Log #25d To Kemer and the EMYR Grand Start

June 24, 2002 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 25 EMYR, The Logs

Haifa, Israel
June 24, 2002

Hi Folks,

We are still here in Haifa, right now at some friends of Judy’s family, Geoff and Esty Collins, and I can hook up to their telephone line to send E-mail. Happiness (for cruisers such as us) is the ability to send E-mail, get a shower, and do some laundry. Thanks Geoff! Judy already has the first load on laundry in and is taking a shower while I prepare this covering letter for Log #25d taking us to Kemer and the Grand Start of the EMYR. The rally is over now, and I am taking some time here in Israel to catch up on my logs as well as do some more touring and hopefully some diving. Next week we will be heading off to Cyprus and then back to Kemer as we need some work done to replace our prop shaft and realign the engine with it. After that we will be off to Crete, then up to the Greek Aegean for the rest of the summer and fall. We will be back in Kemer for the winter in Oct. or Nov., probably back to Canada with a stopover in London in Dec. and return the end of Feb. Next summer we hope to make our way up to Istanbul to go on the Black Sea Rally. After that we will probably make our way westward to exit the Med at Gibraltar in a year or so, then back to the Caribbean, maybe. We’ll take it one year at a time.

The EMYR was great and I will be describing it in detail in subsequent logs. We expect to meet several of the rally boaters on our way throughout the Med in subsequent years. A friendly bond has been established among those of us on the rally, and so it will be enjoyable to meet up with them in various ports.

We are enjoying Israel. It is most unfortunate with the terrorist bombings, but we have not been near them. The marinas here are very appreciative of the fact we did not let the turmoil keep us away. The Israeli tourist industry is suffering badly. The security is tight all over. Armed guards are everywhere, at shopping malls, restaurants, beaches, movies, etc. It appears a necessity of life here.

Enjoy the log.

All the best,


Log #25d To Kemer and the EMYR Grand Start

Herzliya, Israel
June 20, 2002
Covers the period May 12 to 17, 2002

En route to Finike from Kekova Roads, we should have had a good assist from the afternoon Meltemi. We actually went wing on wing, but for 10 minutes only before having to give up and motor the remaining 15 miles to Finike (36 17.6N, 030 09.1E). At the dock we had a good reception with a bag of locally produced oranges given to each boat plus a marina pennant, and an invitation to join the tour next day to Myra and St. Nicholas’ church. The tour was most enjoyable taking us to the ancient city of Myra, for which St. Nicholas was the first bishop. In addition to St. Nicholas being the origin of Santa Claus (Saint to Santa, and Nicholas to Claus), he was also the patron saint for Russia, children and pirates. Another fascinating site visited was Arycanda, a ruined Lycian city in the mountains with stunning views over the valleys and up to snow clad peaks of surrounding summits. It was better than Termessos, not so overgrown, and the site had far better panoramic views from the upper levels of the gymnasium, theatre and agora, and from the remaining foundations of the town’s lower levels. Another souvenir that many of us picked was some wild thyme to spice up the few meals we would be preparing on the rally. The history was similar to other Lycian cities, the town having been established in the second millennium BC, liberated from the Persians by Alexander the Great, then falling under the control of Rhodes. It reached its high point when it formed part of the Lycian Confederation in 200 BC, and under Roman control starting in 43 BC. It was abandoned in the 11th century AD.

The reception put on by the marina left something to be desired. There was a free bar, but only unimaginative hors d’ouvres, not enough to satisfy an appetite. Many of the group went out for supper afterwards, and David treated us to a nice meal in the marina complex. The marina itself is quite nice, with good showers, washrooms, laundry, chandlery, restaurants and several small stores and bars in the complex.

We left at 0800 next day, June 14 for the 42 mile trip to Kemer. Again we were hoping that since we were going in an eastward direction we would have help from the Meltemi that blew against us so strongly on our way from Kemer westwards. No such luck. The winds at least were not against us, but so light from the south we had to motor most of the way except for a half hour attempt to actually sail.

Coming back to Kemer (36 36N, 030 34E) was like coming home, as we had spent the winter there, and it is rare for us to come into the same place twice. They squeezed us in right in front of the marina office, helped in by Umut, the assistant marina manager and rally secretary, whom we know quite well. We met several boaters who were still in Kemer from their winter layover, and who for various reasons had not started their sailing season yet. We were pleased to see Michael and Britta from Laudance, as Britta had some serious surgery back in Canada over the winter.

In Kemer I cried on Oktay’s (the technical manager at Kemer) shoulder about the scratched paint work. He had a couple of his people come over to do a professional touch up so the scratches from the anchor bashing do not show at all. Thanks Oktay. We also did some maintenance, including the installation of a new VHF antenna, and a servicing of our VHF radio. We met with Hasan to select group leaders to be in charge of the four groups based on yacht length. We were leaders of Group 1, the group of smallest boats, all of whom joined before Kemer. About half the boats on the rally joined at Kemer, ironically most of the larger ones. The smaller boats joined earlier. In our Group 1, we had yellow as our pennant colours, and had met most of our members earlier. There were 3 of us from Canada, Veleda, Laudance and Three Sheets to the Wind; 3 from France, Bleo Gwenn, Utinam, and Alizes; JoHo from the Netherlands; and Utholm from Germany; plus 3 Turkish boats, Mirabir, Baris, and Lul-Lul, who joined at Kemer for the leg to North Cyprus only..

