Holiday Destinations

Born to Sail: René Tiemessen

"I'm René Tiemessen, lifetime sailor, living on board of our Classic Alondra for 10 years, sailing and racing all over the world and the proud owner of Flaka Sailing Cruises in Bodrum."

What inspired you to start sailing?

I come from a family of sailors and consequently started to sail when I was 5 years old. After starting at the local Sailing Club we raced in the area. Later on, we raced on the national level and all that lead to sailing at the sea.

The first time at sea was amazing. The sheer beauty, space, the blue water, the people and discovering all of those breathtaking places that I had never imagined existed. That is what hooked me forever.”

“That is what hooked me forever.”

What is your first memory of being on board of the boat?

“My first memory of being on board was on a big yacht in the North Sea. Leaving in the middle of the night from IJmuiden to England. There was a terrible southwest storm and we ended up in Scheveningen instead of London! It was not the best experience and I was seasick the entire way!”

Tell us about your best sailing trip. Why was it the best sailing trip?

“The best sailing trip without a doubt was living on board of our Classic Yacht Alondra for 10 years. Also, the most impressive part of our voyage was through the Red Sea, Jordan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, India, Sri-Lanka, Maldives, Sumatra, Thailand, Malaysia and back to Turkey through the pirate-infested waters around Somalia.”

Are there any rules or traditions when you are on board?

Rules are there to keep things safe. For example, making sure everybody is wearing a life vest when there is just the slightest sign of danger, or never go on the deck when you have a night watch on your own.

A tradition on board is taking a drink out of a special bottle of Berenburg, everywhere in the world, after overcoming a difficult experience. After 10 years the bottle is almost finished.”

How would you describe your dream sailing holiday?

“A dream sailing holiday is the one where you explore new places, meet new people and maybe see a dolphin here and there. Crystal blue waters, little Greek harbors and the most impressive bays in Turkey.”

Do you have any other hobbies, apart from sailing?

“I love to cook. Even living on board, or being in the middle of nowhere, I always managed to have the most fantastic dinner on the table. Never had canned food, even in the remote areas like the Red Sea. I just use my imagination and the products that I find on the way.

Don’t know how to clean a fish? Just go for it and after a few cleaned fishes, you become a real master. Let me tell you; Nothing beats your own catch at the end of the day!”

Are there any restaurants/cafes/bars in the marina that in your opinion, are must-visit places? If yes, why?

“In Bodrum,  you have so many places that are worth visiting, that I would face difficulties to name just one but… if I must choose one, I would suggest Musto at the harbor. Trendy, fresh and very good.

The best taverna in Greece would be Stoukas in Kalymnos. Maria and her family serve the best local food and they welcome you as a family. Also, after only one visit they will never forget your name!”

“…I would suggest to go to Musto at the harbour”

Could you name 3 reasons why people should sail in Bodrum?

“After having sailed around the world we’ve decided to go back to the place that impressed us the most. The Southwest Coast of Turkey and adjacent Greek Islands in the Dodecanese. The waters are fantastic, you can find any level of sailing, nature is just breathtaking, and the combination of both cultures is extraordinary.

Also, people are very friendly, and the food is great. In my opinion, Bodrum is by far the best sailing spot in the world.”

Considering the current situation of the refugees in Bodrum, do you think it had any impact on local tourism?

“Yes, it had an impact on tourism. Also, the media’s perspective on the refugees had an effect on local tourism. Last year,  I saw some refugees in Bodrum, but sailing all summer in between Bodrum and Greece, I’ve never seen a dinghy or people in a boat. I can assure you that you have seen more refugees in Europe than anywhere in Turkey.”

In your opinion, what is the main difference between sailing with a sailing boat and a gullet?

“The main difference between sailing on a sailing boat and gullet is the size. Since the gullet is a big (25M) ship, it is more stable. I can assure you, it is very impressive to sail these big yachts with a 350M sail! Additionally, size means that you have your own cabin, with a shower and a toilet. The second difference is that you don’t have to plan anything. You come on board, and everything is taken care of: no stocking up, no paperwork, no planning of routes. Your crew takes care of everything and… they make sure you see the most fantastic places in the area. When you are on holiday for a week, you would not like to miss out on that amazing spot or be in that one bay that was just not what you had imagined it to be.

Last but not least, it is not expensive at all. You can come along and book a cabin, or with your children on our ‘Kids weeks’ (with other kids and parents), or book an entire ship for up to 16 guests!”

Describe your outlook on spending free time on the water in a few words.

“The time of a lifetime!”

How would you imagine your perfect boat to look like?


If you like to sail with René? Select one of his beautiful yachts and ask him to give you an offer you cannot refuse to enjoy Turkey.

We hope you enjoyed this interview of Tubber with the lifetime sailor René Teimessen. Check also our Top 5 economic Sailing Destinations