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News from S/V 'Libertas'

News from S/V 'Libertas'
Beware of cruising Croatia!

Hi all...great to see RDBYC website up and running again. Thanks Wes for activating the site again....

Some of you know me as Captain Kirk (Chris Kirk)......last November Lee and I did something which many dream about but few have the balls to accomplish, and purchased a 47ft Jeaneau Sunkiss 'Libertas', which had been lying mostly unloved for past 5 years in Dubrovnik - Croatia. We both quit our jobs in London in December - Lee threw her suit in the trash, and I had a a similar departure from my position with an ROV (Oil) suervice company.

We spent a chilly Christmas in Dubrovnik, and the realities of ownin g an older vessel quickly tempered my enthusiasm. Christmas was spent grovelling around in the bilges trying to extract 4 x water tanks which we discovered were corroded....that was a very low point........ We spent 5 weeks on the hard in March.....al through hull fittings, anodes, cutless bearings and shaft seals replaced..... P-Bracket (Prop strut) gouged out and completely re-glassed, some cracks in the sub-skeg also gouged and re-glassed, the entire hull stripped of antifouling, and an expensive copper-rich antifouling applied (this is another story which I will relate shortly) (Do not expect any customer service from 'Coppercoat') All I can say is that it has been a sobering experience and 2 x random orbital sanders, many many hours of dirty toil, and a new vocabulary invented, plus a small banking institutions finances later....I would possibly prefer to pay someone to do the job next time, although at least I know the job is done properly, and getting the lazy Croatians to do a quality job at a reasonable price just doesn't happen here....

I had been looking forward to returning to Croatia as I had been here prior to the war looking after a fleet of Sunsail yachts...however my experience to date has been very disappointing and we have made the call to leave here as soon as possible. It is too expensive to eat out (average restaurant meal for 2 = £50 and frankly I wouldn't recommend anyone visit here. There are of course exceptions to the rule and we have made some great friends here, but this has not been a relaxing experience. My advice is ....this place sux as do the arrogant and unfriendly attitudes of the locals, and frankly I look fwd to reading about this 'country ' becoming enveloped in another civil war and getting obliterated in famine and disease...........

We have now left Dubrovnik.....things have got so weird here in Croatia with immigration law chages this year (that nobody understands) and fines and charges for almost anything like anchoring in small bays!!! and bully-boy police who are basically fascist nazis who can and do board vessels regularly - always finding some form of infringement which may cost a fine or worse, it really is quite worrying and we are now officially illegal here however we are keeping our heads down and camping out in small bays to avoid detection. We have done a couple of charters this summer to help chock up the coffers. All went well and the punters love our product (Sailing and Yoga... www.sailandyoga.com ....) and we are looking forward to continuing to do some chartering next year.

All has forced a rethink and we have made the call to depart here in 10 days time bound for Greece and Turkey. I had a kiwi mate bring me the E-charts recently for my plotter so we are good to go!! Will do a 200NM sail to Corfu then through the Corinth canal and into the Aegean. Will take a leisurely 6 wk (600NM) sail from West to East across the Cyclades then Southern Sporades, then book out of Samos into Turkey at Kusadaci where we will leave the boat for 6 mnths and fly back to NZ and do some work to boost the flagging a/cs!! We will move into our Chch pad and do some work then return to Turkey 1 May for some more adventures! Exciting to be on the move again!

We'll update this site with more of our adventures...Happy sailing!!!

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