Trip on Laguna starting 2022-10-07 in BSA2Dec22

BodrumMap, Turkey. October 2022. Week 2 – report bu Sue Fowle

LAGUNA a 33m gulet.

At the end of my first week of gulet sailing I was offered a berth in ten days’ time to participate in the Bodrum Cup on Laguna. The Cup is the weeklong regatta at the end of the season.

With luck, money, flights and medication all came together so I extended my stay spending the intervening time visiting Kos, Ephesus and Bodrum Castle – great places for a historical romantic like me!

Laguna, like Borina is a vision of mahogany, brass and teak but with a slightly different cabin layout, 2 x 2 bunk cabins, 2 small doubles/large singles then a large master suite in the bow. Again, all ensuite this time with a shower cubicle.

There was a different crew of 4 but for racing another 6 young Turkish men came aboard and an older man with a thick grey beard. I called him Socrates as he sat with the 6 sailing crew around him, instructing them for the day’s racing. During the races he calmly took the helm.

Laguna has a huge foresail which reaches back to a winch, just one on each side, almost to the stern of the boat. It took 4 young men to tack and trim that sail…. there were 2 mainsails – over the sundeck and another over the stern. Sadly our borrowed spinnaker was too small.

The boat had been stripped down to save weight. No sunbeds, bathing ladder or stern deck table and chairs. The evenings were getting cooler so it was no problem to eat - and drink – in the saloon. As guests our routine was different from my first week’s sailing – this time a buffet breakfast, drinks and nibbles immediately the race finished then a cooked meal in the evening……. accompanied by a fair amount of raki which we all preferred to the wine.

The race included about 15 replica gulets including ‘Bodrum’, the local sail training ship which wins every time! We were accompanied by a fleet of local boats of all shapes and sizes as it is quite an occason which could not happen during Covid. The course for the week was mainly in the Gulf of Bodrum then the islands west of Bodrum. Again the ?prevailing? NE wind got up by late morning so on the whole conditions were good by the start time of 11am.It is exciting tacking and slip streaming close to gulets which are not easily manoeuvrable with their long bowsprits and needing 6 turns on the wheel to change course.

I had anticipated some participation but the size and weight of the boat and sails made that quite impossible. The boys found it quite amusing as I paced around with nothing to do. Apart from their wiry strength they were as fast and agile as cats! ‘Our’ crew were also part in the sailing adding strength and skill. With Socrates on the helm our captain joined the boys, most of them relatives from his area around the Gulf. One of our stewards came from Mersin, many miles east towards the Syrian border but still on the sea.

The guests were a group of 4 Dutch women and a Dutch man of about my age. They regularly book the boat for the Regatta but had a cancellation, hence there being a cabin free for me. They do not actively ‘sail’ but knew all the racing boats and tactics. They made me very welcome as they spoke good English as did our Mersin steward who is a registered tour guide.

Our trip ended at the Bodrum dockyard in the dark surrounded by super yachts being built there. We were not placed in the race but went to the presentation which was followed by Turkey premier boy band……I have waited all these years to go to a gig! And I had great fun. The raki helped…

Next year is the Centenary of the Turkish Republic so the Bodrum Cup will have special significance, possibly starting from Istanbul…. Dream on!!

Bodrum  37.0337,27.4247