Nautical Expert

Motorboat magazine

Do you want to buy a wooden Turkish gulet? Think again.

Do you want to buy a wooden Turkish gulet? Think again.

Updated on September 13th, 2022

Have you been offered to buy a Turkish wooden gulet for a ridiculous amount of money? Well, this could be the worst purchase of your life. As much as you love the abundance of wood on the boat and the beautiful finishes, there’s a reason why gulets have such a low price tag for their hefty size. In fairness, it should be noted that there are very seaworthy and even reliable Turkish sailboats, but here we are talking only about cheap mass-produced wooden yachts.

The word “gulet” was borrowed by the Turks from the Italians, who borrowed it from the French, who borrowed it from the Celts. In general, a gulet is the name of only one small class of ships being built on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, mainly, of course, in Turkey. In addition to them, there are other traditional wooden types of similar boats, closer to the usual European schooners, but we all call them gulets.

Gulets, built primarily from pine, boast their superb appearance, giving the deceptive impression that they are built from mahogany. The abundance of beautifully carved lacquered wood details and rich finishes of these yachts are very popular with tourists and charter clients. In fact, gulets do an excellent job of making short trips along the coastline in fine, calm weather.

Wait, why in calm weather, you ask, is a gulet a sailboat? Well, masts also appeal to yacht renters. Rather, we can say that a gulet is a motorsailer. However, on gulets built specifically for charter, it is best never to raise the sails. If the wind suddenly blows, it will be simply dangerous and the gulet runs the risk of quickly turning into a turtle. However, even if this does not happen, then one should not expect that a yacht, with a hull similar to a heavy barge, will be acceptable to sail. To prevent capsizing, the holds are stuffed with heavy metal and other ballast, which further exacerbates the problem of using sails.

However, the real problem with gulets is not that they have an extremely low seaworthiness and cannot go to the open sea, but that their maintenance is a real headache for the owners. Wooden yachts initially require special attention, time and financial costs, and gulets, in principle, are not distinguished by high quality wood and construction technology. There are excellent quality wooden schooners being built in Turkey for European customers, but in general this is an exception.

The wood will rot constantly. Not only will this create a huge hole in your budget, but it will also make sailing unsafe. Yes, there are gulets with steel hulls, but the steel itself is not as important as the quality of design and welding. If you want to buy a truly reliable steel yacht, then it is better to turn to trusted shipyards in Northern Europe with an excellent reputation.

To sum it up, we recommend giving up trying to consider cheap wooden gulets as a viable option for your cruises. It will be better and safer for you to buy a real sailing or motor yacht. When you consider the cost of maintaining and reselling boats of popular brands, this can be a much more profitable purchase.

Gulets, being entertaining coastal boats for tourists, perfectly serve as attractions and backgrounds for selfies. And decorative masts are very conducive to this.