With bigger boats, clued-up crews and more adventurous guests, the superyacht industry is setting its sights farther than ever before. Those chartering a luxury yacht in Cannes will always have friends. But a Seadoo safari off Sumbawa or a blowout excursion on the Black Sea are positively on-trend.
In the second of a five-part series, Tristan Rutherford, destinations expert at superyacht charter specialist Y.CO, shares where the super-rich will be sailing to in 2013. This month’s hotspot: Goçek, Turkey.
According to legend, Icarus plunged into the sea near Goçek after his flight of freedom. The lucky man. This happy resort forms the humming heart of Turkey’s yachting industry. If you fail to eat, shop and party in this alfresco playground, you may as well catch the first flight home – Dalaman Airport is a 15-minute cab ride away.
Sure, Dalaman isn’t a private jet parking like Cannes-Mandelieu Aeroport or St Tropez’s La Mole. But times are changing. Turkey boasted the highest rates of GDP growth in Europe in 2011. It recently outpaced the Chinese economy with rises of 10 percent per quarter. And when Turks part with serious money, they do so in Goçek.
Goçek’s Skopea Marina regularly welcomes sailing megayachts and motorised superyachts of up to 60m in length. Bill Gates has rocked up at several boat-only seafood shacks. Check out the proof in the Bozburun Restoran on the nearby Datça Peninsular: the Microsoft mogul’s dining tab is proudly tacked up behind the bar.
It seems from the latest 007 instalment, Skyfall, that MI6’s finest is also a fan. James Bond was seen drinking Efes beer and local firewater raki on Calis beach, a mile south of Goçek. Daniel Craig’s autograph sits behind the beach bar of the Yacht Classic Marina. Barmen will regale you with tales of Craig’s 2012 sojourn before you join British, Emirati, Russian and Turkish flagged vessels out in the bay.
To picture the wide bay of Goçek, imagine the French Riviera 50 years ago. It’s blessed with more dive sites, secret coves and private moorings than anywhere else on the Mediterranean. Amphitheatre cliffs and forested hills hide a litany of lonely Roman ruins. They illuminate history equally well whether you’re a fan of Brad Pitt’s Troy or Gibbon’s Decline and Fall.
Anchorages become increasingly blissful with each passing mile. Luxury superyacht guests moored by the rock-cut tombs of Taşkaya bay can stroll through Ancient Greece in an afternoon. Better still, most luxury yachts now offer decompression chambers, scuba suites and on-board dive-masters. The possibility of floating over Roman amphorae at Terşane – or ‘shipyard’ – bay, has never sounded so cool.
The open water is even more pristine. Dolphins direct yachts to the ice-cold mineral water source at Bestas Limani, where divers can bathe in an Evian-style spring. Like most of Turkey’s sublime coastline, it can only be reached by boat.