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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Yacht Week - South Croatia Black Route 2013 - The Pre-Planning

They might say all you need is a swimsuit and a liver of steel, but if you plan it right, Yacht Week will be the best week of your life.  In the weeks to come I'll be sharing my experience sailing the Black Route through South Croatia but first I'll give you the scoop on how to get there... prepared.

First you need to book your boat.  The bookings for South Croatia open on Dec 1st each year.  There is a laundry list of boats depending on what you want to pay per person and how many of you there are.  If you want a bigger boat and don't have enough people to fill it DON'T WORRY there are plenty of floaters who will jump on your boat (just wander the Facebook community).  Looking back my suggestion would be to find a group of eight people, split in half, and then sign up on two different boats.  This ensures you meet new people AND if one of the boats has lame people you can always party on the other boat.  Winning.

To book a boat or pick a route -

We booked the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 41 for Week 28 on the Black Route which cost $6,000 US.  It boosts spots for 8 people, one of which is taken up by the skipper.  There were only four of us going so you can imagine we had a lot of room.  Two of us had our own bed and the other two shared a large bed.  Looking back we could've easily filled the boat and not felt that squished... except when using the one shower maybe. 

While on the trip I was told this was a VERY nice boat and worth about $300,000.  Sick.    Link to Boat

Type:Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 41
Size:41 ft
Max persons:8
Year model:2011
Home Port:Kremik

 Photos compliments of the Yacht Week Website

I also highly recommend the Black Route for a couple of reason.  First, your longest day of sailing is the first day (six hours) when you are fresh and (hopefully) not hungover.  Secondly, on the second to last night in Solta you get there before Red Route (only night that all the boats meet up) and so you get the best location close to the bar/restaurant.

Beware that you have to pay close to 1/3 of your boat cost within 24 hours of securely the boat.  You will then owe about 1/3 in March and 1/3 in April until you are all paid up.  The good news is you don't have to determine the number of wristbands you need until the final payment so you can adjust depending on how many you have by then.  Also, they tell you you have to have your final "crew list" by that last payment but really you don't.  I met skippers who didn't turn their crew list in until the week before the trip.  So, check with your skipper.  You'll get an email about who your skipper is, with their info, about a month and a half before your trip.

Okay so now you have your boat, you've found all your crew, and you are approaching the best week of your life.  I'll start off with the SIX MOST IMPORTANT things to bring with you whether guys or girls.  These five things will ensure you make nine million friends and find your boat with ease.

FLABONGO - DO NOT leave home without one.  This was the #1 crowd pleaser our week.  We had people coming from other boats just to find us and meet Winston (my Flabongo).  Lucky guy got more action than anyone else.  Link to Flabango

LILO/INFLATABLE/FLOATIE - You might think you won't use them, but you will.  You have a couple options here.  Either go BIG or go PORTABLE.  See options below.  I went with the Kelsyus which I bought before and brought with.... super easy to travel with and just left it there when I was done and used the netted bag to bring back my Croatia towel and Yacht Week Flag (yes I took it).  But while I was there I could definitely see the fun of having a six person super lilo.  Note: Not for giant people.  As you can see the Yeager Man was sinking.  Link to Kelsyus 

(Not the Kelsyus)

Photos from

HOMEMADE FLAG - I highly recommend creating your own flag to not only make your boat super identifiable by day, but also as a conversation starter.  Ours was the Shocker, because we are super classy but if you buy the flag at the link below you can create a stencil and spray paint whatever you want.  Warning: It will bleed through to the other side so only designs that are reversible.  Also I recommend this flag because it's polyester not vinyl and thus spray paint will stick to it.  Also a 3ft X 5ft size is PERFECT.  On that note, make sure you also bring a country flag that represents you because that's important too! Link to Flag


BATTERY-POWERED XMAS LIGHTS - For those of you with terrible navigational skills, get a skipper.  Just kidding, do that, but also get BATTERY-POWERED Xmas lights for your boat.  We wove them around the boom (the bottom part that holds the main sail) and the back of the boat where you board from land.  The link below is for a 34ft string of lights.  Buy two.  They came in SO helpful at night especially because you can just tell the water taxi to take you to the blinking lights (although helpful to know your boat name too just in case).  Multiple boats would try and dock near us so that they could tell the water taxis X boats down from the Xmas light boat.  Winning again.  Unfortunately, no photos of this in use although you can see them wrapped around the boom in the boat photo above.  Link to Xmas Lights

