Jabuka (Apple in Croatian) race is one of the hardest yacht races in Adriatic. Organised on a date, that almost smells like winter, the weather can vary from almost summer like conditions, to gale force winds combined with freezing temperatures.

The race itself was conceived in 2003 when 15 crews gathered in front of Vodice harbour in the middle of the night and pointed their bows towards Italy. More precisely to small Volcanic island of Jabuka, known for confusing compasses, due to its magnetic effects. The route was set to keep islands of Komorica, Jabuka and Blitvenica on starboard, which adds up to 89.5 miles on the rhumb line.

map

Adventurous character of the race proved to attract increasing number of crews. 46 boats attended on 2005 edition and the numbers kept climbing to 78 in 2011, which is  still current race record in attendance.

The race is sailed on Open, ORC and IRC (Open being most popular, dividing boats in groups on length only) and in recent years in some one designs like Elan350, First45 and Seascape27s.

Special thanks from Seascape to Sime Stipanicev for making everything around the Pre-race clinic run smoothly and building trust between Seascape and the organisers of Jabuka race. Another thanks goes to JK Tijat, which gave Seascape27s benefit of the doubt and allowed us to show that she can convincingly cope with challenges of an Offshore classic like Jabuka race.

 

2006: SETTING THE BENCHMARK

In 2006 four Minitransat teams chose the Jabuka race and the days before it as part of their training programme for the 2007 Minitransat race. Team Adria with SLO509 and SLO510 joined resources with CRO232 and POL508 and used late autumn days for sail testing and putting final touches on the sail selection tables and polar diagrams.

Kristian Hajnsek (SLO509) and Sime Stipanicev (CRO232) debriefing after training in Tribunj
Kristian Hajnsek (SLO509) and Sime Stipanicev (CRO232) debriefing after training in Tribunj

For the race itself skipper of CRO232 Sime Stipanicev joined forces with 470 sailor Kresimir Dzakulovic to sail double handed. Skipper of POL508 Jaroslav Kaczorovski sailed with his prepartor Marek “Goly” Galkiewitz, while SLO509 and SLO510 used the opportunity for some sponsorship hospitality. Kristian Hajnsek from 509 invited POP TV news anchor Edi Pucer to join him together with three time 470 Olympian Tomaz Copi. Andraz Mihelin on 510 was on other hand joined by another 470 Olympic sailor and Match race specialist Tomislav Basic and Damjan Vuk, CEO of Avto Triglav, that was sponsoring both boats of Team Adria trough the Alfa Romeo brand.

Conditions were close to ideal with 15-20kt of NE  providing quick reaching run trough the islands after the start. After turning Komorica and heading offshore, wind veered to SE and dropped to about 15kt, allowing boats to lay Jabuka island sailing TWA (true wind angle) of about 70 degrees. Minis were at that point sailing with their fractional code0s averaging about 8kt of speed. After turning Jabuka in the middle of the night, wind picked up to around 20-25kt, which laid the ground for most spectacular return imaginable. Using small fractional gennakers and first reef SLO510 averaged almost 16kt of speed on the 35 miles run between Jabuka and Blitvenica. Even hitting cold air of the NE wind that stayed near the coast, which meant tacking throughout last part of the route, couldn’t spoil the overall result of the 650cm long Minis. SLO510 finished 5th overall in time of 9h 36m 26s, averaging 9.63kt on the rhumb line. SLO509 came in shortly after on 11th place followed by CRO232 on 33rd and POL508 on 42nd out of 56 starters.

 

2012: PROOF OF CONCEPT

After whole year of moving (prototype of) Seascape 27 around Europe, from Norway to Atlantic, to Swiss lakes, we decided to put her performance and seaworthiness to final test. Having great memories on Jabuka race from our Mini650 days, bringing her to Tribunj came as a “no brainer”. Even though it was not possible to enter the race officially, due to 9.4m length limit, organiser was kind enough to allow us to join the fleet as a proof of concept for following years. That meant that everything was as if we would be racing, except we wouldn’t be part of the official results.

