Sailing Yacht or Gulets - How to Choose?
Travelling by plane, train or bus might be the standard way to travel, but it’s not exactly the most fun method of transport.
For those looking to enjoy the journey as much of a destination as possible and to enjoy the ultimate relaxation, travelling by boat has already become standard in destinations like Greece, Turkey, Croatia and France.
But with options ranging from from bareback sailing to luxurious yacht cruises, the question is: if it’s your first time going on a sailing holiday, which boat is best for you?
A sailing yacht is still the most iconic, but the gulet, which was invented in the 1970s for tourists, is now gaining more and more popularity.
Let’s look at how the two stack up against each other:
What You Should Know About Gulets
Unless you’re a cruise or water enthusiast, you’re probably not sure what a gulet is.
It’s a traditional sailboat that originated in Turkey. Made out of wood, it’s usually built in Marmaris or Bodrum, both of which are port cities along the Turkey coastline. It relies on an engine rather than sails to get going, and it’s equipped with two or three masts.
A gulet’s defining characteristic is comfort. Gulets are known for being beautiful and spacious, and passengers can relax because there’s a full crew onboard.
All in all, though, there’s still a lot of variation with gulets. You have two options: either you book a private gulet charter or a cabin charter.
A private charter is reserved only for you and your party, so you can customize the menu or itinerary, and you have the crew’s complete attention. On the other hand, a cabin charter won’t give you as much privacy because you’ll be sharing it with strangers. Land and pickup ports are fixed, too, so you can’t request for changes once you’re on board. The flipside is it’s cheaper and you can meet new people.
Why Choose a Gulet?
Depending on how many passengers it’s meant to hold, a gulet’s length ranges from 11 to 55 meters. It’s much more spacious than a sailing boat, with 3 to 12 cabins that can respectively hold 6 to 24 people.
Gulet cabins have their own toilet and shower at minimum, and they might have other amenities such as wardrobes, air-conditioning systems, and dressers. The crew also have their own separate cabins. Outside, there’s a large stern area where guests can conveniently gather, as well as dining salons and traditional deck sofas.
Gulets are designed for maximum comfort, and you’ll feel like you’re staying in a hotel the entire time.
Aside from the amenities, gulets also resemble hotels in being well-staffed. You can’t rent a gulet without being assigned a crew, which consists of a captain, at least one chef, and possibly even sailors. Because of this, you have full license to unwind and bask in the sun without worrying about cooking, cleaning, or manning the gulet.
The drawback to this is gulets are significantly more expensive than sailing boats. Of course, you get what you pay for. But while the price range is generally higher, you can tweak the price based on the number of passengers, the size of the crew, and other factors.
What You Should Know About Sailing Boats
Sailing boats are the most well-known boat type out there. They’re what comes to mind right away when you think about sailing—a smaller boat with its sails spread out and flapping, propelled by the wind rather than any engine. Sailing boats are usually taken to be monohulls, but you can also sail with catamarans, which are larger with two hulls and a connecting deck.
Choose a Sailing Boat for Adventure
The Thrill of Sailing
Sailing boats have far less amenities than gulets, and they’re less spacious. But they remain popular because of people’s fondness for sailing. If you want the rawness of venturing out into the ocean and steering with the wind, then only a sailboat can satisfy that. A gulet isn’t primarily meant for sailing, and it doesn’t allow you to be hands-on. Even if it’s your first time, you just might love the unique thrill of being in a sailing boat.
An Active Vacation
Being in a sailing boat isn’t very passive. You don’t have the option to lie around and bask in the sun all the time—rather, you’ll be far more involved in the journey. Nine times out of ten, sailing boats are rented without a crew, although it’s possible to throw in a skipper who’ll steer the boat for you and a chef. Even with only a skipper, you’ll be in charge of your own food and cleaning.
A sailing boat is much cheaper than a gulet. You don’t have to pay for fuel either because sailing boats don’t have engines, although there are still extra costs like port taxes, supplies, and food. For quick trips, it’s more cost-effective to rent a sailing boat.
Overall - Making the Decision
Check your budget, the people you’ll be bringing along, and the length of your trip. If you’re willing to splurge for a bit of comfort, especially if you’re bringing along kids or seniors, then a gulet would more suitable. But if you have a lower budget or you’d rather experience sailing the first time around, choosing adventure over convenience, then you’ll be happier with a sailing boat.