Eastern Adventure


Dobbs Davis got his first taste of racing on the mighty Bosphorus during the 2012 edition of the fast-growing American Express Bosphorus Cup

For those who despair about the lack of new and interesting events, or who are tired of racing in the same stale venues year after year, there is an event on the eastern horizon that should have strong appeal to those interested in both competitive sailing and an opportunity to race in one of the world’s outstanding centres for culture and history… all lying literally on the doorstep of Asia.


In 2013 the American Express Bosphorus Cup in Istanbul will be enjoying its 12th edition, and between 30 May and 2 June it will offer four days of inshore course racing among the Princes Islands and the Straits of Bosphorus, with competitors often sailing within a few metres of some of the world’s most famous and celebrated architectural and cultural icons.

More than 90 boats ranging between 20ft and 60ft are expected this summer, with the event growing steadily in popularity among not only Greek and Turkish sailors, but also in recent years attracting more widespread international interest as well.

With a strong international race management team organised by the Turkish Offshore Racing Club (TAYK), the Bosphorus Cup is managed by Orhan Gorbon and his team at ORG Sports Marketing. An active offshore racer himself, with roots that go back two decades to high-level IMS and before that IOR programmes in both UK and US waters, Gorbon is applying his knowledge and experience to help build and promote an event that today features all of the best elements of modern inshore racing:

  • an outstanding shoreside venue with multiple activities for sailors, spectators, sponsors and VIP guests.
  • easy access and logistics, with many grades and styles of hotels and restaurants available in the immediate area and a wide range of international air – and sea – travel options.
  • bring your own boat or take advantage of the plentiful local opportunities for race charter.
  • top-level race management able to deliver an interesting and competitive racing format suitable for a diverse fleet.
  • strong sponsor support from American Express and Garanti Bank of Turkey, along with many local, regional and international brands. Corum, for example, are currently creating a special commemorative watch to celebrate the 2013 Bosphorus Cup.
  • keen media and spectator interest, with daily TV coverage and strong followings on the web and social media outlets, with a dedicated iPad app, BC Live, already developed for the event.
  • a stunning backdrop made up of many architectural wonders of the world, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and countless other attractions that have drawn visitors to Istanbul from across the globe over the centuries.
  • a handsome overall trophy, the Bosphorus Cup, whose innovative design from Can Yalman and fabrication by local silversmiths from the Suren Silversmith Atelier in the Grand Bazaar makes for a worthy symbol of yachting excellence (the current holder is Aydin Yurdum on his IRC-modified 1991 Ed Dubois One Tonner Goblin-3).

‘Over the past 25 years I have had the good fortune to race with some great boats in some of the world’s great races,’ says Gorbon, ‘and I think that we now have an event here that would be at the same level and appeal to anyone interested in competitive sailing… especially in such a unique setting.

‘Racing in the Bosphorus, between two continents, has such intense symbolic interest as to be exciting in itself; but to add to that our spacious shoreside venue, fun social functions, strong public interest and generous sponsor support all really help to make for a world-class event.

‘Just as centuries of travellers have done before, we look forward to inviting teams from all over the world to come and join us at the end of May.’

Imagine short-tacking between two continents as the swirling winds and currents of the straits keep up the tactical pressure on even the most seasoned sailors. All the while the sights, sounds and smells of the shore beckon, as they have for countless generations of travellers from around the world.

Race managers intentionally position the racing courses with the most significant architectural monuments of Istanbul in prominent view. For example, the starting line on the southern border of the course leads to the Grand Waterside Entrance of the Dolmabahçe Palace from where the last Ottoman sultans ruled. Meanwhile, the northern border of the course, where the windward mark is usually sited, sits on a line connecting two castles built by the Ottoman sultans, just before they conquered the city of Istanbul in 1453.

The compendium of remarkable and significant architectural masterpieces creates a unique backdrop to this event: the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy, Dolmabahçe, Kiliç Ali and Rüstem Pasha Mosques, and the Adile Sultan Palace. And of course two magnificent bridges connecting two continents, the Bosphorus Bridge itself and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, all add to the spectacular backdrop that is the Bosphorus Cup.

Click here for more information and entry to the 2013 American Express Bosphorus Cup »

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