Back on the rails

After a big faulter over the winter so Victory Challenge are off once again skipper Magnus Holmberg reports to Tim Jeffery
Sweden’s Victory Challenge is on the march again. The team’s employment contracts ended at the close of 2005 and team owner Hugo Stenbeck declared new funding was required for the Swedes to continue right the way through the 32nd Cup. “We are still alive, have more funding and are fighting very hard,” says Magnus Holmberg, skipper and team leader. “We will be sailing the Acts. In fact I think you could say there is quite a lot of light in the tunnel.” There’s no news yet of external backing but Killian Bushe will start modifying SWE 63 and 73 soon; Mani Frers is busy with design work; Hallspars will start a new rig next week; the base in Valencia is advancing well; and the sailing team resume activities there on 1 March. Not bad for a team for whom there were worries that their prospects were as inviting as the long Swedish winter. “We are still not fully funded so we can’t relax and only concentrate on the technical and sailing aspects,” confides a candid Holmberg. “We still have to push for more funding in the future. But the relief of getting going with the sailing team and the technical aspects is good. We are close to being fully up and running again.” Ever since Hugo’s father, the late Jan Stenbeck, started Victory for the 2003 Cup in Auckland, the Swedish team have not talked about money. So neither the team members or the outside world know whether Victory is resuming activities thanks to funds from the Stenbeck family or from their Modern Times Group of media companies. Or elsewhere. In 2003 they were a mid-sized, two-boat operation. Sadly Jan Stenbeck was denied the chance to see his team compete, dying suddenly shortly before the October 2002 start of Louis Vuitton Cup.