Salvaging a Season - 2020

s/y Song of the Ocean


Kemer Marina

As was the plight of the many the c2020 season brought havoc, the only variation being the degree! In our case, Jan and I, realised that we had to commission SotO if we were to have a season to look forward to in c2021. Yachts do not react kindly to being laid-up for an inordinate period of time and in our case, that already amounted to 14 months ashore involving the two intensively hot months in Turkey of August.

Kastelorizon ahoy

We returned to Kemer on the 3rd September to find SotO in dire need of a ‘Spring’ clean. However, if only that could have been the extent of the work on hand how happy we would have been. After three weeks hard labour we thought that we had escaped any serious deterioration of equipment until we tested our watermaker. However, as the season was fast ebbing away, we decided to set sail and leave the un-obliging Clark Pump to be returned to Spectra for reconditioning.

On the 25th September, we slipped our lines in a flat calm to motor 25M out of Antalya Bay in order to round into Finike Bay for a 29M sail for Coldwater Bay, Kekova. Here the weather enabled us to set sail in a S3 for a gentle reach but as the day progressed veered W4/5 to set up an irritating short sea to make our fetch to weather challenging. On a more positive note, nothing cleans teak better than waves of high saline content swabbing the decks. On reaching our destination we were surprised to find this normally peaceful anchorage full of yachts plus three rafted ocean fishing boats! As became apparent over the ensuing three weeks though, everybody with a vessel had seemingly put to sea to distance themselves from the pandemic.

Marmaris Bay

With a poor weather forecast in store, we decided to weigh anchor next day for Round Bay Gocek which lay 74M to the NW. At first light we motored the first 20M to Kastelorizon with Kas to starboard, to set sail on a fine reach in a W3 with calm sea, for the Seven Capes to subsequently reach across Fethiye Bay to make the anchorage by sunset. Attention is always required for the Capes which can set up unpleasant conditions in onshore winds creating a backwash off the steep cliffs which plunge into the depths of the sea.

Another early start on the 27th September was greeted with a bracing 10M beat south out of Fethiye Bay to exit NW across Marmaris Bay over the 48M passage to Kumlu Bueku. On rounding the Gocek peninsular we were faced with a boisterous SW5 weathered current setting up another powerful steep sea. However, once clear we bore away on an invigorating broad reach. Three quarters of the way to our destination, the sun became obscured by dark threatening clouds releasing eye-flooding torrential rain which to our surprise, killed the wind to leave us to complete the day under motor.

Maroon Bells, Aspen

Life is full of the unexpected but this did lead to one of our favourite anchorages laying 7M to the south of Marmaris. In its SW corner there is a Chinese restaurant with Mediterranean docking facilities for patrons. This is widely considered the best in Turkey, however unlike other yachties we were not prepared to drop our guard, no matter how good the restaurant may be.

In fact, we hadn’t frequented any shop, restaurant, or bar etc. since leaving NZ in early July which included a two month stopover in Aspen CO to wait for the heat of the Turkish summer to subside.

Marmaris was our first objective of the season to enable us to meet North Sails at Yacht Marina to measure up for a new mainsail. We also needed to check-in with engineers to arrange for a complete overhaul and service of our hydraulics. In this respect Marmaris possibly offers the best yacht services in Turkey. However, as we normally only frequent marinas by necessity, as soon as the business was completed we returned to the peace and solitude of our Kumlu Bueku anchorage. The following morning on the 2nd Oct. we weighed anchor for a 20M beat down the Bozburan peninsular to bear off on a reach to complete the 47M passage past Symi, Greece to Kargi Koyu which lays a couple of miles south of Datca, another peaceful anchorage. It was disappointing not to be able to visit Greece this year as it does offer considerably better anchorages amongst its plethora of Agean islands but that seemed a small price to pay for us to be sailing and ensure that everything was ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

Sunrise over Symi from Kargi Koyu

We awoke on the 4th Oct. to a windless morning which necessitated a twenty miles motor down the Datca peninsular to round the ancient port of Knidos for a fine reach to the NE of Kos in W/NW F3. SotO is an amazingly nimble yacht in light weather and can easily rack-up AWS in these conditions to achieve 7 Kts SOW. This led on to an invigorating close haul in 20Kts TWS across the wind conduit between Kos and the Bodrum peninsular to conclude a 40M run for the day. The anchorage lies north of Koca Br. in the sheltered bay off Akyarlar. All very picturesque, unless one ventures ashore. After a peaceful night’s sleep, we upped anchor after breakfast to sail around the Bodrum peninsular to bear away in a W/NW 3 on a NNE course for the inland sea east of Didim of Kuruerik Bueku, to anchor off Arasi Dly. A run of 31M which enabled us with the increased apparent wind to enjoy another pleasant day’s sail. Most yachts make for Didim marina which leaves this loch delightfully remote and peaceful.

