Mark Turner's views on IMOCA

Mark Lloyd /
Thoughts on the union with Keith Mills, going one design and going eco
No Vendee Globe is complete without Mark Turner, one of the masterminds behind Ellen MacArthur’s successful Kingfisher campaign in 2000, then with Nick Moloney on Skandia four years later and then behind Seb Josse’s BT in 2008. Turner was in Les Sables d’Olonne last week for the start of the seventh singlehanded non-stop around the world race. “It is the first time I have been here in 16 years without the pressure of a boat leaving the dock! There is a boat that we built, but I am not feeling the pressure of that,” he says, referring to Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss, the former BT, now all-silver. However he has other links with the present race – OC ran Sam Davies’ Figaro campaign in the day, while Initatives Coeur skipper Tanguy de LaMotte was once Ellen MacArthur’s shorecrew after finishing his naval architecture degree in Southampton and in particular worked in a similar capacity with Nick Moloney four years later. “When Tanguy first got confirmation he was going to do this event, it was very nice of him, but the first people he rang were Ellen and myself, because we were there at the beginning of his dream,” says Turner, the beginnings of a tear forming in his eye. Although his focus is currently elsewhere, running the Extreme Sailing Series and OC Sport’s cycling events such as the Haute Route (by coincidence increasingly popular with the sailing community with around 30 of our number expected to compete in next year’s event), Turner in the past has also been active in the IMOCA class. He attended Friday’s announcement about the new relationship between Sir Keith Mills’ new marketing company OCS and the class. So is it too late to salvage IMOCA or has the rot set in too deep now? “I don’t know if it