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Nicky Haslam's 6 favourite sailing memories

Nicky Haslam's 6 favourite sailing memories

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Discovering southern Turkey

And, as sooner or later everyone must, I discovered the southern shore of Turkey. Initially I drove its length, swerving off treacly tarmac to climb every mountain to ruined arenas, waded out to submerged temples: deep, rippled white marble monoliths more emotive than any museum. And, owing to divine providence, I met premier Turkish hostess Cigdem Simavi, who, with her newspaper proprietor husband Haldun, had recently founded Göcek, now a world-renowned yacht haven. As well as their Halas, a 1914 Clyde-built coastal cruiser, later pressed into service for the Dardanelles campaign, now reincarnated as the last word in maritime luxe for her seasonal stately steam from the Sublime Porte to these calm Carian coastal waters, Cigdem had her own, far more intimate, floating pleasure-dome.

Melek was no commonplace gulet but a three-mast schooner, wide-keeled, her only stateroom a seagoing ottoman divan of wide low sofas, soft cushions and furry throws for chillier daybreaks. Somewhere, cheek-by-jowl with bunk-like cabins, was a galley from which Cigdem conjured her exquisite Circassian chicken, or Black Sea turbot grilled over sweet-scented wood, to be lazily relished before a fall into the limpid depths of yet another turquoise bay, while her sons scampered like tanned acrobats up into the rigging.

photo: Adobestock

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