High performance catamaran yacht racing returns to Copenhagen’s Tuborg Havn on Thursday with the opening event of the 2016 M32 Scandinavian Series. This is the third consecutive occasion that the M32 Series has visited the Danish capital and, with racing close to the harbour, spectators will have a bird’s eye view of the ultra-light, ultra-quick speed machines as they lock horns for the first time this season.
Seven world class teams will be on the start line for the three days of fleet racing that will run daily from 1400-1700. The line-up includes six-time Match Racing World Champion, Ian Williams from the UK, skipper of GAC Pindar, who will face his young but long term World Match Racing Tour rival from the US Virgin Islands, Taylor Canfield. Canfield is defending champion in the 2015 M32 Scandinavian Series, in which he won all but one event (when he finished second). However Canfield will not have it all his own way this year and suffered a heavy defeat in the first World Match Racing Tour of this year, held in Fremantle, Australia.
From France is one of the world’s most experience multihull racers in former Olympic Tornado catamaran sailor Yann Guichard. Currently Guichard is taking on an ambitious, diverse campaign with Spindrift racing, the team he runs with Dona Bertarelli (sister of two time America’s Cup winner, Ernesto). Earlier this season Guichard and Bertarelli made an attempt on the outright non-stop round the world sailing record, the Jules Verne Trophy, aboard their 40m trimaran Spindrift 2. However Guichard is new to M32 racing this season.
From the eastern end of the Øresund Bridge comes Johnie Berntsson and his FLUX Team who are also joining the series for the first time. Like Williams and Canfield, Berntsson has a lengthy background on the World Match Racing Tour. On this he has won top events such as the ARGO Group Gold Cup and the Congressional Cup.
Also from Sweden, but at the different end of the age spectrum, is Mans Holmberg. Having turned 19 last weekend, Holmberg has been working his way up the match racing rankings no doubt with top tuition from his America’s Cup helmsman father Magnus, now Director of Aston Harald Sports, organiser of the M32 Scandinavian Series. Sailing with Holmberg junior is David Gilmour, whose father Peter is another famous America’s Cup helmsman.
Local fans in Denmark will be rallying behind their own two home-grown hotshots, Jes Gram-Hansen and Nicolai Sehested and their respective teams – Team Trifork and TREFOR.
Like Canfield is to Williams, so Sehested is to Gram Hansen, the talented young gun to the experienced wise man. Alongside Williams, Canfield and Hansen, both sailors have backgrounds in the World Match Racing Tour, only Gram-Hansen and his co-skipper Rasmus Køstner were regular participants on it in the early 2000s and have long since made the transition to multihulls, whereas the Sehested, is still making his mark match racing.
Racing runs from Thursday 5th May until Saturday 7th May, with racing at 1400-1700 daily.