Empire building

We speak to OC Group boss Mark Turner about his company, Ellen and plans for the future
When it comes to movers and shakers in our sport, few people move and shake to quite the same degree, particularly in the offshore world, as Mark Turner. From his early days running the marketing for Spinlock in tandem with a two boat campaign for the 1997 Mini Transat with a very young Ellen MacArthur, Turner has constantly grown Offshore Challenges. Fuelled by Ellen's incredible success on the water and in the media, the last year has seen the company he set up with the girl wonder blossom into OC Group of which the 'sailing team' is now just a part. OC Group now comprises four principle businesses: Offshore Challenges Sailing Team - at present manages the programs of Ellen and Nick Moloney OC Events - organises the Transat (to be held next in 2008) and the Barcelona World Race next year OC Vision - run by Dan Griffey this effectively specialises in IT and marketing, such as websites, mobile phone technology, graphics, etc. Clients include ABN AMRO. OC Technology - run by Charles Darbyshire this is involved with on board communications such as sat com, camera and microphone systems, webcams, antennae, etc. Clients include the Oryx Quest, Volvo Ocean Race. "We had enough projects going on and we wanted to try and do as much of this ourselves just because of the quality of we can output," says Turner. "You are getting close to what you really want, when you want, for a price that is acceptable which is always hard through sub-contractors. Having the opportunity to have that and to learn and build our own in-house businesses so that they could support themselves made sense." Contrary to this is the argument - why should they be giving away all their hard learned lessons? This is the equivalent of a team selling its