Primary event of the Bay Festival held by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality between September 27 and 29 for the third time this year, the Izmir Arkas Gulf Race caused great excitement in the sea and provided loads of entertainment on the ground. 47 boats, about 400 sailors, 160 canoeists and 160 centreboard sailors took part in the races. The Orchestra team was the winner followed by the Arnes team which came second, and the Arkas-M.A.T. Sailing Team which came third with its Comet A boat.
An opening cocktail party was held on September 27 to celebrate the arrival of the Izmir Bay Festival. Races started on September 28 to great fanfare. The start whistle of the first race was blown by Tunc Soyer, the Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. Races also witnessed a first with Soyer setting sail on the Cygnus boat with a team consisting of women racers only. During the Izmir Arkas Gulf Race, canoeing and rowing races were also the scene of cut-throat competition apart from the sailing races that were hosted by the Karsiyaka Sailing Club. The Izmir Bay witnessed unforgettable moments.
The winner of the Izmir Arkas Gulf Race was announced on Sunday. Orchestra team came in first on the first day of the races (Saturday) when the wind was around 20 knots, while the Arkas-M.A.T. Sailing Team came first on the second day when the race included a triangle route as well as a sausage route accompanied by a wind of 22 knots. According to the overall results of the races, the Orchestra team was the winner followed by the Arnes team, and the Arkas-M.A.T. Sailing Team with its Comet A boat, respectively.
Races of the Izmir Bay Festival could be watched from the Hilltown Terrace built at Gundogdu, the area between the Gundogdu Square and Alsancak Ferry Port, the area up to the Goztepe Ferry Port, Konak Pier and the Konak Ferry Port, and along the shore from Alaybey to the Bostanli Ferry Port. Residents of Izmir announced the event to the world by sharing colourful photos of Izmir and the Bay with the hashtag #IzmirPupaYelken.
The Izmir Bay Festival will be international
The cup ceremony and the closing ceremony for the Izmir Arkas Gulf Race organized in cooperation with the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Turkey Sailing Federation and Cesme Marine Aegean Offshore Yacht Club (EAYK), were held at the Gasworks (Havagazi Fabrikasi). The ceremonies were attended by Tunc Soyer, Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Bernard Arkas, Vice President of Arkas Holding, Ozlem Akdurak, President of the Turkish Sailing Federation and Akif Sezer, President of the Aegean Offshore Yacht Club. At the closing of the ceremony and during the cup ceremony, Tunc Soyer announced that the races would be organized at an international level next year and they had already started working to do so.
Bernard Arkas, Vice President of Arkas Holding, said: “What excites me particularly in this race we have organized for the third time is to feel the same thrill with our Mayor. Our Mayor wanted to introduce sailing to the children in the back streets. We will support that team with sailing training both with our boats and trainers. There will be other surprises in the races starting from next year. We are collaborating to make the races international. This race is very important to me because we get to experience the city of Izmir that we dream of even though for a few days. We see the sails, people doing sports in the sea, canoes and children. But my real dream is to make my children and their children to live very close to the bay like in Europe and see the sails each time they look at the sea throughout the year. I hope that these races will be held more often, and the bay will be full of people sailing not only for races but also for fun. There should be more boat anchorages in the city to make that happen. This way, we will be able to invite foreign boats here, allow them to sail at and around the Bay while having the opportunity to show them Izmir and its surroundings. I’d like to thank the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Turkish Sailing Federation, EAYK for all their support, and all the sailors who came here to make the bay more cheerful.” Bernard Arkas, Vice President of Arkas Holding, also thanked and presented a plaque to Tunc Soyer for supporting women athletes in sailing and raising awareness.
A sailing team to be set up with ten children in Kadifekale
Emphasizing the fact that sailing shouldn’t just be for those living at the seaside, Tunc Soyer said: “We must introduce children at the back streets to the wonders of the sea. We all have to work for that. The city will benefit from it as we take these children to the sea and introduce them to sailing. Therefore, we are setting up a team of 10 children that live in Kadifekale. The team will be trained with the support of boats and trainers provided by Arkas, and they will have the chance to join this race or other races one day. They will even be able to become a trainer and train other children.”
Ozlem Akdurak, President of the Turkish Sailing Federation, said: “We have witnessed at first hand how amazing the bay of Izmir has become. Izmir is very lucky and now we have a Mayor who loves sports and sailing. We want our children to grow up seeing such beauties and engage closely with sailboats. I invite all organisations sharing this dream to give their support. I’d like to thank to Akif Sezer, the President of EAYK, Bernard Arkas, on behalf of the entire Arkas family, and the Izmir Port Authority for their support. I hope that your dance with the wind and adventures on the sea will never end.”