We are taking part in a Black Sea Rally organised by DaDD, a Turkish Amateur Sailing Association of whom we are now members, which takes us along the North Turkish Coast into Georgia and back again. We will cover approx. 1400 miles over 66 days. The itinerary includes lot of excursions, dinners, some being hosted by the Mayors’ of local towns, lunches, receptions, breakfasts and a host of other stuff. We think we’ll need a holiday once this is all over because as you know this is not a holiday it’s a way of life!
So being a little behind with the blogs I’m going to do some out of order and go back to where we’ve been over the last few months at a later stage.
The Rally has just over 20 boats and are mainly Turkish sailors with some Brits, Americans, French and Slovenians thrown in. Ismail, our Commodore for the Rally, has to repeat everything in English. Although many of the Turkish sailors also speak pretty good English, so are all translating for us when needed. They are a very friendly bunch.
We arrived in Kiyi Marina, which is not fully operational as yet, but is very nice, a week before the start of the rally. The marina put on a welcome cocktail party for us and a couple of days sightseeing in Istanbul. We opted out of one of the days as we had visited Istanbul, just two years ago.
You will see from the photo that we have been provided with a uniform, white t-shirts with DaDD rally logos on, which we’ve been asked to wear at all events and excursions. No worrying about what to wear most days.
Our trip to Istanbul was an early start, 8.00am. We had quite a whirl of a day, little did we realise that this is setting the pace for the duration of the rally. We visited Miniaturk, which is models of various buildings around Turkey. One of them being a Knitting Column, not quite sure how you’d knit with that!
We next went to Istanbul Rhami M Koc Museum which has a wide range of industrial heritage in communication and transportation. We saw trains, planes, automobiles, boats and a submarine.
The opening DaDD rally dinner was the night before we left to start our trip, always a good idea, but we were sensible as we had to be up at 6.30am the following morning as we had 59 miles to cover and this included currents of up to 3/4 knots against us, plus taking into consideration the wind it can be a bit of slog going up the Bosphorus. In normal circumstances it is not permitted to sail in the Bosphorus however, we had been given permission to do so, which pleased Ian no end, as last time he was ordered by the Coastguard to take his sails down despite telling them he had his engines on too, they weren’t having any of it. The Bosphorus is quite a busy shipping lane with over 45,000 ships passing along it annually. However, for our passage through it was closed to ships until 4pm. It was, we were advised Nautical Bayram, and this was probably behind the decision. We were asked to follow in a line as we entered the Bosphorus and it was quite a sight, not that Ian kept in line, but hey what’s new.
We had nice conditions for the trip and it took us two and half hours to pass along the Bosphorus, so all in all from Kiyi Marina to Sile, pronounced Sheelay it was a ten hour trip. We were looking forward to flopping out after a long trip but no we’d been invited by the mayor to the town of Agva Merkez, about 45mins away by coach, for a boat cortege and a concert. So quick turnaround for dinner and shower and off we went. The cortege was small fishing boats, full of people, going along the river and back again, lots of loud music, singing, fireworks and guns being shot in the air. Some of us were able to go on one one the boats which lasted about 15 mins. We then stayed a while for the concert by Zehra, who is a Turkish Pop singer and from the amount of people singing along is well known.