Secret Dalmatia Blog - Travel Experiences in Croatia

Traditional wooden boats in Croatia

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Croatian Adriatic has a long tradition of shipbuilding. From the rope-knitted small boats from Nin lagoon to the mighty Liburnas of Roman navy… The connection with the sea was so great due to the fact that the hinterland of Dalmatia was always hostile and roads were poor. Most of the trade was going along the coast up the long established routes from Orient to Venice.

In the second half of 19th century, wooden ships started their slow journey to history: the coastal routes were taken over by big steamers from Trieste and the last of the brigs and brigantines were built in Korcula and Koper (Slovenia) as two of the most important shipyards on the shores of the Austro-Hungarian Adriatic. Many other shipyards existed, like the ones on Lošinj, Trieste, Brac… but Koper and Korcula were the most important ones.

It was back in 1906 that our “pride and glory” was built in Koper – now Slovenia. “Barbarinac” as it is now called, started it’s journey as Sv. Ivan (probably) and was intended to sail as a cargo ship in the waters of Hvar.


Barbarinac is now 19 meters long – after the restoration in 1992 when we extended her from the original 15,8 meters. We had another intervention this year to expand the seating area due to the request from our partners who book the boat. The original “Barbarinac” was small and the new demands transformed it from the chubby little loger to very elegant copy of traditional ships that sailed the Adriatic in the early 1900s.

View from the mast
View from the mast

So, after sailing as a cargo ship, sand extracting ship, navy ship between Split and Hvar and then again as a sand extracting ship after the big ferries were introduced, it finally started doing excursions in the late 1970s. Under the name of Barbarinac, it was transporting young men to the army in the 1950s and the popular song was:

“Barbarinče, ispala ti propela,
što si moga dragoga

“Barbarinac, let your propeller falls off for taking my darling away”

In Biograd...end of Summer on the beatten hull
In Biograd...end of Summer on the beatten hull

Barbarinac is the name of a small reef near Vranjic. It apparently hosted the chappel/church of St. Barbara and that is how it got it’s name.
In the early 1980s, Barbarinac was purchased by the Grubisa family from Krilo Jesenice and restored to work as an excursion boat in Istria.
My family purchased her in 1987. Since then, her spend most of her life working out of Murter on excursions to Kornati for Coronata agency.
Next step is to have Barbarinac work for few more years out of Murter but soon to bring down the cabin and start original cruises with unique itineraries. Working on it!

Enjoy few more photos taken on the Barbarinac Photo Tour in our gallery!
Unique way to celebrate the first 100 years of Barbarinac!

The sea
The sea

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