by Des Ryan
Gulet - an ideal way to have a sailing holiday without the sweat
For those who love the idea of a sailing holiday in the Med but don't want to sweat and grind your own way through precious holiday time or navigate through unknown waters, a sailing holiday on a gulet off the coast of Turkey could be just the answer. What's a gulet? Read on...
Gulet sailing - it's a tough life
A gulet, pronounced just how it looks, is a traditional designed two-masted (usually a schooner) wooden sailing vessel. They vary in size from 14 to 35 metres, and are used for cruising holidays with a difference along the popular cruising coastline of Turkey.
While they are traditional sailing boats, made in Turkey and with lots of lovely polished timber aboard, the need to keep to schedules means that often the gulets often sail only a few times during a holiday. Don't be alarmed at the word 'scheduled'. These comparatively inexpensive holidays combine all the relaxation you expect on a sailing holiday, with the difference that the meals are prepared for you and the sailing/motoring is done by someone else. There are also specific departures where sailing is the priority and the itinerary are suited for this mode of travel.
It's the ideal way to relax, sunbathing on the decks and swimming in quiet pristine waters off the island-dotted coastal waters of the Adriatic. There are also great opportunities to spend day visits and sometimes even overnight stays in some of the many small picturesque communities located along the coastal route.
Gulet - it doesn't need to be sedentary
Not that your sailing holiday has to be all sedentary. If you would like to enjoy a good physical workout while onshore there are opportunities to do some hill climbing or cycling included on specific itineraries. Consider yourself fortunate if you happen upon a local celebration such as a festival day or a wedding at one of your stops as you will be invited to join in the activities.
The food does not compare with the opulence of a cruise ship - the menus are limited by the size of the kitchens. While there are many privately owned gulets in Turkey, the owners rarely sail themselves, keeping a crew on board most of the time - a less expensive proposition in Turkey than elsewhere.
Gulet cruises range from small two-cabin crafts to larger 24-cabin vessels. Individual cabin sizes are generally on the small size but are still comfortable and ample enough for a one-week cruise. It is easy to begin by shopping online for a range of gulet options, but a good site to check for comparison of size and price is www.adriatica.net You'll also find a full selection of departure dates and itineraries where you can choose your route.
One item to note when comparing rates is the meal options. Some cruises provide breakfast and lunch on-board and the evening meal is left for the passenger to enjoy in the small town where the ship docks overnight. This is a great option - an opportunity not only to have your choice of meal but to spend time with the local residents.
Gulet sailing - plenty of warm polished timber to complement the experience
Many of the smaller gulets can only provide electricity while in port where it is supplied by a marina. This can be a problem for operating air conditioners. Some vessels are equipped with generators but they are expensive to operate and can be very noisy.
One unspoken rule when gulet cruising is a general quietness while on-board and if you want to party, then it is time to head onshore into a local bar and return quietly back to the vessel.
Gulets join other yachts in anchorages too shallow for larger vessels