Following the announcement that the proposed 2019-20 Volvo Ocean Race in new boats will not take place as planned, Mark Turner talks about his decision to quit

28 September 2017

There were shock waves across the racing world on Wednesday (26 September) after the Volvo Ocean Race announcement that not only was their CEO Mark Turner to leave, but that the proposed 2019-20 Volvo Ocean Race in new boats would not take place.

Now Turner has gone on the record about why he chose to step down, releasing a video through the Volvo Ocean Race.

He said that essentially he failed to get signatures on the dotted line in time to be able to move forward with racing in new boats for 2019-20.

Mark Turner dressed in a white shirt talks about his decision to quit the Volvo Ocean Race

Mark Turner

Turner stressed that Volvo’s commitment to the race was not in question.

“They’re very excited about this race and have more plans, more activation, and more things going on than they’ve ever had before,” he said.

“So I think there’s a genuine excitement and commitment to the race going forward, but we just couldn’t move some of the processes and the steps forward in the same timeline that we needed to be able to guarantee that we’d have a great race in 2019 with boats actually finished and on the start line,” added Turner, who joined the Volvo Ocean Race team in summer 2016.

Continued below…

He admits that “it’s been a bit of a struggle to get everything together” for the 2017-18 race, which starts next month in Alicante, but stressed he was proud of what had been achieved.

“I don’t think anyone else would say otherwise, but in the end we genuinely have a great lineup with a depth of quality of sailor that I haven’t seen in the race for a long time,” he stated.

Watch the video of Mark Turner above to hear his full statement.


26 September 2017

Volvo has announced that it is reconsidering the schedule for all future Volvo Ocean Races.

It comes following the news that CEO Mark Turner has stepped down from his role after it was decided that the proposed 2019-20 race in new boats would not take place as planned.

In a media release, Volvo said the decision about the 2019-20 race was made after “key stakeholders” determined that “additional planning time” was needed for the new look race.

a render of an offshore racing boat for the Volvo Ocean Race

The new design of the offshore racer. Credit: Volvo Ocean Race

In a media release, Volvo said: “Following discussions between Volvo companies, it has been determined that in order to fully implement the announced changes additional planning time is required, specifically in relation to the race cycle.”

“A final decision on this will follow at a later stage. This rules out a race start in 2019 with new boats, however the Volvo Ocean Race leadership team is developing plans to ensure activation opportunities and stakeholder return using the existing boats,” it added.

It stressed that the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, which gets underway next month, would not be affected by the decision.

New offshore racer for the Volvo Ocean Race

The new offshore 60 foot (18.29m) foil-assisted monohull

“No impact on the current edition of the race is expected. Mark Turner’s role was primarily focused on future strategy,” said Volvo.

“The Leadership Team is very well prepared and ready to deliver an outstanding sporting and sponsorship experience. Mark Turner will remain as CEO until a successor is appointed,” it added.

A revised schedule for future Volvo Ocean Races is now being drawn up.

In May, Volvo Ocean Race announced the biggest shake up in its history.

It unveiled plans for a series of radical initiatives, including introducing a new foil-assisted ocean racing monohull and a ‘flying’ catamaran for In-Port Races. It was also decided to move the race from a three year cycle to a two year cycle.

Volvo is stressing that the design work “on the exciting new Super 60 concept, at the forefront of foiling offshore monohull technology, continues”.

It said optimising the race cycle would also happen.

Commenting following the announcement, Mark Turner said: “Although I have decided to step down from my position, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to lead the Volvo Ocean Race at this important time. I am confident the 2017-18 race will be one of the best ever”.

Carolijn Brouwer selected for Volvo Ocean Race 2016-17

Carolijn Brouwer on board Dongfeng Race Team’s re-fitted Volvo Ocean 65. Credit: Martin Keruzoré/Volvo Ocean Race

The 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race will start in Alicante on 22 October and finish in The Hague in June 2018.

The team will visit 12 stopovers – Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, The Hague – during the race, which covers 45,000 nautical miles.

Seven teams are competing this year: Team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Turn The Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel.