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Posts Tagged ‘mark turner’

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On the 21st episode of the Sailing Anarchy Podcast, we go straight to the source for an analysis of the new direction announced last week by the Volvo Ocean Race.  First, Clean updates us on the Podcast’s status, tells us his story of hunting and killing a 300 pound alligator in Charleston, and gives us his view on the new Volvo plans.  Then VOR big boss Mark Turner explains the reasons for their decision to use foiling monohulls for the offshore legs and foiling multihulls for the inshore legs of the two or three races following the next one.  Listen for Turner’s views on what other options they considered, what the new 60 footer will look like and how it is expected to perform, how the new lease model will effect the organization, and why teams have had such difficulty finding major sponsors.  The discussion moves to the timetable for full flying boats to take over the race and safety considerations between mono and multihulls, and finally what kind of events would make up the more permanent annual racing schedule for VOR teams.

Next we spoke to Nick Bice, Director of Boats and Maintenance and founder of the Boatyard, about more technical matters: How, exactly, a new-rules VO60 can be converted to an IMOCA-legal Open 60, what kinds of differences does a Volvo require compared to a singlehanded boat, and a whole lot on foil control systems and logistics for a two-fleet race owned entirely by Volvo.  Clean and Bicey got deep into the subject of the continually shrinking crew component and the impact of this shrinking pool to ocean racing and the sport in general, and plenty more.

Finally, we spoke to pro trimmer and former VO70 crew (ABN AMRO2, 2005) and medical officer George Peet on the anniversary of his crewmate Hans Horrovets’ death about a race that remains very close to his heart.  GP and Clean got deeper into crewing issues with a general discussion of the state of professional offshore racing as well as the usual pull-no-punches analysis of the new classes with a guy who always tells the truth.  As a bonus, we got Bear – one of the nation’s top Moth racers – to give us his America’s Cup picks…

Enjoy, and subscribe to the SA Podcast for more great shit (iTunes, Stitcher) , including our full form guide and preview of the America’s Cup dropping today.

May 27th, 2017 by admin

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The best-kept secret in sailing (outside of ETNZ’s wing control) comes at the end of a long press conference from Volvo HQ in Gothenburg, SWE.  Here’s a synopsis of Mark Turner’s speech, in order of importance (to us), and we encourage you to post any comments or questions you have for Turner and the VOR in the synopsis thread so Clean can fire ’em at Turner later for an interview to be published this weekend.

1) The offshore portions of the 2019 or 2020 Volvo Ocean Race will be contested in what the new design chief calls a ‘Turbo IMOCA’; 60 foot foiling monohulls with adjustable-flap foils; while the in-port racing will happen in foiling cats.  The 60 footer will be ‘convertible’ to an IMOCA, and the VOR in-house design team led by Guillaume Verdier.  The cats are being opened up to a design tender process starting today at between 32 and 50 feet.

2) The 2020 Race has a wishlist of 8 teams, and all boats will be owned by VOR and leased to teams in an attempt to reduce the initial barriers to a new team/sponsor.  Turner says the new lease program and pooled services program allows a similar budget for future races to that of today’s programs. This lease thing is a BIG deal, and speaks as much to Turner’s cred with the Volvo Board as anything.  One paper calls the new moves (including the design and build process) a USD$50 million price tag for Volvo.

3) Sustainability looks to be a real goal this time rather than just more lip service to ‘green’ sponsors.  VOR spent the last ten years bowing primarily to the god of social media – their new pet deity is now a clean ocean, and they’ve got funding and support from 11th Hour, Akzo, and the United Nations, and their goal is a fleet of Zero Emission races.  2017/18 sustainable goals will be met with help of rules requiring team use of official RIBs, hydrogenerator minimums, fuel maximums, etc.

