I’d be lying if I told you this was a glamorous, lazy week of rest and relaxation. The Yacht Week is a crazy seven days of non-stop partying, drinking, splashing, dancing and tanning. As exhausting as it sounds, it’s an absolute blast and sailing with a bunch of like-minded yuppies could easily end up being some of the best days of your life!
I sailed the Adriatic not once, but twice! My initial trip in 2015 was so good I couldn’t bear to see through another year without going back. So that’s exactly what I did. As soon as bookings opened in October, I gathered a crew (two of which I had been with the year before) and booked a catamaran, ready for another week of pure hedonism.
My route this year was an upside-down version of the last, but we more-or less stuck to the same itinerary. Luckily we managed to bag ourselves another top hostess who guided our food shop for the week, kept us fed and watered and happily joined in on all the fun. She fast became a solid member of the family!
This is an example of the delights Angelica would make for us during the week. It was so important to keep eating at least two solid meals a day to soak up all the alcohol in our systems (and of course to fuel up for nights of dancing). Without a hostess, we would have struggled. Keeping a full catamaran clean is difficult enough, let alone cooking whilst on the move. Besides, it frees up time to appreciate being on open water and check out the beautiful scenery.
A couple of parties took place in the form of circle and tunnel rafts. This is where the cats and monohulls would carefully align themselves next to each other to form either a circle or two straight rows facing inwards.
Ropes are cast to hold the raft formation in shape and a party takes place in the middle! It’s a party you won’t have experienced elsewhere and you get to swim, float and dance to music under the heat of the sun, tucked away in a beautiful bay with no one else around for miles!
We stopped in Palmizana for three days, which is a small marina about a five minute boat ride from Hvar. It’s a tranquil place and home to one of my favourite cliffside bars, Laganini. The bar is the ultimate chill-out spot and perfect for escaping the sun for a delicious lunch on one of their loungers. Cocktails are served refreshingly cold and the truffle pasta is insanely good!
Hvar is home to a ridiculously fun beach bar, which serves cocktails by the vase! This is of course Hula Hula. Here you get to dance your afternoon away to a stunning sunset on the cliffs of this beautiful island and drink sugary cocktails to your hearts content!
A short boat trip away and you’ll find Carpe Diem Beach, a popular nightclub destination and Croatia’s party island whereby a whole beach is dedicated to dance, music and fun! This year to account for the large number of yachts, the white party was hosted here. Certainly an evening to remember! Champagne guns, dancing on table tops and a sea of young and carefree guys and girls dressed in white having the times of their lives.
Don’t forget to make a pit stop at Kiva Bar and order one of their signature helmet shots. These will be nothing like you’ve ever experienced. You get a strong bitter shot accompanied with a hard few bangs on the head with the shaker whilst you wear the helmet. It’s sure to leave you dizzier than you arrived!
Your days typically start off with an early-ish morning departure and pit-stop in a picturesque bay for breakfast or lunch and a swim. This is the ideal way to wash off a hangover and fuel up for the day ahead. Also a good chance to test the underwater camera!
With Hvar as the ultimate party destination, Vis stood out for me as a more bohemian destination for scenery, beauty and cuisine. We stayed one night at marinas on each side of the island, Vis and Komiza. There are some amazing food destinations on this island and plenty to choose from. If you fancy a couple of days to rest and recover you could easily choose to enjoy the comforts of a local dish and an early night.
Vis is definitely my favourite island on the route, it’s a picturesque escape and one day I’ll come back to rent a scooter and explore all corners of the island!
One of the best parties of the week is held at Fort George, a historic site on Vis built by the British in 1811 and named after the British King (King George III). The fort has had restoration and conservation works to preserve the site. From a high vantage point, Fort George boasts some incredible sunset views of the Adriatic and not to mention a pretty magical venue to dance the night away in.
Finally, the trip finishes with a day regatta. This is where all yachts take part in a final race back to Split. As the final day of sailing, you and your crew will go all out to co-ordinate fancy dress (if you still have the energy!) It’s a fun day that brings the entire route together and you get to spend the day costume-spotting and making the most of your last few hours at sea.
The sailing won this trip for me. The 2015 trip was my very first time spending more than a day on a catamaran and I loved every second of it. The sun, the salt spray, the wind in your hair and the incredible scenery makes you experience a type of freedom you can’t find elsewhere. Your crew become your family and if not already, friends for life. You get to meet and bond with people from all over the world (and in our case we were the only Brits on the trip which was a nice change!) and you create endless memories that will be with you for as long as you live.
The luxuries of hotel-life are thrown out of the window and you’re waking yourself up to a salt-water plunge in the sea and showers on the back of the boat. You embrace the beach-hair and use the salt water to perfect your natural mermaid curls and you spend nights outside, sleeping under the stars. Waking to the sun’s powerful morning rays on your face is heavenly.
This is a trip of a lifetime; it’s the Glastonbury of the sea and in my opinion the facilitator of true escapism. The Yacht Week’s strap line “Nothing like the real world” is a wholly accurate description of what it’s like being there, you really do lose all sense of time and place. Prepare to step into another world, a much better world, where fun, friends and freedom are the only words that matter.