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With a population of just 321, the Southern Dalmatia village of Komolac would be an otherwise unremarkable hamlet close to the southern tip of Croatia... but for its 380 berth marina! ACI Dubrovnik is the beating heart of the village, and is widely accepted as one of the best marinas in the country.
Just 6km from the important Croatian city of Dubrovnik, Komolac is nestled in a river valley of the river Ombla (also known locally as Rijeka Dubrovačka). This makes for a location that is well protected from storms and gales.
Komolac has seen its fair bit of history - Turkey and Venice have fought over the region, and Rome and Greece have both held power over the area through the Millennia. Dubrovnik itself was the centre of the Ragusan Empire, an important force in Mediterranean politics and power struggles for close to 700 years.
You however will largely be in Komolac for a yacht charter or a layover as you explore the area beyond.
In Komolac, ACI Marina Dubrovnik is the most southerly Croatian marina before the Montenegro border. Home to a large charter fleet, you may either be visiting to begin your yacht rental or be spending a day or so in the marina as part of a luxury yacht charter from Trogir or Split.
Just offshore from the mouth of the Rijeka Dubrovačka is the Elafiti Islands (Elaphiti Islands). Three are populated including the largest of the six, Sipan Island. Unlike the other two populated islands there is a road - and a bus service - that serves the two villages. Exploring the island you will find holiday retreats built by the Dubrovnik elite during the height of the Ragusan Empire.
Heading north from the Elafiti Islands you will encounter the simply stunning island of Mljet and its national park - a true jewel of the Adriatic Sea with a Benedictine monastery on a small island in a lake to explore.
Many Komolac yacht charters are one way trips from Dubrovnik to either Split or Trogir. Though it is possible to do a loop in seven days you can do shorter sea-legs and more time ashore on a run north, perhaps taking time to explore the Dalmatian Archipelago or imbibe at the party island of Hvar as you head onto your destination. Whether on a bareboatcharter or a skippered yacht charter it is ultimately down to you.
Dubrovnik Airport is served by many airlines from around Europe and the rest of the world.
There are two ways of getting to ACI Dubrovnik from the airport - the best way being by shuttle and bus via the city's bus station. Shuttles into Dubrovnik run once an hour and take 25 minutes. At the bus station take a second bus to Komolac, which run every 15 minutes - the journey itself is just 12 minutes. These cost around €12 each way.
You can also take a taxi from the airport to the marina with a cost of around €50.
On a one way charter out of Komolac you may wish to organise a flight home out of Split Airport. This again is served by a number of international airlines and you can fly to many destinations inside and outside of the EU. Buses go direct from Split and Trogir to the airport.
There are two major marinas serving Dubrovnik, these are ACI Marina Dubrovnik and ACI Marina Slano. These are easily accessed from the local airport, and have a large number of yachts for charter based at each including catamaran charters.
ACI Dubrovnik: The state owned marina ACI Dubrovnik is just 6 kilometres from the Old Town with good all round facilities and a supermarket on site for provisioning with taxis and buses available which run between the old town and the marina.
Max Length 75 m
Max Draught 5 m
This is one of the best equipped marinas in Croatia with a swimming pool, tennis courts, supermarket, bar, restaurant and leisure facilities as well as shore power. WiFi, water, waste and laundry facilities. Just outside of the marina is a well known restaurant that serves yachting types and their crew, the riverside Vimbula.
ACI Marina Slano: ACI Veljko Barbieri Slano is 35km away from Dubrovnik old town while still in Dubrovnik county. Though quieter than ACI Dubrovnik this is in an extemely pretty part of the adriatic away from the tourist hordes with plenty of amazing walks. Taxis are available to travel between the old town and the marina
Max Length 25 m
Max Draught 13 m
There's a supermarket and restaurant here for replenishing stocks along with laundry services if needed.
At the southern end of the Croatian Adriatic, all routes head north on a sailing itinerary out of Komolac. A number of yacht charter companies offer one way yacht charters to Split and Trogir - with 130km of sailing this would allow plenty of time ashore.
7 days - Dubrovnik to Split one way: Taking in the Southern Dalmatia islands and mainland as you go, you can explore the Elafiti islands, Dalmatian Islands and national park of Mljet as you go. Do visit the enchanting island of Korcula and perhaps have a fun night out on the holiday island of Hvar.
7 days - Dubrovnik - Korcula return: Taking in the national parks of Mljet and Lastovsko on your sailboat or motor yacht as you head north, you will get to see the dense forests of Korcula - some of the most important islandecosystems in Croatia. Looping south you can head down the Pelješac Peninsula with its beautiful beaches, tiny villages and secluded coves.
14 days - Kornati Islands and back: Many of the islands off the Croatian coast are national parks with their own unique characteristics. The Kornati Islands are some of the best in Croatia in this regard. You can island hop north via Lastovsko, Mljet and Hvar before heading back down the cost via Split, the Pelješac Peninsula and back to home port.
The sailing season runs from late April to October with July and August being the busiest months for yacht charter. The ACI Marina chain also adds 20% to their berthing fees at this time of year. If you can charter outside of the peak period you will find it far quieter and less expensive. When a cruise ship is docked in Dubrovnik, its passengers will fill the Old Town. If you can time your visit outside of the times cruise ships are in, then you will find your visit to the city a lot more relaxed. The climate is mild most of the sailing season with occasional rain showers.
April and May: There will be occasional rainy days but temperatures sit between 22-28C or higher. Winds are generally NW, 10-20 knots
June-August: You'll be unlucky if you see any rain and temperatures are from 26C and up to the mid 30s. Wind is generally NW 5-10 knots
September-October: In this part of the world it rains more in October and the temperature falls away to 10 degrees C in the evenings, though it can get up to a comfortable 20C on an autumn day. Winds can get up to 20 knots.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.
With more berths in the marina than people in the village at the last national census, ACI Dubrovnik is the main business in Komolac. This is just 6km from the main city and three quarters of an hour from Dubrovnik Airport.
During high season in July and August, the ACI Marina chain charges an extra 20%. With the marinas and anchorages quieter outside of these times, it could be a better experience to do a Komolac yacht charter during school term-time. The weather is still great in May and September - perhaps with better winds too!
You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.
If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.
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