The Yacht Week runs sailing trips throughout summer for travellers in their 20s and 30s, taking up to 50 yachts at a time through routes along the coasts of Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Italy.
I’d heard some great stories from friends who'd sailed off the coast of Southern Europe, and knew I had to be part of it. After rounding up a group of keen friends, I opted for a medium-size yacht leaving from Split, Croatia in mid July.
Our launch day was a long one. We found our captain and boat in the early afternoon before grabbing supplies from a local grocery store to ensure we wouldn’t go hungry (or thirsty) for the week.
It was almost sunset by the time we cast off, and the fleet of yachts gliding out of the marina was a marvellous sight in the warm evening light.
After sailing out of the harbour, we were treated to another excellent view of Split's old brick houses and mountainous backdrop. A round of beers had already been cracked, and we sailed through the sunset towards the first of many parties to come.
Sunrise came with the exciting promise of a full day sailing. The sail billowing at full mast, we set about doing a whole lot of nothing – soaking up rays between refreshing dips off the side of the boat.
I floated out on the dinghy to take the above photo of the group. The one downside of being a photographer is always ending up on the wrong side of the camera for shots like this one!
The second evening was spent at Natural Bay, tied in a docking line with a number of other yachts from our route. We arrived a couple of hours before sunset, giving us time to drink and swim in the prevailing sunlight while making new friends with people from around the world.
While downing beverages on the back of the yacht, I noticed the sun was on track to set right over the island behind us.
I teamed up with one of the official photographers, set off in the dinghy and found the perfect angle just as the sun dipped below the horizon.
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It wasn’t all fun and games on board. We shared occasional supplementary sailing duties to help our captain keep us on track.
Despite no previous sailing experience, the group caught on quickly. It was a rewarding opportunity to learn the basics and 'earn my keep'.
Mid-way through the week we made two longer stops in Hvar and Komiza and got stuck into the crazy local nightlife. Stumbling back to the yacht one night in Hvar, I noticed the still reflections and starry sky and made one last effort to shoot some epic frames before bed.
There are few better hangover remedies than sprawling out on a yacht deck after a revitalising morning swim. There wasn’t much movement from anyone as we sailed towards the final big event of the trip: a huge circle dock of every yacht on the route!
The party was already raging when we arrived at the enormous circle dock. I took some quick photos from the dinghy before being dragged into the fun. This panoramic is a full 360-degree stitch from right in the circle's centre.
Why must all good things come to an end? It barely felt like a day had passed, let alone a week, before we were making our last charge back to Split.
On the final day, every yacht races back to port for official bragging rights as the fastest on the route. I had a ball working the ropes for our skipper. We sailed hard and managed to make it into port with only a few other yachts in front.
If you’ve ever wanted to get out on the open sea, party with people from around the world and experience the Mediterranean's beautiful scenery, don’t miss The Yacht Week. I think my liver was the only part of me that didn’t love every second.