Zanziba: the gulet with a difference launches in Bodrum

A gulet with a difference hit the water for the first time in May after an epic eight-year build in Bodrum, Turkey. The 46m yacht borrows from the Turkish sailing tradition, but applies plenty of modern superyachting to make her something of a hybrid.

The yacht, Zanziba, also carries some serious design pedigree. Her rig was designed and optimised by Gerry Dykstra, while the UK’s Fairlie Yachts contributed to the structural design. The interior, meanwhile, was put together by David Wright Design.

The 248GT yacht began life as the brainchild of a UK businessman, but he exited the project when the boat was about one-third complete. Zanziba's hull then languished in the boatyard until it was picked up by a Turkish businessman who saw the yacht’s potential.

David Wright says he was brought into the build early on and designed the interior layout, each internal space and the exterior detailing. “As soon as you mention a Turkish wooden sailing boat to most people, they normally roll their eyes,” says the designer.

“However every effort has been made to design and build something original and authentic, that stands apart from a normal Turkish sailing boat.”

The cold-moulded mahogany boat is now nearing completion in Turkey, with handover expected later this summer. That elegant deckhouse covers an interior designed to be warm, natural and relaxed, to reflect the way in which the yacht will be used, says Wright.

“The interior was neither to look overly coordinated in terms of detailing, nor over-designed,” he says. “The palette of interior materials includes goatskins, buffalo leathers, woven rattans and soft chenille fabrics. 

“For the most part, the backdrop of the interior is open grained oak panelling, with carved oak doors with a warm chocolate stain. The main saloon features a full length ceiling dome whose hardwood beams are the actual exposed structural elements of the deckhouse, with bamboo tatami panels in between the beams.”

The main event on deck is likely to be a carved, quartzite bar in the cockpit, which serves twin dining tables to the rear. Her design speed is 13.1 knots, so it’s unlikely Zanziba will be winning many regattas, but this is one yacht that’s all about the cruise.

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