Weather was standard for that part of the year with fresh NE wind forecasted for the duration of the race. Since that was the first offshore race of the Seascape27, there was huge amount of interest to join our crew, and if Tome Basic wouldn’t be called to a last minute meeting of Croatian Sailing Federation, we would be sailing in 6. On the other hand, we knew that she is perfect for shorthanded sailing and were interested to see how can she accommodate 5 crew members for a long race like this.

As usual in this kind of conditions, start of the race is a tricky thing – downing in the middle of the night, surrounded with much larger boats. Luka did a good job keeping us in clear air, which kept us in the top 10 for the first reaching part of the race. After turning Komorica we were back to our masthead kite. As the wind and waves picked up going further offshore, so did that funny mixture of fun and unease, typical for that kind of sailing. Whoever was helming seemed relaxed enough, but for the rest, going downwind, in pitch dark, averaging 12-13kt, while flying a masthead kite on a mast, without any backstay or runners, felt a bit funny. Coming from Minis, I knew that 20kt of wind is a point where you switch the big gennaker with a medium one, and the wind we were having, was occasionally well over that mark. But once you took the helm, everything seemed under control. Due to huge volume in the bow and rig geometry, 27 had a very comfortable bow up position and didn’t decelerate too much hitting the waves we were overtaking. That kept loads reasonable and number of broaches down to one.

Screen Shot 2012-11-19 at 10.06.43 PM

We were amazed to see we were not loosing to much ground to two Class40s ahead of us and we ended up rounding Jabuka on the 3rd place, 10min behind the leading AkilariaRC2 and just in front of Grand Soleil 50R Marina Kastela. That meant that 27 needed only 5h and 10min for the first 44M averaging 8.5kt of VMG.

Return proved to be a bit slower going upwind in 20-25kt bang on the nose. We were trying out different sail combinations, going all the way down to first reef and staysail, but our main problem was we took the wrong side of the massive shift and consequently lost a lot of additional places.

Final 10M of the race ended up being a proper driftatlon where everybody except the first few boats compressed in a tight stationary bundle. This suited us just fine and we managed to win back some of the places lost banging upwind in chop.

We ended up finishing at the same time as X46 MucaMaca, which put us on 23rd place in a fleet of 68 finishers. But more importantly, 27 proved her value and we were sure that a year that follows will be even more fun.

Results

SLO1 – prototype
Luka Beabler
Jure Jerman
Andraz Mihelin
Tit Plevnik
Stefan Zuna
Unnoficial entry – finished 23rd out of 68 boats with a time of 18:27:11
Average speed on the rhumb line: 4.88kt

 

2013: THE REAL DEAL

Four 27s gathered in Tribunj training base few days before the race, for training, weather briefing and security checks. Seascape 27 class was officially invited to join the race, so this time it was for real.  Disturbing 40kt of SE wind forecasted few days before the race was taming down to more relaxing 25 as the race day was approaching. Weather situation was monitored by Jure Jerman, who was also in charge of meteo briefings. At the same time, Sime Stipanicev made sure all the logistics went smoothly and being a newly certified RYA instructor, he also took over the security checks.

Start took place in light NE wind – downwind – and for small 27s the trick was to get to clear air as soon as possible. GER4 came out of the blocks the fastest, following closely by GER12. CZE6 and SLO2 got caught in a traffic, but were quickly fighting their way trough the fleet. After rounding Komorica, boats entered the transition zone between NE and SE, which was marked with windless potholes. Some race favourites, like Volvo60 Big One, old Open60 Austria One and AkilariaRC2 Ola, got stuck, which opened up the game on the return leg.

Seascapes were turning Jabuka about mid fleet, but close to the leaders. GER12 rounded first, just minutes ahead of GER4. CZE6 and SLO2 were also locked together, not far behind. Wind started to pick up shortly after the rounding, which resulted in fantastic run with the wind at about 130 TWA (true wind angle) and 20kt TWS (True wind speed). Seascapes were averaging 13-14kt, under full mainsail and fractional kite, only few 100m from each other. Sailboat racing doesn’t get much better than that.