A fun competition between the groups provided laughs as we had mini golf, three legged races, tug of war and other events to help the groups get to know one another. Our Group 1 won overall in points. At first we thought these silly games were a bother as we were getting our boats ready for the first long (155 miles) leg of the rally over to Cyprus. However as we entered into it we found it gave us an opportunity to interact with members of our group and the rally.

The flare demonstration went off quite well with several boaters able to fire off their old flares. There were over 50 boaters in attendance, and I hope such a demonstration can become a regular part of the rally start days in Kemer. There were many other things to do those few days in Kemer. We topped up our jerry cans with diesel, and filled our water tanks. I went to several photo shops to see if I could get my digital camera fixed. No luck. It would have to be sent to Istanbul to a Nikon dealership. So instead we will send it back to Toronto with David, to the dealership there where we bought it in January. We hope it will be covered by warranty or by the VISA purchase insurance program.  

There was a “free” day tour to go to Phaselis, Olympus and the Chimera which we had seen before, but David went. However, I understand there was a bit of mix up, and after visiting Phaselis in the morning, too long was taken at lunch and at the Chimera, so that there was not enough time left to visit Olympus. Another day there was a free tourist train tour of Kemer itself, a bumpy ride in places due to all the construction going on at some of the resorts being built or getting ready for the tourist season. However it gave people an overview of the town, a pleasant place with many amenities.

The formal Rally dinner was an enjoyable affair with excellent catering and good music. The seating plan had a table for each of the four groups, giving the opportunity for further familiarity. After the presentations to various officials who have been instrumental in assisting the rally, we sang the rally song. Then good dance music got us up, and several boaters enjoyed doing “Mambo #5” a line dance that we had been doing at all the parties in Kemer over the winter, and one that the EMYR participants had a chance to learn from Marie on “Laura”, one of the French boats. This dance, as well as the rally song, were to be regular performances at the rally dinners at each port. Unfortunately, I never did get the steps down well enough to participate in such gyrations. I have pasted a copy of the rally song below, sung to the tune of  “Those were the days”.

The official Grand Start was on May 17 at 1000. Group 1 was to start first, then 10 minutes later Group 2 and so on at 10 minute intervals. However, JoHo being a bit smaller than Veleda was allowed to start a couple of hours earlier as she is a slower boat. At the start, all 42 boats were circling around outside the breakwater trying to identify which gulets marked the start line, as there were three or four gulets, not part of the rally, out there as well to get a good view of all the boats leaving. We had a VHF channel for each group, ours being channel 9, and all boats used channel 69 for committee and general rally calls. I called our group to circle near me in readiness to set off, as I had identified the start line boats. The whistle went at 1000 and Veleda was the first boat across the line with most of Group 1 shortly behind us, and a few others who barged in in advance of their time slot. It was quite a sight seeing 42 sailboats under sail or hoisting their sails as they approached or crossed the line and headed off on a course of 100ْ (M) for Northern Cyprus 160 miles away. The winds were light out of the SE, and so most boats were motor sailing, as we had to reach Cyprus within a two hour time slot 30 hours later. This put more pressure on the smaller boats which are also the slower ones. There is one motor yacht in the rally; all the rest are sailing yachts. We were all on the same tack in a long line straggling back for well over two miles. It was a clear sunny day, a perfect start, although about ten to fifteen knots more wind would have been appreciated.

More about this first and longest leg of the entire rally in my next log.





Those Were The (EMYR) Days

Group 1                 Once upon a time there was an EMYR

                                No one really knew just what that meant

                                Was it a great bird from way down under

                                Or an Arab leader in a tent?

CHORUS              Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end,

                                We sailed and danced forever and a day

                                We lived the life we’d choose, while on the rally cruise

                                Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days!


Group 2                 Starting in the cold and rainy weather

                                From old Istanbul they set their sails

                                Down the coast of scenic western Turkey

                                The 13th East Med Rally would prevail.

Group 3                 From port to port along the sunny south coast

                                Where the full fleet gathered all around

                                Then, in good conditions, left for Cyprus

                                Where a pirate party would be found.

Group 4                 The lure of “new marina” now was calling

                                In Syria the welcome was divine

                                Nader was waiting on the quay to greet us

                                With mariners to take and tie our line.

Group 5                 Mem’ries of belly dancers, caves and Baalbek

                                Still fresh in our minds to bring a smile

                                We said our fond farewells to dear Jounieh

                                And off again to add another mile.

Group 6                 The Holy Land was viewed with lots of interest

                                In places of great legend we would be

                                Jerusalem, Masada and old Haifa

                                We even got to float in the Dead Sea.

Group 7                 Now it’s done, we need to do some small jobs

                                Change oil and filters, clean up, make things neat,

                                Splice the lines until there are no loose ends,

                                But first of all WE NEED TO GET SOME SLEEP!

All Groups             So, my friends, this sailing rally’s over

                                We’ve made good friends and shared a glass or two

                                We’ve seen sights both new and fascinating

                                But sadly now it’s time to say “Adieu”.


This song was created by Thomas Fischer of S/Y Querida Grande and his Group during the 1998 EMYR and was altered by Su Dunkerly of M/Y Domino in March 2001.