© Bosphorus Cup

© Bosphorus Cup

Battle for the Bosphorus about to Begin heart of Istanbul


22/09/2022 - 17:34

The 21st edition of the Bosphorus Cup is about to begin, as an international fleet of racing yachts converges on Istanbul, Turkey's ancient maritime city. Once discovered, sailors return year after year to race on a stretch of water that usually is closed to all but commercial vessels. With special permission to sail on the spectacular Bosphorus Strait for four days from 22 to 25 September, around 900 sailors from 10 nations will enjoy some of the most challenging but rewarding racing in this spectacular setting in the heart of Istanbul. The slogan for the Bosphorus Cup: 'Istanbul is Sailing'.

Fierce but Friendly

Just 16.5 nautical miles long and less than 0.5 nautical mile at its narrowest point, the Bosphorus Strait is the dividing line between the east of Europe and the west of Asia. It connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and beyond that, the Mediterranean. No wonder the Strait has been fought over by the Ancient Greek, Persian, Roman and Byzantine empires. The battle for the Bosphorus in modern times is altogether friendlier than it used to be in ancient times, although the competition off the start line will be fierce as boats ranging between 25 and 50ft jostle for the best position and a clear run at the race course.

© Pedro Martinez/ Bosphorus Cup
© Pedro Martinez/ Bosphorus Cup 

With 73 boats entered, the fleet will be divided into eight categories including five IRC divisions, ORC, sportsboats and cruising boats. After an opening day on 22 September, the first around-the-cans races take place off Caddebostan on Friday 23 September. Saturday 24 September sees the fleet take part in the Bosphorus Race, as the sailors take on the mighty Strait, spanned by three spectacular suspension bridges. Finally on Sunday 25 September it's back to Caddebostan to complete the series of races and see who becomes the overall winner of the Bosphorus Cup 2022.

Where Else in the World?

Former professional sailor and Admiral's Cup veteran Orhan Gorbon founded the Bosphorus Cup more than 20 years ago, keen to bring the spirit of yacht racing right to the centre of Istanbul, one of the great ancient cities of the world. "The possibility to race on the Bosphorus makes this one of the most unique sailing races in the world," said Gorbon. "The sailors that come to race here make a point of marking every future edition of the Bosphorus Cup in their calendar. As soon as you have raced here once, you want to come back again and again."

© Furkan Uyan/ Bosphorus Cup
© Furkan Uyan/ Bosphorus Cup

This week, the winning team from last year's event, Asterisk, handed back the trophy. Asterisk's tactician Hakan Karakaplan said: "We would like to thank Orhan and his team, who have been organising this race for 21 years, for organising it so thoughtfully and professionally. Bosphorus Cup is a race that we want to have on our calendar every year with its competitive and fair racing system.

"As the Asterisk team under the helm of Mr Hasip Gencer, we were very excited because last year was the 20th anniversary of the race and we were very happy to become the champion and raise the trophy on our boat. This year, we will take our place on the starting line again, and our competitive spirit and ambition to win is as strong as last year," he said.

© Bosphorus Cup
© Bosphorus Cup 

The density of commercial traffic - cargo ships and oil tankers for example - is more than three times that of the Suez or Panama Canals, so securing permission to hold an annual yacht race in these economically vital waters has not been easy. "I would like to thank everyone who has contributed and supported the realisation of such an event at international level," said Gorbon. "We are fortunate to have the support of some very creative and influential sponsors without whom we wouldn't be able to hold the Bosphorus Cup. To all our sailors, I wish them the best of skill and luck for the coming days."

Bosphorus Cup is sponsored by:

Jumbo, Turkish cutlery and tableware company
ALL - Accor Live Limitless
Tersane Istanbul, property company who provides the event venue
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
MG Cars, who supply cars for the event
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Gorbon Ceramics, the event founder's company which produces trophies for the event


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