Part Two -- Mark Turner: Taking on the World
Part Two of our interview with new Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner talking exclusively to Sail Racing Magazine about the challenges he has faced after taking charge of one of sailboat racing’s hallowed brands.
SRM: How did you view the decision of Abu Dhabi, the winners of the last race, not to be a part of the next edition? Did you get any sense of why they wanted out?
Mark Turner: Not having Abu Dhabi back was a loss, in that it was a stopover venue, a team and an important amount of revenue into the race. All together that was a big package. They have been a good sponsor and I think being a part of the Volvo Ocean Race worked well for them.
From the relatively limited feedback I have and my understanding of it, I think that probably the conversation was "Well, we won, so how do we do better than that?" You could say that’s more of sporting question, but it does relate to the purpose. You need to have a strong purpose, a strong reason for being there and the question of how to follow on the back of a win was a hard one to answer.
I think the important thing is that it was a very successful campaign over six or seven years on both the event/stopover side and the team side. That’s quite a long time in sports sponsorship terms. From what I understand, everyone was genuinely happy so there’s nothing for anyone to be negative about in that respect.
SRM: The upside of Abu Dhabi’s exit is that you have been able to create a racecourse for the next race that keeps the fleet in the Southern Ocean for much longer.
Mark Turner: That’s been fantastic. When I did the race in 89, because of apartheid at the time, there was no Cape Town stop, so Leg 2 was from Uruguay to Australia. I don't think there has ever been another Southern Ocean leg like that since.
We couldn't quite go that far - because we're very happy to be going to Cape Town - but to be able to go back to the race’s roots, while keeping the commercial balance is very satisfying.
We haven't had to sacrifice on the commercial value or the markets we are visiting. In fact, if anything, we've strengthened the commercial side, because... READ THE FULL ARTICLE
[Main image: Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing]