Three days of racing at the American Express Bosphorus Cup 2013 got underway last week but many of the sailors decided to do something much more important than racing - saving a precious park from the developers. Instead or racing, they joined the demonstration against the building of a shopping centre in the park adjoining Istanbul's famed Taksim Square.
Americas Express Bosphorus Cup 2013
It was to be the 12th edition of the Cup and was set to be the most successful so far.
According to reports in from Turkey, many participants finally refused to continue to take part in the regatta, instead sailing their boats up and down the Bosphorus in support of demonstrators, with large placards visible from the shore.
The protests in Istanbul began on a small scale last week over redevelopment plans for a park to make way for the rebuilding of an Ottoman-era barracks to be used as a big shopping centre.
Because of the heavy-handedness of the police on demonstrators, the protests have quickly spread to other cities within Turkey, such as Izmir and Ankara, and are still ongoing.
The American Express Bosphorus Cup has been held for 12 years by Org Sports in cooperation with TAYK, the Turkish Offshore Racing Club. The line-up of yachts was mostly Turkish owned, but there were also boats from Bulgaria, Finland and Great Britain.