Traditions, bonhomie, a good time and some fierce rivalry are the ingredients that make the annual Bodrum Cup, the International Regatta for Wooden boats, such a success.”
So declared Bodrum gulet owner Dave Stanley, proud of his ten years of racing in the annual five-day event.
Deborah, an active NGO member in Bodrum, declared that,
The Bodrum Cup is the most successful and longest running annual community event run in Bodrum, and is a model of its kind for all organisations, and shows the best of Bodrum at the same time.”
Erman Eras, chairman of Era yachting Club and founder of the Bodrum Cup gently corrects that, saying,
it is the longest running event, not only in Bodrum but for all of the Muğla region.”
A great tradition
And so it is: drawing on the great shipbuilding traditions of Bodrum and the Aegean coast from Bodrum to Antalya, and the sailing skills of so many generations of coastal sailors.
After celebrating its 25th year in 2013, introducing new events in the programme and full social media coverage for the 26th Regatta in 2014, the Bodrum Cup is again running from 19-24 October.
The excitement of the race
With an expected 70 wooden and non-wooden yacht entries and around 35 guest and organisation yachts, with some 1,000 participants, it is again attracting not just crews and boat owners but passengers who want to taste the excitement of racing under sail, and of course the boating industry: boat builders, buyers, various institutions and organizations, maritime industry and government representatives, and local and foreign media.
Messages of cooperation and peace
For five days the yachts compete for the Bodrum Cup prizes over a course that is changed every year, but for the third year running, it will carry the message of peace and cooperation to the neighbouring Greek Island Leros when the Cup includes Leros on two sectors and overnights for the evening port.
Erman Aras told FT that, as always, yachts are coming from Marmaris, Fethiye and along the Turkish coast and the final numbers would only be known on the last day with boat owners signing up at the last minute, as the charter season draws to a close for 2015. He doesn’t feel that the competitors are greatly affected by the downturn in the tourism season in Turkey this year.
But Dave Stanley of Southern Cross Blue Cruising stated that, while the season for some gulets and agents has been quite good and on par with the last three years, the rise in costs has not allowed for any great change in income, so boat owners who may have had a unfavourable booking season will be very concerned by their costs, and may not enter the Bodrum Cup. As a competitor he says,
Yes, it costs more to compete in The Bodrum Cup when it goes to Greece, as we all pay agency and port taxes for customs and harbour fees in Greece. And that is on top of paying your regular crew plus the extra crew/passengers’ food and supplies as you need more people on board to handle the boat in the race.”
But Stanley is adamant that the Bodrum Cup is a tradition that should be supported and though he enjoys the international legs from Bodrum to Kalymnos (last year) and Leros to Yalikavak, he does look back with nostalgia for the race in the Gulf of Gokova too.
Air waves and blue waves
The Bodrum Cup launched their new website, and the Facebook page in 2014, and this has expanded to be very informative in Turkish and English, and putting out new information constantly. The events introduced last year are continued this year: the Mavi Yolculuk Mutfagi Yemek Yarismasi – the on-board cooking competition, not just for boat chefs but for everyone, as the Mavi Yolculuk (Blue Cruise) started with people cooking for themselves while sailing. The Bodrum Cup also has an Instagram account, and is running an Instagram competition.
Competition and rivalry at every level
The ‘Bodrum Cup’ is awarded to the winning wooden yacht of course, but there are prizes for all categories of yachts. This year may see the STS Bodrum (the school ship training gulet of Bodrum) win the Bodrum Cup, and hold off luxury mega gulets such as Glorious or the Fethiye entry Nautilus under its new owners, Albatros Yachting. Stanley is looking forward to renewing the Gulette category rivalry with long time entrants such as the 23 times entrant Ayaz, and the very competitive trio of Kuğu 1, Grandi and Gülden Irmak, sailed by three brothers and captains.
Bodrum Cup is unique, not just in allowing but inviting those who want to experience the regatta to join as paying passengers on a racing gulet, or if they prefer a quieter trip because racing is too exciting, on a spectator boat, which sails with the fleet. Some Dutch passengers have been coming every year for 25 years, and add to the rivalry, particularly on the night when the best fancy dress crew competition is judged, an event almost more keenly contested than the actual sailing day!
Asking Dave Stanley if the Bodrum Cup is a celebration of past glories of Bodrum gulet building in these tough economic times, he replied that the shipbuilding is going along steadily in Bodrum. He is building a new 15m gulet and the same shipyard is building its twin for another wealthy Turkish business owner, which will be a no-expense spared example of its craft.
He reels off examples of Turkish and international interest, and contracts underway as well as pointing to examples of luxury craft launched from Bodrum shipyards in the last few years such as the fabulous 56m Regina (2011) and 40m Rox Star (2015), which prove that every technology, material and skill is available in Bodrum’s shipyards.
However he went onto say that Bodrum’s particular and traditional skills in ship carpentry and stainless steel work, at lower prices than found in Europe, gives Bodrum the edge in building fine gulets for private and charter sailing in the Mediterranean.
Another player in the gulet industry, Fatih Öztarakçi, a gulet and yacht charter broker at Guletbookers, said he sees the Bodrum Cup as a great showcase for some of the best and beautiful gulets on the coast, and wants it to involve everybody in celebrating the yacht charter tourism industry that is so significant to the life and economy of SW Turkey.
The 27th Bodrum Cup Race Schedule
Sunday October 18: warm up event. The DINO CUP Optimist dinghy competition for 25yo and over at İçmeler Bodrum B.B.B. Yelken tesisleri 13:00- 18:00
Monday October 19: Bodrum Opening Ceremony 18:00, after the parade from the Milta Marina starting at 17:00. (Yacht Briefing 15:30 Milta Marina)
Tuesday October 20: Bodrum – Gümüşlük sector, starts 11:00; race declares finish at 18:30. Evening in Gümüşlük with concert and the Blue Cruise cooking competition
Wednesday October 21: Bodrum – Leros sector, sponsored by TAV Passport, starts 11:00; race declares finish at 18:30
Thursday October 22: Leros – Leros sector 22:00, starts 11:00; race declares finish at 18:30. 22:00 Bodrum Cup Beach Party
Friday October 23: Leros – Yalikavak sector, sponsored by Palmarina, starts 11:00; race declares finish at 18:30
19:30 Cocktail party and Book Signing by Bodrum personalities of the seas: Aksona Mehmet Baş ( spongediver) Hüseyin Ayaz ( Gumbet Hotelier and owner of 23 Cups competitor AYAZ, Erdoğan Kayalar-Cezmi –Çoban)
20:30 The annual Best-Dressed and Best Costume Crew competition on the catwalk
Saturday October 24: Yalikavak – Bodrum sector, sponsored by Technogym start 11:00; race declares finish at 18:30.
20:00 Bodrum Cup Concert 21:00. Prize giving ceremony in Bodrum
Contacts, entries and to ‘ Follow’
E:mail: email@example.com Tel: (0252) 316 2310
Instagram : http://instagram.com/bodrumcup
IRC and Cruiser category yachts, can enter via BAYK, Bodrum Offshore Sailing Club who are working with the Bodrum Cup committee:
Contact: Tel: 0 252 316 3385, Fax: 0 252 313 4732, Mobil: 0 537 476 2107, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs all come from the Bodrum Cup website.