A successful Croatia yacht charter isn’t just about luxury and fine food. (Although that certainly helps!) At the heart of a really great yacht charter is its people, for a top-level yacht crew can help you experience a place in a way that you’ll never forget.
This is the case on the 26m Ferretti yacht FRIEND’S BOAT, which has just hit the charter market for the very first time, sporting an attractive double-master cabin layout and open air sundeck cinema. This Custom Line Navetta 26 is one of the most popular Ferretti yachts, with design from the acclaimed Zuccon International and accommodation for 8 guests in four cabins.
FRIEND’S BOAT is run by Captain Jakov Dabov, who is passionate about the sea, and about his native Croatia. Born in Sibenik, this lifelong sailor knows the Adriatic coastline like the back of his hand, and nothing makes him happier than showing it off to guests and sharing its secrets.
We sat down with Captain Dabov to discuss his career on yachts, how he selects his crew, and his top picks for what to visit in Croatia on a Ferretti yacht charter.
How did you come to be a yacht captain?
JAKOV: It was a logical transition to become a yacht captain. I started sailing as a young boy, and built up my skills until I became a skipper on a sailing boat at age 18. After many years working as a skipper, I was offered the opportunity to work on a motor yacht.
How long have you been captain on board FRIEND’S BOAT?
JAKOV: I’ve been on board from the moment the Owner bought the yacht back in 2014. Our relationship goes back further though, as I’d been the captain on a yacht the Owner had chartered multiple times and we’d built up a good rapport. When the time came for him to buy his own Ferretti yacht, he called me immediately —and the rest is history!
What has been recently updated on MY FRIEND’S BOAT?
Jakov: One of the sought after Navetta yachts, the yacht has been immaculately maintained from the moment the Owner bought it. Keeping the yacht in great condition is something I work really hard at — I’m heavily involved in every refit and update made on board.
Besides standard winter works, for summer 2022 FRIEND’S BOAT will have new yacht linen, an interior refresh including table settings, a new SONOS sound system, and a new projector for the open-air cinema on the sundeck. Because the yacht has only been privately used until now and has been impeccably maintained, it is in magnificent condition for charterers to enjoy.
How would you describe your charter crew?
Jakov: All crew members had extensive experience on other boats before joining FRIEND’S BOAT. The most important thing as a crew is to be a true team, to work together as one. It’s sometimes hard to live with people 24/7, which is why when selecting the crew, I took extra care to choose the people with a good attitude, a great work ethic, and a calm and pleasant character — as well as the necessary qualifications, of course.
They’re all really steady, skillful people. This will be our third season together as a team, while I’ve been working with deckhand Zravko for a decade now! He’s had a similar path to me in yachting, as we both started as skippers on sailing yachts when we were 18. We work really well together, along with our fantastic female chef and stewardess, who are both hard working and flexible, always listening to the guests and doing everything possible to exceed their expectations.
How do you think your crew stands out?
I think our crew is particularly good for families. Up until this year, the yacht has only ever been privately used, and every summer has been spent with the Owner’s family, with a huge amount of attention given to the kids so they have a great time. As a parent myself, I know how helpful it is to have a crew that understands the needs of parents.
The Owner and his kids are really active, so we’re used to running active charters, moving anchorages every day and always coming up with new activities. We’re an active crew too- I love trail running and sailing in my spare time— so we’re always keen to organise fun experiences for our guests.
We also know the Adriatic incredibly well. This is our sea, we know its secrets! As a crew, we use our local knowledge to create special vacation experiences.
What are your top 3 recommendations of what to visit in Croatia?
- Pelješac peninsula – South Adriatic.
The Peljesac Peninsula is a spectacular cruising area. Besides beautiful coves to anchor in and hills rolling down to the sea, what makes the peninsula particularly special is its authenticity. There are places here that still represent ‘genuine’ Croatian life as it has been for centuries, like the old village of Janjina, where the 19th century captains’ houses haven’t yet been discovered by the masses. Some of the best vineyards are located here, and we can organise a wine tour while cruising, taking in tastings at wineries including Korta Katarina and Saint Hills.
Another spectacular stop is at Ston, which is famous for its spectacular defensive walls, which are the longest in Europe and link three fortresses at the foot of a mountain. Ston is also famous for its oysters and has been farming them since Roman times, and I thoroughly recommend an oyster tasting at one of Ston’s great seafood restaurants.
2. Krka Waterfalls – Mid-Adriatic
The Krka National Park is near Sibenik, our home port, and is the location of the magnificent Krka Waterfalls, a series of terraced waterfalls with beautiful emerald green pools for swimming.
To get there, we cruise beneath high cliffs and into Prokljan Lake, where the cold water of Krka River mixes with the sea. From there it’s just a few miles to Skradin town, the gateway to the waterfalls. Once there, we recommend our guests take the private guided tour with a taxi boat to properly explore the waterfalls, and there is an hour-long walk around the falls.
