Lošinj at 'ESCALE A SETE', the largest Mediterranean maritime festival

From 27 March to 2 April 2018 Lošinj will present its tourism offer and maritime tradition with the Lošinj Pasara boat at ESCALE À SÈTE, the largest Mediterranean maritime festival in France.
Since 2010 this festival has been held every two years in the centre of Sète, the first fishing port in France, and in 2016 the festival had more than 300 000 visitors. At this year’s festival Croatia will be the guest of honour of the ‘Mediterranean Village’ where the Association for the Promotion of Croatian Maritime Heritage Cronaves from Split organised and coordinated the presentation of the fleet of historical boats, while the Croatian destinations will present their tourism potential, old maritime crafts, gastronomy, culture and other. Workshops for children and an exhibition on Croatian maritime heritage, which the Lošinj museum participated in, will also be a part of the festival programme.
Along with the Association of Neretva Boatmen, the Palagruža Association, the University of Zadar, Moščenićka Draga Eco Museum, the Kvarner County Tourism Office, the Town of Mali Lošinj and the Mali Lošinj Tourist Board also seized the opportunity to introduce the visitors and participants to the centuries-old maritime and tourist tradition of the island of vitality by presenting the Lošinj Pasara boat Primavera.
During the festival, the Pasara boat will set sail several times in the port of Sète and demonstrate attractive manoeuvres to numerous participants. Along with enjoying maritime attractions, the participants will be able to taste local food from Lošinj thanks to the diligent staff of Lošinj Hotels & Villas. Science aficionados will be able to enjoy a scientific lecture on Pasara boats and seafaring on Lošinj organised by the Lošinj Museum. The Mali Lošinj Tourist Board also set up an Info Corner where visitors can find promotional materials, but also get answers to all their questions about the destination.

During 2017, more than 540,000 tourists from France visited Croatia, which represents an increase of 9% and a record 2.1 million overnight stays. As part of the Croatian promotion at this festival, which combines tourism, seafaring, shipbuilding, fishing and traditional gastronomy and oenology, there has been increased interest in Croatian regions that have not been in the focus of a large number of French tourists so far, like continental Croatia, Zagreb, Istria and Kvarner. Furthermore, the first charter flights organised by Thalasso N°1, one of the most prominent French tour operators in the SPA, wellness and health programme segment, while Ovoyages will connect Paris, Nantes and Lyon with the Rijeka Airport from mid-April until the end of October. The arrival of Ovoyages and Thalasso N°1 to the Kvarner region will definitely create new opportunities for the arrival of French tourists, which has been on the increase in recent years. The French are ready and willing to get to know Kvarner better. Those who have already visited it were fascinated by its beautiful nature, rich cultural heritage, authentic gastronomy and clean beaches. They were not always aware of the fact that most Croatian cities are less than two-hour flying distance from France, which may often prove to be less time than they would need to visit a city in France, pointed out Danijela Mihalić Đurica, the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Office in France.

This festival represents an ideal opportunity for Lošinj to present its gastronomy, culture and seafaring tradition. The beginning of sailing as a sport in Lošinj is closely connected to its seafaring and shipbuilding tradition, as well as to the beginnings of organised tourism on the island. By reviving and presenting the historical and cultural heritage of Lošinj seafaring we enrich to the existing tourist offer we provide to our current and potential guests. The Lošinj Sails Around the World festival, dedicated to the rich maritime and shipbuilding tradition of the island, will be held again in September out of a desire to preserve, revitalize and valorise the maritime heritage, explained Dalibor Cvitković, the director of the Mali Lošinj Tourist Board and announced the restoration of the wooden motor boat „Dražica“ –'Nerezinac' lugger that will be home to an interpretation centre. This cargo sailboat is the only remaining specimen on the north Adriatic islands and has been included in the List of Protected Cultural Property of the Republic of Croatia. 
Bearing in mind its rich seafaring tradition, it comes as no surprise that Lošinj is participating in this type of festival. In contrast to the larger part of the Adriatic, where sailboats were used solely for transport, people from the island of Lošinj sailed to prove their sailing abilities – they considered it a sport. At first, Gozzo and Pasara sailboats were used for regattas. These sailboats were built specifically for that purpose, and since there were seven shipyards on the island of Lošinj at the turn of the 20th century, it was a matter of honour and prestige whose Pasara would win the regatta. Due to the characteristics of the Mali Lošinj bay, where thermal winds and mistral along with minimal waves prevail in summer, the Pasara boat was built differently on the island of Lošinj than in other parts of the Adriatic. It is wide at the main frame and has fairly large sails for its size as well as a deep keel along its entire length, especially at the stern, and a deep rudder. The so-called Marconi rigging was used because the long gaff running parallel to the mast was reminiscent of the telegraph antennas made by the Marconi Company at the time. Such a sail, similar to modern sails, was more advanced than the Latin sail and the lugsail; so the boats could sail more against the wind. The L-5 class national sailboats, designed by Anton Martinolić from Lošinj, developed from these Pasara boats, while the Olympic Star class originated from the national sailboats. Agostino Straulino and Nicolo Rode became two-time Olympic champions (Helsinki, 1952 and Melbourne, 1956) and three-time world champions sailing in the Star class. The island of Lošinj was the only place on the eastern Adriatic where sailboats were built specifically for regattas. They were used for excursions and fishing, and at traditional sailing regattas they represented their designers and displayed their sports performance. Two Pasara boats from the island of Lošinj were built according to the original drawings based on the old photos of the Pasara boat regattas in the port of Mali Lošinj and one of them will be presented at this year’s maritime festival.

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