It's been a week of up and downs as I've travelled back and forth around the southern coast of Turkey looking at gulets. I visited harbours, marinas and boat yards in Fethiye, Bodrum, Kaş, Demre and Finike.
I learned from each boat I visited - what I liked, what I didn't like, what I could afford, and what I couldn't afford. While I truly "want it all", it became evident that I preferred small / high quality to large / lower quality, and that helped narrow the search. (In case you're wondering, affordable tops the list of my criteria, immediately followed by nice bathrooms, my own cabin and air conditioning. Washer, dryer, good sound system, sparkly lights and disco ball appear on the list too, but they are nearer the bottom.
Not surprisingly, it took a while to find a boat that met my diametrically opposed criteria. The inexpensive required major re-work (a daunting task for anyone, especially a female who doesn't speak the language), those with nice bathrooms and a sufficient number of cabins were generally outside of my comfort zone price-wise.
... sparkly lights and disco ball appear on the list [of criteria] too, but they are nearer the bottom!
Then, I saw Neşko!
Neşko is a relatively small gulet (only 22 metres) but well designed and beautifully built, with 5 cabins, each with a nice bathroom. (I can claim one of the cabins as my own and still have room for up to 8 passengers.) She was completely gutted and re-built in 2011 ('refit' in yachting jargon for 'compltely overhauled and renovated'), so everything is fairly new and well maintained. There is air conditioning in the cabins and salon, and space for a washer and dryer. And, because all the stars were aligned, it turns out that Neşko also meets my criteria for affordability. Hooray!
There's still a lot of paperwork to do, and the money part, which is scheduled for sometime next week. But this is a major step towards starting my new business in Turkey, Arkadaslik Yachting. Now "all" I have to do is find a crew, get Neşko prepped for the season, find customers,...
Why do I feel like the hard work is just beginning?