Turkish Charter: Hic Salta

Hic Salta is a world-class charter option with nothing to prove.

February 26, 2013

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Jet lag, which I seemed immune to in my youth, is a terrible thing. Last year on a trip with many connections to Turkey, I arrived exhausted, and my body’s clock simply refused to adjust. But as I sailed out of Bodrum for Marmaris aboard the magnificent Hic Salta the day after I landed, it was tough feeling even a little sorry for myself. If you have to be a zombie, being one as the sole passenger aboard a sailing yacht in the eastern Mediterranean is not a bad way to do it. And oh, what a sailing yacht she was! Schooner-rigged and built of wood, this 139 foot gulet accommodates 10 guests in five en suite staterooms and carries a crew of six. Hold up! Did I start to lose you at gulet? Mary South

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I guess my impressions of gulets were biased and outdated too, because I was stunned by the level of fit and finish aboard this superyacht. Truthfully, I had been expecting something a little more rustic, a little less luxurious. But Hic Salta was absolutely world-class. Courtesy Valena Yachts

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Her teak deck is smooth as silk underfoot, and her hardware sparkles in the soft winter sunshine. A matte varnish protects the luxurious, curved on-deck dining area abaft the salon. On the foredeck, chaise cushions beckon. Hic Salta was launched in 2006, but she looks like she left the yard last week. Everything gleams. Courtesy Valena Yachts

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Below, the interior features dark wood and light fabrics, and I could imagine what a haven it would be in truly hot weather. The salon is large, spare and elegant with a curved banquette behind the dining table to port and a settee to starboard. The master is aft, with a full-beam stateroom and a king-size bed. Flat-screen TVs with satellite service and iPod docking stations are available to those who wish to be in touch with the wired world. Courtesy Valena Yachts

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Another detail also puts Hic Salta head and shoulders above many gulets. When I served as a judge at the Marmaris Yacht Charter Show chef contest a few days later, I was distinctly underwhelmed by the cuisine. (To be fair, I’m not a big fan of salmon and I have never seen salmon served so many different ways — which goes to the heart of the problem. Why serve salmon on a Mediterranean charter?) The young chef aboard Hic Salta was phenomenal: Each and every meal was simple, and the food was local and fresh, mouth-watering, well-seasoned and beautifully presented. Mary South

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The name Hic Salta comes from a section of Aesop’s Fables. An athlete brags that he performed an amazing jump before witnesses in Rhodes. A bystander comments, “Hic Rhodus, hic Salta,” which means “Here is Rhodes, here is the place for your jump” — in other words, we don’t need a witness, just prove it here and now. Put up or shut up. Perhaps this illuminates this builder’s creed. Take a look at Hic Salta‘s sister ships Ubi Bene and White Wings for some insight into Valena Yachts’ vision for luxury charter. All three of these vessels are well known to Turkish yachtsmen, though they are distinctly different. What marks them as family is the level of craftsmanship and an attention to detail that make them competitive with the finest yachts in the world. Exhausted though I was, I didn’t want to miss a minute of my Hic Salta experience. Instead, I sat on deck in a pleasant haze and watched the arid, rugged coastline as we glided through turquoise waters. Nothing to prove here. Courtesy Valena Yachts

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Hic Salta_ takes 10 guests in five staterooms with a crew of six and is available for the southwestern Turkish coastline and nearby Greek Islands, starting at approximately $60,000 per week. Contact Nur Yilmaz at Valena Yachts, + 90 532 215 7772; [email protected] for more information._ Courtesy Valena Yachts

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