Mariner Boating Holidays – Croatia

As proud sponsor’s of Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Mariner Boating Holidays are pleased to offer club members the chance to WIN A TRIP FOR TWO, valued at over $15,000 on the Croatia Yacht Rally from 1 June to 16 June 2018.

Follow Trevor and Maggie’s journey through southern Croatia and Montenegro this year and transport yourself to this incredible holiday destination.

Sailing the Elafiti Islands

The Elafiti islands lie in the Stonski Kanal, the waterway that runs northwest from Dubrovnik. Their name comes from the Greek word ‘elafos’ which means ‘deer’ – referring to the large population of deer which once resided on the islands.

The Stonski Kanal makes for great sailing. ‘Kanal’ literally translates as ‘canal’, however this is no narrow waterway; the Stonski Kanal averages about 1.2 kilometres in width and the islands to windward make for wonderful sailing on flat protected water, with the westerly being the prevailing wind.

The closest of the islands to Dubrovnik is Kolocep, the smallest island with a population of only 300.  From there, we sail to Lopud, a more developed island but with a smaller population of only 200. Both islands are completely car-free and have plenty of walkways for exploring, alongside tranquil, sandy beaches for quiet relaxation.

Sailing from Lopud we next reach Sipan, which in my opinion is the pick of the three. The largest island in the archipelago, Sipan used to be the playground of the rich and the famous from Dubrovnik and the grand houses remain, although most are derelict or under renovation. The port is small but well protected and there are some excellent restaurants at the water’s edge.

Next we visit the tiny inlet of Kobas, right at the top of the Stonski Kanal and only accessible by boat. Kobas has a shoreline dotted with Christmas trees; they stand sentinel over the village and add a vertical dimension to an already beautiful seascape. When we stop at the local restaurant and ask for a “quick lunch”, owner Toni advises: “Sorry, is not doing here quick lunches.” Sitting on the beautiful waterfront while Toni and his team produce a delicious ‘slow lunch’ becomes one of the highlights of our trip.

At the northern head of the canal, on the mainland, is the fascinating town of Ston (known as ‘Stonski’ locally) where salt has been produced since the 8th century. Salt once had a similar value to gold, so the Ragusans (who occupied the area during 14th to 19th centuries), built a wall to protect the salt works. This structure is often called the ‘European Great Wall of China’ and more than seven kilometres of the wall still stands.

The north-western (top) end of the canal from Kobas up to Ston can be a bit tricky but our Beneteau 48 with a draft of 2.10 metres made it comfortably at high tide, which is only .3 of a metre above low. At 2 metres on the chart, it’s touch and go – literally – but well worth the sail.

Read Mariner Traveller, Jeff Gordon’s testimonial about the trip so far here.

For more details contact Mariner Boating Holidays on 02 9966 1244 or