Murter Island has been known for it’s boats for few centuries now. Especially gajeta and leut. These traditional wooden boats were used by the Murterini to reach their olive groves and pastures in the area of Modrave (a narrow strip between Pakoštane and Pirovac) and Kornati which were owned by the nobility of Zadar. Later, they purchased the entire archipelago (and more than it is now called Kornati) in late 19th century. Grandsons of the original group of buyers from Murter still keep their copies of the contract!
So, traditional boats played a major role in this island’s life: sheep, fishing, olives, grapes, wine… all had to be transported by these boats due to poor roads. Since most people that inhabit Murter now are originaly from Turkish Dalmatia, it took them centuries to start fishing! Much later than they learned how to sail…
LATINSKO IDRO (The Latin Sail) is the regatta that was started in memory in those days and Dalmatian traditions.
This annual event is getting better year after year with numerous cultural events promoting the tradition of this wonderful region. This year the event started on September 18th with exhibition of graphics and photos of old gajeta boats from Zagreb and Vienna archives. It continued during the week with several interesting events and my favorite was the screening of “The Stormy Sea” – a German movie shot on Mana island 50 years ago! The scene for that movie is still visible on the island.
But the main event is definitely the regatta.
Our “forces” of Pašman canal were several boats strong and this one is our family’s with my brother as a captain. We were there not with gajeta but with kaić – even smaller boat for our usually calm waters. And this kid on the boat was not part of our three member crew…
The regatta starts at 3 PM and sails to the nearby islands of Murter archipelago just like in the old days and the beauty of this regatta field is that even if you have a good start, the better navigation and the better boat still win. The sail is about 2 – 2,5 hours long but that depends on the boat. There are several types and sizes of boats and each is in it’s own category: leut, gajeta and kaić.
The most dramatic part of the event is the start where, after a siren, captain and the crew must release a short rope, pull up an anchor and release the sail.
This is what it looks like:
Anyway, our “Babac” – named after our home island – was first in it’s category after the start!
In the end, out of 78 contestants this year, our boat finished 32nd which was a good success considering that some teams “live” for this event and my brother prepared for 3 hours :)))
The event ends with winner ceremony, lots of music, wine, food…
Latinsko idro is one of the best celebrations of traditional life in Dalmatia and well worth visiting. With this kind of enthusiasm and the ever growing number of contestants, the future of gajeta and traditional Dalmatian boats is secure!
The event has it’s own web site (in Croatian) – Latinsko Idro
Guide to Murter Island
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