Croatia wants you to sail there - dramatic increase in berths planned

Yacht week in Hvar, Croatia
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Croatia wants to welcome you! Europe's youngest state might have 14,000 berths to offer those who decide to go sailing along its charismatic shores, but it's not enough. They have plans to double the number of marina berths by 2018 to an incredible 28,000 berths, and that doesn't include the anchoring possibilities.

The Croatian Association of Nautical Tourism has estimate that no less than 70,000 yachts dropped anchor in the Adriatic last year.

Croatia - charismatic coastline
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Both of the Adriatic states of Croatia and Montenegro are planning to expand their welcome to visiting sailors through increased marketing and expansion of yacht infrastructure along their coasts, a quoted in a report in the Southeast European Times.

Of course, there's a lot of catching up to do. In the much more developed western Mediterranean the same paper estimated that there are at least 180,000 berths.

While before Croatia became a member of the EU on July 1st there were tax advantages to attract the chartering yachting public, still the Adriatic is only a couple of day's sail from the western Med, so there's plenty of growth capacity. The comparatively uncluttered eastern Med also has great natural attractions - idyllic cruising grounds, plenty of anchoring possibilities and literally thousands of islands.

CRoatia - so many islands
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Mato Frankovic, director of Dubrovnik Marinac said: 'We have only 380 berths left here. Before we had 450, but the yachts are getting bigger by the year. I get people in my office who are seriously rich. They want to moor their megayachts for winter. I have increased the price for a berth up to €100,000 per season, but they keep coming to my office.'

Frankovic often has to turn yachts away, forcing owners to seek winter berths in France, Italy or America.

In Montenegro, the leading development in recent years is the Porto Montenegro project. Beckett Tucker, Porto Montenegro's sales manager, told the SE Times: 'The Adriatic is very attractive to yacht owners. While Greece is one week sailing from southern France, the Adriatic can be reached in slightly over one day.'

Tucker explained, 'We're now extending the marina so as to accommodate 150 to 170 berths for superyachts and 800 for smaller boats. That would turn Porto Montenegro, built on a former Yugoslav navy base in the Bay of Kotor where 1,000 people are employed, into the biggest marina for megayachts in the world.'

Cavtat in Croatia attracts a number of larger superyachts, including one of Roman Abramovich's fleet and Lakshmi Mittal's 80m (262ft) yacht. Luksa Glavina, a director of Dalmi Resorts, a Canadian company planning to build a 200-berth marina across the bay from Cavtat, indicated that an additional 1,000 berths are planned over the next few years in the area.

Croatia Yacht Rally