4) It’s obvious the VOR has struggled pulling in team sponsors – that’s why you saw the Hong Kong team’s offer accepted yesterday, why there are still 3 empty boats, and why VOR is still trying to find someone to run a ‘clean the oceans’ entry for an all-women/all-youth/50/50 mixed team for the coming edition they say is already half funded.

5) Volvo and the VOR have formed a major partnership with World Sailing, principally to help create a pipeline for young sailors to become offshore pros and VOR crews.  This includes new VOR Academies (presumably in partnership with existing organizations) and keeps Turner and his hefty experience involved in the possibility of the offshore racing Olympic event that World Sailing has been chasing from the IOC.

6) Course may be radically different, especially for the 50th anniversary 2023 event.  More racing between races or a straight up 2-year race cycle, with race activity every year.  Maybe a crewed non-stop race around Antarctica.


May 18th, 2017 by admin

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The MUSTO + Torqeedo “Cleanin’ Up Europe” report continues with this hour-long jaunt in Western France.

Easily one of the most influential people in all of sailing over the past decade and a half, Mark Turner has done it all.  A naval officer turned Mini racer, Turner jumped into the management side of yacht racing with his wildly successful running of Ellen Macarthur’s campaigns – and he’s never looked back.  The creator of modern “Stadium Sailing” and innovator of sailing events in dozens of countries, Mark moves into the top spot in the world’s most widely followed ocean race against a fast-changing landscape in boat technology and event marketing, and he shared a full 1h40 with Mr. Clean at the Vendee Globe this past Friday to talk about it.

The boys got into some of the most important issues touching sailing, and Turner’s characteristic bluntness is refreshing as hell.  Wanna get into the groundbreaking new rules to integrate more women into the VOR?  we got that.  Or the deadline for the decision on the next Volvo Ocean Race boat and the possible boat choices? It’s in that chat.  Or maybe you’re looking for info on the $1M refit of the existing VO65s or the new AIS rules and incentives to pull a flier?  Click “PLAY”. Want to know exactly what’s wrong with ISAF and why Turner leaked an internal marketing document a few weeks back?  Listen.  What about emerging nations, the loss of Abu Dhabi as a sponsor, and how the recent Omani and Chinese offshore tragedies have effected those new sailing countries?  Give us an hour and forty.  And like all conversations with Mark, if you want to understand more about the commercial end of event and sponsor management, this guy knows it ALL.

Enjoy, and a big thanks to MUSTO and Torqeedo for presenting all of our Vendee, ISAF World Council, and METS coverage this month.  Also thanks to Bruce Schwab and Ocean Planet Energy for their support of our coverage.

November 5th, 2016 by admin

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As part of Sailing Anarchy’s most ambitious month of coverage in a long, long time, I’m traipsing around Europe until the end of November to sit down with some of the sport’s true leaders and get deep into the biggest issues in sailing.  A lot’s happened to me since the last time I set off with a microphone and a mission; the arrival of my now year-old daughter has made me mellower, less combative, and more introspective, and as most of you fathers know, it’s made leaving home a thousand times tougher.  So when the jet contrails on our final approach lined up in the shape of a perfect Anarchy “A”, I took it as a sign: the Gods approve my effort, and this stuff ain’t about me – it’s about where the sport is going, and what it will look like in a few years when my little Josephine takes the helm for the first time.

Our first of three (or four) big events is literally the biggest single event in the entire sport: the start of the Vendee Globe, and with over 2 million attendees and a truly circus-like atmosphere, there’s plenty to learn and plenty of people to chat with.  Last time around in 2012, we were quite literally the only reporters from our hemisphere, but four years of international PR and a partnership with Keith Mills’ OSM has definitely improved the situation – I actually drove down from Paris with New York Times sailing editor Chris Museler, and several other non-sailing publications (including the Boston Globe) are on the ground in Les Sables D’Olonne doing their thing for the hundreds of thousands of Americans we know are ripe to learn more about this incredible race and its stars: the skippers AND the boats.

