Nokia Oops Cup - formidable fleet
The Scandinavian trimaran circus starts in Helsinki on 21 May with Speed Races just outside the Finnish capital. There will be five high powered 60ft trimarans on the starting line this year.
Knut Frostad won last year’s event by nailing nine of ten races. That was a bit of a chocker for all the more established teams in Nokia Oops Cup, but this year they will be back with a vengeance.
"It's not realistic to repeat last year's results this time. All the teams have more experience and we now have the oldest boat of them all. Academy is 8-10 years older than most of the other trimarans and we must realise that we are on the bottom of the speed hierarchy in Nokia Oops Cup this time," says Knut Frostad. ( Academy is Loick Peyron's former Fujicolor).
After Helsinki the five boats will start their tour of the Nordic countries - Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo, Copenhagen and finally end up in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July. The racing will be intense in the inshore regattas and the teams will be going after the speed records in Helly Hansen Faerder Race, Sjaelland Rundt and Gotland Rundt.
The teams are:
Team HiQ (Sweden)
Klas 'Klabbe' Nylöf will have Matthew Humphries on his side as tactician. Klabbe won Nokia Oops Cup 2003 and is rather eager to get back on top of the podium. They have bought Franck Cammas' highly successful Groupama 1 which won the French ORMA circuit in 2003. The boat is fine tuned and is definitely a winning candidate this year, especially in offshore races.
Stena Sovcomflot Sailing Team (Sweden/Russia)
Jules Verne Trophy record holder Bruno Peyron has joined the Nokia Oops Cup with his navigator from Orange II Roger Nilson this year. Nilson sailed last year on Team HiQ. This year the team has chartered Steve Ravussin's Banque Covefi. The boat was totally rebuilt in the spring of 2004 and is of the same era as Groupama. Peyron and Nilson have also brought in fearless Swiss skipper Ravussin and some of his regular crew. This is a newcomer to watch out for in this year Nokia Oops Cup.
Team Nokia (Sweden)
Magnus 'Mange' Olsson is a legend in the sailing community and after he retired from round the world racing following the last Volvo Ocean Race he has focused on 60ft trimaran sailing. Last year the team finished third and lost their mast during the Gotland Round Race. This year they have a new sponsor and a new boat in the rebranded Biscuits la Trinitaine which they have delivered to Sweden in the last weeks. Mange has announced that Neal McDonald will join his team this season and the rest of his team have four seasons in 60ft trimaran racing to their credit. With their experience and the new boat they will be a dangerous combination.
Team TietoEnator (Finland)
Olympic 49er medalist Thomas Johanson and Kenneth Thelen are key members of Team TietoEnator. They sailed last season too, but at that time it was on a minimum budget. This year they have acquired the Marc Lombard design Banque Populaire. This is the newest of the 60ft trimarans competing on the Nokia Oops Cup.
Team Academy (Norway)
Last year Knut Frostad had the newest boat in the fleet. This year he has the oldest. The winter has been spent upgrading and taking weight of the old Banque Covefi. Academy is now 100 kilos lighter, have brand new sails and have hired Damian Foxall to sail with them in the two first racese. Damian has been tactician and co-skipper on Tacchini, and is currently sailing on Foncia. The Irishman is a well know figure from VOR.