Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sailing in Croatia: Traditional Sailboat Festival on Hvar Island

The three-day 'Festa Forske Pulene' festival celebrating Dalmatia's rich sailing heritage concludes on Hvar as the island's diverse tourist season continues
Sailing in Croatia: Traditional Sailboat Festival on Hvar Island - Hvar Town Tourist Board
While raving British princes andpregnant American popstarsmay have moved elsewhere, the island of Hvar's tourist season shows no sign of ending, with attention focused on the pristine Adriatic Sea for a three-festival of traditional boat sailing which ended on October 9, 2011.
The Festa Forske Pulene was organised by Hvar Town Council, local association Hvar Metropola More (Hvar, Metropolis of the Sea) and Zvir Sailing Club, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Festivals celebrating traditional sailboats are now their 14th year, having started on the island of Murter, according to regional daily, Slobodna Dalmacija.
Commemorating the Battle of Lepanto
The festival opened on Friday evening with a lecture by Dr Tonci Tadic in the impressive Arsenal building, which also houses the oldest municipal theatre in Europe. Tadic lectured about the history of Hvar galleys and the Battle of Lepanto, which took place exactly 440 years previously on October 7, 1571; a decisive battle in the Gulf of Patros, in which Catholic maritime forces decisively defeated the Ottoman fleet.
The main martime event took place on Saturday, with more than forty boats from Hvar and neighbouring islands Brac, Vis and Murter taking part in a race to Palmizana on the nearby Pakleni Islands and back. An impressive exhibition on traditional sailing has also been running in the Arsenal.
Sailing Tourism on Hvar
The maritime tradition is strong on Hvar, whose very existence is dependent on the sea, and while the beach and party season is limited to the summer months, sailing holidays and events take place throughout the year.
According to the Hvar Town Tourist Board, sailing events on Hvar continue to the end of the year, with the 35th International New Year Regatta (Laser Europa Cup) and the 31st Zdenko Roic Memorial Regatta scheduled for December.
Leading the way in sailing tourism is local activity specialist, Hvar Adventure, who offer a range of sailing options for tourists, from a sailing school on Hvar and day trips around the island, to the chance to crew with their team on one of the many regattas in the Adriatic.
Croatia's stunning Adriatic coast and its 1185 islands are growing in popularity as a sailing destination, with Hvar one of the top choices. Sailing around the picturesque Pakleni Islandsopposite Hvar Town is especially popular, and the two ACI marinas - in Vrboska on mainland Hvar and Palmizana on the Pakleni Islands - are both booming with the added interest.
Expedition to Lampedusa from Stari Grad
Celebrating the island's rich maritime heritage will continue in 2012 with the departure of a traditional boat from Stari Grad to Lampedusa off the African coast, to mark the 150th year of the close fishing relationship between the two islands.

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