In conversation with Mark Turner, founder of The Extreme Sailing Series

Mark Turner, founder of The Extreme Sailing SeriesIt was entrepreneur, Mark Turner, who gave us our first big contract in Autumn 2011 appointing us the official logistics provider of the ground-breaking stadium racing platform The Extreme Sailing Series just a few months after we first started operating. It was a potentially risky decision for him as founder of the series.

Although the GAC Group was well established as a provider of shipping, logistics and marine services since 1956, its new marine leisure logistics brand was untried and relatively unknown within the sailing world. Other providers were already known and loved by our community and the Pindar team had tried them all. So, what led Mark to that decision? We caught up with him to ask him that and more.


Serving and supporting the marine sport, leisure and events industry since 2011

Over the past ten years, GAC Pindar’s logistics services have been tried, tested and approved and continuously chosen by your favourite events. By combining 40 years’ commitment to sailing with the global logistics capabilities of GAC Group, Andrew Pindar OBE and Nick Crabtree developed a niche logistics package offering solutions tailored to the needs of the community they know and love so well.

It all got off to an exciting start when the GAC Pindar Extreme40 team burst onto the sailing scene in 2011, using the platform to promote our new logistics services. Since then, the challenges and opportunities have kept on coming and, a decade later, we’re the official logistics provider to The Ocean Race for an unprecedented third time.

Today, we have established ourselves as the ‘go-to’ logistics provider to Olympic hopefuls and private yacht owners alike. As we celebrate our tenth year in service, we’re talking to some of the stars of the sector we have worked with and sharing our recipe for success.


“When it comes to picking any partner or supplier, it’s all about being able to trust them. We need to know that the team will jump on it wherever we need something in a hurry or have an unforeseen problem to solve. I had always had a great relationship with Andrew and admired his entrepreneurial skills and that inspired in me confidence that he and his team would rise to any challenge that came our way.

“When you’re running an event like The Extreme Sailing Series, nothing ever goes 100% according to plan. Unexpected difficulties and holes to get out of will always happen. It’s important to know you are working with people with which you have built a relationship based on trust.

“The added element was GAC and the potential for efficiencies that come with working with a big company. I have seen events work with big logistics companies where the relationship hadn’t always worked – usually because they didn’t have an insight into the sailing world and couldn’t understand our priorities or specialised needs. But the unique combination of GAC Group with Pindar, with their own team of people steeped in the particular needs of sports sailing and boats, was a winner. They understand that this no ‘one size fits all’ business. It’s not like shipping tubes of toothpaste!

“There are always things that go wrong, but it’s about not giving up, not giving in, and finding a solution. I always trusted Nick, Andrew and the team would find solutions and they always did. Though there have been a few times when shipping delays could have put events in jeopardy, we never missed one.  That’s where GAC’s global network and their involvement at every level of the event comes to the fore.

“They made us top of the pile. The truth is that we are a small customer with a small annual volume of shipments, but GAC Pindar has always treated us like their No.1.”


GAC Pindar’s dedication was put to the test in April 2017 when our logistics team received alarming news that the vessel carrying the Extreme40 fleet and associated equipment to Qingdao, China had been delayed and would be diverting to two additional ports before arriving. And that meant the boats and equipment would miss the event with the vessel arriving on the last day.

Thanks to the great teamwork, GAC global offices’ relationships have with the shipping lines and cooperation from the local event organisers, the containers hit the ground in Qingdao just two days before the event opened its doors to the public. The task was completed within an exceptionally tight timeline; less than 40 hours instead of the 11 days originally planned. The hard work from everyone working as a team meant Act 2 of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series opened on time.

We provided logistics services for the Extreme Sailing Series for six seasons covering feasibility planning, transportation by land, sea and air, on ground services and customs clearances and in 2019 we extended our relationship to the foiling version of the event, the GC32 Racing Tour.  After a year bereft of sporting events thanks to COVID-19, we will finally see the catamarans flying again for the 2021 season. You can follow the GC32s as they race the waters of Lagos, Portugal later this month here.