by Josefine Ås
BT Team Ellen - BT Formula 18’, Ellen MacArthur at the helm.
In one month’s time the most extreme orienteering sailing race in the world will be hosting some of the biggest names in sailing, who will be competing against less unknown but talented and persistent teams in the 8th edition of the Archipelago Raid.
In Formula 18 catamarans the Raid pushes the teams of two to the edge, both mentally and physically, as they navigate round the 100,000 islands that make up the Swedish, Aland and Finnish Archipelagos. For six days the teams will battle through some of the most challenging and beautiful landscapes in the world, with uncharted rocks and changing weather conditions, stopping only for a brief ‘overnight’ rest.
This year’s edition takes place just before midsummer, when the almost non existent Scandinavian summer nights demands even more of the competitors as one can more or less sail throughout the night.
Almost 20 teams from nine nationalities have already signed up. Impressive personalities like Dame Ellen McArthur belong to the line up. McArthur competed in the Archipelago Raid already in 2003 but had to withdraw early in the race after an unfortunate leg injury. After sailing around the world solo non stop in monohull and multihull, (Vendee Globe, Solo Round the World and Jules Verne records) McArthur stopped sailing for two years.
Now she is back with a new project and has chosen the challenging Archipelago Raid as a part of her comeback. She will team up with Greg Homann from Australia.
18 Teams (preliminary list):
Berotec - Paul Rosenquist & Sten Hellberg - Swe
BT - Ellen McArthur & Greg Homann - GBR/Aus
HH Marin - Thomas Ekefalk & Carl Johan Söder - Swe
N-Group - Matti Nieminen & Mikko Nieminen - Fin
RBSC - Patrick Demesmaeker & Michel Proot - Bel
Stelacon - Lars Linder & Karl Petersson – Swe
Sundsvalls Bygg - Frederik Eckman & Gustav Templeman - Swe
SWE 558 - Ola Person & Tomas Westergren - Swe
Team Blue 1 - Conrad Humphries & Ryan Crawford - UK
Team Thule - Martin Strandberg & Johan Örtendahl - Swe
ÅBIT - Ronny Haals & Jonathan Barck
Åland William Sunnucks & Simon Farren - UK
Karin Almquist & Karin Berg - Swe
Eric Proust & Romain Motteau - Fra
Thommy Sundström & Markus Lagerqvist - Swe
Martin Hållsten & Malcom Hanes - Swe
Thierry Andre & Alessandro Vercio – Bel/Ital
Olof Berenson & Magnus Wadstein - Swe