Mark Turner interview

Mark Lloyd / OC Thirdpole
The OC Thirdpole boss on the Extreme Sailing Series, MOD70, IMOCA, cycling and a general state of the nation
Mark Turner remains Mr Dynamic. Having turned Offshore Challenges, the company he once ran with Ellen MacArthur, into OC and then in September 2010 into OC Thirdpole, following a merger with the Switzerland-based company Thirdpole taking him into ‘outdoor events’, he last year set up the Haute Route one of the world’s most challenging cycling events. Running between Geneva and Nice, in this competitors scale and descend the equivalent of Mount Everest from sea level three times... While, when it comes to sport, cycling is personally Turner’s first love these days, still the largest part of OC Thirdpole’s business lies in sailing where their no1 property is the Extreme Sailing Series. This had significant reinvestment last year to take the 40ft catamaran stadium sailing circuit global and this year it has already visited Oman and China and next heads for Europe before the circuit culminates in Brazil, visiting South America for the first time. “I suppose it is a bit of a long term bet what we’ve done in terms of trying to be a global circuit on three continents and however many different cultures with our limited resource," says the great man. "We are a pretty small team trying to do something quite big. But I think it was a good move.” While the bulk of the events this year are in Europe, starting in Istanbul in June and visiting Porto (Portugal), Cardiff, Trapani and Nice before heading south, Turner admits going to countries still fairly green when it comes to sailing and sponsorship is more of a long term investment. “We have upped the stakes and we need more money, need more sponsors, better deals with cities, but we made some good progress last year. We pulled off some amazing things in China and America, but they all have their