Brave new world

Thierry Martinez /
The OC ThirdPole boss on the Extreme Sailing Series and the future of 'stadium sailing'
2010 has been a busy year for Mark Turner. On the one hand he will go down in history as the man who turned down the job of running the 34th America’s Cup – a position ably taken up by Iain Murray. Equally Turner’s Cowes-based Offshore Challenge, OC Group, has this year merged with Franco-Swiss company Thirdpole, enabling the new OC Thirdpole to widen their horizons, providing fresh challenge for the Isle of Wight dynamo. Turner says that the offer to run America’s Cup Race Management happened to come at just the right time and he contemplated it seriously, before making his decision. “It would have been nice to have been focussed on a delivery job for once rather than always having to try and find the funding at the same time. I was genuinely very flattered.” OC run the Extreme Sailing Series and many of the ideas from that bear striking resemblance to Russell Coutts’ vision for the 34th America’s Cup. Turner is fully in tune with Coutts’ vision. “To promote the sport to a non-sailing audience, there is no question as far as I am concerned. If anyone else questions that, they haven’t got their eyes open. But that is very different to whether that is the right thing for the America’s Cup brand and the competition and the stake holders and the potential teams which are fundamentally private owner-core funded. But that wasn’t relevant to my decision, because I buy into the vision.” In the end Turner says he decided not to take up the role for personal reasons – he wants to build his life around Lausanne, Chamonix and Geneva, where OC Thirdpole currently is HQed. His wife Anne-Cécile is building a business there too and they have a daughter due to go to school next September. “I