What is a Gulet? and what is it like to charter one?
A Gulet is a classic wooden motor sailing yacht usually built-in Bodrum or Marmaris on the southwestern coast of Turkey. They range in size from a small 15m to a 35m air-conditioned luxury yacht with every conceivable convenience. A Gulet charter is a private holiday, guests put together their own groups and the trip is fully crewed, meaning included in the price is a professional skipper, chef and deckhand or deckhands depending on the size. While some may believe chartering a private gullet can be expensive, this is not always the case, especially as the sizes increase and the number of guests goes up. Unlike shared Gulet cruises or ‘Blue water cruises’ private Gulet charters come with a couple of different catering options, half board and full board the most common with all-inclusive drinks packages also available. Along with quintessential Turkish and Greek cuisine fresh fish is a favourite with Gulet chefs, it is always worth asking the deckhands if there is the possibility of doing some fishing whilst onboard and catching your own lunch!
As a result of their size, Gulet’s typically comes with a tender (small motorboat or RIB) with a powerful motor on the back which can be used to explore nearby beaches, take guests into town for lunch or dinner or explore hidden coves and caves. It’s common for a Gulet charter to include water sport activities to be used with this such as water-skiing and wakeboarding, this may be an extra with smaller boats.
If you are looking for a more tranquil holiday then Gulet is the perfect platform to unwind and relax, the vast deck spaces offer multiple areas for a family or group of friends to spend their days without the worry that you’ll be vying for prime sunbathing spots. The aft dining areas of these classic yachts are broad, flat and beautifully presented, dining on them is unlike anything else in yachting. The forward sunbathing areas can be 15m long some even have jacuzzi’s, many have built-in tables provide an ideal location to take in the spectacular Mediterranean sunsets over a glass (or bottle) of your favourite rose.
As well as plenty of deck space the broad beam offered by Gulets provides plenty of room for spacious cabins below. Cabin configurations vary widely, some Gulets can accommodate up to 30 guests across single, double and sometimes quad rooms, 8 – 14 guests charters are more common in standard double a twin setups. They also have a large communal saloon area inside often with a bar and internal dining area that can be used for games and evening entertainment. Only about 50% of Gulets are rigged to sail nowadays, those that do will do so only in favourable conditions, due to their size there is minimal rolling (healing over) providing a very gentle yet enjoyable experience for those not used to life under sail. Quiet diesel engines provide most of the propulsion and journeys are carried out in the early hours to maximise time guests can enjoy swimming and exploring at anchor locations.
Having spent one of my memorable day aboard a Turkish Gulet for a friend’s birthday I can honestly say I’d jump at the chance to spend a week exploring the Turkish, Greek or Italian coastlines on-board one of these characterful vessels. It’s an experience frequent and first-time charterers alike will find totally unique.
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