Voyage of Nepomuk

Montenegro and Croatia, Fall 2005

by Peter Homann



The primary sailing region of “Nepomuk” is and for this particular voyage was the Southeastern Adriatic with start and finish in Bar, Montenegro. The country is currently in a union with Serbia, hence it’s official name “Republic of Serbia and Montenegro”. The alliance was mandated by the European Union after the Yugoslavian war and will likely dissolve in May 2006. Montenegro already enjoys a great deal of autonomy, so is the official currency the Euro, rather than the Dinar in Serbia

For quite some years smuggling was a mainstay of Montenegro’s economy; cigarettes were taken illegally into Italy, just 80 nm across the Adriatic. The EU finally put an end to it, threatening to withdraw financial aide and the tools of the once lucrative trade (pic 2: Smuggler) are now for sale in Montenegrin ports: asking price for this one is 350,000.00 Euros, approx. US $ 420,000.00, allegedly the boat can run 140 knots, the Italian Navy had nothing to compete with her. 



A completely different type of vessel captured my heart though: Many tales surround “Divna” (pic 3: Divna 1), she may have been the private yacht of Montenegro’s King “Nikola” who possibly bought her from Jules Verne, the French author. Her history is an exciting mélange of fact and fiction, not unlike Verne’s novels. King’s ship or not, she is a beauty in desolate shape; deserving to be restored; if I only had the means...


While my budget does not allow me to bring “Divna” back to glory, it affords me “Nepomuk”, I am quite proud of her and now is the time to put her into the water.  

Let’s go

This voyage would take me back to Croatia. I was scheduled to meet my guests Todd and Louise in Cavtat on September 25. They are a sailing couple from Utah with a life-long dream to sail the Croatian islands who had hooked up with me through a sailor’s-forum and Nepomuk’s website . Now I would introduce them to the country that was a second home to me.


Southern area, from Bar to Polace


Friday, 9/ 23/ 05, Bar to Bigova, Montenegro

In the morning I ran the necessary errands to clear out of Montenegro. The Harbor-Captain was first; we know each other, the whole affair took but 2 minutes. On to the customs-department. The officer on duty did not feel like working (a quite common attitude of officials on the Balkans) as his shift ended in 30 minutes; fortunately the new guy felt like earning a pay-check. He produced a huge binder, containing documents of all ship-arrivals (commercial and pleasure) since January. The papers were not organized at all and one can imagine how long it took to find “Nepomuk’s” little file. The final visit at the police-station was a matter of minutes; still it was almost noon when I returned to the boat.

Most Mediterranean countries take formalities not too seriously but this was Montenegro and Croatia with their unique relations. I had cleared out of Montenegro, “Nepomuk” was already flying Q yet there was no way to reach Croatia before sundown. A night-run alone..? Pedra, my slip-neighbor merely stated: “Don’t worry, if someone asks tell them you have engine-problems, you should have engine-problems in Bigova, it’s nice there.” 

Leaving Bar at 12:00, wind was NW at 15 kn in compliance with the saying there is either no wind on the Adriatic or it comes from the wrong direction. This was Maestral the fair-weather wind on the Adriatic and I enjoyed beating under blue skies, “Nepomuk” was stretching her legs at 6 kn. After passing Budva I recovered the sails at 18:00 and following Pedra’s suggestion motored into Bigova. He had been right; this was my kind of place... and no authorities who could have asked.

Total: 34 nm (sail: 28 / motor: 6)



Saturday, 9/ 24, Bigova / Montenegro to Cavtat / Croatia

In the morning I took a stroll through town: people were friendly, striking up chats as to who I was, where I was from and where I would go. A small grocery store carried basic foods and beverages, a few restaurants and most importantly: no tourists. It felt like going back to the time before a terrible war had scarred this country and her people. I would have loved to stay longer but there was a schedule to keep.

Leaving Bigova at 9:30, wind was still NW at 8 kn, shifting to NNW during the day, increasing slightly. Nonetheless it was slow sailing and I arrived in Cavtat, my Croatian port of entry at 19:30. The customs-pier was easy to spot with offices of the Harbor-Captain, police and customs conveniently located in the same building across the street. Officials were all very friendly and asked me to come back tomorrow as (yes you guessed it) they did not feel like working since it was late. At least in regards to their work-ethics the once bitter enemies seemed to share common ground.

