SAIL

AMONG THE ANCIENTS

It was a father’s dream: my recently wed daughter, Lena, and her “mate,” Fred, wanted to crew for me in the Mediterranean. An experienced sailor, back in 2011 Lena survived seven days close-hauled from the Azores to Gibraltar—the toughest passage I’ve ever made. Now the Med, with its warm seas, short distances and exotic ports, presented an undeniable reward. Lena’s ulterior motive was to also try to infect Fred with the sailing bug, thus finessing future choices between Dad and hubby—something she wanted to be sure and do before the inevitable baby arrived to further complicate future passages.

In this, Fred was a willing accomplice. An outdoorsman with a penchant for camping, he was born to a German father and a Mexican mother. He thrives on foreign food, languages and culture. His strong ego allowed him to sign on as second mate, and I promised him a week to learn to hand, reef and steer, and thus become an able seaman.

Beyond family time, I had two other objectives. First, I needed to get Panope, my Pacific Seacraft 34, from Latsi, Cyprus, to Finike. The orange-growing capital of Turkey, Finike is off the tourist track and virtually unspoiled by the commercialism running rampant elsewhere in the Mediterranean. It also boasts Setur Marina, one of the two best boatyards I have found in my six years of cruising the Med.

Second, I had been reading the history of Turkey’s Cilician coast. In the age of Caesar, those waters had been the center for a piracy that reached across the Med. The great natural fortress of Coracesium was its base, and the ancient town of Side its slave emporium. I wanted to have a look.

At Villa Yasmin, our home in Cyprus, we planned our passage: first an overnight from Latsi to Finike for haulout and repairs, then around Cape Gelidonya and down to ancient Phaselis. After that it would be across the Gulf of Antalya to Side and down the coast to Coracesium (modern Alanya) before returning home. We’d have a week, assuming we set out from Latsion a

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