We generally recommend that guests visit this unique place on the final day of their charter, finishing the day with a Michelin-starred dinner at Pelegrini, Croatia’s most famous restaurant, back in Sibenik in the evening.
3. Rab Island- North Adriatic
The North Adriatic gets less attention as a superyacht cruising destination than it should. Rab Island is the perfect example of a jewel of the north, with its archeological treasures, cultural festivals and gourmet offering.
Known as ‘Happy Island’ by the Romans, the island has a heavily indented coastline with both pebbled and sandy beaches, with highlights including the Kalifront Peninsula with its string of turquoise coves backed by lush pine forest, Up in the northwest of the island you’ll find the ACI Marina and sandy beaches, including the aptly-named ‘Paradise Beach’, considered one of Croatia’s finest.
Food experience is a very important part of yacht charter experience. What kind of food is served on board FRIEND’S BOAT?
Jakov: This will be the 3rd season on FRIEND’S BOAT for our chef Dražana. She is a real gem, and has proved a valuable asset to the FRIEND'S BOAT team. Dražena speaks fluent Italian, English and has basic knowledge of French and Spanish.
The menu is focused around local, fresh ingredients, and Dražana provides healthy Mediterranean dishes every day. She is at her happiest when guests are open to trying some traditional Croatian recipes — including some that are largely forgotten these days and can’t be found on every Croatian restaurant menu. Croatian highlights include calamari stew with polenta, roasted lamb marinated in Dalmatian herbs, and Komiška pogača, a classic Croatian bread from the island of Vis filled with a herbed tomato sauce and anchovies. Dražana’s pasta is always delicious, and she will prepare it with wild sea plants like Salicornia and Rock samphire.
From the table to secluded coves, we really try to deliver a true Croatian experience which the guest will remember forever.
What is your favorite beach that you always recommend that guests should visit?
Jakov: Vučine beach on island Pelješac
In the village of Žuljana, a densely forested hill slopes down to a large, sheltered beach with shallow, crystal clear waters of a perfect blue.
Vucine Beach is isolated, made up of pebbles and hidden in the natural shade of tall pine trees. The sea is calm, very clean, pleasantly warm and accessible down the whole length of the beach. The shallows are an excellent place for the children to play and swim. And when the sun is too hot, it just takes a few steps to get into the shade. There are also underwater caves for divers to explore, and a beach bar and restaurant.
Why would you recommend MY FRIEND’S BOAT to somebody looking to charter?
JAKOV: MY FRIEND’S BOAT has an extremely attractive 4-cabin layout that offers multifunctionality and is ideal for either couples or family groups.
The main deck master is almost equalled in size by the VIP cabin (both above 21 sqm), which is ideal in situations where there are 2 principal charterers. Neither principal will feel less pampered —whether that’s parents and grandparents on a multi-generational family vacation or couples sharing a charter with friends. There are also two twin cabins, including one that converts easily into a double, depending on the configuration of the group.
Guests also really appreciate the oversize sundeck with its alfresco cinema- something you normally only see on larger superyachts. Everything on board is designed for comfort and relaxation.
Which toys does MY FRIEND’S BOAT offer and which are the most popular?
Jakov: Because the yacht’s Owner is extremely active, guests are in luck when it comes to our water toy selection. We find that the Yamaha sea scooters are a big hit with kids — they are very light so very easy to manoeuvre.
- Tender Vsr 5,8m
- 1x Flying Board SAILFIN PLURATO
- 2x Yamaha Sea Scooter 500 LI
- 1x Kayak Chelan 155 for 2 pax
- 2x SUP
- 1x Donut
- 1x Water Skies
- 1x Wakeboard
- Snorkeling Equipment
How do you create the perfect charter experience for your guests?
Jakov: Everything starts with good preparation. Before the guests step on board, I collaborate with the broker to get as many details as possible about the guests’ preferences — things like their food tastes, their favourite activities.
This gives me time in advance to start creating great experiences for their itinerary, and it’s a great start to the conversation when they get on board. I always have 2-3 alternatives to the itinerary ready in case the guest wants a last-minute change of plan. I think that’s one of the best qualities in a charter captain — to be so familiar with the cruising area, and to know all the right people, that you are able to step in and adapt experiences at a minute’s notice.
Finally, what is the best part of your job as a charter captain?
Jakov: I was born in a city on the coast, I love the sea, and my whole life is connected with the sea. My parents come from Žirje Island near Sibenik, and my love of the sea is something that runs through my family and is just a huge part of me. Working with guests and making their stay on Adriatic as good as it can be is a really big pleasure for me. It makes me proud to show off this amazing place.
If you want to know more about chartering M/Y FRIEND’S BOAT in Croatia this summer or to book a Ferretti yacht charter, contact our Charter Specialist at email@example.com,
or call +385 99 819 5889.
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