A compelling episode from Youtube channel Sailing Fair Isle makes embarrassing viewing for the Croatian tourist board. Kass Schmitt reports


While in the past I’ve been mildly critical of Steve and Judy on Sailing Fair Isle for struggling to leave their former day jobs as news editors/correspondents behind, this surfeit of polish and professionalism has not kept me from watching and enjoying their videos for the past couple of years as they have meandered east through the Mediterranean on their Hans Christian 48T.

A recent episode shows them engaging in a spot of investigative journalism as they document what appears to be corruption on the part of customs officials as they check out of Croatia.

The couple are surprised to be fined the equivalent of £100 for having neglected to pay an additional tourist tax, and manage to covertly film the officers failing to justify their demand, which, incidentally, can only be paid in cash.

Steve grudgingly hands over the dosh, while promising to make a formal complaint.

They report that the Ministry of Tourism subsequently replied, denying the existence of both the tax and the legal article the officers cited as proof. What’s not clear is whether there will be any consequences for the officers involved.

One would hope that, given the effort Croatia has made to build the country’s reputation as an excellent destination for sailing tourism, they would be keen to do whatever they can to mitigate the effects of reports like this. We’ll see…

The remainder of the episode shows them happily exploring Montenegro, and the stunning scenery has me rewriting my bucket list.

They get a guided tour of Porto Montenegro from the marina manager, as well as meeting the new British owner of the 24m 1935 wooden ketch L’Odyssée, which is in need of restoration.

One of the things I love about Sailing Fair Isle’s channel is their habit of sharing the stories of the interesting characters they meet along their travels, another example of their journalistic experience enhancing the vlog.

In addition, their clear presentation of the nuts-and-bolts practicalities of traveling as UK citizens on a UK-registered boat in post-Brexit Europe is enlightening and helpful.

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This feature appeared in the October 2021 edition of Practical Boat Owner. For more articles like this, including DIY, money-saving advice, great boat projects, expert tips and ways to improve your boat’s performance, take out a magazine subscription to Britain’s best-selling boating magazine.

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