How I Became a Skipper

Since communication is one of the crucial elements of a skipper’s job, the question about the skipper’s experience and the very beginnings comes naturally. So I was asked the same question almost every time I took off with a new set of guests aboard a chartered sailing yacht. First of all I have to mention that my connection with sea and sailing comes from my ancestors: my mother’s father was a very known and respected captain, while my mother’s uncle was a passionate sailor who was the co-founder of one of the oldest sailing clubs in the country. I enjoyed spending time at the seaside ever since I was a kid, dreaming about the adventures my grandfather and mum’s uncle lived through their rich lives. During the teenage years I was too occupied with school and other activities so I had no chance of seriously devoting myself to sailing. Finally, I had a chance to visit New Zealand in my twenties, where my Kiwi friends took me on a trip to the Bay of Islands. We rented two Hobie Cats and split into two crews of two and started match racing for fun. I dutifully followed the instructions of my friend and tried to trim the jib the best I could. After a while we decided to change the positions so I had to steer the Cat and trim the mainsail. Surprisingly I did it so well that nobody could believe that it was my first sailing experience. As soon as I got back home to Croatia I decided to take a sailing course at the best sailing school at that time. After a few weeks under the command of my instructor who had the experience of racing Whitbread Round the World Race (Volvo Ocean Race); I noticed that I have loved sailing all my life but I wasn’t aware of it. All subjects in the sailing school and further education for a Yacht Master seemed very simple and self-explanatory so I started to believe that there was some talent sitting in me all these years. Afterwards I joined a sailing team and started gaining my competitive experience as well as skipper’s skills sailing during summer holidays with my friends or doing transfers for charter companies. As time passed I felt like I miss sailing every moment I spent on the mainland. In the meantime I also noticed that I was fed up with my job so I decided to quit it and become a professional skipper and start a career at sea. The situation for such move was pretty favorable because nautical tourism and charter business started to grow that very season. I shall never forget my first skippering weeks when I had to act like an experienced skipper while I was losing loads of sweat doing maneuvers and planning the routes. With years of experience both in charter and at the racecourse I managed to fully embrace this job and am thankful for every moment spent aboard because being a skipper is more than a job. It is a state of mind. I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!

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About the Author: Janko

Janko is a professional skipper in love with writing. Our most prolific blogger, he has sailed the Adriatic from the north to the south. With an incredibly broad array of interests, Janko is an expert in a variety of topics, all of which he delivers to our readers in a clear, imaginative and often humorous manner.

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