The Split Sailing Training League was started four years ago to offer sailing out of the main season in a competitive, but relaxed atmosphere, when regattas are not in the calendar
It became quite popular, with four rounds held already this year and a respectable 28 sailboats participating with an average of 14 boats per round. It is a number most official Croatian regattas would admire. The one most to ‘blame’ for this winter sailing revival in Split is Goran Martinović – Orca, member of the Labud Sailing Club and skipper of the Quaka sailboat, whose desire to sail in the winter period pushed him to motivate friends and organize the League.
“We used to sail in winter before, on winter weekends, always with several of the most dedicated crews outside Split, but never in such a format and such numbers. A year before us a Training League was set up by Dubrovnik locals, they were the first, and then we decided to put in an effort, motivated sailing colleagues, created a Facebook group and that’s how it started. Ten crews took part in the League in the first year, and the number has constantly grown since, now with an average of 14 sailboats per regatta. This is not all that astounding, as Split is known as a sailing center with an abundance of sailing aficionados and competitive crews with able ships. Also, this region truly offers sailing options during the entire winter, as it is relatively warm, temperatures are often higher than 10 Celsius, always with plenty of wind,” explained Goran Martinović.
Another comparative advantage to sailing in League regatta compared to official regattas is free participation. There are no registrations, no starting fees, and participation can simply be announce or cancelled by phone or via the Facebook group. If they want, competitors can participate in costs of the catering afterwards, usually grilled tuna or meat at one of the Split clubs. The organization is usually quite simple: notice of the daily route is given out before start via the VHF station, when wind is assessed, start is signaled with a horn from one of the boats, and the regatta field is marked by the well-known Plovput buoy and agreed land markings. If needed, a single buoy is placed, so there is no need for trailing ships. Sailing times are sent by participants individually to Martinović by phone (no one feels the need to cheat), and all other communication, results, photographs and plans can be found in the Facebook group.
“We are especially glad that other Split clubs joined in the organization activities this year, meaning the socializing after the sailing, so besides Labud and Mornar logistics for meetings are provided by Split and Strožanac clubs as well,” said Martinović.
From mid-December to mid-April there are nine planned rounds of the League, scored by Open and Handicap. In four rounds of the Open 27 sailboats took part, with Petit Amie (Emil Tomašević, Igor Piacun) in the lead, trailed by Quaka (Goran Martinović) and Adio Pameti (Davor Vlahović). In the Handicap the smaller boats are doing best: in lead is Ančica, a Micro Poma type boat (skipper Mislav Šolić), trailed by Seascape 27 Petit Amie (Igor Piacun) and Micro Pome Briva (Ivona Ercegovac). The League round rescheduled over bad weather is on this Sunday in Strožanac, ten kilometers east of Split.