What is a typical Gulet
These boats are mainly between 21-26 m long and have about 6-8 cabins. The cabons are decorated tastefully using mahogany furniture offering private bathroom and shower facilities. At the bow of the vessel, forward and adjacent to the Galley, lies the Fore Saloon, and behind the Helm lies the Aft Saloon cloaked in classic mahogany joinery. In the Aft Saloon the guests may dine or lounge around a well-stocked bar. While lounging or dining, spectacular views are enjoyed thanks to the large surrounding windows. A U-shaped seating area on the desk is ideal for sunbathing and cocktails. They carry about 250 m2 sail to enable decent sailing.
Since the Ottoman era the art of boat building has been passed down from generation to generation. Bodrum has become a world-recognised place for high quality and craftsmanship when it comes to the construction of wooden traditional Gulets. These Gulets are therefore traditionally designed motorised wooden sailing vessels. They have as their heritage those ancient wooden boats which have sailed across the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas for thousands of years both fishing and trading with ancient civilisations.
History of Gulets
The procedure of building these boats has changed very little over the centuries. The changes to the basic plank-on-frame method are superficial: electrical tools nowadays allow the builders to work the wood faster than by hand and laminated epoxy allows for increased design options. Inside the boat, the design changed have been for larger dining rooms, lounge areas, air conditioning facility and other items opted for more comfort.
How to build a Gulet
The building process begins with the laying of the steel keel. This is made in several sections and welded together in the yard. Then it is filled with extremely heavy crushed stone with a thin layer of concrete on top. This forms a strong backbone for the additional ribs and bowsprit and provides the necessary amount of ballast. Three or four ribs are firmly bolted to the keel, midway between the stern and the bow. These preliminary ribs determine the hull shape. Once they are in place, the bowsprit and transom support, the shape of the towrail and sheer-line are determined and laid out on the scaffolding. The next stage is to hand fit the remaining ribs and supports to conform to this rough outline. Once all the interior bracing and support are fitted, workmanship commences on the cabins and hull planking.
It is traditional to have a customary ceremony when the hull is completed. It involves the insertion of the baklava wood, which is the last piece to be inserted to the boat that is why it is called the baklava wood which is a traditional Turkish desert eaten at the end of a meal. In this ceremony, not surprisingly, baklava is served and enjoyed thoroughly! Most boats are constructed by skilful craftsmen without specific plans. They learn their skills as apprentices and pass it down the generations.
Larger boats take about 1 year to complete, employing a permanent work force of 5-8 people. At the shore before launching, there is a christening ceremony. According to Muslim and Turkish traditions, a sheep or steer is sacrificed and the blood is smeared on the bow to ensure good luck and safe voyage.