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Anchorage, my kingdom for a (free) Anchorage

I am constantly amazed and impressed by the various ways that members of the sailing community go out of their way to share their experiences and make life easier for others, like ourselves, who are hungry for relevant information for our journey.

Wolfgang Götzinger from Austria is one such person.

In June and July of this year we sailed "Lady Roslyn" from her home base in Northern Italy down the Istrian Peninsula, through the Kornati and Dalmatian Islands of Croatia before returning to Italy. A journey of 23 days.

Anyone who has recently visited Croatia on a sailing holiday will know that while ACI marinas are plentiful, they are very expensive (particularly for a 50ft catamaran).

In addition, the Croatian Government has created a concession system, where many of the bays on the islands are being converted into mooring buoy or anchorage fields, with fees being collected by the concession holder.

Wolfgang has, over a number of years, taken the information on Official Nautical Anchorages provided by the Croatian Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and plotted them accurately into an online Anchorages Map. He has created a website where you can zoom in on satellite images of the entire coastline and all islands of Croatia. This map allows you to identify which bays have been allocated and designated as concession (paid) mooring or anchoring fields, who the concessionaire is, how many buoys in the bay and what the overnight cost at each anchorage is.

This is great if you have data available on board, but what about times when you are not connected to the internet? Once again, I am amazed and thankful that Wolfgang has created an offline version which can be downloaded from his website and used either in Google Earth or on your chartplotter. It is available for download here:

There are many blogs, websites and posts on Noonsite complaining at how expensive cruising has become in Croatia. We are proof that, with a little help from other cruising members (like Wolfgang), it does not necessarily have to be so.

So how did Wolfgang's efforts help us?

- By using the map offline we were able to identify suitable bays in which to anchor which have not yet been monetised. There are still hundreds of beautiful anchorages in Croatia which are free.

- By applying Croatian Government Maritime Domain and Seaport Act Article 76a amended 2013 (which states that you may not anchor within 150 metres of a concession area), we were able to anchor in bays where concessions exist, by using the map as a chartplotter and ensuring that we dropped anchor more than 150 metres from the nearest buoy or mooring field.

When approached by a concession holder in the bay north of Veli Rat on the island of Dugi Otok, who claimed that he held a concession for the entire bay both north and south of Veli Rat, we were able to show him our anchorages map and the position of "Lady Roslyn" plotted on it. Though he threatened to come back with the police to extract payment, he never did and we were safe in the knowledge that through Wolfgang's efforts, we were free to anchor and we were the ones obeying the law.

In the 23 days of cruising the Croatian coastline we paid for 1 night on a mooring buoy (Komiza, Vis) and 1 night at anchor (Otok Kakan - smallest red square in the picture above). The other 20 nights.... FREE. Beautifully FREE.

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