Couples cruising in Croatia-or anywhere the wind blows.
This is not a story about swingers!
It is however about choosing your partners very carefully.
Travel partners that is.
Especially if you decide to share, not just time, but a small sailing boat.
You may think a holiday exploring the Dalmatian Coast with long time friends or a couple you think you know really well and have experienced many other adventures with, should be smooth sailing.
There can be a sea of problems if you don’t carefully choose the couple you travel with and the close confines of a catamaran has highlighted just how important the selection criteria can be.
We hired a skippered four-berth 38ft catamaran called the “Mumu” to spend a week visiting just a sprinkle of the over 1000 islands of Croatia and the stunningly beautiful, blue bays that attract around 14 millions tourists to the country each year.
The first compatibility test starts at the planning stage.
Is there someone who wants to do the work to find the right boat for the right price for the right time of the year?
Are the other members of the foursome happy to let someone take over or is it a case of group meetings and a swamping of emails to ensure all is happy?
This could sound warning bells early, so if they start ringing maybe it’s not too late to reassess your choice of travel mates.
The hot list to choosing the right
swinging sailing partners.
Arguably the most critical item.
From the point of hiring a boat to eating out to buying food and cooking on board to choosing whether to moor for the night (it costs to dock in a marina) everyone has to agree. So choose another couple from the same socio-economic band.
You don’t want to always be paying for dinner at an island restaurant if you can’t afford it and in reverse you don’t want to be shopping for provisions and cooking a meal if that is not your idea of a break.
Our hire cost about $4000 each couple and for an extra $1500 we went with a skipper so we had a local taking us to the right places, but opted out of the extra $1000 a week for a cook, deciding we would do breakfasts and most lunches on board but eat dinner ashore for the week.
Keep a Kitty.
Aside from the set costs there are quite a few extras that come up as suddenly as a change in the weather.
-Mooring fees approx. 500 kuna ($100) per night to dock at a a marina or half that to anchor to a buoy. We tried to find a beautiful bay each night and drop our anchor which doesn’t cost anything (most of the time).
-Fuel for the engine if there’s no wind
-Fuel for the tender boat if you don’t moor
-Paying for the skipper’s dinner
The best way to keep equality in the costs is start the sail with a generous kitty.
We each contributed the same amount into the kitty and paid for everything from there- all boat expenses, food, drink, ice etc..
You just need a reliable person to take hold of the kitty. Luckily and purely by chance we choose an accountant and his wife as our couple cruise partners.
(I’m sure there are accountants that swing so this is advice that could be useful for those who swing and sail)
If you travel with a couple that likes to drink and you don’t, or worse if you travel with a couple that doesn’t drink and you do, then the kitty is likely to sink.
We purchased beers for the boys, wine for me, rum for my friend, gin for most and we all liked limoncello. (It’s not just a nightcap in Italy, Croatians seem to like it as well)
So we bought it all from the kitty and all were happy regardless if we wanted to drink more or less each day.
(Does alcohol aid or inhibit swinging?)
Getting agreement on whether to cook or not, eat out or not, means this is usually an easy task. Buy enough for a couple of days and a buffer but not for the whole week as itineraries can change and you don’t want too much left over food, or worse to run out if you can’t get to an island with a marina and a market.
Again all comes out of kitty.
(Food is also pertinent to swinging couples so again useful advice)
This is something you can discuss before hand if you have done some research about where you want to go. For instance the kitty keeper was very keen to see some of the little known military establishments that are prominent in Croatia and we all wanted the skipper to take us to a range of different islands with varying appeals. (We stopped at islands like Vis, Hvar and Scedro).
But if you travel with a couple that wants the convenience and amenities of a marina and an island that offers loads of shopping, yet you want out-of-the-way bays with one bar but means rationing the water usage, then negotiating the daily sail could be interesting.
But you will have to dock at some stage to empty rubbish and stock up on water, sometimes electricity and buy more supplies, especially wine. So the key is compromise and compatibility.
(There may be Croatian islands that cater to swingers so worth investigating before leaving port)
It’s not a question you would normally think to ask, but on a small boat it is paramount.
You can hear everything on a small boat.
If you like to get up early and the other couple doesn’t, you will spend a lot of time trying to be quiet. Even making a cup of tea or diving in for an early morning wake-up swim is a noisy enterprise.
Of course the other business in bed is something you’ll just have to ignore.
(This of course may not be a problem for those who still think these are sailing tips for swingers)
Some couples don’t like playing games, but it transpired, again out of the deep blue that the kitty keeper and his wife played 500.
This is a card game my husband and five daughters only seem to enjoy and indulge in on family holidays, so sipping chilled limoncello and enjoying a competitive round of cards after tendering back from a one-bay restaurant, where we ate fresh seafood, salad and wine was a fabulous yachting add-on.
(Again swingers may need more props than cards to keep them entertained)
We set sail from Split and while we inadvertently chose our travel companions perfectly, it was clear within the first day out of port that it could have easily been a very choppy week.
Instead we ALL got up early, ate on board, sailed, swam, slept on the deck, drank, dropped anchor, explored remote islands, shopped at busy bays, dined on locally prepared seafood, emptied every bottle of limoncello we’d bought as gifts and played cards every night until late.
It really was cruisy couples sailing, with not a swing in sight.