How Mark Turner and Ellen MacArthur's team brought a touch of the Med to Plymouth


Last year I wrote a pean of praise to Ellen MacArthur’s and Mark Turner’s OC Events for their organisation and the facilities that had been set up for the Barcelona World Race . As an appendix to that, however, I added that I thought that the Artemis Transat start in Plymouth this weekend would be a harder proposition altogether.

Could anyone possibly give Cap’n Jaspers, chip wrappers and billowing, damp sou’westerlies a rosy and exotic Mediterreanean lustre? Nah.

So forthwith I retract this with apologies and heartfelt, if faintly sychophantic-sounding, congratulations. OC has done it again.

What would once have been a draughty marquee in the middle of a car park strung with Cat 5 cables is now a two-storey marquee in the centre of the Barbican with a champagne bar, café and balcony looking out across at the yachts in Sutton Harbour. Again, a perfect Formula 1 style venue for bluechip sponsors and city worthies.

So, yes, very impressive but not quite as much as the curious absence of those predicted billowing, damp sou’westerlies. After a bone-chilling spring, OC have suddenly flicked the switch over to Mediterranean style weather, and are bringing in balmy easterlies for the start of what may turn out to be lightest and most benign Transat for many years. Mark Turner’s powers are becoming spookily omnipotent.