Vegan Sailing? Skipper Matea Sedlacek Offers Completely Different Service

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of September, 2020, this pandemic has brought a lot of trouble with it, but also a lot of innovative products. One of them is vegan sailing on the Adriatic with Matea Sedlacek, one of the few female skippers on the Adriatic. A woman on a boat and sailing without catching any fish certainly makes good material for a story.

A different sort of autumn sailing offer, which will continue into the next Croatian nautical season, was offered to the market by the Alvus Sailing agency, and includes sailing from Split to the Dalmatian islands, vegan menus and sailing instructions for those who want to learn.

“The offer itself is something that doesn’t exist in Croatia, and we can see the huge potential of the whole story. Veganism itself is gaining momentum across the world and is definitely a story that will be more and more important in the future, both for people and for the planet, for all beings,” explained 30-year-old skipper and entrepreneur Matea Sedlacek.

This skipper from the continental Croatian town of Kutina had her first encounter with sailing at the Faculty of Kinesiology. Falling in love with life under sail, the decision on which way to continue her studies was easy.

”Shortly after graduating from college in 2014, I worked my first summer as a skipper. On one of the Croatian skipper’s portals, I was found by a German who has a travel agency specialising in sailing, we met and that’s how the cooperation started,” Matea Sedlacek explains.

At the same time, she entered the challenging world of fitness, worked as a trainer in Zagreb, after which she opened her own Physical Activity Centre, Grgur, in Kutina (CTA Grgur), which is currently her main job.

”It’s exactly the fact that I’m self-employed which gives me the freedom to alternate my job as a fitness trainer with jobs in the nautical industry. I haven’t spent the last few seasons on sailboats, but on the coast and on speedboats in Sveti Juraj, working as a booking manager and as a skipper for day trips and for taxi transfers by boat. By chance and because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year I returned to my old love, sailing and being a skipper,” said the skipper.

“Every week I’m more or less amazed how I, quite small and young, can drive such a big boat. Every successful entry was greeted with applause, because it is something that isn’t expected from a woman. I guess men are supposed to be able to do that, so I believe they find it easier to get into the business in general. So while it may be weird to see a woman be a skipper successfully at first, that’s why I feel that anyone who ventures into this world will only do so if they are truly sure they can do it, with a little more forethought than a man,” added Matea. The best feeling is when she gains the trust of the guests. She likes to explain everything to them, talk about the route, give them a few options. Depending on what the crew is like, she also more or less teaches them to sail.

Matea Sedlacek says that this nautical season was better than expected, but since the middle of August and the worsening of the epidemiological situation, layoffs have started there as well.

“I myself had a situation that on Saturday morning, the day a trip started, the guests cancelled because they failed to cross the Austrian border, one of the passengers had a fever. So at the moment it’s really hard to be completely sure of what’s going to actually be going on on any scheduled week. It’s possible that many last minute offers will be opened, which could be tempting for Croatian guests,” added Matea, whose girlfriend Marina is an amateur vegan chef who is building her own professional career in that direction.

“It simply came to our notice then that we could successfully connect the two things. So, with the help of friends from Alvus Sailing, we’ve offered our first week of Vegan Sailing for October. It will be a spontaneous-educational sailing week, to which vegans and those who are about to become vegans are welcome. It’s our way of breaking down prejudices about veganism, which is still seen as some sectarian way of life, and vegans as people who impose their views on others or just follow popular trends. Our goal is to show people what veganism is really all about,” concluded Matea Sedlacek.

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