I want to introduce you Gladuša – small and unpretentious but adored by many. It is organized by JK Guc, a sailing club from Sali on Dugi Otok island. Since its very first edition, one could notice it wasn’t about just another ordinary regatta. The first edition was already declared traditional, with the hope for becoming anniversary. The racecourse considers rather simple navigation in the waters in front of the city of Sali, in the channel between the islands of Dugi Otok, Ugljan and Pašman.
Nothing special, but it seems like it’s the only ‘ordinary’ segment of the regatta. All the other segments of the regatta prove the high spirit of organizers, their humor and good mood. One can see it even before the start procedure. Since the race usually takes place on Saturday, participants are expected to appear on Friday with a remark that first 20 boats can count on VIP treatment, considering special berths with the view to the port… When you think twice about that fact, you realize that it’s self-explanatory but it certainly sounds nice that someone has the VIP treatment.
Furthermore, the evening is reserved for a live music concert and a big welcome party. Many teams have celebrated the victory even before the race so be careful about Friday’s party. Additionally, do not expect music superstars on the stage, this evening is organized to promote local bands. What makes this regatta really unique is special skipper’s outfit. Namely, every skipper has to wear huge white underwear pants over their sailing suits… The laughter continues over the race and does not end long after the finish. In fact, the last ones usually laugh even louder than the first ones to cross the finish line, proving that all of the participants are the winners. I believe that I don’t have to mention that the victory ceremony has nothing to do with seriousness.
Gladuša regatta has always been an occasion to promote the island, its tradition and culture so there has always been a lot to see, learn and experience. Even the name of the regatta comes from the name of the place where old olive growers used to gather their crops. Local specialties have always been on the menus while lots of side-events followed the regatta with special motto and inspiration every year since its first edition, back in 2010. In line with the promotion of the island, every crew is going to get a bag with presents, along with the race instructions. This year, it’s going to be one bottle (1 dcl) of brandy and one bottle (the same size) of olive oil, along with a box of canned sardines, the synonym of Sali, due to the fact that the largest sardine factory in the Adriatic is located here. Just to emphasize the spirit of collectiveness, the brandy and oil will be gathered as the contribute of citizens of Sali.
Another inevitable fact in Sali is their Tovareća mužika, the traditional march translated as the Donkey’s music. Young bachelors used to gather and line up in a procession and march through the city, announcing the wedding of the old guy and teasing him at the same time. Nowadays, this ceremony lost its original meaning but is protected by UNESCO as the intangible cultural heritage. Since this year’s edition of the regatta is somehow dedicated to the young, we are going to see Tovareća mužika performed by juniors. At the end of the event, the first prize for the fastest team will be the best-ranked painting at the school kids’ exhibition with the regatta and Sali as the leading motive.
All mentioned above, and much more, is what Croatian sailors are inpatient for at the moment. When asked to describe Gladuša regatta, one famous Croatian sailor responded “It is about 30 percent of sailing and 70 percent of partying. That makes a 100 percent of fun!” Is there a better invitation?
I wish you a calm sea, a fair wind and a strong mast!