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tradition represented by the lateen sail

BURTIZ Sepurina 23.8.2009.

The third Burtiz of Šepurine was held on August 23rd, the first weekend after St Roko's day. Although the posters announcing the regatta were put up only days before the event, the interest was high, and the race was eagerly anticipated. Expectations are high, following the success of the previous year's event. Days leading up to the race were weighted with a stale heat, with a slight Northwestern wind in the afternoons; a streak usually broken by a few days of strong Bora (a strong, cold wind from the Norhteast), so everyone was extra cautious.

The first ships were spotted around ten, coming in from the Northwest. The Murter crews are sailing in.

Participating crews are gathering. The harbor is soon filled with beautiful ships. The festivities of the Latin sail regatta have begun.

People are visiting friends, attending the photo exibition of the previous year's Burtiz, and registering the crew rosters. Since the crews arrive relatively early in the morning, and the race starts later in the afternoon, the crews spend the day enjoying the festivities and the related programs, and the whole town is alive with anticipation throughout the day. This race has a special meaning to the locals, since not only does it start and finish in the town itself, its entire course runs through what's essentially Šepurina's back yard.

The chefs take center stage.

Boarding and leaving hte harbour is an exciting moment. In the blink of an eye, the harbour is empty.

Fortunately, the wind remains favourable. Bora is not a good wind for these types of ships. The gajeta and leut were traditionally cargo ships, transporting people, cattle and produce around the islands. They prefer a steady wind, and bora, coming in strong and unpredictable gusts, dictates a very careful sailing and makes tacking against the wind extremely complicated.

The ships are lined up at the start, eagerly awaiting the start signal.

And they're off, towards Vodice and the first buoy.

After the first turn, the course takes them to the Tribunj buoy. Another turn, and then towards the Kamenica buoy the final turn and the home stretch. The finish line is the bigger pier in Šepurine (locally known as Snakes' Pier).

Sport sailing is fast and dynamic. Turns have to be tight, and every mistake costs precious seconds. Being careless enough to plow too deep into the lee in front of Vala bay could cost you your position. The outcome was uncertain to the very end. The home stretch had several very attractive duels between the leading teams, and the winner was decided at the very finish line.

Crews are analyzing the race; what went wrong or right, what if, what could have been done better, and what to look out for next year. Both mistakes and right choices are valuable experience.

Satisfaction with a race well done is unanimous, as is the hope to see everyone again next year.


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