Turkey is one of the world’s fastest-growing yachting regions and Çesme Marina one of the newest and best-appointed facilities in the eastern Mediterranean. Operated by Camper and Nicholson, it was opened in June two years ago and quickly won a string of awards, including one of the industry’s ultimate accolades – Best Marina of the Year – at the Golden Anchor Awards in November 2010.
The new port has some 400 fully serviced berths for yachts up to 60m (200ft) in length, plus a full service boatyard with an 80 tonne travel lift and an on-site chandlery. Unlike many new waterside developments, however, Çesme Marina is close to the centre of the historic harbour town. The development also includes a marina village with excellent cafés and restaurants, plus a modern retail complex with marine fashion outlets and designer boutiques.
The town is a local administrative centre and has long been popular among second home owners from the nearby city of Izmir. The entire locality is undergoing a renaissance, with the area becoming increasingly popular with wealthy Turks as well as visitors from around the world. Izmir’s international airport is less than an hours’ drive from Çesme.
With an ideal climate, and an unspoilt deeply indented coastline with idyllic secluded bays, the Turkish Aegean is an excellent sailing area. The Greek islands are also within easy reach – the main harbour of Chios, for instance, is less than 10 miles from Çesme.
As well as getting plenty of sun, the area benefits from stronger winds than are often found in the Mediterranean. The north-easterly Etesian winds (known as Meltemi in Greek waters) start in spring, building slowly to reach maximum intensity in July and August. After a calm night the wind typically builds during the mid to late morning, reaching peak strength of 18-30 knots in the afternoon before dying away at sunset. However, there are occasions, particularly in late summer, in which strong winds can blow constantly day and night for three to five days or more.
The reliable winds and excellent facilities at Çesme mean it is fast becoming a centre for competitive sailing, with the International Çesme Yacht Club, based in the marina, holding spring, autumn and winter regattas. The port is also the end point of the Navy Cup, Turkey’s most prominent offshore race, with 70 boats and 500 sailors racing non-stop from Istanbul. The race is followed by an inshore racing series, the Eastern Aegean Sailing Weekend.
View Larger Map
View Larger Map