Approaching Blitvenica lighthouse wind started to back to NE and soon all of the boats were tacking upwind. At that time Seascapes were holding 2nd and 3rd place overall with AkilariaRC2 being the only boat able to catch up on them on the downwind run. As for the whole race the two pairs: GER4 and GER12 in the front and CZE6 and SLO2 closely behind, were caught in head to head duels. GER4 was succeeding to defend her tiny lead from GER12, which was slowly closing in. It all came down to the last split just a mile to the finish. For a while it appeared that GER12 found a better side of a split and that it will cross ahead, but GER4 ended up squeezing ahead for less than a boat length effectively closing the deal.

GER4 so finished 1st, just 27 seconds ahead of GER12. Another battle was going on between CZE6 and SLO2, where at the end Czech crew defended her lead for just over a minute.

The following day was as perfect as they come in November – sunshine, warm, almost felt like having a cold beer and not a warm tea.

The ground work was now laid down and it was exciting to think what might happen in 2014.

2013 Results:

GER4 – Hoppetosse
Luka Baebler (SLO)
Dylan Tidd (SLO)
Lena Koter (SLO)
Maja Jeromel (SLO)
Jure Jerman (SLO)
1st out of 4 in Seascape class and 15th overall out of 60 boats with time 13:55:27 (Current Race Record)
Average speed on the rhumb line: 6.464kt

GER12 – Wilde Perle
Karlheinz Muler (GER)
Martin Lindner (GER)
Ebenhart (GER)
Andraz Mihelin (SLO)
Marina Horvat (CRO)
2nd out of 4 in Seascape class and 16th overall out of 60 boats with time 13:55:54
Average speed on the rhumb line: 6.460kt

CZE6 – Emotion
Petr Sladecek (CZE)
Vojta Sladecek (CZE)
Roman Knizek (CZE)
Petr Stejskal (CZE)
Tit Plevnik (SLO)
3rd out of 4 in Seascape class and 25th overall out of 60 boats with time 14:22:25
Average speed on the rhumb line: 6.25kt

SLO2 – Seascape27
Jon Brecelj (SLO)
Per Cederberg (DEN)
Uros Kumer (SLO)
Luka Hus (SLO)
Vladislav Ptasnik (CZE)
4th out of 4 in Seascape class and 26th overall out of 60 boats with time 14:23:40
Average speed on the rhumb line: 6.26kt

 

2014: Seascape 27 OD class

In 2014 7 Seascape27 teams joined Jabuka race. Video says it all!
You can find full 2014 coverage in Jabuka 2014 Archive.

 

Final results for 2014. Overall results can be found here, results by classes here and tracking here.

Rank

Fleet

Boat

Class

SailNo

HelmName

Nat

Time

1st

7,99

Wilde Perle

Seascape 27

GER 12

Karlheinz Muler

GER

17:00:06

2nd

7,99

SEA YOU

Seascape 27

NOR 3

Lars Petter Karlsen

NOR

17:05:40

3rd

7,99

Hoppetosse

Seascape 27

GER 4

Tit Plevnik

SLO

17:17:26

4th

7,99

Ora Blu

Seascape 27

 GER 32

Bernd Goergner

GER

17:31:08

5th

7,99

Emotion

Seascape 27

CZE 6

Petr Sladecek

CZE

17:31:12

6th

7,99

Joyous

Seascape 27

CZE 33

Robert Vysata

CZE

17:36:01

7th

7,99

My

Seascape 27

SWE 27

Lasse Hansen

SWE

18:07:43

SOME INTERESTING TRIVIA:

Class winners Karlheinz and his crew on Wilde Perle were pushed out of the top 10 overall just before the finish line. The guy responsible for that was Luka Beabler – admittedly this year he was sailing on First45. If you don’t know who Luka is, he was skipper of AUT4 in 2013 race. This from our history section:

… AUT4 was succeeding to defend her tiny lead from GER12, which was slowly closing in. It all came down to the last split just a mile to the finish. For a while it appeared that GER12 found a better side of a split and that it will cross ahead, but AUT4 ended up squeezing ahead for less than a boat length effectively closing the deal. AUT4 so finished 1st, just 27 seconds ahead of GER12. Another battle was going on between CZE6 and SLO2, where at the end Czech crew defended her lead for just over a minute….

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There was just a good hour difference between winners GER12 and 7th placed SWE27

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