Finnish 60 foot tri
Finlands hero from the Sydney Olympics, 49er Gold Medallist Thomas Johanson has set his goal for next summer, except for defending his gold medal in Athens, to skipper an 18-meter long trimaran. Johanson and his experienced crew, BOC Sailing, will charter a trimaran from Sweden or France, which they will enter in the Nokia Oops Cup. Nokia Oops Cup is a race held in the Nordic and Baltic region, open to 60-foot trimarans, the race includes both offshore and city races.
The team behind Johanson sees the Nokia Oops Cup as a good start for forming a group for bigger events in the future, and as a stepping-stone for talented Finnish sailors to multinational projects such as the Volvo Ocean Race or the Americas Cup. The racing crew is more or less set. The team are currently working to secure sponsorship for 2004 and are well under way. The target is to find a company (or companies) with interests in the Finnish, Scandinavian, or perhaps Baltic or Russian market.
"We want to start with the Nokia Oops Cup", says Project Manager Henrik Bischoff, "In our point of view, Atlant Ocean Racing, the company behind the event, has a longstanding experience of managing sports projects and have during former events been able to create good exposure and VIP-activities for all participating companies. We see the Nokia Oops Cup as a great platform for VIP events. The trimaran as a boat type is also extremely well suited giving both crew and customers the ultimate sailing experience in speeds up to 35 knots.
Continues Henrik Bischoff; "To make a Nordic trimaran project, it requires a small budget compared to other international sailing events. It is also the first time a professional trimaran project is initiated in Finland."
At a press conference on Monday at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, more crewmembers were presented. In addition to the Skipper Thomas Johanson, experienced multihull and Whitbread racer Mikaela von Koskull is a crewmember together with the Melges class expert and Whitbread veteran Kenneth Thelen and Thomas Hallberg last racing in the Americas Cup for the Victory Challenge team. Mikaela von Koskull was onboard Toshiba in the Oops Cup 2001, which also won the cup that year. Thomas Johanson was skipper on the trimaran First Hotels in 2001 and took a 2nd place in the Oops Cup the same year.
According to Johanson, the trimaran project will not affect his Olympic campaign in the 49er class. Johanson and his crew Jukka Piirainen have not secured a ticket for Finland to the Olympics yet to Athens. "The trimaran project does not have a negative effect on their training schedule for the Olympics, on the contrary it supports the other", ensures Johanson.
The Finnish syndicate is planning to present the main sponsor of the trimaran project at the Helsinki Boat Show in February 2004. The first competition in Nokia Oops Cup starts in Helsinki end of May and includes racing in Stockholm, Oslo, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Sandhamn and probably Kiel, Warnemûnde or Gdansk.
Below: Thomas Johanson