In the winter of 88/89, I worked as an English teacher in a small agency in Bodrum called Era Yachting. The mild mannered owner, Erman Aras, was one of the nicest bosses I've ever worked for; always smiling and pleasant, thoughtful and innovative, he made my 6 month placement very enjoyable. While I was there, I overheard him discussing plans to start a sailing race at the end of the season. As an ex-yachtie I was a bit sceptical as everyone knew that the classic Bodrum yacht called a gulet was not a sailing vessel, some of them didn't even have sails and those that did, would only hoist the canvas on a long downwind cruise and anyway, Bodrumites were seafarers but not traditional sailors. Erman Bey thought differently and the first Bodrum Cup took place in October 1989. It has happened every year since and this October celebrated its Silver Anniversary. Era Yachting Club went on to start Optimist sailing classes for Bodrum children, some of whom have gone on to international sailing success, and the first ever Sail Training Ship in Turkey was built in Bodrum; on Sunday, I watched it power ahead to win honours at this year's Bodrum Cup. If Mr Aras was a Brit, he would surely have an MBE by now.
I started to write this post on Friday, regretting the fact that due to work commitments or bad planning, I had never taken part in a Bodrum Cup, but thanks to Turquoise Secrets owner, Fiona Thomas, I enjoyed seeing the final leg from a privileged position aboard the Tall Ship Johanna Lucretia. My sailing days are over as I no longer have the muscle or agility to get around a sailing yacht, I almost didn't even get on as the Johanna Lucretia has no gang plank and despite an attempt to give me a leg up, there is no way I can haul my bottom heavy figure up 2 meters. Luckily a very nice lad in a tender whizzed me around the quay to get on at a lower point, (to applause from a neighbouring yacht. I hope their photos don't turn up on Facebook).
|No doubt now that gulets can sail.|
|Owner/skipper of Johanna Lucretia, Rodger Barton|
|Gulet and trandil (double ender) proving they can sail close to the wind.|
|All this sail hoisted and lowered by just Rodger and Josh|
|Josh proving that Tall Ship sailing is a young man's sport.|
|After the race at Yalıkavak Palmarina.|
We had a great day but the poor skipper, Rodger was doubly handicapped, first by the race committee and secondly by having only one able bodied crew member to handle over 300 sq m of sail, but he still managed a 4th place on the final leg.