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Passages and sweet race weeks—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 22 Apr 2013
Magnus Olsson celebrating - Ericsson 3 are the third boat into Cape Town on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Image by Rick Tomlinson: Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race © http://www.volvooceanrace.com
The offshore sailing world sadly lost one of its most colorful and charming characters when Magnus Olsson died of a sudden and unexpected stroke late last week at the age of 64. While Olsson will be remembered for many great feats in the sailing world, it’s hard to top his juggernaut victory in Leg Five of the 2008/2009 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), when, as skipper of 'Ericsson 3', Olsson and his crewmates managed to leapfrog the entire fleet to win the mammoth 12,300-mile leg from Qindao, China to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, despite having started astern of their colleagues due to a serious hull-delamination problem.

Impressively, Olsson was a six-time VOR veteran, as well as an extremely accomplished and absolutely rock-solid all-around sailor. Yet, talk to his friends, and laughter, kindness and a zest for life emerge as defining characteristics of a man who died far too young, yet still managed to leave a massive impression on everyone he met. 'It's with great sadness I received the news about Magnus passing away today,' said Knut Frostad, CEO of the VOR. 'He was my mentor when I sailed around the world with him 20 years ago.



'[Olsson] was the inspiration for me and for so many more, and more than anything he was the smile of the race,' continued Frostad. 'A true friend has left on his final leg, and the sailing world will never be the same without Magnus and his smile. Never.' More on this sad loss, inside this issue.



Meanwhile, the America’s Cup World Series Naples Event wrapped up Sunday with 'Oracle Team USA Slingsby' taking top honors in the match-racing section of the event, while 'Luna Rossa Swordfish' won the fleet-racing section of the event.

Keen Oracle Team USA fans will notice that skipper Tom Slingsby stood in for Jimmy Spithill in this event. This was Slingsby’s first ACWS event as skipper, but the young Australian proved a capable understudy. In fact, Spithill’s performance was enough to lock-down overall victory in both the fleet-racing and match-racing section of the 2012/2013 ACWS season for Oracle Team USA.



'We are really proud to be getting the trophy for Oracle Team USA,' said Slingsby. 'Obviously, Jimmy Spithill and his team really set it up for us and we just had to come here, do our best. Luckily, they gave us a big enough points lead to take home the trophy.'

Be sure to get the full ACWS media blitz inside this issue, including eye-popping image galleries from the world’s top shooters, post-game analysis of the entire event, and great video footage. N.B., savor this ACWS media frenzy, as this is the class’ last ACWS tango during AC34



And closer to home, sailors enjoyed a fine time at this year’s Charleston Race Week, despite big-weather conditions that forced the RC to reconsider their plans for the final day of racing. Tim Healey’s 'Helly Hansen' took first-place in the 55-boat strong J/70 fleet, while Brad Boston, Lee Shuckerow and Eric Vigrass’ 'Jackpot' won the 33-boat strong Viper 640 class. Alec Cutler and crew aboard the Melges 24 'Hedgehog' won the always-stiff Melges 24 class, while Michael Kiss and his 'Bacio' boys won the 33-boat-deep Melges 20 class. Get the full post-racing report, inside.

Also inside, get the latest news from the Melges 20 Sailing Series 2013 and the 58th annual Miami to Key Largo Race, and check out the latest reports of the USCG’s ice-breaking operations in Lake Huron. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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