While the non-Breton organizers of the Vendee Globe (the one event not owned by IMOCA) have always butted heads with the skippers and Class organization on many matters, they do some things extremely well, and the results of their excellent media relations and promo work are easy to see: With some 1100 individually accredited writers and photographers, the Vendee has the largest press corps in attendence of any sailboat race. And while by far the biggest group is French and the Vendee does its best work in French, the message continues to grow to non-French audiences.  So while last time, our mission was to provide full English interviews with every departing skipper prior to the start – something no one had ever done – that’s no longer necessary, as between the event, the team media, and independent reporters, all of our readers should easily find more information than they need on almost every aspect of the race.  If you want to relive the 2012/13 race, the best way to do so is by going through the Vendee thread from start to finish – it’ll take some time, but it’s a chronological and mostly complete look at every aspect of the race as crowd-sourced by you, the reader.  For a quick hit, you can check out the full replay of that excellent start over here.

The plethora of coverage for the 2016 race doesn’t mean we don’t want your help or suggestions on what we oughtta cover, and you can reach out directly to me if you have ideas or questions that you aren’t getting answers for – hit us up on Facebook, email me directly, or post in one of the threads I’ll be starting if you have questions for some of our Podcast and interview subjects.

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-11-57-06-amOn Your Mark, Get Set, GO!
Today’s interview with VOR CEO Mark Turner will drop tomorrow, but there’s only a few hours left before I talk to one of the most influential men in the sport. Turner started out as an offshore and Mini fan, and turned his relationship with young Ellen Marcarthur into one of the most successful solo campaigns in history.  Mark parlayed that success into the Extreme Sailing Series, risking his career on a crazy idea that stadium sailing was the way to solve the sport’s long-standing spectator problems.  We all know how that turned out, and Mark and the organizations and talent he’s created have spread throughout the sport and right to the top of the Volvo Ocean Race and numerous other disciplines.

He’s here to check out the modern face of the Vendee before he gets back to Volvo Ocean Race world, and we’ve got him for 90 minutes this afternoon.  What do you want to know from the mouth of one of the real leaders in sailing?  Post your questions NOW, and we’ll get them answered.  To watch our last video chat with Turner from Abu Dhabi a year or two ago, clicky.

November 3rd, 2016 by admin

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Spotty management and bizarre decisionmaking may have marred the history of the Volvo Ocean Race’s On-Board Reporter (née MCM) program, but there’s no disputing that the decision to bring specialist media crews on board for the world’s biggest ocean race was a landmark one.  Everything from the Vendee Globe to the Sydney Hobart Race to the America’s Cup has felt the influence of the program, especially as guys like Matt Knighton, Amory Ross, Brian Carlin, and Sam Greenfield have brought their training and experiences from the VOR into other forms of racing.

After three mistake-filled editions of the program, the 2017 version looks to finally reach maturity under the umbrella of progressive new CEO Mark Turner , especially if the VOR hangs onto some of the more crucial management players in the last race – guys like the indomitable Mark Covell and TV boss Leon Sefton – and embraces the vast changes to the media landscape over the past five years.  The next edition will mark great leaps forward in both the distribution of content from on board and the technology employed to capture it, and you have a chance to shape it.

We like the campaign the VOR just launched to get new blood into the OBR spot – called #ifyoudiedtomorrow, it’s pretty compelling shit.  Given the dominance of SA’ers in OBR spots during the past couple of editions, you guys have a great shot at getting in, so watch the video and get your CV together, and let us know if you do put together something awesome for the VOR choosers.


June 12th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.03.19 AMWhen we heard about King Knut taking off for whiter pastures more than six months ago, we suggested this guy take over.  When our sources said he was in, we reported it as confirmed, even though he denied it.  And now that it’s all been confirmed, we congratulate Mark Turner as the new CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race.  As we said more than half a year ago, we think he’s the best choice for a job description that only a small handful of people could ever qualify for, and we’re very excited to see where the VOR goes under his care.

