This week, we are bringing you something completly different. A sailing story like no other! Nihad Gluščić is our long time friend and he has been sailing with us for years. We always enjoyed hearing from him and we are always happy to hear that he had a great time sailing. Being a sailor for quite a few years and having so much experience, we believed that he must have a few good stories. And we weren’t wrong! This is a story how one person became a sailor for life.
When Did You Fall in Love With Sailing?
The very first time we left the marina, hoisted the sails and turned the engine off – that moment completely did it for me. The feeling of freedom and dependence on nature was overwhelming. Hearing only the sounds of ropes, sheets, splashing of the water and whizzing of the wind was liberating. And then when we picked up the wind and started heeling, I was very scared and thought we were going to capsize – I then learnt this is how it works. I was immediately hooked.
When Was Your First Sailing Trip? How Did You Decide to go Sailing for the First Time?
Back in 2012, my boss, a British Army Officer, invited a few of us to join him at the sailing trip in the Adriatic. Up to this point, I had zero knowledge of sailing and had the most common misconceptions about sailing in general: it was too expensive and dangerous. I later learnt that this could not be further from the truth and that sailing, apart from being truly amazing as an active holiday, was also very affordable, especially off-season.
What is Your Favourite Route? Is There Some Place or Island You Specially Like to Visit on Your Vacation?
I normally don’t go for the route as it’s difficult to plan ahead what the wind will be doing but I do have a pretty big list of places I enjoy and I do my best to visit some of those, depending on the wind. I do enjoy the bays around Šolta and Hvar, Pakleni Otoci but I was most mesmerised by Kornati archipelago – that place feels like a trip back in time. Hiking up to some of the Kornati hills and the view from there is absolutely breath-taking.
Where Did You Sail in Your Life?
Well, so far, I’ve only sailed in the Adriatic – it helped me learn the ropes (pun not intended) as Adriatic is very predictable in terms of weather and is very easy to tame for any new skipper. Plus, it is very close to my home and is a mere 4 hour drive. As a kid, I spent every summer in Croatia and I was very much used to the coastline but sailing allowed me to see Croatia from a completely different angle and I still can’t get enough of it! I would like to sail in Greece, Turkey, maybe some of the more exotic locations like Bahamas, British Virgin Islands etc. but that’s something for the future.
I have covered lots of places on the Adriatic and have sailed from Korčula to Kornati and Zadar on the coastline and I still have the most northern and southern part to explore.
What Do you Like About Sailing so Much?
Hmm, that is difficult to answer… Short answer: here is very little I don’t like about sailing. Long answer: first and foremost, I enjoy having an active holiday and sailing fits that description. I also enjoy exploring and I like adventure. I also love being away from the crowds and civilisation noise. Also I very much enjoy managing the crew and teaching them about sailing and it is very rewarding to see how they become very proficient and can manage even more complex manoeuvres.
Would you Recommend a Sailing Vacation to Anyone?
I would and I do, all the time. Over the past seven years, I have introduced sailing to 40 different people and most of them enjoyed it and want to do it again. I think that the key to successfully introduce someone to sailing is to be upfront about what the sailing is and not try and sugar-coat it. The fact is that some people just don’t enjoy living in a confined space and sharing personal space with others and spending a week on the sailboat requires lots of flexibility.
I also do my best to tell them about potential dangers such as rope burns or sea sickness but then tell them about how we mitigate those risks.
Is There Some Anecdote or Funny Situation That Happened on Your Holiday?
Another difficult question as I found that when sailing, people tend to be very relaxed and in jovial mood so there is plenty of banter and anecdotes, not that I can remember most of them.
Here’s a funny one: we were with two boats and chose to pick up a buoy in one of Hvar’s bays. We then swam and enjoyed the sun, prepared a dinner and got the guitars out and each boat had a small party in the cockpit.
As the time passed, I noticed the other boat was getting quieter and initially, I thought it was just a case of brain adjusting the volume of the other party (and filtering out an appalling vocal performance) they did appear a bit smaller. I kept checking with the binos to make sure that they didn’t drop a buoy or something like that and every time I easily spotted a huge yellow buoy at their port bow, safely attached. It was only when one of the crew from the other boat (who escaped the earlier said vocal torture) tried to return to his boat and swam back to us and said “We’re missing the other boat!”
It later transpired that their buoy did get detached but not at the top but the bottom. We couldn’t holler them so we jumped in the tender and motored to them, mainly to help them pick up another buoy as at that point, they were very much incapacitated.
Lesson learnt: buoys are not as fail safe as I once thought and you need to periodically check your bearings, not only when anchored.
What’s Your Dearest Sailing Memory?
Uh, this is like when you’re being asked which is your favourite child! But amongst all the fantastic memories, the one that stands out is when my wife first sailed with me. Up to that point, the kids were too small to be left on their own so my first few experiences were with friends and colleagues so when my wife joined I was a bit apprehensive whether she would enjoy it – and I was aware that would shape my sailing future as it would be very limiting. But she absolutely loved it and we try and sail together whenever we can. She also wants to obtain a skipper licence and we see ourselves as working as a skipper team in the future (that also does hosting, cooking, photography and entertainment) and maybe even moving yachts around, who knows…
But, as I mainly sail in the off season, nights get to be a bit chilli so we had a bit of a hug overdose. Honestly, it brought us even closer together and has strengthened our marriage – I would recommend it to any couple.
Who Do You Usually go on a Sailing Vacation With?
I started with colleagues and I think sailing is THE best team building exercise and is great in improving the cohesion of a team. You all work together, make decisions together and just like at work, you have a mission to do, to go from A to B to C and back to the base and you can do it fighting and arguing or you can all enjoy and have a good laugh. The result in the end is the same but the latter is far more enjoyable.
I then started sailing with my friends and this year, I am taking my family for the first time and I am looking forward to that. I recently put together my first skipper CV and shared it with some charter companies and I hope I might get to do a week or two as a hire skipper, which would be fantastic.
For me, sailing is not something that I will ever get enough of – I may want to explore other locations in future but sail I will, one way or another.