Return of the Swedish legend
Swedish America’s Cup helmsman Magnus Holmberg has been given a wildcard invitation to compete at the Stena Match Cup Sweden, the second stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour 2014.
Holmberg who is considered as one of Sweden’s most prominent sailors and a major key influencer of Stena Match Cup Sweden is now back with a strong winning team to celebrate the big 20th anniversary of Sweden’s biggest annual sailing event.
At 52, Holmberg last competed in Stena Match Cup Sweden back in 2010 and said farewell to a very successful sailing career the same year. The last four years, there has hardly been any sailing at all for Holmberg, besides a few coaching commitments, but earlier this spring he was asked to consider racing in the 20th anniversary of Stena Match Cup Sweden.
“I was far from certain at first, but the key for me was to decide on a team to race with. I wanted to find a team that was good and that would be fun to sail with”, says Holmberg who has since gathered all but one of the sailors in the team he won with in 2001 season on the Swedish Match Tour, now know as the Alpari World Match Racing Tour namely Stefan Rahm - Tactician, Mikael Björndal - Pitman, Daniel Björndal - Bowman and Oskar Ljung - Trimmer.
The last couple of months, the team has been training in Gothenburg and competed in the Ice Breaker Cup and the Volvo Spring Cup, putting up a good performance and beating some of the top ranked teams in the world.
“When I stepped onboard the first time I wasn’t sure how things would go or if we would be competitive at all. But we seem to be doing all right so far in lighter conditions and it feels like we still have a lot to give”.
Magnus Holmberg is a three-time Olympian and one of the most recognised and celebrated Swedish sailors of all time. After several years on the international match racing circuit, he claimed the Swedish Match Tour Title in 2001 - a feat no Swedish skipper had done before or has managed to repeat, and one that earned him the job as skipper of the Swedish team Victory’s Challenge in two editions of the America’s Cup.
Magnus was also one of the founders of the match racing event at Marstrand in 1994. For several years he combined the role as a key organiser of the event with competing in the regatta. Through the years he has reached the semis ten times and sailed two finals of Stena Match Cup Sweden. But, he has never won the big trophy, losing to Peter Gilmour in 2005 and to Björn Hansen in 2007.
“Sure, it stings a bit but I have a lot of other accomplishments to be happy about. I have been disappointed quite a few times at Marstrand but that’s the nature of match racing; if you don’t win the event – the last thing you do is lose”.
For Magnus Holmberg and his team – carrying the name Team Magnus Holmberg - the next two weeks will be all about fine-tuning boat handling and working on getting maximum boat speed. With 14 teams lined up for this event, there is plenty to play for. For Holmberg it is not just about showing up and waving to the spectators. The first race of Stena Match Cup Sweden kicks off on 30 June and this legend will make a comeback on Marstrand’s natural sailing arena.
“It’s very hard to predict what will happen but it will be really exciting to enter the event and I’m very happy to be back," says Holmberg.
The 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour championship continues with Stage 2 at Stena Match Cup Sweden beginning 30 June – 5 July.