Anyone who has visited Fethiye and seen the rows of boats on the harbour and marina could be forgiven for experiencing some confusion about the different types there are.
One type of boat in particular that raises a lot of questions is the Gulet.
Fethiye Times is delighted to bring you a 5-part series on everything you need to know about Gulets and Gulet cruises.
This 5-part series was written by Sue Fockner, the Canadian owner of Arkadaslik Yachting. Sue and her Turkish partner host private cruises throughout Turkey and Greece aboard their 22-meter luxury gulet, Arkadaslik.
Part 1 – The History of Gulets
If you’ve spent any time on the Mediterranean coast, you’ve probably seen holidaymakers enjoying cruises. Perhaps you’ve even had the chance to enjoy a cruise yourself. From the smallest fishing boats to the largest cruise liners, they say there’s a boat for every sailor.
The Introduction of Gulets
The distinctive wooden sailing boats popular along the coast of Turkey, Greece and Croatia are commonly referred to as “gulets” [pronounced goo-lets]. Often described as “classic” or “traditional”, these hand-crafted vessels have only been around since the late 1970s. Before then, private cruises were limited to wealthy yacht owners or those willing to forego their creature comforts while voyaging on sponge diving or fishing boats.
As recreational cruising became more popular, ship builders started designing boats specifically for passenger comfort. While the outside of today’s gulets may look like wooden boats from the past, even the most basic vessels feature guest cabins, private toilets and shower facilities, and a host of safety features to keep guests safe and comfortable.
The Anatomy of Gulets
Whether basic or grand, gulets feature two or three masts (although not all have sails) and one or more large diesel engines to propel them through the water. They have a broad beam, low profile and heavily weighted hull, making them stable vessels for cruising – a benefit for passengers who are susceptible to seasickness.
Gulets used for business purposes undergo annual inspection for sea-worthiness and safety. They must be equipped with life rafts, fire detection and fighting equipment, and life-saving equipment. They are also required to have emergency communications equipment on board.
The Continued Evolution of Gulets
Over time, demand for onboard comforts has continued to evolve. Gone are the days of “roughing it” at sea. Standard boats still exist, but most new boats are appointed with air conditioning, wi-fi, and solar electric panels. Some exclusive gulets even boast on-deck Jacuzzis, en-suite bathtubs, and museum-quality artwork adorning their interior walls!
There definitely IS a boat for every sailor!
Are you interested in learning more about gulets and gulet cruises? If you are, please watch for the next instalment in this series where we’ll discuss “Things to Consider BEFORE Booking a Gulet Cruise”.