Published: Friday, 27 May 2016

The Turkcell Platinum Bosphorus Cup, where racing at the 15th edition starts May 27 and runs until May 29. It is organised by ORG Sports and the Turkish Sailing Federation.

The Turkcell Platinum Bosphorus Cup To Kick Off With 58 Yachts 1

(Photos: Turkcell Platinum Bosphorus Cup)

58 yachts gathered in Kalamis Marina on the north-eastern shore of the Marmara at the southern entrance to the Bosphorus, ready for the race ahead. Friday and Sunday comprise of short-course windward/leeward racing for the majority of the fleet, with a coastal course for two classes. May 28 everyone will engage in the main event, the Race on the Bosphorus, where the course lies between two continents. It not only offers the usual tactical challenge, but also a test of navigational skill and concentration in the face of remarkable architectural and scenic distractions.

The Bosphorus Cup was the brainchild Turkish offshore sailor, Orhan Gorbon, who was born and bred in Istanbul. “I used to sail on the Bosphorus when I was a kid, yet nobody seemed interested and nobody watched. When I started to race internationally, I soon became convinced that Bosphorus could in fact be a magnetic venue for grand-prix yacht-racing,” says Gorbon.

The Turkcell Platinum Bosphorus Cup To Kick Off With 58 Yachts

For Gorbon, the Race on the Bosphorus offers everything a committed racing sailor wants ­– steady winds, tricky currents, tactical options, incredible atmosphere and dramatic backdrop.

“Racing on the Marmara is similar to many other regattas and races around the world. The Bosphorus, however, provides a completely unique challenge because of the environment and challenges faced. The contrasting architecture, the spectators and the intricacies of the currents all combine to make the race intensely special,” agrees Efe Sezik from Team Özonur’s Farr 40 Renault Farr Away.

Albert Kabakov brought his Sydney 40, Buyan, from Odessa in Ukraine and on the northern shore of the Black Sea, which is connected to the Sea of Marmara by the Bosphorus strait. Although Kabakov passed through the Bosphorus many times and, surprisingly given it is prohibited for 360 days a year, has sailed on it – when his engine cut out during an overnight passage – it will be his first participation in the Race.

“I have been sailing for many years and have wanted to do this race for a long time. Fellow sailors who have been before have told me all about it. It is a special place. The fact you can only do this very few times a year makes it really attractive. The race brings real difficulties because of the currents, and local sailors have an advantage. Even so we think we have a chance, especially if the wind is good,” says Kabakov.

The Turkcell Platinum Bosphorus Cup To Kick Off With 58 Yachts 2

Over the years, Gorbon and his team at ORG Sports have worked hard to develop an event despite being in the far reaches of the Mediterranean. Last night the Skipper’s briefing was held at the sFeriye Palace in Beşiktaş, one of the many Ottoman imperial palaces that line the European shore of the strait.

Following a short practice race on the waters off Caddebostan, the Skippers and crew of the Turkcell Platinum Bosphorus Cup are being treated to a Welcome Cocktail by NurolLife, one of the event’s commercial partners, at its stunning new apartment and office complex under development in Seyrantepe.

Aiming to foster a spirit of camaraderie as well as competition, the party will offer an opportunity to celebrate the unbroken participation in the Cup by one of Turkey’s most internationally respected and active yachtsmen, Bülent Atabay, the winner of the first event in 2002.  Atabay is competing here for the 15th time. This year he will sail Farr 55, Orient Express VI.