Cavtat is essentially a peninsula and I decided to anchor in the Southern bay just off shore from the office-building.


“Nepomuk” was secure at 20:30. The location turned out to be choppy and noisy: charter-planes approaching nearby Cilipi airport seemed to go directly over the masthead all night long. There was also sudden swell into the bay making for an uncomfortable night; not an anchorage to recommend. But I had arrived safely and was well within schedule. Tomorrow I would look for Todd and Louise.

Total: 41 nm (29 sail, 5 motor/sail, 7 motor)

Sunday, 9/ 25, Cavtat to Komolac / Croatia

Getting up the first order of business was to swim around the boat and dive under it, one of the superstitions aboard “Nepomuk”.

Pliva Pliva, Serbocroatic “Swim swim”

Afterwards I took the dinghy to shore and completed entry-formalities at the Harbor Master’s office “Lucka Kapetanija”. Now I had to find my guests; they were staying at a small hotel called Haus am Meer, which translates to “house at the sea”.

Todd and Louise were just getting up when I arrived. We discussed details of the voyage. Daniela, the helpful owner of “Haus am Meer” drove us around town to get needed supplies. Unfortunately some items were only available at ACI Marina “Komolac” near Dubrovnik. I would sail “Nepomuk” to the Marina as Todd and Louise wanted to explore Cavtat, they would follow by public transportation and embark in Komolac tomorrow.

Leaving Cavtat at 13:15 I passed one of the most famous cities on the Adriatic, perhaps the Mediterranean: Dubrovnik. I have visited this marvel many times since 1978 and would not know where to begin a report on her... much less how to end it. So let me just encourage everybody: Place Dubrovnik high on your list of places to see. 


Wind was NW at a mere 5 kn, I did not even bother with the sails and motored into Komolac at 18:00, a welcome return to this safe and well-run Marina.

Total: 14 nm (motor 14)

Monday, 9/ 26, Komolac to Okuklje / Croatia

The chain of ACI Marinas is known for their comparatively high standards along the Croatian shore; “Komolac” is no exception. The needed supplies were readily available, shopping and storing was soon done with time left for sunbathing and swimming in the pool. Todd and Louise arrived just short of noontime, boarded and we were under way at 12:15. Wind was NW at 6 to 10 kn, perfect conditions for Todd to get acquainted with “Nepomuk”; he quite obviously enjoyed steering the boat and caught on quickly although it must have been quite a change from his tiller-steered Catalina 25. Sadly wind all but died on the Southern tip of “Sipan” island, we motored into “Mljetski Kanal”, where wind increased to 12 kn thanks to the funnel between “Mljet” island to the West and the Croatian mainland to the East.

It may be important to explain a few particulars about the Croatian shore at this point: 

Most islands in the region are rather mountainous, stretch from the NW to the SE and are long but narrow in shape, creating channels that serve as funnels for most wind-conditions. Even, say a wind at ENE may turn NW in the channels, locally known as “jets”. In addition to dramatic changes in wind direction, force will almost certainly increase, sometimes quadruple...! Many inexperienced sailors have rounded an island to see sails flopping all over the place, boats heeling heavily and on occasion canvas turning to shreds. 

In our current situation the increase in force was welcome and we tacked into “Okuklje” at 18:30, tying up at the restaurant “Maran”.


I know the owner from prior visits: docking is free of charge; in return the crew is expected to eat dinner at the restaurant. Water quality and temperature in the picturesque cove mandated an evening swim right off the transom.

Total: 29 nm (sail: 21, motor: 8)

Tuesday, 9/ 27, Okuklje to Korcula / Croatia

Rather early in the morning Todd and I hiked to the village-chapel on top of a hill featuring a beautiful view over the cove, nearby islands and the mainland.

Okuklje, entrance

On our way back we bought some croissants for breakfast and left this quaint place at 9:00 towards the island of “Korcula”. Most Croatian islands also carry a town of the same name, which can be confusing. I usually clarify by adding either island or town to the location’s name.

The day began with wind from NW at 4 kn; even the jet did not do anything for us, so we motored for quite some time. We took a detour through the archipelago of “Polace” and marked the area as safe anchorage in any condition.

