I always wanted to design boats and be the one to bring an idea into reality, but my skills were in drafting and sketching, not engineering. I knew that to reach my goals, I had to learn about boatbuilding techniques and materials. I found this opportunity in Tuzla, Istanbul when I worked for a shipyard (now Turquoise & Proteksan) that was building a 50 m (164 ft) motoryacht. The yard reminded me of a miniature United Nations, with colleagues from New Zealand, Holland, the United States, England, and Canada—all experienced engineers and foremen that were knowledgeable about our local boatbuilding industry. They taught us the technical tricks that are a must when constructing high-quality pleasure boats.
These three years were an amazing experience for me. At 25 I was commissioned to design a 25 m (85 ft) motorsailer by a respected Istanbul industrialist and friend. This was my first design and I still feel very proud whenever I see Aegean Odysseus.
When building this American-style schooner, I traveled extensively to learn as much as I could about sailmaking. My theories for improving the performance of the local Turkish gulets worked and now I think these motorsailers can also sail very well.
Eventually I formed my own boatbuilding company with the facilities, money, and skilled employees to try our own ideas. We built all types of boats—long-range cruisers, fast motoryachts, catamaran motor yachts—out of wood, aluminum, steel, and composites.
Because boatbuilding was so fast-paced, I decided to concentrate solely on design, with the goal of improving the gulets serving as charters around my hometown. In time we convinced builders to switch from the carvel planking method to cold-molded epoxylamination* techniques, and we also persuaded boat owners to demand higher-quality boats. Even though these gulets were more expensive, they were in great demand and sold quickly.
In 2004 we designed a series of boats between 30 and 35 meters (98-115 ft), all for private non-Turkish owners. Today (July 2007) we have five gulets designed, with three more of 36-41 m (118-135 ft) ready to launch by the end of the year. I believe we did succeed in evolving these gulet-type boats into ones that offer the comfort of a motoryacht and the joy of a daysailer.
*Carvel Planking: Longitudinal planks nailed or screwed onto steam-bent or sawn frames. Used on older boats, any plank may be removed and replaced without ripping the boat apart.
Cold-Molded Epoxy Lamination: Thin strips of curved wood veneers are layered diagonally onto a form and epoxied at right angles to the previous layer, resulting in a solid one-piece structure.
Sailing in Paradise
Surrounded by four seas (Mediterranean, Aegean, Black, and Sea of Marmara), Turkey is a cruising paradise. Explore its hidden coves, islands, unspoiled beaches, and small coastal ports where you will be welcomed by the villagers more as guests than tourists. Visit ancient archeological sites, many preserved forever under crystal waters, and view towering pine-clad mountains rising 3,000 meters above the sea. Whether you charter or captain your own yacht, every day holds new adventures in a wondrous world that, for a little while, you will call home.