Six-time race veteran, Magnus Olsson has accepted an invitation to become an Ambassador to the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion, to be held in Alicante 1-5 November this year. Olsson joins fellow Ambassadors Lady Pippa Blake and Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM.
The blond-haired Swede, renowned for his cheery and up-beat attitude as well as his sailing skills has been at the heart of this, the premier offshore race, since he first raced with Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon onboard Drum in the 1985-86 Whitbread Round the World Race. Becoming an Ambassador to the first official reunion of all the people whose lives have been touched by the race means the world to him.
”Everyone who has raced around the world knows that it’s a great achievement and a memory for life. The Volvo Ocean Race builds strong characters, and for me to become an Ambassador for all these wonderful people is a great honour,” says Olsson. ”I will also do my very best to convince younger sailing generations that Volvo Ocean Race is a must, and I am looking forward to participating in the Volvo Ocean Legends and to meeting (and beating) my old friends and competitors!”
Olsson had to circumnavigate the globe five times before he finally found himself in charge of his own crew, something he always said he never wanted. He and his ‘rookie’ Scandinavian team onboard Ericsson 3 in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 survived a near sinking on leg four, suffering serious structural damage during the gale-ridden leg from Singapore to Qingdao in China.
They suspended racing in order to limp into Taiwan where they made substantial repairs, finally arriving in China on the day the rest of the fleet began the next leg to Rio de Janeiro.
For Olsson and his team there was no restful stopover. Instead they had just over an hour to load 40 days’ worth of food and diesel and set sail again on the most demanding and, potentially, the most dangerous leg of the course, chasing the teams that had left seven hours earlier. They were quickly back in contention and a brilliant tactical decision by Olsson’s young navigator, Aksel Magdahl, a sailor half Olsson’s age (30) and competing in the Volvo for the first time, swept them into pole position.
Passing the notorious Cape Horn in the lead, Olsson and the crew of Ericsson 3 won the 12,300-nautical-mile leg comfortably, by taking a northerly track, and in doing so, rewrote the history books. "It’s unbelievable," Olsson said at the finish - a word he repeats often about insignificant things. This time he meant it.
The Volvo Ocean Race Legends will celebrate the long and varied history of the world’s premier ocean race and includes racing and social events in November this year for all those who have competed or been involved with the event since its inauguration in 1973. It promises to be an occasion not to be missed, with many ex-sailors travelling from all over the world to take part.