Honoring Turkey’s ‘gulet’ and the male who established them 

Penni Schewe

On Tuesday, Turkey dropped one of its most important boat builders and designers, Erol Ağan, who is credited for developing the “gulet” boat famed for becoming the legendary vessel to vacation together the Turquoise Coast.

Everyone who has ever taken a Blue Cruise will know that Turkey’s “Gulet” boats are one of the most comfortable and pleasing techniques to travel period but in particular throughout a pandemic. Absolutely equipped with kitchens, cabins, dining areas, lounge places on upper and reduce decks and even a hammock, these picket schooners normally have two masts and are concerning 15 and 25 meters in length. They are excellent to household up to a dozen or so guests, who frequently commit anyplace from three to 10 times aboard sailing pristine places alongside Turkey’s Turquoise Coast this sort of as the Bodrum peninsula, the Gulf of Gökova, vacationer hotspots Marmaris and Fethiye and even all the way to Antalya. Apparently, this format of vacationing aptly referred to as a “Blue Cruise,” only basically came about in Turkey less than 50 a long time in the past.

The legacy of Erol Ağan

Erol Ağan was one of the first shipwrights of Bodrum. (Credit :Ağanlar Group)
Erol Ağan was a single of the initial shipwrights of Bodrum. (Credit :Ağanlar Team)

Dubbed the “Father of the Gulet,” Erol Ağan is the boat builder and designer credited with developing the gulet boats Turkey and, in distinct, the Bodrum region is famed for. Ağan was the son of a beloved captain in Bodrum, where he himself was born in 1936. Originally hailing from Crete, Ağan’s father tragically died at sea from getting hit in the head by his individual boat’s mast when Erol was just 11 years old. Just after that, a pretty younger Erol started doing the job together with the most effectively-regarded boat builder in Bodrum at the time Ziya Güvendiren, where he speedily turned his proper-hand man.

Tragically, or not automatically for Erol Ağan, he was also recognised by one more nickname and characteristic that would turn into aspect of his legacy. You see, just a few months soon after Erol returned from navy provider and resumed his placement along with Bodrum’s well known boat maker, his correct hand bought stuck in the belt of a pulley. Soon after many professional medical attempts to help you save his hand, there was no other decision but to amputate his correct hand at the wrist. Thus, Erol Ağan, would from then turn out to be recognized as “Çolak Erol,” with the word “çolak” finest translated from Turkish as that means “one-armed.”

Whilst the heading assumption was that this would be the close of his boat-setting up vocation, Erol Ağan proved all people wrong and in 1961. At the age of 25, he opened his own shipbuilding lawn up coming to Bodrum Castle, an region that later turned home to the popular nightclubs Hadi Gari and Yetti Gari and is now the location of Trafo, Bodrum’s picturesque municipal tea garden. Erol Ağan would go on to solitary-handedly renovate the boating and tourism field in the ’70s by redesigning the regional fishing and sponge-harvesting schooner boats referred to as “trata” into the fashionable-working day Turkish yacht referred to as gulet, which melds comfort and ease and place with the possible to appropriately sail.

A Turkish gulet engraving from
A Turkish gulet engraving from “L’album: giornale letterario e di belle arti”, Might 8, 1841, Year 8. (Getty Visuals)

The 1st gulet at any time designed by Ağan was the 18-meter boat named “Balık.” Before long after its completion, Ağan was commissioned by an Argentinean to establish the 21-meter-very long Elpenor, which turned the second gulet to be launched to the earth. These boats and individuals designed in the many years to observe were being created by Ağan out of enormous pieces of good wood sourced from indigenous trees these types of as larch and Pinus brutia. The large planks of wooden created the boats a lot less susceptible to hurt from crashes or sinking. The resin that was current on the planks also shielded from corrosion. These boats are crafted to be lessen and thus nearer to the sea, creating for a extra fulfilling voyage for individuals aboard, whilst the cabins and upper decks are decked out as cozy dwelling quarters. The most standout characteristic of gulet boats is the wide and rounded again finish of the ship, which generates a comfy seating location when fitted out with cushions and pillows and these.

In one unforgettable and scarce job interview, as Erol Ağan was a tough gentleman to lure down for journalists, the experienced boat grasp recalls how he applied to sit at the nearby espresso store and enjoy the feminine travelers stroll by and as a result their rear finishes essentially turned the inspiration driving the again finishes of these beloved boats.

Named the Ağanlar Tersane, Erol Ağan’s shipyard is now in İçmeler, a location of Bodrum that is positioned southeast and just shy of the town’s heart. These times, the shipyard is operate by Erol Ağan’s four sons, when he lived on his farm in Bodrum’s neighboring Mumcular district. Acquiring been struggling from age-associated conditions, Erol Ağan passed absent at 4 a.m. at the age of 85 this earlier Tuesday. The information unfold rapid among the boating globe, and his funeral prayer ceremony, held just several hours later on at the Uğur Mosque in Kumbahçe with restricted participation, was even now attended by the “who’s who” of Bodrum. Ağan was afterwards place to rest at the Türbe Cemetery in Gümbet.

Luxury gulets at a marina in Kaş, Antalya, southern Turkey. (Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Luxurious gulets at a marina in Kaş, Antalya, southern Turkey. (Common Photographs Team by means of Getty Images)

While the gulet has turn out to be synonymous with Bodrum and the Blue Cruise phenomenon, there are really a few distinctive varieties of boats that are characteristic of Turkey’s Turquoise Coastline. The gulet has a spherical and significant back again close and the boat all round is reduce and nearer to the drinking water. In standard, gulets are schooners decked out with two masts, but these times sailing is significantly less regular thanks to the expert services furnished. In other words, these boats are normally booked for vacation holidays for a week or so at a time and as a result many instances coasting is accomplished by the electrical power of an motor in order to make places at the appropriate time and not drop prey to the whim of the wind. Also, the cruises are also famed for their cuisine and consequently the crew has other obligations to satisfy in addition or in lieu of sailing. The tirhandil is 1 of the oldest sailing boats utilized on the Aegean by the Greeks and Turks and is additional geared towards sailing and fewer towards tourism. Also a kind of schooner, tirhandils are characterised by owning the very same width entrance and back again finishes and fewer cabin area to accommodate company. Then there is the ayna kıç, which are flat-ended boats either serving as classical fishing and sponge-harvesting boats or outfitted with cabins to accommodate constitution visits.

Each individual calendar year there are two esteemed competitions held in Bodrum in commemoration of these specific boats. The Bodrum Cup, held on a yearly basis in Oct, pits yachts and gulets of various measurements towards each and every other racing on routes alongside the Bodrum peninsula for six days straight. In addition to entertaining competitions such as Blue Cruise cuisine, visitors can also go aboard boats that are racing and the celebration generally ends with a blowout occasion and performances by Turkey’s top pop stars. The Tirhandil Cup is yet another sailing occasion held pricey to many boat lovers’ hearts. This level of competition will take position around the system of winter season as some of the most famous boats in Turkey contend for the prestigious title in 6 distinctive races.

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