How much do you know about the oldest sports organization on Murter?
Sailing Club Žal from Betina is the oldest sports organization on the island of Murter and one of the oldest sports clubs in Šibenik-Knin County. The club was founded by a group of Betina shipbuilders (kalafata) employed in the East Shipyard and young enthusiasts from Betina on September 20, 1950, reports Morski.hr on August 12, 2018.
The club operated under the name ‘Narodna Tehnika Pomorsko Brodarsko Društvo Žal Betina’ until 1974, when it changed its name to the ‘Sailing Association Žal’, and finally ‘Sailing Club Žal’ in 1985, which remains to this day.
With the sole work of the club members, the first regatta boats were constructed, which led them to organize participation in regattas. They also built the first Stella, Sljuka, L-5, Finac, and Cadet sailboats.
A report on the new maritime shipping company in Betina was published in the Journal of the Maritime Alliance of Yugoslavia, “Brodarstvo”, which was issued in January 1951.
“In Betina in mid-November, the founding assembly of the maritime-shipping society Žal was held. This company was founded on the initiative of the Naval Society “Val” from Šibenik and on the “production” principle, relying on the shipyard “Istok” in Betina. Almost all members of this company are shipyard workers.
At the assembly, a draft plan was adopted by the end of 1950. During that period, it is necessary to arrange the social rooms and recondition one small boat and a bigger leut, obtained from the Naval Society “Val” in Šibenik. The boat and leut will be sold after repairs to provide funding for material procurement and social rooms.”
In the club workshop and shipyard, under the leadership of the long-time president, Brane Uroda, many new wooden boats were built, as well as reconstruction and repairs. The area became a gathering place for many Betina teenagers, many of whom were not even sailors.
As the shipbuilders worked and sailed, the teens would gather in front of Žal to help. Therefore, a sailing school was spontaneously created.
Since 1975, the traditional Betina regatta has been organized (today in Optimist and Laser classes). This regatta is one of the oldest ongoing regattas in Croatia.
Sailing Club Žal still operates successfully today. Their sailboats participate in competitions and regattas from local to European and World championships. The new generation of sailors boasts Mihovil Uroda, Zlatan Berbić, Dino Sladić, Jure and Duje Fržop, and Ante and Vice Jušić. Duje Fržop won the gold at the 2010 Croatian Open Championship in the Optimist class.
In the summer, Žal organizes the Optimist class sailing school for children aged 7-15 to teach them the skills of this sport.
In 2016, the Open Championship of Croatia was organized in Betina in the Optimist, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and Techno 293 classes. The championship was also attended by Olympic silver medalist Tonči Stipanović.
Although one of the oldest sports clubs on the island of Murter, Žal does not have professional trainers, and volunteer trainers are available only during the summer. The club has survived to date, mostly thanks to the efforts of its members and volunteers who are persistent in its quest to preserve and transmit the beauty of sailing. With the help of the Municipality of Tisno, the Club’s premises have been restored and will soon become available for children and youth all year long.
This year, Žal organized the 43rd Betina regatta in the Optimist and Laser 4.7 classes. There were 9 clubs with 43 registered in the Optimist class and 5 in Laser, who were all from JK Val in Šibenik. The weather conditions were favorable for sailing, with the tramontana and maestral winds blowing. Three boats sailed on the first day of the regatta, and on the second day, two boats sailed. The wind died down, which was perhaps a small problem for sailors with less experience in regattas, but almost all reported competitors completed the regatta in the prescribed time.