Sailing in Croatia 2018 on Grand Soleil 40
So this year we had the privilege of spending 3 weeks in Croatia, from the 25th August until the 15th of September. Split Airport, was less than 10 kilometres away, which made Trogir, on the Island of Ciovo, a convenient starting port.
The most entertaining thing that I found was that you could walk from the Croatian mainland to the Island utilising bridges, and yes, the bridge spans are short enough for you to take a stroll.
Our yacht was moored at the ACI marina. Even though some shops were not open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the ACI marina hosts many restaurants, shops which could fulfil your basic requirements. The Mainland was just a stroll away, and there are many shops to purchase your provisions. The taxis were only too happy to pack up your goods and deliver them to the Marina, but we had to negotiate the price first. We found that going a few kilometres further you could find a supermarket that was not too overrun with sailing holidaymakers, which made the shopping far less crowded.
Trogir is a charming old town with narrow streets and numerous old buildings from the ancient years. In the evening Trogir turns into a fun-filled party town, so there was something for everyone. While we were there, we visited the market. Here, the selection of seasonal and local products are displayed, and yes you can find almost everything there.
Our yacht was a Grand Soleil 40, 2003. With 6 people on board, we found this yacht to be a bit small. Keeping in mind that we are comparing this to our previous trip when, we sailed Bavaria, Jeanneau, Delfours or Feelings in the same size yacht. Usually, there are only 2 of us compared to this trip with a full compliment of 6.
Grand Soleil 40 is a beautiful yacht, with sleek lines and on the outside is a definite beauty in its price range. The deck offers comfortable walkway and a lot of space to lay around and catch a tan. In my opinion, the big sized wheel, uncomfortable access to the stern “stoop” required some acrobatics to get ashore. The cockpit, especially around the table, got a bit crowded with 6 people, so we had chosen to “expel” some people to sit behind the wheel during the meals on the deck.
During the 3 weeks Grand Soleil 40 experience we only had 1 day of “heavy” weather, this when the winds picked up to above 25 knots, and with the short Adriatic wave the boat was behaving beautifully. With riffed up sails she was easy to steer and cut through the waves with ease in comparison to the wider boats like the Bavaria or Jeanneaus. Sailing in Croatia is more of an island hopping experience, and most are usually done with the use of the onboard motor. So the “motor – sailing” on the Grand Soleil 40 was rather smooth and pleasant. The motor was relatively quiet and economical, and we used 48l of diesel over the 3 weeks. Grand Soleil 40 preferred sailing on the starboard tack especially when beating close to the wind. We found that we could point the boat closer to the wind, achieving better speed.
In conclusion, Grand Soleil 40 is a great boat to sail. If you would like to experience cruising on a yacht with better performance, this is it, but be aware that with the slightly narrower haul the creature comforts are somewhat compromised with 6 people on board.
Next article: 3 weeks of island hopping – the restaurant trip in Croatia.
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