GULET TURKEY: Gulet history & Gulet Building
A gulet is a handcrafted traditional wooden one- or two-masted motorsailer in Turkey. Nowadays these custom-built wooden yachts combine the aesthetics of traditional craftsmanship with state-of-the-art building techniques and modern facilities for cruising holidays in comfort and style.
Originally the gulet was a wooden boat in Southern Turkey used by fishermen and sponge divers to transport their catch. Over the years and with a growing demand for sophisticated yacht charter vessels in Turkey, the gulets have evolved into very elegant and luxurious motorsailers meeting the requirements of a very discerning charter clientele.
Turkish gulets are custom-built by master craftsmen from local wood like pine, mulberry and chestnut but also from tropical wood like iroko, mahogany or teak. In recent years builders of high-quality gulets prefer epoxy-laminate construction for strength and durability.
Various designs have emerged, all of which come from the classic description of the traditional Turkish gulet. The classic gulet has a very elegant shape with her sharp bow, broad beam, low-to-the-water profile and rounded aft. However, as this design limits the numbers of cabins, modifications have been made over the years and nowadays the transom-stern gulet (ayna kıç) for maximum use of space below deck has become more popular as a charter vessel. The tirhandil, another type of traditional wooden vessels in Turkey, is rarer these days because the traditional design of a double-ender allows for only a small number of cabins and less space on deck.
Some of the gulets, due to their construction and full sailing equipment, can sail very well.
Turkish gulets vary in size between 14 and 45 m and depending on size feature 2-12 double cabins with en-suite bathrooms. They offer ample deck space, an airy lounge as well as elegant dining and reclining areas.
The best and high-quality Turkish gulets are built in Bodrum, Europe’s largest shipyard for wooden yachts. Other shipyards are in Marmaris, Bozburun, Fethiye, Antalya, Istanbul, and on the Turkish Black Sea Coast.
With the success of Turkish gulets in Turkey, this type of motorsailer is becoming also increasingly popular as a charter vessel in other Mediterranean countries such as Croatia, Greece, Italy, France and Spain.
The name ‘Gulet‿is thought to come from the French word ‘Goélette‿(meaning ‘Schooner‿, although it may equally be an adaptation of the Venetian word ‘Galiota‿(meaning ‘Galleon‿. As with much linguistic history there are many theories, but nothing is certain. What is certain is that charter guests will enjoy the space and comfort during a stay aboard a gulet.
The procedure of building boats today has changed very little over the centuries. Turkish gulets are still built by the plank-on-frame method but advanced tools now allow craftsman to design and deliver far more precision than they used to be able to by hand, and laminated epoxy materials allow for fantastic strength and durability.
Inside the boat, design changes over the years have increasingly leaned towards larger dining and lounging facilities, well designed cabin layout, including air conditioning, and even on-board jacuzzi.
Depending on the used materials and the electronic and navigational equipment that is desired, a wooden boat can be expected to cost between 300.000 Euro and several millions of EUR with a delivery time between 12 and 24 months
A Turkish gulet can last over thirty years if she is properly and regularly maintained. Each winter, boats need to be taken out of the water and the hulls scrubbed and given a thick coat of paint and varnish in addition to other routine maintenance.