Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Hansen seeks elusive prize

by Alpari World Match Racing Tour on 30 May 2014
Hansen and his team finished third at the 2013 Chicago Match Cup © Brian Carlin/AWMRT http://www.wmrt.com/
Like Phil Robertson, Swede Björn Hansen has been hovering around the podium for the last couple of seasons on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, finishing second in 2012 and fourth last year. He reigned supreme on home waters, winning his third Stena Match Cup Sweden last year and followed this up with a third at Chicago Match Cup, but before this had failed to make the top eight in Korea. A shade more consistency through the season and Hansen stands every chance of taking the elusive big prize this season.

One of the main aspects for a team to remain consistent is its crew and for 2014 Hansen will be racing with the same line-up as he has had for the last couple of seasons. This comprises well known Swedish fighter pilot tactician/mainsail trimmer Gustav Tempelman, Danish headsail trimmer Phillip Kai Guhle, pitman Sebastian Wedel and the longest member of Hansens’ team, bowman Mathias Bredin, who has been sailing regularly with him for ten years now and helps Hansen run the project.

As Hansen explains: 'We sat down after last season and discussed whether to continue or not and we all agreed if we were going to do it, we’d only do it with the same five of us. We really think we have a good shot at the World Championship title if we are doing it together and if each one of us tries to improve a little bit. So everyone signed up for that and hopefully we will go all the way this year.'

So why does Hansen repeatedly keep coming back to the World Tour? 'It’s because I think match racing is a fantastic type of sailing - you really need to be good on the rules, preferably better than the umpires! I get very frustrated when I go back to fleet racing, when you don’t have the umpires on the water and you know that people around you don’t know the rules as well as you. When they break a rule, they don’t even know they break a rule and if you want to protest, you know you’ll be in the protest room for hours...'

In addition to this, Hansen points out that match racing on the World Tour is also the fairest type of sailing because everyone uses the same equipment. 'You cannot put in €300,000 extra and get an extra 0.2 knots - that is impossible in match racing. The only way to become better is to keep on practising and having good people around you, having good crew members. That really attracts me.'


This year the Alpari World Match Racing Tour features three new Tour Card holders. On the line-up for 2014, Hansen says: 'I feel and I say this every year, but I think it is true that the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is getting better and better each year, and with Richard and Bruni coming back, it is a really strong lineup. Young Mr Gilmour is going to upset quite a few people in the regattas. I think he will be on a steep learning curve, but by the end of the season, we will definitely see him on the podium at a few regattas. Maybe he won’t win the World Championship title this year, but, I would say all of the other seven crews can if they have a good year. That’s good for the tour, good for media and it’s pretty much good for everyone.'

Like Australia and New Zealand, Denmark and Sweden have a lengthy tradition in match racing, which Hansen and his crew are continuing. However Hansen advises that there is likely to be a transition coming soon.

'We have been struggling a bit in Stockholm for the last five or so years to get young sailors to commit to match racing. The problem is that we have had several quite strong Swedish teams recently, with Magnus Holmberg, Johnie Berntsson, Mattias Rahm and ourselves, and we’ve all been fighting for the spots at the Stena Match Cup Sweden and it has been impossible for anyone else to get in. But now Magnus has stopped, and I don’t think Johnie or I will be doing this for too many more years, I think it will be an opportunity for a few young crews to come in. There are some doing really well in Gothenburg at the moment.'

In the meantime, Hansen would like to nail the World Championship title finally. 'We try to make our practice very good quality, we plan our practice well in advance - really pinpoint our weaknesses and our individual weaknesses, so we all have a few areas that we can work on for this year. If everyone raises their level a little bit, we can go all the way.'

As to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour venues this year, Hansen is one of the few on the World Tour who has previously raced in the Sopot, Poland, where there is a new event this season. 'It’s a fantastic venue, I think that will be a really nice event. They will put on a great show. They have one of these piers like in the south of England - it’s a holiday place for Polish people.'

Hansen is now 47, making him the oldest skipper on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, although he is keen to point out that his crew is younger. 'Maybe I am a little bit childish, which is why we work well together! It feels like we have a good set-up. The guy I started racing keelboats with always said ‘a happy boat is a fast boat’ and it was always great fun sailing with him, so I am trying to keep it that way on our boat. We are doing this because we think it is extremely fun and when we don’t think it is fun anymore we should do something WMRT website

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring AC72Schaefer 2016 660x82