As any sailor will tell you, there is nothing better than messing about on boats. After a busy summer’s serious sailing, D Marin in Göcek runs an annual event, appropriately named the Wobbly Boat Race, which offers fun and laughter for sailors and spectators alike, as well as putting ‘a day out on the water’ into a totally new context.

The awards - designed and made by potter, Feride Keskin.
The awards for the Wobbly Boat Race 2016 – designed and made by potter, Feride Keskin.

A beautiful location for Göcek’s prestigious marina

D Marin at night
D Marin at night

D Marin is one of the most prestigious marinas in Turkey. Yacht owners from all over the world choose to keep their yachts here there throughout the year. The facilities on shore only add to the feeling of relaxed luxury. The marina was therefore a perfect setting for a Sunday afternoon outing.

Great weather – as always

For the past six years the autumn sun has shone on the day of the Wobbly Boat Race, and on the Sunday 30th October, the day of the seventh race, it was no exception. The sky was cloudless and with the temperatures in the mid to high 20s Celsius, the weather was perfect for a spot of sailing. As the day also marked the end of the season, it was an opportunity for the skippers and sailors, who have been working hard all summer, to have some fun.

The Wobbly boat Race concept

What made this day different for everyone were the boats. At this year’s Wobbly Boat Race, 12 teams, of various nationalities but mainly Turkish, built small, simple craft.

Making a simple boat
Making a simple boat

Completed within the time limit, one courageous volunteer from each team attempted to complete a simple triangular course of 200 metre, arriving at the finish, afloat and still aboard. Not only that, the boats were decorated and many of those competing wore some very remarkable costumes too.

A completed boat with decorations and sailor in costume
A completed boat with decorations and sailor in costume

Each team had three hours to complete their boats, make them watertight, paint and decorate them in readiness for the start of the race at 3.30pm.

Competitor being interviewed by Fethiye's Kanal-F
Competitor being interviewed by Kanal-F for Gezgin Balıkçı

The race begins

At about 3.3pm the race got underway and almost immediately some of the competitors were in trouble but several made it to the finish!

the race gets underway
the race gets underway
DR and Kasa making good headway
DR and Kasa making good headway

A message from D Marin Manager

Onur Ugan presenting the awards at the end of the race
Onur Ugan presenting an award at the end of the race to the KASA team (NASA with a twist) Kasa means ‘box’ in Turkish!

Onur Ugan, the manager of D Marina, explained how the day unfolds:

“This is the seventh year for the Wobbly Boat Race. As in previous years, teams of friends and families are provided with some sheets of marine ply from which they build a boat. Then there is the race. The competitors place the boats in the water and the designated ‘captain’ manoeuvres his or her boat on a triangular course covering about 200 metres. When the boats finish the race, they must still be floating and the person still needs to be on board – empty boats can’t win! We have people, like Alex and Nigel Dean, who have been with us since the beginning; some are local boat owners, but others come from Marmaris, Istanbul and Ankara. They know about this day and come to Göcek just for this.”

Nigel, Alex and Amy Dean, having a short break from decorating their boat - an Aladdin's Lamp.
Nigel, Alex and Amy Dean, having a short break from decorating their boat – an Aladdin’s Lamp.

It’s not all about winning

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Not every boat was successful in completing the course. Nevertheless, there is a trophy for the winners of the four categories – the winner of the race, the best boat design, the best decorated boat, the best costumes and even a wooden spoon for the team whose boat came last – it was a great day out for everyone. We hope to see you at D-Marin Göcek’s Wobbly Boat Race 2017!

Gareth Thorpe in the Lego team
Gareth Thorpe in the Lego team
The Flintstones
The Flintstones team

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