Northern area, Polace - Vis - Polace

Approaching the Island of Korcula we noted a gradual increase and found 15 + kn approaching the Eastern mouth of “Korculanski Kanal”. By now Todd and I worked well together and we managed to gain on what I believed to be a larger Halberg Rassy, approx. 1 nm ahead of us. But we became a bit insolent and messed up one tack thoroughly... the HR was gone.

The jet between Korcula-island and the peninsula of Peljesac is very popular with windsurfers from around the world, while tradition is still thriving which became evident near the entrance to ACI Marina Korcula at 16:30.

Tradition & Moderne


Docking here is always tricky due to the narrow lay-out and frequent cross-winds. The situation today was a true challenge but we lay safely after zigzagging backwards through the tight-spots.

Docking 101


Total: 41 nm (sail: 21, motor: 15, motor/sail: 5)


Wednesday, 9/ 28, Korcula to Palmizana / Croatia

The town of Korcula is very likely Marco Polo’s birthplace and has subsequently developed into a prime destination with British tourists leading the pack. Tranquility can still be found outside high-season or early in the morning which we used for a stroll through town.

Korcula, boat


Korcula, gun

Louise fell in love with the village and especially enjoyed our visit to the local produce-market. Fresh figs were in season, apparently not readily available in Utah.

We left at 9:00 and found hardly any wind all the way to the uninhabited island of “Scedro” where in a deja-vu to yesterday the early signs of the jet emerging from “Pakleni Kanal” produced NW at 9 kn., increasing to 18 kn in the channel. We tacked towards the city of Hvar as visiting here was Todd’s expressed wish: Several years ago he had come across the photo of a quaint, yet unknown town and painted a water-color based on the depiction. Now he was sailing towards the real thing at 6 kn. 


One could see how much he enjoyed it. Unfortunately there was no room at the quay or anchorage, going ashore would have to wait until tomorrow.

We crossed the channel to spend the night at ACI Marina Palmizana on the island of “Sv. Klement”, my favorite Marina in all of Croatia. The pictures on the BYOA-website “Nepomuk at the dock” and “stern view” are taken here. We were safely moored at 18:30.

Total: 49 nm (sail: 18, motor/sail: 13, motor: 18)

Thursday, 9/ 29, Palmizana and Hvar to Komiza / Croatia

Our intention was to take the water-taxi to Hvar, where room for docking or anchoring is always scarce. We would explore the city and have lunch there. Upon return to Palmizana we would head west through the channel, hang port at “Vodnjak Vela” and make for the island of “Vis”. Great plan but unfortunately the earliest water-taxi departs at 10:20, too late for our itinerary.

Leaving Marina Palmizana at 9:30, we hoped to find a space for “Nepomuk” in the crowded port of Hvar and as luck would have it we arrived just as a beautiful Grand Soleil was getting on her way. We quickly occupied her spot, anchored in 8 meters (approx. 25 ft.) of water and went ashore by dinghy.

Hvar, harbor (“Nepomuk” at anchor in the middle of pic)

The city of Hvar is a very popular tourist-destinations and important ferry-port, yet somehow manages to preserve innocent charms. 

Hvar, plaza

The region alleges to have the most hours of sunshine in all of Croatia: an average of 2,715 per year. Hotels advertise a 50% discount if it rains and a full refund if it snows. Do not count on tangible savings though: it never happens...

True to the claim Hvar presented us with a gorgeous day: clear blue sky and plenty of sunshine above a dark blue sea. Louise bought some nice pieces of local “Filigran”-jewelry. We had a delicious lunch, with Todd discovering a taste for “Raznici” a local dish that was difficult to pronounce but easy to enjoy. Visiting here had been Todd’s dream, he savored every minute of it. 

Priatno, Serbocroatic “Enjoy your meal”


We left town at 14:30, now backtracking our own keel-waters through the eastern part of Pakleni Kanal, then turning starboard for Vis; it would be my first visit to the remote island.

Wind had shifted since yesterday to NE at 4 kn, increasing steadily. We were on a dead run, the one point of sail I truly hate, not only due to angled spreaders. Approaching the Northern shore of Vis-island we encountered dolphins, a group of 5 or 6 animals.