Photo from

GLOW IN THE DARK WASHABLE BODY PAINT - Two things: Washable and Glow in the Dark.  Make sure it's washable or kiss your clothes goodbye because this will get all over you.  It also eventually comes off thanks to sweat and salt water but it's still super fun.  Before going out multiple nights we would walk the docks alerting people, "Paint Party starts at 10:45," and loads of people would show up to be painted.  Another great way to get people on your boat.  I highly recommend the Sargent ones.  They actually glow in the dark pretty well and come in lots of fun colors.  And they show up during the day too.   Link to Body Paint

Photo from

GLOW STICK PARTY PACK - And lastly where paint fails, glowstick headbands, wristbands, etc, prevail.  This is just a link to one version, we bought ours in the UK, but they are all the same.  Again another way to make friends and have a great time.  Our week was ULTRA Europe so these came in even more handy!  Link to Glow

 Photo from

With these six things you will ensure an amazing time.  Here is a list of all the other random items we brought:
  • Inflatable beer pong with additional ping pong balls (didn't work that well)
  • Fun hats, slap bracelets, sunglasses (swap with people)
  • Aux cable (to plug in your iPhone/iPod if you want to play Spotify playlists, music, etc)
  • CDs (DO NOT rely on an aux cable... some boats ONLY had CD players and their crews suffered)
  • Car cigarette-style adapter with USB (best way to charge your iPhone while sailing- you can buy them at Duane Reade or drug stores)
  • Regular adapter (you can use this when in port)
  • Sunscreen (duh)
  • VERY sturdy shoes (boys - boat shoes/tough sandals, girls - sandals that hold to your foot)
  • Animal onesies (we didn't bring these and I wish we had... super fun at night at the clubs)
  • Super-soakers (we also didn't bring and wish we had)
  • Regatta costume (we bought Gladiator costumes but because of ULTRA we didn't do the Regatta so we could get back for the festival)
  • Condoms (yes, those too)
  • Razor
  • Glasses (if you wear contacts, bring your glasses just in case)
  • Underwater camera (it will probably be destroyed)
  • iPhone/Smartphone for music (don't let it leave the inside of the boat though
And lastly, things to buy when you get there:
  • Beach Towels (they provide you with bath towels)
  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Inflatables (if you want to wait)
  • Captain's hat
  • Plastic silverware, cups, etc
So that sums up what's important for the general public.  Okay, ladies, it's what you've been waiting for.  This is how much you pack.  NO! NO! NO! Listen.  THIS IS WHAT YOU PACK.  Pack more than this and you will be sorry you did as you lug it all over the place.  Also DON'T CHECK IT.  Carry it on.  Trust me.  You lose all your bathing suits and you will be crying through Yacht Week.

To be totally transparent I took a picture of what I WORE on the trip.  I took a tiny bag and still didn't wear 50% of what I brought.  The only thing I would've changed is bringing two more swimsuits or interchangeable swimsuit tops for variety.  Other than these clothing items and the stuff above you really just need underwear (didn't want to photograph that haha) and minimal makeup (I brought one eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara and cover up).  Obviously, your list will be slightly different because you aren't me but try your best not to pack more ITEMS then below.  Also make sure you pack in a bag not a suitcase because you will have to smush the bag in a corner.
  • 3 bathing suits (you could add two more)
  • 2 hot skirts (black and blue)
  • 1 lightweight summery dress
  • 1 swimsuit cover-up
  • 5 versatile tank tops (I had one more - it was ripped off of me)
  • 1 sweatshirt or hoodie (just in case it gets cold sailing)
  • 1 pair of yoga pants (for the plane)
  • 1 pair of closed toed shoes (Toms)
  • 1 pair of sturdy flipflops (I recommend Reefs because they are water resistant and don't fall apart.  I took a picture of the gold flipflops below - they exploded and I ended up walking on glass the second night barefoot)

  • 4 pairs of fun shorts
  • 3 "going out" tops (a little "sexier" or "dressier" than your day tops)

And that is LITERALLY all you need.  Congrats!  You are ready for Yacht Week.  Check back again for my play-by-play of the best week ever.


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