Days in the Bay, September 8-11, is the maritime part of the jubilee of 2400 years of the foundation of the Old Town of Hvar celebration. With its content and volume, the vast program reminds us of big maritime festivals arranged in the rest of Europe. For a while, potential participants followed the developments with caution. Promotional lectures and accompanying exhibitions showed the organizers' dedication and faith in their project. And here we are.
At the Split harbor, in front of the ferry that goes to Stari Grad, I saw the beautiful Lovran guc Don Čićo that had "Stari Grad - Hvar 2400" on its sides. There are also several gucs and batanas from Istria and Kvarner. Taking part in numerous events of a similar character, I recognized that this great show has transformed into a great event. At the late evening we meet friends from all over the Adriatic.
The bay is full of traditional boats. Great event. The third big fleet is coming from the island of Murter just before lunch. Two more falkušas are coming soon, as well as a Slobodna Dalmacija leut. Fifty boats arrived as guests. Tourists watch what's going on: there is a music march passing by, cannos of St. Roko are firing from Sutivan, sixty traditional boats are docked, and hundreds of people enjoying the festive atmosphere.
A special event when living at sea is meeting with a friend from far away. Things are not as distant as they once were, and there are more boats now than ever. Meeting an old friend is a joyous occasion, so Stari Grad is a city of joyful people. Since a sailor's boat is his home, wherever he goes is home. Boats were where they would gather with their company and cook. It's a special kind of joy to have a good meal with friends.
In the evening a ball of sails and light was announced. I have watched similar performances several times and they are always unpredictable. With some minor objections this is the best show of this kind I've ever seen. A packed shore of people followed almost two hours of sailing. Only after midnight did people go to bed, and some just before the morning sun.
The third day is the planned regatta in several categories. Weak wind exposed the greatest weakness of sailboats. Only a few gusts of wind sparked some liveliness in some of the small boats from Istria and Kvarner, which used those gusts as best they could.
Due to rain, the organizer changed the program and repeated the sailing under the lights instead of the parade. Bingo! Almost all the mistakes from the first time have been corrected and the result was an impressive event that finished with fireworks.