Dupin, Serbocroatic “Dolphin”


It was exciting to see them as the Adriatic dolphin was believed to be extinct only a few years ago. Wind now exceeded 15 kn and after rounding the western tip of Vis we were beam-reaching at 7.9 kn, a record for “Nepomuk”. Wind was still increasing even in the lee of the island. In all the excitement about dolphins, boat-speed and the imminent landfall on a new island I did not read the writing on the wall.

We came into “Komiza” at 18:30. The harbor was impressive, secured by a massive breakwater, mooring-lines were 1 inch thick and had been attached far out in the middle of the bay, making for an extremely shallow angle, this arrangement was made to withstand serious force. The fishermen of Komiza are said to be the most knowledgeable on the Adriatic; a reputation supported by the design of their home-port.

Komiza, breakwater

Friends had recommended the restaurant Konoba Bako and it turned out to have a unique ambience: The former boathouse has operational fishing-boats moored inside as the ground floor is sea-level.

It was rather late when we returned from dinner; a closer look at Komiza would have to wait until tomorrow. As always I checked the mooring-lines before turning in and noticed a rather large Catamaran trying to find anchorage in the middle of the bay. Wind was well above 10 kn creating choppy seas even in the harbor and I was glad to sleep safely moored stern-to rather than on an anchored Cat.

Total: 31 nm (sail: 28, motor: 3)

Friday, 9/ 30, 3:00 AM, Komiza / Croatia

Generally I sleep well but light on the boat, sounds like a contradiction but those of you who sail will understand. You will also agree to check immediately if something does not feel right because it usually isn’t..!

I woke up from some strange scarring sound; the boat was rocking noticeably but her movement felt normal, wind whistled loud through the rigging and then there was this sound again... I opened the hatch above my berth, wind coming over the starboard bow hit with force almost slamming the handle out of my hand. Cold seawater blew into my face, there was a lot of activity on the boat to starboard, the church-bells were ringing, people running on the promenade and only a few boat-lengths ahead was the Cat, illuminated by her deck-lights, revving engine, bow-thruster and windlass, crew hustling back and forth. I secured the hatch, threw on a few clothes and rushed up the companionway. “Nepomuk’s” stern was awfully close to the quay; I checked the stern-lines, both showed considerable slack, we had moved back. Rushing forward I found both bow-moorings well cleated and rock tight. The Cat apparently was getting things under control, had recovered her dragging anchor and was making for the middle of the bay. I started the engine, moved the boat forward until both stern-lines were stretched, kept it in gear, went forward where the mooring lines now had slack which I took in almost completely. I switched the engine off and eased the stern-lines a tad: the boat lay secure with enough distance to the quay. This technique has always worked for me; one must pay attention to the stern-lines when first docking though. 

Something my neighbors apparently hadn’t: their boat veered heavily to port and was hitting the quay with her stern, only one bow-mooring had been placed, subsequently they could not use the engine, it would have increased the boat’s bad angle. Righting the yacht was tough manual work but our joint efforts finally succeeded.

By now many villagers had arrived on the quay, following the call of the church bells. Some were assisting the Cat tying up alongside vessels of the local fishing-fleet; others secured visitor’s yachts and their own fishing-boats. Things were getting under control. Wind was NE with gales to 38 kn: Bora.

Bracing against wind and froth I joined a group of locals on the quay who reiterated the events. A crew of fishermen had met at their vessel to go fishing but decided conditions were too rough; on their way home they noticed the Cat adrift, her dragging anchor probably hit the concrete-cube that my bow-moorings are attached to, pushing “Nepomuk” astern and waking me up. 

Croatian Mooring System


Noticing the danger to most boats they had sounded the alarm ringing the church bells.

I went below; it was about 4:00 in the morning only one hour had passed but one eventful hour. Todd was awake, we chatted a little over some hot tea and checked once more on the lines before turning in for the rest of the, ...well morning.



