Blue Cruises Turkey What is a Gulet

If you had lived in the southern region of Turkey your whole life or if you had come from a sailing or boat background then you would instinctively know exactly what a gulet is. A strange-sounding word to the many who may only be learning about Gulets or cruises for the very first time. Coming from the French word Gouëlette (meaning Schooner) originally, then morphing into the Venetian word Gołéta and on into the Turkish name Gulet. 

Originally they were used for freight, fishing, and sponge-diving the gulet building industry of antiquity started in the Bodrum region, that hasn’t changed and neither has the overall style of build or design. The average size is between 20 to 30 meters in length and usually features 4 to 8 cabins. Each yacht takes between 9 to 12 months to build. The traditional design is either a two-mast or three-mast design. Many are not properly rigged for sailing therefor diesel power is now almost always used. Today the gulets are still built in a classic sleek wooden design.

To help you understand exactly what gulets are the simplest way to explain is that there are 3 basic types. 

1) A Karpuzkic Gulet, this is the most common type of all and they all have a rounded stern and an overall rounded appearance of build, this is the most noticeable way that you can spot them and the strongest characteristic of this type build. 

2) A Tirhandil Gulet, this style of Gulet is only found in the Aegean region, they are the oldest true form and the closet design to the first gulet yachts ever built, with their long and narrow stern. They are smaller overall in size to the other 2 types including the basic cabin space but they are also the most seaworthy. 

3) Lastly the Aynakic Gulet, this is generally the larger of all three and the most important feature and design is the large interior space especially the cabins. From the outside, they tend to look blocky and bulky but the interior of the Aynakic is generally the most luxurious. 

Each type of the 3 Gulet designs come in either Standard, Deluxe or Luxury. Every Gulet comes with its own crew members and depending on the size of the vessel that will vary but each boat will have a Captain, a Sailor ( understudy to the captain ) and a Chef, the luxury class of boat also commonly has the added extra of a hostess, that will manage the salon, serving drinks, snacks and food and cleaning the cabins. 

Although used for centuries and by many civilisations that lived in the region it was in the 1960s that the tourism industry got kick-started and the life of the gulet cruise changed forever. 

A Turkish writer named Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli and a group of his friends began to use the gulets for yacht holidays throughout the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey they called them Blue Cruises, a phrase that stuck. This really was the birth of the gullet for private gulet hire as we now know it. Today you can see these handcrafted yachts all over the eastern Mediterranean, Greece and Croatia.