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Sirocco and Bora Bora Breezes

Category : American Sailing Association, Flotillas, Members, Weather

Continuing “Croatian Tapestry”

The builders of Korcula were excellent urban planners. Inside the walled city the narrow alleyways feel mazelike, but in fact they are laid out in parallel lines with only a couple cross streets running the entire length. The ancient builders positioned the streets this way to take advantage of the seasonal winds: Warm Sirocco breezes are the city’s natural air conditioning in summer, while the cold northern Bora Boras, coming from the perpendicular direction in the winter, are blocked out.

Our passage back to Milna from Korcula gave us first-hand experience of the biting Bora Bora, beginning at 8am. After a lovely sunrise, it began to rain by the time we collected our boats’ papers from the reception office. I had (very stupidly) elected not to pack my hefty foulies on this trip, thinking ah, it’s the Adriatic–any weather we might see will be nothing compared to winter in the Pacific Northwest! Well, that was true, but I still wished I had my foul weather jacket as we headed out into the wind-tunnel Korculanski Channel. I settled instead for garbage-bag couture.

Due to the snarly weather, we had agreed on a radio protocol: every hour on the hour we would check in and report positions. Having the rest of the fleet close by was certainly a comfort when we hit weather–one of the many perks of flotilla sailing, I realized that morning. It was a bit of a bucking-bronco ride, especially on our little boat (the smallest in the fleet). One of the neighboring big boats even hung back near us to make sure we were fine (thank you Hedda Gabler!!)

We skirted the edge of a distinct squally-looking cloud bank, and hugged the southern coast of Hvar. Though the forecast predicted strengthening conditions throughout the day, the winds were tempered in the shadow of the island, and the waves settled significantly by the time we motored in to Milna. Everyone was wet and aching for a hot shower, and luckily for us, Milna had the BEST showering facilities. I really think there may be nothing more satisfying in life than a hot shower after a cold rainy sail.

We congregated for dinner at a restaurant that sat just beyond our med-moored sterns. The catch of the day was a grilled steak from a 50-kilo tuna. Even the resident kittens got a fresh chunk! Freshly dressed and warm, with a roaring outdoor grill wafting the savory fragrance from the biggest tuna I’d ever seen, I was prepared to sleep soundly under the patter of rain on the cabintop.

As we motored away from Milna to return our boats the next morning, I was glad we experienced a little weather on the trip. Weather makes the food taste better, the beds more comfortable, the showers more spa-like. It made me feel like we’d properly “done” the Adriatic. So we piled into busses and returned to our villa in Trogir having been baptised by that jewel blue sea. I took away the warm flavor of bijela kavas, unlabled bottles of home-pressed olive oil, a thousand stunning photographs, and some med-mooring tricks up my sleeve.

(Oh–and I also took home a sparkling little ring on my left hand. You never know what’s going to happen on an ASA sailing flotilla ladies and gentlemen!!)

Congratulations! Was it on your finger that last time I saw you? And did the ring take most of the trip in someone else’s backpack?

No it wasn’t that covert : ) He asked me after everyone had gone home…on top of a castle in Trogir…how disgustingly romantic : )

Your postings were just great! You have a phenomenal way with words and they helped me relive our odyssey all over again.
I can’t wait to go back next year and can only hope to have such a fantastic group again for our next flotillas.
Big hug!

Well, if I recall, Bora Bora is an island in the Pacific.

The fierce catabatic wind off the Dalmatian coast is called Bora (or Bura), reaching 120 kn and more.

Sirocco (or Yugo) is hardly an air conditioner, but brings clouds, rain and moisture from the SE, including sand from the Sahara, with gale force winds for days.

The cooling fair weather breeze from the NE is the Maestral.

Well Wolfgang, you’d best come along next time! I stand corrected (like three times). Thanks for the clarifications, and fair winds, whatever they’re actually named! : )

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