In other news that we reported long before anyone else, Hong Kong is confirmed IN with both a team and a stopover.  We’ll catch up with Turner when he’s got his feet underneath him.  Until then, stay tuned to the latest VOR rumors in the thread.

And quit doubting us!


April 13th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.16.51 AMUPDATE: Mark Turner e-mailed us to tell us that he’s “been flattered to be on the Volvo potentials list…but today that is still where I sit.”  If indeed there has been no contract signed, we apologize for the incorrect info – but we still think our sources inside the race are accurate and that Turner is the next CEO even if the deal isn’t quite inked.

If anyone has earned every inch of his reputation at the top end of yachting management, it’s Mark Turner.  Getting his launch in the trenches with Ellen Macarthur, Turner has never shied away from unpopular decisions and risky moves, and his drive to prove the establishment wrong has helped set the stage both for international coverage of offshore racing as well as much of the modern format of stadium sailing.

Turner has also made his share of enemies – a fact that actually makes him more likable and reliable in our eyes; if you don’t piss a few people off in an ultra conservative sport like sailing, you’re really not accomplishing anything.

So we’re extremely pleased to reveal the news that, according to numerous sources, Mark Turner has just become the CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race.  It was a move that would’ve likely happened months ago if not for an extremely difficult winter for Turner’s family and the VOR ownership’s respect for his personal issues.

He’s the best possible choice in a very small world of yachting management, especially given the current uncertain world picture and the difficult transition ahead to a new boat and route for the 2020 race.  Turner isn’t an easy man to work for, but he works at least as hard as anyone under him, and he’s got the focus, brains, and experience to keep the Volvo Ocean Race alive, and possibly to thrive.

We wish him luck. He’s gonna need it!


March 2nd, 2016 by admin

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If you’re getting tired of Volvo Ocean Race videos, you’ll probably want to look away.  But if you like straight talk from the leaders of the race about some very serious and some not-so-serious topics, spend another hour with Clean, Nic, Charles Caudrelier, Ian Walker, and Mark Turner and watch this show.


May 16th, 2015 by admin

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We’re not shy about our love for carnage, and the new VOR media system’s tool allowing ‘last minute’ capture of painful moments is pure gold.  Unfortunately for our friends on DongFeng, they get to use it first.  And unfortunately for the supplier of the boats – a/k/a the Volvo Ocean Race – one of the strongest parts of the boat just broke.

So what broke, exactly?  While port is necessary for a real post-mortem (analysis being somewhat difficult at 25 knots of boatspeed), DFRT boss Mark Turner told us five minutes ago that it appeared to be metal fatigue at the aft-most padeye; the one that both the masthead zero and the A3 sheet to.  It’s a piece of steel that should be strong enough for a decade to lift the boat from, and with the above video showing no abuse at all to the part, the other teams, VOR (and more importantly, the roving Boatyard) could be more than a little nervous right now.

The snapped padeye immediately led to the destruction of the starboard wheel, lifelines, stanchions, pushpit, and sheeting strut, and plenty more.  Only luck prevented any injuries and a lot of further damage.  And you know what?  Caudrelier’s merry Chinese/French band is back to sending it, and they’re just a few miles out of the lead!  Know what else?  They could have stayed completely quiet and hoped that their competition had the same problem – a definite possibility given the one-design nature of the boat, and no one would be the wiser.  Massive props to Caudrelier, Turner and the team for showing their character and quality.

Is this our new favorite team?  Watch the video.  And if our title doesn’t make you laugh, that’s not our fault.  Watch this for a little understanding.

UPDATE:  Great new video here from the SCA girls, putting a brave face on a tough first leg performance.  And a great chat between Ken Read and the race leading Ian Walker as his Abu Dhabi 65 goes down the mine.  Laugh at our Senior Editor along with Walker @12:08.


November 3rd, 2014 by admin