Multi-million pound empire began in the cockpit

The latest round of business awards bestowed on yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur focussed on the fact that one woman’s determination to become a world-class sailor has resulted in a multi-million pound company, as well as a (briefly held) record circumnavigation and a gong from Buckingham Palace.

As the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Business Awards for Excellence, gave Mark Turner and Ellen MacArthur’s OC Group two industry awards,business sector-watchers mulled the fact that since 1998, Mark Turner and Ellen MacArthur have built up a small business focussed solely around MacArthur’s sailing career into a services agency that operates across the globe employing 50 employees (over half those employees are based on the Isle of Wight), putting millions into the local economy.

OC Group manages high-end professional sailing campaigns (BT Team Ellen), but has also made a natural progression into the area of event management operated by OC Events, such as, the Barcelona World Race (two-handed, non-stop race around the world); the iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series (a five-event sailing circuit taking place across Europe); and The Artemis Transat (the oldest solo race in history held every four years from Plymouth to USA). Using their skills and decade-long experience, OC Group expanded further to create OC Technology, providing onboard media systems and tracking solutions, OC Tracker and OC Vision, a marketing and web solutions company. The Offshore Challenges Sailing Team has evolved into a multi-national team both on and off the water.

The awards came on the back of winning a European Sponsorship Award in the Business to Business Category for the iShares Cup in Brussels. OC Group won the UKTI International Business Award for a company that demonstrates development of its business within the international market place and their technology division, OC Technology, won the Manufacturing & Technology Award.

BT Team Ellen, includes Ellen MacArthur, Frenchman Sébastien Josse and Australian Nick Moloney. OC Group’s project sponsors include Red Funnel, Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas, UKSA and island holiday camp firm Gurnard Pines.