Roditelj: Unveiling the Charm of a Vintage Boat, A Testament to Timeless Elegance and Nautical Heritage
The ship in our logo is a M/J Roditelj (meaning „the parent“). It has been a part of our fleet for almost 15 years and helped us build our company. As the history of the ship is much longer than this small part that involved Adriana, this entire page is dedicated to this unique vessel.
M/J Roditelj was built a long time ago, in 1907, in a town called Piran which is today in Slovenia, but back then, that was Austro-Hungary. Roditelj changed hands and countries numerous times during the twentieth century (six different countries to be precise), but before his travels through the decades, here’s a little data about ship’s genesis.
Roditelj is a „brazzera“ (a type of coastal cargo boat) which is the most characteristic coastal sailboat in the Adriatic Sea. Brazzeras and similar ships could have been seen along the whole coast of Dalmatia and Istra, all the way to the Venetian Bay.
The coastal cargo boat, as a very firm and mobile boat, was particularly suitable for the trade and communication between numerous islands in this area, as well as between their neighboring east and west coast of Adriatic.
As the time passed, coastal cargo boats lost their significance, especially after the introducing of the motor powered ships. Many coastal cargo boats were converted into working boats for extraction and transportation of the sand. And now, in modern times, those are converted into cruise ships. Nowadays, there are only two originally preserved authentic coastal cargo boats with two masts cruising the Adriatic Sea, and of those two, M/J Roditelj is elder.
Roditelj is 13 meters long, 5 meters wide, with an over 12 meters tall mast and was created without any mechanical processing – it is exclusively a handiwork of old craftsmen. It was built out of the high quality oak-wood. Since it is originally a coastal cargo boat, its bow and stern are characteristically wide and round. It was highly maneuverable for that type of a boat, even with larger loads. The original colors show his bottom in pale-red and the upper hull in black and white with red details. Its bow ends with a long bowsprit, while the masts, deck, winches, boat lights and many more small details give Roditelj its personality which dominates even at first sight.
Its original purpose was for transportations of goods, and it mostly carried sand, wine and olive oil. In 1923, it got the motor engine and with that it became the first motorized sailboat on the Adriatic. With engine and sails it continued to take goods around the entire Adriatic.
During the Second World War, after the liberation of parts of Dalmatian coast and the capitulation of Italy, Roditelj assisted in ferrying refugees. He made several trips between islands of middle Dalmatia and Italian port of Bari. From there, with other means, people were taken to the main camp for evacuation of the Yugoslav civilians, to El Shat in Egypt.
After the war, in 1947, Roditelj returned to his cargo-ferrying duties as a part of a “Krilo Jesenice” collective, from the town with the same name near Split. With the decline of small cargo ships, Roditelj changed its original purpose in 1982 and all accessories needed for the tourist cruises were installed.
With the capacity of 50 travelers it sailed around the islands of middle Dalmatia before being sold to the most southernmost part of Croatia – Dubrovnik.
Roditelj spent the war with the people of Dubrovnik and here is when his darkest hour came. On November 11th 1991, while berthed on the „small pier“ in Dubrovnik’s old port, a shell fired from Žarkovica hit the old ship. It sank to the bottom of the port with couple more ships and stayed there for six months, until the heaviest bombardments of the town passed. The hole on the hull was temporary repaired and the ship was towed to shipyard in Korčula where it was completely renovated.
Soon after the reparations, ship became a part of Adriana and took hundreds of tourist on an unforgettable cruises around Dubrovnik. First it was making the regular Elafiti islands cruise from Cavtat and Dubrovnik, and was later delegated to more relaxed tours and mostly weddings. Many happy couples from around the world sailed on Roditelj on their wedding day, around the old city or in the sunset.
With our efforts, in the year 2000, Roditelj was proclaimed a cultural heritage of Republic of Croatia and protected by the ministry of culture so no additional changes were allowed.
With the rising quantity of shipping in waters around Dubrovnik, we decided to retire Roditelj into some more relaxed role. After couple of years of searching and negotiations, Roditelj left fleet of Dubrovnik and Adriana on April 9th, 2011.
He sailed to island Brač as he’s been bought by the Tourist Board of town Supetar, as a part of the program of preserving the culture and habits of Brač. They converted Roditelj into a open museum and can now usually be seen on one of the piers in Supetar. You could call it a sort of „return home“ because the entire type of „brazzera“ originates from this island and got its name from it. Today, as he is the only of its kind on the island, the Roditelj serves as a reminder of very different old times and rests in his well-earned pension.
Greetings from Cavtat.