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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

America's Cup's weaknesses prove to be a strength - Mark Turner interview

by Tip & Shaft 4 May 2020 14:50 PDT 1 May 2020
The America's Cup - "a perpetual Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries" © Scott Stallard

Authoritative French online sailing newsletter Tip & Shaft (named after the two parts of a high speed foil) is conducting a series of interviews with key people in the sport, as to the post-COVID19 future and how sailing and events could be affected and where the opportunities lie.

With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the whole planet, it has meant a great deal of uncertainty for sport in general and sailboat races are no exception.

What will the impact be on our sport? What changes will there be to the economic model? How do races need to change? How will sponsors behave?

To try to get to grips with this new situation, Tip & Shaft is carrying out a series of five interviews about the future of sail racing. Our first interviewee, Mark Turner, cofounder with Ellen MacArthur, of Offshore Challenges, which became OC Sport, was head of the Volvo Ocean Race between 2016 and 2017, and now works as a consultant.

Looking specifically at America's Cup 36 can you see it getting through this relatively unscathed?

I think it will. It is funny in that when you get to a crisis of this scale then everything becomes more transparent as to what the strengths and/or weaknesses of each sector are, sport to sport.

But equally inside sailing the weaknesses as seen by many of the Cup is now its strength. It has stayed largely private money despite the efforts to change it, which were admirable in terms of their direction but probably never easily realisable because of the very nature of the document which establishes the Cup.

Now it is its strength. So it looks like there will be no warm up events but it will happen. It does not depend on all the commercial aspects, there are bits that do, but there is enough private money to make it happen.

It is a survivor.

It is a good model and even if the very rich people don't want to be seen spending their money in times of massive crisis, this crisis whether it ebbs away or whether it comes and goes over the next few years, I think there will be opportunity for the Cup to happen and its weakness as it is often perceived is its strength right now.

For the rest of this interview click here

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