How can you achieve the dream of having a boat of your own? One sage piece of advice applies – charter before you buy. Chartering is the technical term for renting the yacht, which stands for both renting with crew or renting a “bareboat” without crew (if at least one of the renting party is a competent sailor), or with a skipper to sail. On a bareboat, the charterers supply and cook for themselves, and clean the boat. For crewed yacht charters, usually for bigger boats, the rental party arrives to a fully provisioned vessel. During the cruise they simply sit back in the sun, dine or swim, while the crew provides food and drink service, cleaning and navigation. Learn more about yacht chartering and best yacht charter companies in our article.
There are boats to fit every budget, or every shared budget. However, finding the right gulet or yacht among the 2,000 registered boats in Bodrum and along the coast is the most difficult part of charter preparation. Based in İçmeler, Cobra Yacht began its operations as a charter company and progressed to become one of the area’s major shipyards. With A-list clientele onboard, they make sure the charter services they provide are impeccable.
“Foreign visitors want authentic experiences,” Eren Baki said, highlighting the historical heritage aspect of ‘blue cruises,’ as well as foreign interest in the local culture. On the other hand, there are other visitors who simply want to get away – such as one of Cobra’s former clients, who paid Euro 70,000 for a two-week charter, only to spend the whole time alone, reading books.
As so many gulets are in single or family ownership and very few use management companies, the place of the middlemen or the charter broker is crucial. “A good charter broker tries to be impartial,” says Fatih Öztarakçı of Guletbookers, “but must respond to what the guest wants to do in their gulet holiday. I drive up and down the coast from Fethiye to Bodrum looking at gulets and meeting owners and crews. All charter brokers must know their gulets well.” He also must keep up with clients’ needs.
“It is not uncommon for a charterer to make an offer to buy the boat after a cruise!” Öztarakçı reels off a listof gulets sold in the last few months starting with the high-endInfinity, made by Cobra Yacht, including their classic Palmyra and the small and neat sailing Ayaz.
Bareboat companies work on a very different model from gulet charters, where management of privately owned sailing yachts is a large part of the operation. The yachts are moored, serviced and chartered for a return of the investment back to the owner, using a world standard model. As Elaine Akalın of Yıldız Yachting explains, all of their yachts are privately owned by individuals or in partnerships with other people, and only a few of the yachts are owned by Yıldız Yachting.
Bareboat Yacht Charter Companies
- Aura Yachting – Aura offer those aspiring sailors “solutions for making the most of yacht ownership.” Palmarina Yalikavak, Bodrum; T: 0252 385 54 77 or 0531 862 54 09; www.aurayachting.com
- Frankonia Yachting – For German speaking clientele. Turgutreis D-Marin, T: 0533 744 71 36; www.frankoniayachtcharter.de/home.html
- Guletbookers – Independent yacht company based in Bodrum. T: 0533 956 99 42; www.guletbookers.com
- Sea Song Tours – Offers tours on a handcrafted wooden gulet around Bodrum Bay, as well as custom tours around Turkey. T: 0212 292 85 55; www.seasong.com
- Yıldız Yachting – Office in Bodrum, with 17 charter yachts based in Orhaniye and 20 in Fethiye. T: 0252 313 20 28; www.yildizyachting.com