Ship marathon is a amateur sporting event in a ship race on the river of Neretva. The boats are actually old traditional ships, characteristic for the area around Metković, located in the south part of Croatia. The marathon occurs once a year, second Saturday in August, under sponsorship of the president of Croatia. First year of this beautiful event was in 1998.
In the next few lines i will give you some basic proposition of the race, so you know what is it actually about. A week before the real race, qualification race takes place on the river of Neretva. It is a speed race (300m), which decides the position of the crews on actual race.
The race is now 22,5 km long, and its route was changed several times because of the bad conditions at few locations. Ships are standardized, made to copy the old traditional ships that were used during the Middle Ages in the „Neretva region“. The crew is made out of twelve people. Ten of them are using paddles, one is steering the ship, and of them is the drummer. At one spot in the race (Opuzen), the crew is allowed to change 6 people. So the total number of the crew can be 18 people. Officialy, there can be 33 crew at this race. The crew can be consisted out of men, female and children older then 15 years. The oldest ship was built in 1895., and is a property of „Domagojevi Gusari“ from Vid.
In the beginning, there was a rule that only people from „Neretva region“ can be involved in the race, but from 2005. anyone can be in the race. First crew that won and is not from this region is called „Argo“, coming from northern part of Croatia, city of Bjelovar. There was even documentary movie made to celebrate their success.
At the end of this blog, i would like to point out some interesting facts:
Next few blogs will cover some of most famous events in Croatia, so stay tuned.