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Taking our time in Turkey: A splendid sailing holiday in the Aegean (propeller included)
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Being put in charge of getting a group of friends together for a week’s charter of a yacht can be a daunting process.If you plan properly and assemble an easy-going crew, the result is happiness.
But plan badly and you can end up with a full-scale mutiny on your hands.
I think the key to success is making sure there are lots of fun days built into the itinerary.
A bolt of the blue: The Turkish coast around Fethiye and Ekincik is a haven for sailing holidays
In choosing our route around Turkey’s Gulf of Fethiye and the surrounding coastline, for example, we ensured that we made the most of our stop at the Dalyan River.
This is one of the most popular areas along the coast.
You get to see the ancient amphitheatre at Kaunos and some Lycian tombs from around 400BC – which are etched into the hillside like a Mount Rushmore graveyard – and wallow in magnificent mud.
There are muds for different skin conditions which you rub on to yourself, allow to dry and wash off with a large jet.I don’t know if it works but you feel squeaky clean after being at sea for a few days.
After this we were certainly a happy crew. But then life afloat should gladden the hearts of all true Britons – as an island race, the sea is in our blood.
Our home for the week was a French-made Catana 47 catamaran. It had four cabins, four bathrooms, and a range of extra features that made it feel more like cool condo than a caravan.
We set sail from Fethiye, a pretty port city with a very well-equipped marina.We had planned our route with the help of staff at Dream Yacht Charter, which owns the boat. They know the best places for lunch stops and overnight stays, and recommended that we head up the coast towards Dalyan.
Once on board, each person has a role – anchor, fenders, stern lines, lazy lines.While you may be a novice to begin with, you’ll soon feel like you’ve been doing it all your life.
We settled into a nice rhythm – heading into the nearest town in the morning to stock up on food for lunch and then setting sail in the early afternoon, reaching our next port in time for dinner.But the beauty of a holiday like this is you can sail as much or as little as you choose.
And don’t worry if no one in your group has sailing experience. You can hire a skipper for a week, who usually acts as a handy tour guide, taking you to all the Best Private University spots.
Our first stop was the isolated bay of Boynuz Buku – the only thing there is a family-run restaurant set within beautiful hills.As became the norm throughout the week, a team of restaurant staff were on stand-by to help us ashore. Later in the trip, we headed for Asi Bay, which offers a black beach and excellent snorkelling among the caves.
One evening we arrived in the St Tropez-style spot of Ekincik.This is where our boat started to feel a bit small among all the superyachts with their own teams of professional sailors. However, as the sun set, we sipped our gin and tonics, sat on deck playing Scrabble, and admired the view.
The restaurant in Ekincik is of particular interest in the area.
There isn’t a menu – the options are presented to you by enthusiastic waiters using glass-sided, nautical-style trolleys.It sounds a bit kitsch (and I guess it is) but they managed to carry it off. Our meal of fresh seafood was delicious and worth the higher than average cost.
Like any holiday, things can go wrong and you have to be ready to deal with the unexpected (safe in the knowledge that the experts are only a radio call away).
Sailing into the sunset: Mark helped to pilot a Catana 47 catamaran (until the propeller somehow fell off)
For our group, the unexpected happened on the final day of the trip just as we left the remote resort of Sarsala Koyu.As we were reminiscing about the enormous meal we had enjoyed the previous evening thanks to our host – a spitting image of former footballer Diego Maradona – we spotted a shiny disc fall into the water from the <a href="https://w