It may be necessary to explain this storm-phenomenon:


The Bora is perhaps the most fascinating and feared wind, or better weather system on the Eastern Adriatic. There are cyclonic and anti-cyclonic forms with thousands of local variants but in a nutshell: Cold air from the Northwest gets trapped behind the “Dinaric Alps”; these mountains have few valleys, creating a huge wall along the shoreline. (file 3: “Velebit und Manne”, taken in April 2003) Since cold air is heavier than warm air the mass continues to fill in; eventually flowing over the crest, gushing down to the sea. The tumultuous event can begin from one second to another and may occur in closely defined areas, known as “Bora-alleys”, where topography lends a helping hand. I have seen cars being pushed off the road and into the sea, while I was driving a few hundred meters behind... in calm air.

Our system must have been building gradually for quite some time, slowly creating an enormous mass with the potential to affect a large area. I should have noticed the possibility for emerging Bora conditions in Hvar when the wind began shifting to NE.   

Any island or barrier produces a different type of Bora, creating countless local variations. Direction, strength and duration of Bora are oftentimes a guessing-game. Some traditional storm tactics will not work either: the gales are naturally strongest leeward the given barrier. Either get into open water with lots of sea-room or carefully select shelter in a Bora-proof harbor.



Friday, 9/ 30, Komiza to Vela Luka / Croatia

The storm relented after daybreak and true to the Croatian proverb ”Bora scrubs” a nice morning emerged. 

Komiza, harbor-view

Nothing reminded of the mayhem only a few hours ago. Todd was glad to find the “Male Karte” in one of Komiza’s maritime stores. He had admired the set of charts covering the Croatian coast and islands which I use for navigation on “Nepomuk”; it was the perfect souvenir. Komiza is a rugged town with hard working people, who live off the land and sea and are much in tune with nature. The way they handled last night’s crisis was impressive and probably thanks to Italy’s geographic proximity their bistro-cafes offered the best Cappuccino, what else could one ask for? Komiza quickly made my list of favorites.

Even the weather-forecast was favorable, calling for moderate seas, wind NE at BF 4, indicating the Bora was on her way out; perfect conditions to reach our next destination: the island of Lastovo.

We left Komiza at 11:15; getting under way became a tricky maneuver with crosswinds at 15 kn. in the harbor. We motored South between the islands of Vis and Bisevo, making height for a close reach towards Lastovo. Wind was NE at 20 kn. already exceeding the forecast. This was atypical by all standards: Any Croatian kid knows that the “Bora goes to lunch”, meaning she is weakest around early afternoon. Perhaps she did not find a restaurant today as wind continued to increase. We reefed the main twice in short succession, this was “Nepomuk-weather”, the boat handled well and we were gaining on a yacht ahead of us.


I do not quite recall the chronology of the following events: the GPS lost signal, Louise noticed the dinghy had flipped over and I ripped the Furlex in an attempt to reef the Genoa. We had gone from contender in an offshore-regatta to a bouncing hull within a few minutes.

First was damage control: Todd did a great job at the helm while I took the Genoa in by hand, getting trenched and tossed about on the bow. After a short break I hauled in the dinghy, secured it with Todd’s help and finally got sick below trying to get the GPS on line. Louise also suffered despite Dramamine but kept a brave smile. It was clearly time to abandon our original plans and search for alternatives. The nearest port offering shelter in these conditions was “Vela Luka” on the island of Korcula, East of our position. The GPS finally came back to life, we plotted a direct course and had to help with the engine as we could not sail that close to the wind under sole main, now in third reef. I had been the target of interesting comments after fitting the main with a third reef-line two years ago, unfortunately none of these experts was on board right now. 

Wind exceeded 35 kn, seas to 2 meters (approx. 6 ft.). We made 5 kn. and would have to go another 3 to 4 hours before reaching protected waters. It was amazing how well the boat handled despite being crippled; Todd was equally impressed and continued to steer allowing me to rest.

We entered the inlet to “Vela Luka” at 17:30, staying clear off the northern shore avoiding the most dangerous gales. Wind and sea became calmer as the inlet extends 2 nm deep into Korcula-island becoming narrower towards Vela Luka. We found the guest-quay along with astonished looks from boaters already moored here. Apparently not many pleasure-boats sailed in these conditions. 

Docking was stern-to as usual but since no mooring-lines were available, we had to use the anchor securing the bow. After our experience in Komiza, I needed to be convinced that the anchor had perfectly set; it took three attempts until I was satisfied. “Nepomuk” was wounded but safely docked at 18:30.

