The spontaneous things in life are often the best. And so we promptly agree when asked if we wouldn’t like to go sailing for a week in Croatia. The boat was to be a new, spacious 45 foot Lagoon sailing cat. Without haste, the islands of Solta, Vis and Hvar, not too far away, were to be sailed from Trogir, and there was to be plenty of free time. Lunch should be cooked on board, and in the evening the local restaurants should be tested. A side trip to the picturesque port of Maslinica on Solta with a visit to the Martinis Marchi castle restaurant was also planned. That sounded pretty darn good, we booked a flight to Split and packed our sailing bags. Tip from the SeaHelp editors.
Just a few days later, we landed at Split’s now modernized and expanded airport, whose only drawback so far may be that you can’t (yet) check in online in advance for flights leaving here. A cab takes us in a few minutes to the old town of Trogir, 15 kilometers to the east, where the driver tells us that we’d better walk from the north gate to the center, because the small streets are simply too narrow for his cab.
Dobar Dan Trogir!
We check into the charming little Old Town Hotel Monika in Trogir, where our crew spends the first night before heading to the boat the next day. Our crew is a motley crew – and consists of three experienced sailors as well as three charter novices. We discuss the cruise plan in the evening at dinner in the garden (well hidden from the outside) of the specialty restaurant Calebotta in the heart of Trogir – with excellent Dalmatian wines. Vive la spontanéité!
The next morning begins with a guided tour of the pretty, winding and fortunately at this time still deserted UNESCO World Heritage town of Trogir, which was already known as the Greek settlement of Tragurion in the third century BC. After the fall of Venice in 1797, Trogir was Austrian almost continuously until 1918, when it fell to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Later it became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and since 1991 Trogir has been part of the independent state of Croatia.
Then we pack our duffel bags and take a cab boat for the short water trip to Baotic Marina to the west, where our Lagoon 450F, freshly cleaned and refueled, is already waiting for us. After a quick dinner at the marina (wonderful: black seafood risotto!), drinks and food are stashed, there’s a boat check and a safety briefing, and we’re already leaving the lively marina at this time of day – it’s Saturday, which means crew changes for most of the charter companies based here.
A must: cruise stop in Maslinica on Solta
After an obligatory swim stop at anchor, we pass the archipelago with the seven islands of Polebrnjak, Saskinja, Stipanska, Kamik, Balkun, Rudula and Grmej, chug slowly into Maslinica marina and prepare for our mooring maneuver: Fenders out, two of which we attach aft to the bathing platforms, and two mooring lines aft are also ready. Tip: it’s best to reserve the berth in advance!
A friendly marina employee instructs us on how to reverse (the only drawback of the otherwise wonderful Lagoon 450F is that you can’t easily see the stern of the boat from the helm), takes the lines and hands us the mooring lines. Moor, install gangway, connect shore power. Engines off. Mooring sip. Welcome to Maslinica!
There are those who claim that Maslinica is one of the most beautiful Adriatic towns because of its archipelago. We stroll through the small town, sip espresso across from the marina on the other side of the harbor, and take a refreshing swim at the southwestern tip of the island. It’s hot – very hot, and the locals spend a lot of time in the water, sometimes swimming, sometimes standing, chatting, but always with a hat on their heads.
Visit the castle of the noble Marchi family
The settlement itself was built around the castle of the noble Marchi family, completed in 1708, an employee of the exclusive Martinis Marchi estate explains to us during a small guided tour of the castle, in front of which our Lagoon quietly jerks on its mooring lines.
Because of the frequent pirate attacks, the Marchi brothers Ivan-Peter, Jurai and Ivan demanded permission from the Venetian governor to build a castle and tower to defend the entire settlement, the young woman explains. And that nowadays you can rent it as an apartment for a measly 750 euros a night (the other suites are a bit cheaper, she says), because the 300-year-old castle has been extensively renovated in recent years and converted into an elegant luxury hostel with its own heli-pad.
Hotel, marina and restaurant under the sign of the dragon
A marina, where the owner’s large, white motor yacht also swoops, and a posh restaurant – all emblazoned with the family crest, a crowned, fire-breathing dragon with a sword – are also part of Martini’s Marchi today. We end the evening in the noble castle-hotel restaurant with a view of the marina and our lagoon (tip: reserve a table beforehand!) and dine like the Counts of Maslinica once did on traditional dishes based on original recipes from the Marchi era and a delicious French Chateau Les Crostes, which the owner grows himself. Zdravica – to your health!