Gulet Fortuna is an elegant mahogany gulet, built in Turkey in 1994, and now used for private charters on the Adriatic. She has six cabins (sleeping 12), making her ideal for small groups of family or friends. We met the lovely Torić family, who own and crew Fortuna, to find out more.
On a hot sunny afternoon, at anchor in Kaštela Bay, just outside Split, Fortuna (33m/108ft) cuts an elegant figure, with her two towering masts silhouetted against the rocky heights of Kozjak mountain. Onboard, I’m greeted by Mirna and Tonči, and their children, Stipe and Kate. We sit around the spacious dining table on the shaded aft deck. Kate makes us good strong espresso coffees and passes around a platter of chocolate treats. Although the sea is a little choppy, Fortuna has a deep hull, making her very stable.
The Torić family lives on the tiny pine-scented island of Vrgada (population 249) on the edge of Kornati National Park, midway between Zadar and Šibenik. Mirna and Tonči have worked with boats for over 20 years, and Stipe and Kate have sailed since they were tiny. How did the family get into the charter business? “One day we were in Sukošan marina and by chance saw a gulet with a ‘For Sale sign”, says Mirna with a smile. “We bought it and in one month we had it ready for sailing”.
As a family, they create a relaxed but extremely capable team. Tonči is captain, and Stipe (a Naval Engineering graduate who has worked on international tankers) is deckhand. This summer, Mirna will be chef, and Kate (who is studying to be a nurse) will be a stewardess.
The guest experience
“When they book, guests send us a preference list, about the sorts of places they like, food intolerances and so on, so we can plan in advance”, explains Mirna. “We offer half-board. A full breakfast spread – platters of fresh fruit, yogurts, eggs, croissants and more. And a three-course Dalmatian lunch, usually at anchor in a bay. At dinner, guests eat out”.
The Torić’s will give you a true insiders’ view of Dalmatia. “Besides being crew, we’re tour guides – we want you to see how we live on the islands”, says Stipe. “By boat, you can find hidden beaches and enjoy the privilege of swimming without crowds. Here you’re literally in a giant natural translucent blue pool, with no chemicals. You can see the seabed, 100 feet below you”.
Croatia Gulet Fortuna Toric Family | Inside and out
Mirna shows me inside. The saloon has a bar and indoor dining space in case it rains. Down below, the six cozy cabins are a mix of doubles and twins. They have comfy beds, mahogany wardrobes, blue-and-white bed linens, and small windows opening onto azure Dalmatian skies. En-suite bathrooms come with a shower and hairdryer. Up top, the teak deck has generous sunbathing space with mattresses, and seating on the prow, ideal for sunset drinks. With her sails up, billowing in the wind, Fortuna can cruise at 6 knots (7mph).
Dalmatia sailing routes
After my visit, this Croatia Gulet Fortuna Toric Family will be sailing from Split to Dubrovnik, with stops on Hvar, Vis, and Korčula along the way. There are organized activities to suit the group aboard. Besides cultural sightseeing, they’ll occasionally drop anchor in secluded bays, snooze, swim, and enjoy Fortuna’s water toys. These include stand-up paddleboards (SUP’s), a tandem kayak, an inflatable doughnut tube, and banana float, and snorkeling gear. “We want guests to appreciate freedom, to forget about the time of day, to relax, discover and enjoy”, concludes Stipe.