We were all tired and turned in early; assessment of damages and repairs would have to wait until tomorrow.

Total: 42 nm (sail: 18, motor/sail: 18, motor: 6)

Saturday, 10/ 01, Vela Luka / Croatia

Initially it was an uneasy night; wind in the harbor was N at 12 to 14 kn., fortunately the local variant of the Bora hit us directly on the nose, seas were negligible and we all slept well once certain that “Nepomuk” and the boats next to us lay safely.

Todd and I checked on the Furlex in the morning. The line had not ripped but been pulled out of it’s attachment inside the drum. We concluded that there was no winding left when I attempted to reef the Genoa, the drum could not rotate, increased force eventually caused the damage. Repair was rather easy with the owner’s manual and a few small parts from the well-stocked hardware-store.

Today Bora did go to lunch and we enjoyed strolling through windy but pleasant Vela Luka, a no-frills working town. We found a small Internet-cafe and accessed the website of the Croatian maritime weather service: NE, BF 6, gales 8 today; NE, BF 4, gales 5 tomorrow. I did not trust the official forecast and asked a group of men working on their boats about their feelings: “Rough today, fine tomorrow.” Consensus between satellites and fishermen. Guess which was more reassuring...

We decided to stay in Vela Luka for the day, so how about cleaning the boat? Unfortunately my water-hose was too short to reach from the spigot. Our neighbors, two British couples had earlier been topping off their water tanks. Now they were taking tea in the cockpit. Was “Rule Britannia...” only playing in my head?

I was most certainly welcome to use the royal blue garden hose and gave “Nepomuk” a well deserved bath, hosed down the dinghy and secured it on the foredeck. Returning the hose, the Queen’s female subjects had moved on to biscuits and marmalade, while the Gents tried to control newspapers in the Bora and enjoyed potent brown beverages. “... Britannia rules the waves! “, this was no imagination. 

The Ladies thought some vegetables in exchange for using the hose “darling” and Lord Nelson’s descendants decided “Nepomuk” was a “bloody splendid name for a yacht”. While chatting a new arrival moved in: Croatian flagged charter-boat with a German couple aboard. These guys must have been through quite a bit out there, so I decided to assist them tying up. Just as they were moored, a slightly nervous French skipper from the far end figured that his anchor-chain was now lying underneath theirs. Unless he had stacked several hundred feet this was hardly possible but he insisted. Translating his concerns to the newcomers they took another spot, right next to our British tea-party. As they backed in, the exhaust spurt water into the royal dinghy, which caused 4 pairs of simultaneously rising eyebrows, no words were exchanged but utter disgust over the ineptitude of inferior sea-faring nations was quite evident. “The Royal Navy is still afloat...” I successfully diluted the building tension.

We all had a good time at the quay in Vela Luka.

Vela Luka, European Parliament

Sunday, 10/ 02, Vela Luka to Polace / Croatia

In the morning we moved into place at the gas-station, refueled and left Vela Luka at 10:15. There was no wind all the way to the village of Brna on the Southern coast of Korcula-island, where we found SE at 5 kn. slowly increasing to 7 kn. This was the beginning of a Southern stream called “Scirocco” in the Med and “Yugo” in Croatia, which brings warm and humid air, oftentimes rain and sometimes thunderstorms. For now it gave us just enough wind to put the repaired Furlex to a test, which it passed successfully. We motored into “Polace” on the island of Mljet at 19:30, virtually closing our loop around the islands of Korcula and Vis. On the first part of our journey we had visited the area briefly, now we anchored to spend the night.

Mljet, approach to Polace

Total: 46 nm. (sail: 21, motor: 25)


Southern area, Polace to Bar (blue lines)

Monday, 10/ 03, Polace to Cavtat / Croatia

Anchorman Todd

It was clear by anchor at 7:00 since we had a long leg ahead of us. Todd and Louise were already one day behind their original schedule. We would have to reach at least Dubrovnik at Marina Komolac or better Cavtat.

