Gotland Rund is go!

We look at the form for this popular Swedish race and a new two handed entry

Sunday June 30th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Scandinavia
The Royal Swedish Yacht Club's Accenture Gotland Runt kicked off at lunchtime today from Sandhamn, Sweden in 20 knot southerly winds. The 340 mile course takes the boats around the island of Visby.

Among the fleet is an impressive selection of nine Volvo Ocean 60s of varying ages. These included Assa Abloy 1, skippered by Swedish ocean racing hero Magnus Olsson, her sistership Assa Abloy 2, with Hamble's own superhero Neal McDonald at the wheel and wife Lisa along too. SEB is also racing. But the scratch boat in this class is Next, the Super Maxi 100 of Bertil Soderberg and Gutta Johansson.

However the first for line honours will be between the two 60ft trimarans taking part: Nokia and IPC. Nokia, is the former First Hotels and holder of the record time for the Gotland Runt. However she will have some interesting competition. Fredde Nylöf and Andreas Andersens are racing IPC two handed, the first ever crew to do this in the history of the Gotland Runt.

"We feel that we are ready as sailors to try and race around Gotland with only two persons," says Nylöf, co-skipper of the boat that in previous incarnations has been Steve Fossett's Lakota and before that Florence Arthaud's Route du Rhum winner, Pierre 1er. She is now called IPC short for Independent Pension Consulting and not the publishing company that owns Yachting World magazine... "We were part of the team that set the record at 27 hours around Gotland sailing with Magnus Olsson on First Hotels. Now we not only race the two of us solely but of course also try to break the 27 hour speed record" adds Andersens.

Nylöf and Andersens want to use this experience as a platform to build a long-term campaign in the double-handed offshore racing, particularly in the multihull class. The Gotland Runt is the start of a summer programme followed by the Öland Runt, the Göteborg Offshore race and Tjörn Runt. This winter the team will also attempt to sail in the Cape-Rio Race.

Over this summer the team has lightened the interior for their three-hulled 60 footer and purchased in a bigger mainsail to squeeze more speed out of the boat.

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