Sailing Turkey's Turquoise Coast

Blue Voyages along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey were the brainchild of either Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, a writer, or Bedri Rahmi Eybo?glu, a painter and poet; Bedri Rahmi has a bay named for him, so perhaps he’s the one. Both found themselves in the area for one reason or another and encouraged their friends to visit. The friends publicized the beauties of the coast and the lives
Author:
Publish date:
turquoise_swimming
memo

Blue Voyages along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey were the brainchild of either Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, a writer, or Bedri Rahmi Eybo?glu, a painter and poet; Bedri Rahmi has a bay named for him, so perhaps he’s the one. Both found themselves in the area for one reason or another and encouraged their friends to visit. The friends publicized the beauties of the coast and the lives of the local fishermen, and more people came. They still do.

The boats used for these voyages are gulets, built of wood in Bodrum on the Aegean coast, or in Marmaris, in the style of the traditional Bodrum fishing ketch. I’ve heard the name pronounced “goo-let” and “gull-et” (which seems to be favored). They’re generally referred to as motorsailers, and their sailable wind range is quite narrow.

My first gulet experience featured, among other things, lessons in traditional Turkish dancing around the decks under a full moon. I had my second gulet experience last year in late September as part of a press group, and it had all the essential ingredients of the first: a fun group of people, a great crew, a beautifully maintained boat, and an excellent cook. Memo, at 95 feet, can carry 14 guests in seven cabins, and there were only six of us—plus, by the luck of the draw, I ended up in the aft master suite, which could have held all of us. With the mild winds and blissfully warm water of fall—to say nothing of the departure of the summer crowds—it’s a great time to sail Turkey’s Mediterranean coast (the Aegean coast ends and the Med begins at Marmaris).

Turkey’s southwest coast is hardly untrodden; it’s been trodden on for centuries. For example, ancient Caunos, in the Dalyan River delta, is a Carian site dated to the 9th century B.C. with 2nd century B.C. Roman baths and plenty of visitors off charterboats.

We boarded Memo in Marmaris, which was a sleepy little town when I first saw it 20 years ago; its considerable growth has encouraged many of the bareboat charter companies in the area to move their operations to Gcek, in the northwest corner of the Gulf of Fethiye, which remains a small and attractive village. Fethiye, too, is a charming town, with an area of shops too small to be called a bazaar and rugs for sale that will challenge your ability to resist. A visit to the large weekly farmer’s market in Gcek or Fethiye is the best way to discover why your meals have all been so delicious.

If you’re interested in doing some low-performance sailing in a beautiful and interesting area with a large group of family and/or friends, I can’t think of a better way than to book a whole gulet. Bareboating is, of course, another option in this popular charter/cruising area, but have you ever chartered a bareboat whose cook prepares what your doting Turkish mother might have served?

Contacts: Memo is part of the Yesil Marmaris fleet. You can book directly or work with a broker; two brokers I know of who attend the annual Marmaris boat show and check out the gulets are Ed Hamilton and Mary Crowley.

Charter Advertiser Info

Caribbean

Conch Charters, 800-521-8939

CYOA Yacht Charters, 800-944-CYOA

Horizon Yacht Charters, 877-494-8787

Fair Wind Charters, 866-380-7245

Moorings, 888-703-3177

Sunsail, 800-797-5306

The Catamaran Company, 800-262-0308

TMM Yacht Charters, 800-633-0155

Other

Star Clippers, 800-442-0551

Le Boat, 800-734-5491

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more