Arasi Dly, Kuruerik Bueku

We deferred our departure until midday on the 5th Oct. to take advantage of a SW/W force 3 building to twenty knots around the Bodrum peninsular. This gave us plenty of daylight hours to return over the 31M to our previous anchorage off Akyarler. The following morning on the 6th Oct. we set sail for a breezy reach to the NE of Kos followed by a gentler continuation down to Knidos in a slowly fading W wind. However, once around the Datca peninsular with the assistance of the engine, there followed a magnificent Simbo Rig run in 20Kts TWS up the Datca Peninsular to complete the 40M passage to Kargi Koya where only a sparkling new Contest 60 and a well maintained HR49 were found to be anchored.

Simbo Rig on a downwind run

The 7th October dawned with continuing fair weather for us to weigh anchor at 1030 for a gentle reach past Symi followed by a Simbo Rig run up the Bozburun peninsular to 5M short of Kumlu Bueku where through lack of wind, we completed the 46M passage under motor. Kumlu Bueku may seem somewhat repetitive but one needs to appreciate that most of the anchorages off the Turkish coast are deep water requiring anchoring stern-to the shore which is not an option for us. On the other hand, free anchoring away from the gullets and madding crowd are few and far between. Personally, this is not an issue as a peaceful anchorage overrides variety of venues.

Kumlu Bueku

Everybody had advised us that after mid October the weather becomes unreliable and the days noticeably cooler, setting up diurnal local weather systems. With this in mind and the fact that we had considerable family responsibilities to attend in the UK before returning to the IOM, we decided to steadily head south for our two weeks lay-up before lifting out and settling the yacht for winter. Unfortunately, during our snatched season the UK had taken Turkey out of the air-bridge which meant that we would now need to self-isolate in England before attending to these responsibilities following which we would have to self-isolate for a further two weeks in the IOM. This translated into our not being released for Christmas until the 17th December. Not a whole ‘bucket of time’ to prepare for the festive season, one may think!

Round Bay, Gocek

On the 8th Oct. we made over the 6 miles to restock our provisions at the excellent Yacht Marina store. This involved our anchoring off, to take the dinghy into the marina and return fully provisioned for our short passage back to Kumlu Bueku. Next morning in a NW backing SW4, we ran under Simbo Rig SE across the Marmaris Bay to round up on a reach into Fethiye Bay and onto our anchorage at Round Bay, Gocek. A memorable 46M sail that will live on in memory through the winter months. Not to be outdone though, the following day’s weather was a repeat with a reach out of the Bay followed by an exciting Simbo Rig run in competition with an Outreamer 51 Catamaran which was determined to outperform us by tacking down wind under mainsail and asymmetric spinnaker. Try as their crew did, they couldn’t prove that tacking to-and-fro across the course, could outperform our ability to sail directly downwind to Kas which required no sail handling other than to gybe the mainsail off Kalkan Bay for the last 11M of the day’s run of 58M.

Fair winds and following seas

In our opinion Kas has the nicest marina and town on the whole of the Turkish west coast and as a result, the only one we frequent for pleasure. The old town was built by the Greeks before they were sadly exiled from Turkey after the first world war, however their architecture remains a monument to them and creates the interest and atmosphere that attracts the tourists.

TWA167o, TWS16.9Kt, Spd.9.9Kt, SOG 9.2Kt.

We stayed three nights in the marina with its unusual Migros supermarket in so far as it specialises unlike its countrywide branches, in providing European produce to meet the requirements of the international marina customers. We slipped our lines on the 13th Oct. for an unexpectedly satisfying 29M sail to Cold Water Bay, Kekova. It began with a SE 2/3 reach past Kastellorizon, Greece’s easternmost island for the southern headland of Icada at the entrance to Finike Bay before gybing and bearing away NE on an 11M run under Simbo Rig in 20Kts TWS. One of the reasons for our selecting Kemer for winter lay-up, is to take advantage of the reliable downwind sailing off the west coast of Turkey to Antalya Bay which also affords the most spectacular scenery along the whole coastline.

Cold Water Bay, Kekova

Following two days on anchor in Cold Water Bay, for gale force winds to pass through Finike Bay, we set sail on the 16th Oct. on a reach to Yardimci Br. followed by a run up the last 5M of the 35M sail to Cavus Koyu in the SW of Antalya Bay.

Cavus Koyu

This left 22M the following morning for our return to Kemer to arrive after the departure of the Gullet pirate ships. The importance of this is to permit us to refuel in peace and make for our marina berth to service, clean and stow all our equipment for another season. The late autumnal cruise had proven a different experience to previous Spring/Summer seasons but equally enjoyable, with greater attention needing to be paid to the weather and taking into account the short daylight hours. Our snatched season culminated in 627 miles of great sailing conditions which had for most of the year, looked exceedingly unattainable but then as the saying goes, ‘the season’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings!’

  • 01
  • 02
  • 03
  • 04
  • 05
  • 07
  • 08
  • 09
  • 11
  • 12
  • 14Kuruerik Bueku
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20