The Bosphorus Cup, one of the year’s most prestigious sailing events, fittingly takes place in one of the most dramatic waterways on earth. The high level of the competition, together with the enthusiasm of participants and spectators alike, only add to the wide appeal. Now in its eleventh year, and sponsored by American Express, the event will be held between May 28 and June 3rd, in one of the most cosmopolitan cities on this planet: Istanbul is ever vibrant, vast and enticing.
There are the obvious highlights: in the race taking place on Saturday, June 2nd, the sea traffic will be totally suspended; allowing boats to sail freely both directions in the Bosphorus Strait. It is a unique sight for locals and visitors alike: with the boats getting nearer and nearer the shore, in their effort to take advantage of the currents. It is quite a feeling: to see boats and sailors from so close to be almost able to touch them!
This exciting race is planned in such a way, that we shall witness the sails go past some of Istanbul's most beloved landmarks – Rumelihisari Castle, the Dolmabahce and Ciragan Kempinski Palace, Ortaköy Mosque and Küçüksu Pavilion. And of course, underneath both the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, joining the Asian and European sides of the city.
The Bosphorus Cup is also one of three events, each granting the winner a ticket to an international race. Last year’s winner was Provezza 5, featuring a Farr 40 design boat and a highly skilled crew – and so afterwards they headed to France, for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. This year, the winner goes to Porto Cervo, and the Melges 32 Europeans. The other two events are the Turgutreis and Cöcek Cups, the winners there going to the Cowes Week event in the Isle of Wight, and to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, respectively.
The Bosphorus Cup had its beginnings in a single day race, organised in 2002. After initially attracting around 20 boats, the event hosted by the Marmara Sailing Club has gone from strength to strength, numbering more than 80 participants in recent years. Reflecting the growing appeal of the event, in 2004 a new trophy was designed by Can Yalman.