participated so far and what was the highlight moment of all of them?
A: So far, I have sailed about 250 regattas. It’s a great pleasure that I really enjoy. Sailing in crewed sailboats is a team sport where synchronous cooperation of all crew members is required to reach the finish line. It can be exhausting, but the party at the end of the competition makes up for it all.
Q: Can you remember the craziest request by guests while on board?
A: So far, the craziest request was to sail day and night without sailing into port for 7 days. I explained to them that I had to get some sleep too and that we were not equipped for that kind of adventure. It might have been feasible with prior arrangements, with three skippers taking turns every 8 hours, but they gave up the demand when they realized that one skipper could not cover such a voyage.
Q: As a skipper, you are operating in the Adriatic Sea. Which are the main reasons why people should choose Croatia as a destination for their vacation?
A: It is in the heart of Europe, beautiful sea, rich history and gastronomy and finally an excellent sea infrastructure for charter boats, which is constantly being upgraded. Croatia is the leader in sailboat chartering so if you like sailing and the joy of nature, it’s the best choice.
Q: Can you describe how workday as a skipper looks like?
A: It depends on the arrangement with the guest. The morning begins with procuring the necessary things for the day, filling a tank of water, solving the paperwork for sailing out of the marina. A standard skipper’s day includes 4-5 hours of navigation on average. I would not recommend longer navigation, it is best to visit one place per day, spend the night and move on in the morning. I usually arrange an itinerary with the guests on the first day, noting that we will monitor the weather conditions every day and adapt to them.
Q: To conclude, what is the best advice you can give to junior skippers and anyone considering becoming a skipper one day on a charter boat?
A: The guest pays for the service, try to get the best possible service without compromising security. Be honest and direct from the beginning, surely everyone will appreciate it.