2009-04-16 / Editorial

FIRST PERSON

Liza Kurt Liza Kurt My name is Liza Kurt and I live in Jamestown. My brother and I were raised on Long Island and were fortunate to participate in junior sailing. We competed against other Long Island and Connecticut yacht clubs.

My brother took to sailing immediately. He later went to the Naval Academy and become an officer in the Navy. My love for sailing took me in a different direction.

After I attended Plattsburgh State in New York and earned a degree in environmental science, I taught sailing on Long Island, Connecticut and then Rhode Island.

I discovered the beautiful classic yachts in Rhode Island. I taught at Edgewood Yacht Club where Herreshoff S boats were moored. I quickly introduced myself to the owners of these boats and became crew. Every weekend there was a regatta sponsored by a different yacht club.

My parents gave me their 20- foot day-sailer to launch me on a career of providing private sailing lessons. I sailed the boat from Long Island to Newport harbor in pea soup fog. Thank goodness for Brenton Tower.

In Newport I met all types of people in the yachting world. These introductions gave me job opportunities for many years. What started out as simple sailing lessons turned into a challenging and prosperous business.

It was 1983 and Newport hosted the America's Cup. Everyone wanted to see the races. I became a yacht charter broker. After a successful season involved with the America's Cup, I went to work for John Alden Yacht Charters. In Boston I crewed on Solings in Boston Harbor. John Alden is a large charter house. This meant more travel to inspect yachts in popular charter ports of the world. My visit to a charter boat show in Turkey changed my life. Little did I know that our archeological guide would become my husband. He, too, wanted to raise children.

So, a decade living in Turkey began.

Living in Turkey was a blast. I met people from all over the world who had interesting stories. I had a Turkish wedding with Gypsy bands, dancing and great food. A well-known charter yacht was sailing along the coast that day catering to a group of Americans. The captain knowing of the wedding decided to crash the party.

The Turquoise Coast of Turkey is famous for attracting all types of people. I met writers, adventurers, sailors - including the crew of the Endeavor sailing out of Newport. There was a German sailor on a Kon-tiki type raft who, after sailing around the coast of Africa, made his way to the Turkish coast and never left. There are many yachts available for charter.

I settled in Dalyan, which is surrounded by ancient archeological sites, Roman walls and Lycian rock tombs dated 725 B.C. There is a beach where Loggerhead turtles lay their eggs. The Dalyan River meanders several miles to a fresh water lake where there are numerous natural hot sulfur baths. There are many small villages to visit for a taste of village wares.

I lived in a tent in Turkey before my children were born. Later, home was a cabin on the beach in Ekincek Bay. Not too bad since there were two great restaurants nearby. The setting was idyllic with Arabian horses running the beach, sailors coming and going and wonderful clean water for swimming. It is a bird-watcher's paradise and is home to storks and kingfishers.

Turkish cuisine and wines are appreciated worldwide. I can attest to this as I gained 60 pounds while I lived there.

Once the kids arrived we moved from the cabin on the beach to the main house to protect the babies from excessive sun exposure. The kids had a great time growing up on the river and the coast. They sailed boats and went crabbing and fishing. Every day was an adventure. All went well until a decision had to be made about their schooling. I decided to return to the United States.

My brother, who was stationed at the War College in Newport, recommended the Jamestown school system. I was also lucky to be hired by Jody Lexow Yacht Charters specializing in yacht charters along the Turkish coast. Eleven years have gone by and I must say all is well. I have two sons: Kaan is 17 and plays hockey at North Kingstown High School; Cem is 19 and is a NKHS grad.

I want to thank my mother, who recently passed away, for giving me the many opportunities, faith and love and to pass on those qualities to another generation. We have been lucky because Jamestown gave us the setting. My mother loved the ocean and with every opportunity dove in. Miss you mom!

My home in Turkey is available for vacation rental to those who would like to explore this wonderful place. For more information, visit www.sardestravel. com.

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