Since 1990 yachtsmen from all over the world have converged on Turkey to participate in the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally. Beginning with a small fleet of 17 boats, the rally has expanded to include a cruising fleet of over 100 boats.
In 1995 the traditional Rally route, (Antalya - Bozyazı - Girne), was extended from Istanbul to Kemer and internationally Syria, Lebanon and Egypt were included in the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally. In 2009, the Rally will starts on 24th April from Ataköy Marina, İstanbul and will sail the entire southwest and south coast down to Kemer, Antalya. On 19th May 2009, the rally will have the big start from Kemer and will sail to Alanya, Turkey and then on to Girne, North Cyprus, which it visits over the weekend of the 23rd to the 26th May. Leaving Girne the rally fleet will sail to Mersin and Iskenderun. After leaving Turkey, the Rally yachts will visit the port of Lattakia in Syria, Jounieh Marina in Lebanon, Haifa and Ashkelon Marinas in Israel, Port Said in Egypt and finally Herzliya Marina in Israel as the last port.
Last year the EMYR rally had 80yachts participating from 19 different countries and completed the entire traditional EMYR route without any difficulties.
Rally participants Shirley & Geoff Withrington (UK), Kath& David Gerrard (UK) and Hasan Kaçmaz (Turkish) from three different countries make up the permanent Rally committee for 2009. In addition to the core organisers, the provinces of Mersin, Iskenderun, TRNC Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Israel, Syria and Lebanon have organised local groups to work on projects to improve marinas and ports along the rally route to accommodate the Rally participants needs.
The previous president of Northern Cyprus Mr. Rauf Denktaş and second President Mr. Mehmet Talat have supported the festivities and made visiting yachtsmen to the Girne Marina feel most welcome since 1990.
The previous president of Turkey, Mr. Süleyman Demirel has supported the Rally for the last eight years on the Turkish Coast. We are hoping to hear that Presidential support will continue.
During our stay at Haifa, Herzlia and Ashkelon in Israel, the municipalities of Haifa, Herzlia and Ashkelon cities will provide support again for all basic needs of Rally participants and their yachts. They also organise festivities and guided tours to various parts of Israel.
The Turkish Coast Guard has traditionally accompanied the Rally yachts between Antalya and Haifa until 2002 and due to the political conflict in the region they couldnt accompany the rally for 2003 & 2004 and the Coast Guard boats were with us again in 2005, 2006 , 2007, & 2008 EMYR only for the Turkish Coast. In 1995 - 2002 the Coast Guard was invited by the States of Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt to conduct official port visits as part of the rally. The Turkish coast guard has been valuable to the rally providing security and often-technical assistance to the participants.
The Rally, over its 20 years of activity, besides being a sporting event has helped to promote yachting tourism along the route and brought the marinas at Antalya, Alanya, Bozyazı, Girne, Magusa, Lattakia (Syria), Jounieh (Lebanon),Haifa, Herzliya and Ashkelon (Israel), Port Said (Egypt) to the attention of the international yachting community. Even more importantly, the local authorities have now realised that yachting tourism has reached their doorstep. The Rally has encouraged communities to begin feasibility studies involving their marina facilities and how they service the yachting community. For example the Girne Marina in Northern Cyprus & Lattakia Marina in Syria provide better services, such as secure berths, showers, washrooms, electrical and water connections. In addition the necessity of a new marina is now being discussed in Northern Cyprus. New marinas are under construction at the ports of Mersin, Gazipaşa, Alanya, Kaş and a new marina has also been approved in the community of Manavgat. The Port Said Governor office seeing the potential of international yachting tourism has completed feasibility study for Port Said Marina.
In line with our general promotional policy in the Eastern Mediterranean during the past years, we made arrangements to visit N. Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. The ports in these countries are still not well known to the International Yachting community. But today many yachtsmen know that these countries are becoming more popular. The number of the participants in EMYR is limited to be 80 yachts from different nationalities and LOA size will be min. 8 m. to max. 18 m.
Türkiz Kemer Marina is still the centre of the EMYR. We believe the support from this company will continue in the up and coming years, allowing the EMYR to continue to promote yachting in the Eastern Mediterranean waters.
For more information about the EMYR, visit their web site.