Immediately after leaving the Polace archipelago we found SE at 8 kn, increasing in the jet of Mljetski Kanal. This was classic Yugo, along with “Ostro” and the rare “Lebic” local variants of the Mediterranean “Scirocco”, warm southern winds originating in Africa’s Sahara desert. Yugo inevitably brings humidity, fog and rain and builds sizable surf as it covers a large area of sea before reaching the Croatian shores while the cold Bora produces much smaller, choppy waves. Yugo is more predictable though and once the system of rain that accompanies him has passed, so has the Yugo.

Ironically we were now tacking against the Southern Yugo where we had been tacking against the Northern Maestral in the beginning of our journey. Since you have become informed insiders you know: there is either no wind on the Adriatic or it comes from the wrong direction...

Wind increased well above 20 kn, we reefed the main once: “Nepomuk-weather”. Near Dubrovnik the cruise-ship “Millennium” was on her way to sea. We were close hauled on a starboard tack she came from our port side and needed room. I would have gladly tacked and called to find out her intentions. The officer in charge declined the offer, moved to starboard and passed our stern. Oftentimes big ships do not take us seriously, much less care about our right of way; I was impressed.


We arrived in Cavtat at 18:15; Todd captured our approach and final berth directly in front of the promenade. In the evening we celebrated the safe arrival with a delicious dinner at restaurant Leut

Todd and Louise disembarked here; tomorrow I would return to Montenegro.

Total: 65 nm (sail: 60, motor: 5)

Tuesday, 10/ 04, Cavtat / Croatia to Zelenika and Herceg-Novi / Montenegro 

In the morning I got the boat ready, spent the last “Kuna” and cleared out of Croatia. “Nepomuk” was heading for home at 10:00. Yugo persisted: SE at 15 kn, making for a close haul and long tacks.


I had no particular destination for today other than getting closer to home and into Montenegrin waters, which would require landfall at an official port of entry. A visit to the bay of Kotor had been on my list for quite some time, so I decided to enter the fjord-like “Boka Kotorska”, use “Zelenika” for the formalities and spend the night in nearby “Herceg-Novi”.

Zelenika turned out to be little more than one gigantic yet run-down customs-pier, obviously constructed for freighters. Calm conditions in the bay made docking feasible. The officials were friendly as usual but somewhat ceremonious; a stark contrast to their office-booths, which desperately needed repair. 

After completion of the customary chat, accompanying coffee and mandated formalities it was on to Herceg-Novi a mere 2 nm west however some treacherous reefs require careful navigation.

Herceg-Novi, reef

“Nepomuk” found a berth alongside the quay and lay safely at 18:45 with rain moving in: the Yugo was coming to an end.

Herceg-Novi, harbor-view (“Nepomuk” at the end of quay)

I went to dinner but postponed the walk through town hoping the front would pass during the night. 

Total: 43 nm (sail: 37, motor: 6)

Wednesday, 10/ 05, Herceg Novi to Bar / Montenegro

I got up early to explore the village, drizzle continued mixed with short down-pours, typical end stages of a Yugo-period. Herceg-Novi is one hilly town with thousands of stairs. The lovely old town is home to a truly authentic produce-market. I promised myself an extended visit in the near future.

Herceg-Novi, stari grad, Serbocroatic “old town”

Leaving at 9:15 I found SE turning SSE at 12 kn, acceptable for my course. This was a slow-moving system as drizzle and down-pours continued all morning; on the upside it washed the salt off the sails. Maybe for that reason I enjoy sailing in the rain, which abruptly ended at 13:00, the sun came out, the wind all but died an hour later, it was the end of the Yugo.

It was also the end of this voyage. Standing on the bow I could already see the oil-tanks of Bar through my binoculars. While not exactly pretty they have become my welcome-home beacon. It had been an interesting journey: majestic Dubrovnik, the quaint hamlets of Bigova and Okuklje, buzzing tourist towns on Korcula and Hvar islands, tough working villages Komiza and Vela Luka. The Adriatic had thrown a lot at us: friendly Maestral early, a full grown Bora storm later and naughty Yugo towards the end. “Nepomuk” had carried us safely over 470 nm, 307 under sail, 134 by motor and 29 motorsailing, offering not only a platform to explore wonderful places but providing a home in foreign countries and shelter from the elements. It was a bit emotional as we moved into Marina Sv. Nikola at 16:30; hope to return soon, buddy.

Total: 35 nm (sail: 26, motor: 9)