A regatta is defined as a ‘sporting event consisting of a series of boat or yacht races’, with the word itself born out of the Venetian language meaning ‘contest’. It should come as no surprise then that Croatia’s Adriatic coast, abounding in over 1,000 islands, presents the perfect seascape for these maritime manifestations to be held.
Regattas are not limited to a single season or weather condition, but grace the Croatian coast year-round, each with unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest.
Sailors from all over the world are drawn to the Adriatic for these nautical contests, but which are known as Croatia’s best? A look at the top regattas in Croatia.
Vis Regatta (Viška Regata)
It’s easy to know where the Vis Regatta takes place, thanks to its name. Unsurprisingly held on the island of Vis since 1939, it is considered one of the oldest regattas in the country, with only the Mrduja Regatta held 12 years earlier.
Organized by the Labud Sailing Club based in Split, and co-organized by the town of Vis, the Vis Regatta once boasted up to 250 sailboats, though only 150 sailboats (and up to 1,000 participants) can compete today thanks to a rule introduced back in 2010.
Usually held at the end of October, the Vis Regatta marks the unofficial end of the season and is more than a sailing race. Alive with cultural events and entertainment, the Vis Regatta includes banquets for participants throughout the weekend and would be incomplete without the old Vis specialty "fažol na brujet,” or bean stew.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 76th edition took on a different form and name - ‘Pa (V) iška Regatta’ as a combination of the words Paiška and Viška. The regatta sailed from Split to Stari Grad on Hvar and back instead.
With the city formerly known as ‘Fiume,’ it only makes sense that Rijeka boasts a regatta paying tribute to its roots and patron saint.
The Fiumanka Regatta is a June event that celebrated its 22nd edition this year. The largest sailing regatta in Rijeka combines sailing, sports, but also business promotion and entertainment, and it is the first public event that succeeded in emptying the Rijeka Port for a sporting event!
Fiumanka is the only regatta in Croatia fully covered on television, does not charge an entry fee for participants, and rewards all participants regardless of how they finish. It also shares its humanitarian side in donations to various organizations, children’s hospitals, and sports clubs.
The event also includes a series of regatta events. Visitors can enjoy the "Very Small Fiumanka" held on Platak, or Business Woom Day, a hybrid business event that promotes mobility using renewable energy sources, while allowing participants to foster new business contacts and develop business ideas in an informal and relaxed environment. The Media Regatta, on the other hand, is held in honor of journalists, while the main Fiumanka Regatta sails in two categories and on two routes from Kostrena.
Mrduja Regatta (Mrdujska Regata)
The Mrduja Regatta is the largest and oldest regatta in the Croatian part of the Adriatic, with the first edition held in October 1927! Named after the Mrduja islet in the Split channel, this regatta spans 22 nautical miles on the Split-Mrduja-Split route.
Known to attract an increasing number of participants each year, like the 75th edition in 2006, for example, which welcomed 312 sailboats, Mrduja is as traditional as they come in the regatta world. And according to many, it is the largest social event in Dalmatia.
This timeless maritime event has been held every year apart from during World War II. Along with sailors, Mrduja has been associated with the media, athletes, actors, artists, and musicians, and is so famous in the region, it even has its song and music video!
Organized by Sailing club Labud, Mrduja is held during the first weekend in October and is accompanied by performances, exhibitions, plays, and events.
Easter Regatta (Uskršnja Regata)
Held since 1997 as the largest multi-day regatta in Croatia, the PBZ Easter Regatta (Uskršnja Regata) traditionally opens the regatta sailing season in Croatia. Bringing together the best domestic and international sailors and a variety of yachts, the Easter Regatta takes place near the island of Hvar, though it was previously held in Vodice. This springtime event gathers over 50 professional international crews each year and is also the second in a series of four regattas for the CRO-ORC Cup!
Organized by the Tijat Sailing Club from Vodice, this legendary offshore regatta takes sailors on the 110-mile long route from Vodice to the island of Jabuka and back. With an evening start time to the magical island of Jabuka, this regatta is characterized by powerful winds and exhaustingly long sailing.
Held in mid-November, Jabuka is the most extreme Croatian regatta thanks to unpredictable winter weather on the open seas. While just 15 teams took part in the first edition, it is becoming increasingly popular with largely international participants and over 100 sailboats each year!
1,000 Islands Regatta
Rijeka Sailing Club and Porto Montenegro Yacht Club organize a long and grueling regatta from Rijeka to Tivat at the end of September, which passes 1,000 Adriatic islands sails on its course!
The regatta consists of two stages from which sailors can choose to compete in the first, second, or both. The first stage starts from Rijeka to Unije, Susak, Premuda, Dugi Otok, Kornat, Vis, Lastovo, and Sveti Andrija and finishes at the Porto Montenegro Marina in Tivat. Along the 280 NM route, the fleet faces technical navigation challenges between many islands and canals, down the Croatian coast to the fascinating Bay of Kotor, and rewards sailors with unparalleled beauty. After the award ceremony is held for the first stage, the fleet begins in the opposite direction to Rijeka on the same course!
Hanse Cup Adriatic Regatta
The three-day Hanse Cup Adriatic Regatta is organized each year to gather all lovers of Hanse yachts. International Hanse crews will gather in the Kornati this year for the event’s 8th edition, held from October 9 to 13, 2021. The Hanse Cup combines sailing, competing, and exploring Croatia’s finest sailing routes and destinations on the prized yachts of this applauded German manufacturer.
But the Hanse Cup isn’t all about sailing. Participants also get the chance to enjoy the culinary charms of the Dalmatia region, and to unwind from a day at sea, the evenings are enjoyed with cocktails, wine, and the best fare from the most famous local restaurants.
Croatia Yachting is the official dealer of Hanse Yachts in Croatia and hosts the regatta to show just how effortlessly Hanse yachts balance sailing and comfort out at sea. You can experience it too next month!